Motorola Milestone 2 in-depth review -

Look and feel

The Motorola Milestone 2 is very similar to the original in terms of looks and build, with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard that inevitably gives it the same substantial weight as its predecessor

Ease of use

The Milestone 2’s capacitive touch-screen impressed both in terms of vibrancy and ease of use, while the refreshingly tactile slide out QWERTY keyboard made texting a breeze

Features

The five-megapixel camera impressed even when photographing moving objects, while the MOTOBLUR facility nicely integrates all your social networking feeds

Performance

The Motorola Milestone 2 runs on Google’s Android 2.2 aka Froyo, making it faster in terms of web browsing and loading up applications, though this is also aided by the inclusion of a 1GHz processor

Battery life

The Milestone 2 has a medioctr battery life, providing 360 minutes of talktime and 350 hours standby time

 Motorola Milestone 2 Review -
4

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 4:00:11 PM

8

out of 10

Performance

6

out of 5

Look and feel

8

out of 5

Ease of use

8

out of 5

Features

6

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

The Milestone 2?s navigational credentials were fast, accurate and Google Maps now includes voice directions

Cons:

The Milestone 2 is on the heavy side, and its cumbersome build may not be to everyone?s tastes

Sequels aren’t always better than originals. For every The Godfather part II, there’s Jaws: The Revenge. When we reviewed the original Motorola Milestone at the start of the year, we praised it for its excellent email capabilities, but were critical of its social networking credentials. With the manufacturer adding Google’s latest Android operating system to proceedings along with their own MOTOBLUR social networking integration feed, could the Motorola Milestone 2 right those wrongs?

Look and feel

In terms of build, the Motorola Milestone 2 doesn’t actually differ too much from the original. It’s got the same sharp edges and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard that inevitably gives the Milestone 2 the same substantial weight as its predecessor. In fact it’s even got the same 3.7-inch capacitive touch-screen, both in terms of resolution (480x854 pixels) and colours (16 million). Motorola has in fact tweaked the keyboard, for the better. Gone is the touch-responsive D-pad, and in comes four dedicated cursor keys. In fact the whole keyboard has been raised slightly and it made for an enjoyable typing experience. You’ll have to press and hold the ALT key to enter any numbers, but to add dedicated numeric keys would have meant another line of keys which in turn would have resulted in a cramped keyboard. The back of the device is made from a smooth rubber material and its navy blue tone complements the silver trim. However, we would say that we were somewhat concerned by how hot the back got after extended use. Just underneath where the battery cover slides out is an external speaker that gives the Milestone 2 a powerful sound.

The sliding mechanism when accessing the keyboard requires a constant push rather than the “snap” reflex you find in most slide-out QWERTY sporting handsets. We actually preferred this design, suggesting a seasoned build quality and reassurance that you won’t accidentally nudge it open when it is in your pocket for example. However, we’d have preferred it if once you slide the keyboard out, the phone would become active, rather than requiring a further unlocking of the touch-screen.

Touch-screen

The Milestone 2’s capacitive touch-screen impressed both in terms of vibrancy and ease of use. Motorola has mastered the right balance between a touch-screen enjoying featherlike swipes and an overly sensitive display that results in accidentally opening up the wrong program. Motorola has fitted the Milestone 2 with seven home screens, all of which can be customised. Flick between them and a page guide appears at the bottom of the screen which in turn enables you to jump to a specific page. If an actual QWERTY keyboard isn’t your bag – though we're not sure why you’d buy this handset if that’s the case – then you have the option of a virtual QWERTY keyboard. Depending which way you hold the phone, you’ll have a crowded keyboard when held vertically or a more spacious offering when held horizontally.

First seen on the Samsung Galaxy S, the Motorola Milestone 2 is kitted with the intuitive Swype text input method. How it works is by sliding your finger from one letter to another. The technology attempts to recognise what words you are spelling out and types them out accordingly. We had our doubts as to how fluid it would be, but as with the Galaxy S we were thoroughly impressed. There remains an issue in that your finger may obscure the letter you are trying to locate and again we’re not sure why you wouldn’t just bang out a bit of text on the physical QWERTY keyboard, but if you’re after an innovative and novel way of typing then Swype delivers.

Android 2.2

Swype is just one of the many updates you can enjoy thanks to the Motorola Milestone 2 running on Google’s latest Android OS, 2.2 aka Froyo. As well as being faster in terms of web browsing and loading up applications (though this is also aided by the inclusion of a 1GHz processor), you can now search Google, dictate texts and emails and specify where you want to be navigated to, all with the power of your voice. On the keyboard is a microphone key that once pressed will prompt you to speak your Google search term. We were generally pretty pleased with the results, even when testing it outside in the busy streets of Soho. We wouldn’t say it was 100% accurate, more 90%, and as such we’re not sure you’d use it in the text/email mode for more than a quick line, but we were impressed. Apart from a Google search, to administer the voice to text facility for texts, emails or navigation you will need to open up the necessary programs first.

Social networking

The Milestone 2 may be a Google device, but Motorola has made sure their voice is heard with the inclusion of their MOTOBLUR facility. First seen on the Motorola DEXT, it was strangely omitted from the original Milestone, something we criticised it for. While not in the same bracket as HTC’s FriendStream, MOTOBLUR nicely integrates all your social networking feeds, messages and emails into one feed. In addition, go to your contacts page and you’ll be able to skim between your contacts (which have been synched with your social networks, complete with profile pics), most recent status updates and finally your recent correspondence with your contacts, be it wall posts, tweets or emails.

We had a mixed experience with the Motorola Milestone 2’s camera. It takes ages for the snapper to fire up, a common gripe of ours, and we felt that pre-snap, the image looked cloudy in the viewfinder. However, the actual results were far better, with impressive auto-focus even when photographing moving objects and the dual LED flash surprised us in terms of the quality of snaps in low light. The navigational experience was far clearer cut. The satellite fix was both fast and extremely accurate, even when indoors and Google Maps now offers voice guidance whether you’re travelling by foot or in the car that can carry on directing you even when you’re using other applications.

Conclusion

The Motorola Milestone 2 is a feature packed handset that does what every follow up phone should do, improves on the original. The inclusion of MOTOBLUR will appease the social networkers and we found the slide-out QWERTY keyboard refreshingly tactile. Add Android 2.2, DLNA compatibility and an impressive navigation experience, and the Motorola Milestone 2 is a good alternative to the more familiar Android offerings from the likes of HTC, LG and Samsung.

Danny Brogan