Review: Motorola DEXT (CLIQ)

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After years in the wilderness, Motorola has come back with a resurgence. From its RAZR days, it seems to have broken the curse it left behind, a la the Seinfeld Curse, with a powerful lineup of Android-powered phones. While we’re not likely to see the Droid X any time soon, the Motorola DEXT (CLIQ) is seems to do the job in promoting its Android message. TECHGEEK.com.au takes it for a spin.

  • Score:

    7.0 / 10

  • The Good:

    QWERTY Keyboard, 5MP Camera, 2GB microSD included, 3.1″ touchscreen

  • The Bad:

    Slider flimsy, Android v1.5, underpowered, small space key, no multi-touch, no video calling

  • Bottom Line:

    Great phone for keeping up to date online on a budget

One of the big features of the phone is its social networking capabilities with its Motoblur service, an Motorola-exclusive feature for its Android line. When you first start up the phone you are forced to create a Motoblur account, which you can then add your social networking accounts too. Your accounts can be accessed via the ‘Happenings’ app. This means you have one feed from all your social networking accounts and you can do things like update all your statuses at once.

Motoblur also offers a remote wipe service so that if you have your phone stolen, there will be nothing personal left on it. Motoblur backs up all your contacts, messages, emails and social networking so that if you get a new Motoblur compatible phone, everything will be transferred to your new phone.

The DEXT features a full QWERTY keyboard which is quite easy to use, even with my fat thumbs, though the space bar is quite small and sometimes I find myself hitting the search button. The DEXT also managers to squeeze in a 5MP camera, which can produce nice photos but is quite grainy when taking photos in low light situations due to the lack of a flash.

The phone itself feels solid though there is an issue with the slider where when the keyboard is hidden; the top of the phone doesn’t feel secure and tends to wobble quite a bit. The interface of the phone is well organised and the menu layers are methodical. But this is let down by the fact that the phone is under powered, running a 528Mhz Qualcomm processor, so if you travel in and out of apps and menus too quickly, you will find the phone lags behind.

The DEXT runs Google’s open source mobile operating system known as Android, though it only runs version 1.5, while other Android phones run 2.1. This may cause some compatibility issues with some apps, which are designed to run on 2.1 but around 60 apps later, I still haven’t found a compatibility issue.

The phone has GPS capabilities which are all well and good but because the phone only runs Android 1.5, you’re stuck with an old version of Google Maps with which you can only get written directions from your current position and no voice navigation. The WiFi works well when connected but doesn’t like being disconnected, and to reconnect it you have to restart the WiFi which can become quite annoying especially when you are on the move.

Another let down is the appalling battery life. I find that my DEXT only just manages to get though a day on a full battery. This is because of the all the widgets that are constantly connecting to the net and updating themselves. The phone can also get quite warm which can be a bit off putting while using it.

All in all, the Motorola DEXT only runs Android 1.5, has no multi touch and is a tad underpowered but comparing it to the other phones in its price category, it is one of the best budget phones and after using it for nearly a month, it is so hard not to recommend when comparing it to other phones in it price range.

The Motorola DEXT is an Optus exclusive phone.