Motorola’s original Milestone Android-based smartphone was a rarity, with its slide-out keyboard. The Milestone 2 repeats the feature and adds in Motorola’s Motoblur social networking software, bringing the Milestone line up to date.
Motoblur brings all your Facebook and Twitter updates together in one place – and more than that, integrates all your contacts from those two places together with your Google contacts. Motorola has got this down pat, and anyone really into social networking could find Motoblur very advantageous. For the social networking novice, though, it can all be a bit daunting – and for anyone who isn’t interested in social networking, it’s irritating overkill.
This is in part because of the number of widgets you can place on the phone’s home screens, some of which duplicate each other’s social networking-related content. In part it’s to do with the slight complexities involved in pulling contacts together and managing what you do and don’t see. It is certainly flexible, though.
Motorola has ‘skinned’ Android with its own proprietary interface, and there are oodles of widgets to play with. You can even resize the social networking widgets so you can customise how much space they take up. Like we said, it’s flexible – but some people may find it all daunting.
Keys to success
As with the Milestone, the Milestone 2′s big selling point is its keyboard. There aren’t many Android handsets that have this feature – and models such as HTC’s Desire Z are a slightly more expensive alternative.
The keyboard in the original Milestone had a large navigation pad at its right-hand side, leaving the Qwerty keys squished. That design has been revised, and directional movement is now catered for by a set of cursor keys. The consequence is more room for the Qwerty keys, which makes for easier, faster typing. Despite that we found the keyboard’s squishy feel made it a a little unrewarding to use.
The Milestone 2′s general specifications are good, with support for 802.11b, g, and n Wi-Fi, as well as Bluetooth and GPS. There’s a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, and the phone’s 1GHz processor zipped along nicely during testing. The handset has 8GB of memory built in, and our sample came with an 8GB microSD card too, giving plenty of storage right out of the box. Rather annoyingly, though, you need to take the battery out to swap microSD cards.
At 3.7in, the screen is large and its 480×843-pixel resolution put it high on the pixel rankings. It delivers clear, sharp images and text, and is very good for multimedia activities such as video watching. It’s also capacitive, so it gives you access to all the usual multi-touch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom, and it’s very responsive. Because the phone runs Android 2.2, it also supports Flash – so streaming video from sites like YouTube is not a problem.
We also really like the Milestone 2′s connected music player features, which include things like finding lyrics to the currently playing song, linking out to YouTube videos and internet radio. It’s all seamless and makes for good music listening fun.
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