HTC T-Mobile G1 vs Motorola CLIQ

I owned a G1 for just over a year and it was lost or stolen.  Having used Android for so long, I couldn’t live without it for 7 months until I was eligible for an upgrade.  I stopped by the T-Mobile store to get a replacement G1, but was pleasantly surprised to find that the CLIQ was the same price.  I knew it was faster and had a headphone jack (yes!), so I picked it up.

It always takes time to get used to a new phone, but even after a month of use, I wasn’t blown away by the CLIQ.

  • The basics, things that you can read in the phone specs
    • The G1 has a larger screen.  It’s not a big difference on paper, but is quite noticeable in use.
    • The CLIQ has a headphone jack, meaning you can listen to music with standard earbuds or headphones or plug it in to your car’s stereo and charge it at the same time without having to buy and tote around a custom dongle.
  • Speed – CLIQ
    • Although they have the same processor, the CLIQ wins here pretty handily.  Even after all of the updates between Android 1.0 and 1.6, the G1 was always sluggish.  Some applications slowed it down so much that it became unusable and had to be rebooted.
  • Battery – CLIQ
    • The G1 had to be recharged at least once a day.  During a day of heavy use, it needed more than one charge.  The CLIQ won’t go for days on a charge like some non-smart phones, but it easily outlasts the G1.
  • Keyboard – G1
    • People may complain about the G1’s rotate-out-slider feature, but it allows the G1 a gigantic, easy-to-use keyboard by phone standards.  Traditional sliders, like the CLIQ’s, can only go so far up before they become wobbly and prone to breaking.  The G1’s screen is completely separate from the main body except for the connection at the bottom (or right), allowing it to slide much farther up.  The G1’s keys are also better designed.  They’re just as responsive as the CLIQ’s, but without the annoying, well, clicks made by the … CLIQ.
  • D-pad / Trackball – G1
    • The CLIQ’s directional pad works just as well as the G1’s trackball.  Each design has it’s benefits.  The trackball lets you zoom through text or selections, but it’s difficult to press without accidentally rotating it at the same time.  I’ll never figure out why the CLIQ’s designers decided to hide the d-pad under the screen, though.  It’s really a pain to have to slide the keyboard out and rotate the screen just to get access to it.  One major score for the G1.
  • UI – G1
    • Phone manufacturers can never leave an operating system alone.  Imagine if Windows were customized so that it worked completely differently on a Sony than on an HP. Luckily, Motorola didn’t go as far as others (like Samsung).  Still, the stock Android OS looks much better than Motorola’s.
  • OS – G1
    • Here, too, Motorola’s decision to customize Android is a problem.  HTC can update Android on the G1 by adding device-specific code.  For a CLIQ update, Motorola has to merge the entire Android codebase with their own fork.  This means CLIQ updates lag behind other devices.  The G1 has had Android 1.6 for a while.  The CLIQ is still on 1.5 and won’t be updated until Motorola releases 2.1 for it.  Maybe.
  • Touchability – G1
    • Many users (including me) have had problems with the CLIQ’s capacitive touch screen.  Sometimes it works flawlessly and sometimes it doesn’t.  It’s especially annoying when playing games.
  • Exterior appearance – CLIQ
    • The CLIQ’s bold lines and attractive coloring outshine the boring G1.  I highly recommend the titanium white version.
  • Sturdiness – CLIQ
    • With a more solid construction and a responsive slider mechanism, the CLIQ feels much better in the hand.
Posted in Android at December 22nd, 2009. 9 Comments.