The Milestone 2 is of course the successor to the original Motorola Milestone, that really wasn’t all that successful in Australia due to its late launch. The Milestone 2 hasn’t really changed in terms of how it looks, however its insides are what really count. I can tell you right now, that this phone is let down by MotoBLUR, it lags, horribly. With that in mind, let’s get into the review.
- Android 2.2 for Flash
- Hardware QWERTY Keyboard
- Dual LED Camera Flash
- 720p Video Recording
- Not Particularly Fast
- Not a major improvement over the Milestone
Motorola obviously aren’t pushing the envelope with their DROID series with Verizon Wireless over in the US, because the Milestone series is just a rebadged, re-radioed version of the DROID phones. Motorola are sitting on something very successful in the US and are sticking with what works, that means that there aren’t a lot of big changes in the Milestone 2 when coming from the Milestone (a phone I once owned). The device feels solid and well-built, it even adds a kind of premium feel to the device. It’s mostly made from aluminium, with the backing having a nice matte touch.
The Milestone 2 has a bumped up CPU running at 1GHz over the Milestone that had only 600MHz, though the Milestone 2 feels just as choppy and laggy as the Milestone. The screen is 3.7″ in diameter with a resolution of 854×480, which makes the display look very crisp and pixels very unnoticeable. Multitouch gestures can be pretty hit-and-miss as they can stop registering when the two touches align, this isn’t much of a worry as you’ll still be able to get the most out of the upcoming Google Maps.
Below the display are the usual capacitive buttons, which work pretty well: menu, home, back & search.
Sitting on the top of the Milestone 2 are the power/lock button (which can be a real bitch to find in the dark) and the 3.5mm headphone jack as well as what appears to be a second noise cancelling mic, though I could be wrong. On the right side is the volume rocker and dedicated camera button. The mic is on the bottom and MicroUSB on the left hand side. On the back you’ll find the 5MP shooter which is capable of some pretty decent shots, as well as 720p video recording. Sitting next to it are the two LEDs to light up those low-light situations. Near the bottom is the loudspeaker, which isn’t going to turn heads or blow minds, but it works none-the-less. Camera snaps & video for your viewing pleasure below
The Milestone 2 keeps the same kind of keyboard design as the original Milestone, except for the addition of a few extra keys. After giving Chris a quick go at it, he said there is much better tactile feedback than that of the Desire Z. Whether that means it’s the best QWERTY slider on the market, we’re unsure, though we can’t deny it’s obviously going to be one of the best in Australia when it launches on Vodafone & Optus later in the month.
It’s extremely evident that the lag and stutters on the Milestone 2 are caused by MotoBLUR. I replaced the launcher with the Gingerbread Launcher (found on the market) and 90% of home screen lag was gone. The main purpose of MotoBLUR is to differentiate Motorola phones to other phones on the market, but truth be told, it’s utter bullcrap. They’ve slapped this ‘theme’ atop of Android, added some of their own customizations that don’t really bring anything new to Android, which slow the system down dramatically. To put it into perspective, my HTC Desire which is running Sense UI, the most memory hungry, yet most wonderful UI, is extremely smooth in comparison to the Milestone 2 which also has a 1GHz CPU. I may be going off on a rant here, but this needs to be cleared up so people don’t think MotoBLUR brings great new functionality to Android, it doesn’t!
Most of the apps on the device are stock Android that have a new icon, with the MotoBLUR theme thrown in. One thing that stood out for me with MotoBLUR is its Social Networking functionality, that I then realised wasn’t all that great and switched back to using Touiteur and the native Facebook for Android application. There are a heap of widgets that come with MotoBLUR that can be resized on your home screens which is something I found reasonably useful and handy.
DNLA and WiFi Tethering are good to go out of the box, the latter which came in handy whilst spending a week up in Sydney with no physical internet connection. Though there’s no 850MHz HSPA so you can kiss fast NextG speeds goodbye, to add to this fiasco there is no 900MHz HSPA on the current model available from MobiCity, meaning no regional 3G for Vodafone and Optus.
Flash playback in the browser was flawless, which is always a nice touch. We were disappointed to find out that key presses on the keyboard don’t make their way into Flash games in the browser, so we couldn’t knock out a game of QWOP or anything like it. Other than that there’s no nasty surprises or anything missing.
In comparison to the Droid Pro (the review of that beauty will be up soon) the Milestone’s calls seemed a little muffled and if you spoke softly, the person on the other end couldn’t always hear you. It’s never been an issue on other phones, especially my Desire and the Droid Pro. That’s not to say calls are useless on the Milestone 2, not at all, they’re just not the greatest if you can’t speak all that loud into the mic or you don’t mind your calls being a little muffled 😉
Terrible. Horrible. Crap. I mean seriously, it’s a huge problem on both the Milestone 2 and Droid Pro. I’ve put them through a few charge cycles and the life extended a little, but they’re both still hopeless. I’d be lucky to get 5-7 hours out of the Milestone 2 with normal use. I found myself turning off GPS, Syncing and Background Data just to try to keep some juice in the battery to last to the end of the day.
The battery clocks in at 1290mAh, so it’s slightly bigger than the 1230mAh in the Desire HD which can last far longer than the Milestone 2 can. I kind of blame MotoBLUR here, surely there are optimizations that need to be done.
When you first see and feel the Milestone 2, it presents itself as a real premium device. It’s not. There is so much potential in this device, being once of the few Android QWERTY sliders in Australia, but it’s let down by the software. MotoBLUR is a crap excuse for differentiation between products, which slows the system down. If you don’t mind lag and stuttering every now and then, and you need a QWERTY slider, I would recommend this to you, but only after the Desire Z. Otherwise I’d steer clear until Motorola do something about the speed and atrocious battery life.
Also if you’re a hacker, you have no hope with the Milestone 2 as it’s locked up as much as the original Milestone.
If you are looking to get one now, they’re available from the great guys over at MobiCity from $649