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Motorola Milestone 2 review

Faster than the original model and has Android 2.2 Froyo
Thu Feb 03 2011, 17:51

Product Motorola Milestone 2
Website Motorola
Specifications Android 2.2 with MotoBlur, 1GHz processor, 512MB RAM, 3.7-inch WVGA display with 480x854 resolution, 8GB internal memory, 8GB micro-SD card included, 40GB total capacity, slide-out keyboard, 5-megapixel camera with dual LED flash, 169g
Price £359 SIM-free

ONE OF THE FIRST Android 2.0 smartphones was the Motorola Milestone and it was immensely popular after it was released at the start of 2010.

Version two has a sleek appearance like many of Motorola's phones, although the design is not as stylish as the Flipout or Milestone XT720.

The handset is comfortable to hold, with dimensions of 116mm x 61mm x 14mm. The device retains a physical Qwerty keyboard, and is one of the heavier smartphones on the market at 169g.

The handset ships with Android 2.2, codenamed 'Froyo', and it still has seven home screens that can be customised with widgets, folders and shortcuts. Like the HTC Sense user interface, the Milestone 2 allows users to create customised profiles, which they can conveniently switch when the need arises.

Sliding out the keyboard will automatically change the orientation of the home screen or application into landscape mode.

Users can also navigate around the Milestone 2 using the capacitive touchscreen without having to slide open the keyboard. This is useful when something needs to be located quickly.

Email and social networking accounts are synced and managed through the MotoBlur interface. A downside to the inclusion of MotoBlur is that users are inevitably going to have to wait longer to get the Android 2.3 update as it will have to be re-skinned first.

Individual Motorola widgets do seem to be a little on the small side, with one piece of information displayed at a time. They should have been larger, especially as the space is available on the screen.

The Milestone 2 does not come overflowing with pre-loaded apps, but there are some that could be useful for business users, such as Quickoffice.

The Quickoffice mobile app lets users view and create Microsoft Word and Excel documents. The arrows on the physical keypad allow for precise editing and users can carry out a number of formatting changes including size and type of fonts. PowerPoint presentations and PDF files can also be viewed.

When the device is placed in the car docking accessory, the navigation app is automatically triggered. The £30 dock is worth the investment for users who travel frequently by car.

Other useful features include the ability to turn the device into a 3G mobile hotspot with a couple of clicks, and share content wirelessly with other DLNA enabled devices.

The 3.7-inch WVGA display on the Milestone 2 comes with the same 480x854 resolution as its predecessor. Text and images appear crisp and clear, although the display does not quite match up to the Super Amoled display on the Samsung Galaxy S or the Retina display on the Iphone 4.

Four traditional Android-specific touch-sensitive buttons are located beneath the screen and are very responsive, as is the screen. It only takes the gentlest swipe or tap to initiate applications.

The Milestone 2 comes with a 1GHz processor, twice as fast as the original, allowing the handset to run resource-hungry applications comfortably.

The slide-out Qwerty keyboard feels solid and locks into place with ease. Motorola has wisely left out the large obtrusive D-pad from the original in favour of four small arrow keys in the bottom right-hand corner. This means that the keyboard is evenly spread and the letters are also larger.

Motorola includes 8GB of internal memory and an 8GB micro-SD, a generous allocation that is more than enough to get started on.

Call quality is excellent, with no dropped calls during testing.

The 5-megapixel camera on the rear comes with a dual LED flash and takes impressive pictures. It comes with image stabilisation, real-time colour effects, location tagging and an impressive array of editing tools. There is no front-facing camera, however, so video calling is not possible.

Text input is generally good, with users able to pick between the touchscreen and physical keyboards.

Although the slide-out Qwerty keyboard is good, the keys do feel flat and stiff. During the course of our tests we found it more comfortable to use the touchscreen for everyday text messaging. Input was also quicker using the screen as auto-completion and spell checking are in effect, a feature not available when the physical keys are in use.

The on-screen keyboard comes with Swype as standard, a welcome feature that is being incorporated across Motorola’s Android range. A universal inbox is also present, and is another feature that now comes as standard with smartphones.

The internet is a joy to use, with the touchscreen and physical keyboard working really well in tandem to ensure a fluid experience. Pages display well on the 3.7-inch screen and reformatting text is quick and consistent.

The ability to click on the screen to activate links and scroll through pages is also invaluable.

The physical keyboard is on hand to input any web addresses, search terms and login details. There are also a number of useful shortcuts including ‘search’, ‘voice search’ and ‘@’ keys on the handset.

Adobe 10.1 is also supported, so it's possible to view Flash-based web sites and videos on the move.

The device lasts two days with moderate usage, including calls, texts and internet browsing. This is impressive considering the size of the screen and that power is also drawn from the Qwerty keyboard.

It is worth checking into the battery management app to see which applications are using power. Checking this every so often will definitely help to squeeze every last bit of juice out of the battery.

In Short
A worthy successor to the Milestone, with useful business features, the Milestone 2 is cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy S and Apple's Iphone 4, but users should be aware that an update to Android 2.3 may take months. µ

The Good
Great browsing experience, crisp and responsive screen, good battery life.

The Bad
Android 2.3 upgrade is likely to be a long wait.

The Ugly
Slide-out keyboard feels stiff and flat, isn't supported by auto-completion and spell-checking.

Bartender's Score



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