Monday , September 25 2017

Motorola Milestone 2 — Review

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.

Pros

  • Android 2.2 for Flash
  • Hardware QWERTY Keyboard
  • Dual LED Camera Flash
  • 720p Video Recording

Cons

  • MotoBLUR
  • Not Particularly Fast
  • Not a major improvement over the Milestone

Hardware

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

[nggallery id=64]

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.

Software

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.

Telephony

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 😉

Battery Life

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.

Conclusion

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

MobiCity
MobiCity | Your Mobile Destination | Unlocked Mobile Phones

 

Buzz Moody  

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33 Comments on "Motorola Milestone 2 — Review"

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roguefan99
Valued Guest
roguefan99
Hmm I dont have any of the lag problems you talk about but then again I didn’t sign in to any of the “accounts” in motoblur and I’m running LauncherPro over the top of it. I’ve had it lock up twice on recieving phone calls when its been in my pocket (not sure if its “In Pocket detection” thats screwing with me) which is extremely annoying. As for the battery, how many cycles did you go through. I dunno about other users but I’ve found with this phone there was a training cycle for it. First week it was all… Read more »
Valued Guest

Good review, sucks that moto are ruining great hardware with Blur

Valued Guest

oh and as far as adding things to the reviews all i would ask is for gaming to be included. Just run a few games and let us know if they run clean or if they are choppy.

roguefan99
Valued Guest
roguefan99

Whoops saw this after my previous comment. Been running a few games (from Angry Birds to Dungeon Hunter), I have never had any stutter or lag with the games I’ve run on it. As I said before I’ve had very little lag problems at all with it.

RogueX5
Valued Guest
RogueX5

Buzz, you should clarify that the unit you received is obviously not the same as the one being sold in Australia by Optus or Vodafone. Software changes and obviously UMTS900 is in the Australian one vs the Mobicity one you received.

Nathan
Valued Guest
Nathan

A “professional” site like Engadget uses the word crap so often, its actually a tag used on articles: http://www.engadget.com/tag/crap/

I agree in regards to the battery though; based solely on that section of the review one could never buy this phone. Given that other reviews of the Droid 2 do not mention the battery being this poor, I think a bigger attempt to determine whats going on is needed – it could be that this particular battery is defective.

Valued Guest

yeh same with Gizmodo, some people like to stand on the box

skooter
Valued Guest
skooter

Umm. Muse?

Back on topic, custom UIs certainly do use up battery/clock cycles – whether its to the amount that the reviewer claims is unsubstantiated. It isn’t hard to test these things.

This isn’t a review, its an uneducated opinion.

Jo Mama
Valued Guest
Jo Mama

Instead of being such a dick about it, why not suggest what you want Buzz to add to the review? I’m sure he’d be happy to come back with a follow-up if you had some good ideas.

skooter
Valued Guest
skooter
Please see above (and other related posts) I would like Buzz to be (more) objective, re: Blur. He had a fine opportunity to explore if/why Blur drains the battery and did not – merely trotting out the regular line blaming Blur for everything. Added to RogueX5’s post about 900Mhz being available in Australia (which it certainly is), I wonder if the hardware that Mobicity sent (which by logical conclusion is not Australian release hardware, and probably not AU software) is faulty or inappropriate for the SIM tested on. Buzz instead stuck with blaming Blur for the performance problems. To answer… Read more »
olivehehe_03
Valued Guest
olivehehe_03

Muse on the 14th of Dec ay? Saw them in Sydney on the 10th, awesome show.

Back on topic, I’m seeing a definite trend here when it comes to the custom UI on alot of these phones. I’ve seen reviews say the Galaxy S slows down because of it and now this one too. Good review though, even if I am still figuring out which Android phone to get

skooter
Valued Guest
skooter

Using language like “crap” is not “tell[ing] it like it is”, it’s misleading.

“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.” – reasoning please? did you try removing all widgets and accounts and checking the change in battery usage?

Poor review biased against BLUR from the start.

tomascivinod
Valued Guest
tomascivinod

OMGOMG!!!!
Why is there a picture of the droid pro in the camera shots?
I love silly little shots like this, it makes my day, btw, have you got one you are going to test?

Ragflan
Valued Guest
Ragflan
This is why I love this site. You tell it like it is. You don’t sugar coat it like Engadget and Gizmodo do and then you purchase the phone and think, ‘Well, why the hell didn’t they mention this point?!’ Thank you Buzz. I was considering getting this when my contract ended, but I might hold out for a better phone. Please continue to review Android devices exactly the way you do. Hope you bring on a good review of Nexus S. I have a Galaxy S and I want to know what it offers over Galaxy S (to people… Read more »
Sam
Valued Guest

“when it launches on Vodafone & Optus later in the month”

Been available on Optus from at least the 4th of December. It’s not on their website but you can order it over the phone. I know because I called them on the 4th (saturday) and had it by the 7th (tuesday).

Buzz Moody
Valued Guest

Wow, good work there by Optus. It must be on their business site I guess.

Hey
Valued Guest

@craig
I come to this site because Buzz says what he thinks. If he thinks its crap, then using some ‘proper’ language isn’t going to change the fact.
This site is in my favourites because it offers Australian news on all things Android in a very Australian way.
And that’s the way I like it.

Buzz Moody
Valued Guest

Cheers mate, glad you like it 🙂

Aysgarth
Valued Guest
Aysgarth

If you were a fifteen year old adicted to Facebook then you would think that Motoblur is the best. An Optus account for $19/month and you can have Facebook, Gmail and YouTube running 24/7 without incurring any extra cost. My daughter’s Quench runs Motoblur on Android 1.5 without any problems.

I would never use Motoblur myself, but it is great for the target market.

Buzz Moody
Valued Guest

No doubt, but those features are easily out done by the apps available in the market such as the official Facebook & Twitter apps.

MotoBLUR is almost rendered useless.

Aysgarth
Valued Guest
Aysgarth

Not so, if you step outside of Motoblur then you pay for data transfer, if you use Motoblur then it is free on an Optus Social Account. That is how kids run facebook etc 24/7 for $19/month.

That is what Motoblur is good for.

Piers
Valued Guest
Piers
http://www.gamaze.com/blog/2010/11/installing-clockworkmod-recovery-on-motorola-milestone-2/ Buzz, can you please do some more checking to verify that this phone is definitely unable to run custom ROMS? This page (and some others) seems to be pretty certain that it is now possible. You make a lot of allegations that MotoBLUR is the culprit… but how can you be sure until you have tested the hardware WITHOUT MotoBLUR? And if it is impossible to remove MotoBLUR, then why bother to slag it off so much? It is only important if it’s MotoBLUR or not if something can be done about it. If it can’t be helped, just… Read more »
roguefan99
Valued Guest
roguefan99

Work is being done on an Fission rom it seems http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?p=9784300#post9784300

Craig
Valued Guest
Craig

This was a very poorly put together review IMHO.

The first paragraph makes the review pointless as the big drawback is pointed out there and then before the review even starts.

Then to use words like crap in a review is not going to gain anything in relation to serious technology blogging.

Here’s hoping things pick up from here on in.

Aryan
Valued Guest
Aryan

I disagree. I really like t Buzz’s review style. It’s a no-nonsense style,he says things as he sees them. No trying to please this manufacturer or that. No trying to keep this contact happy or that. He tests a device, and says what he thinks of it. And I’ve actually found myself in agreement with his conclusions nearly all of the time.

This is how reviewing should be done. There are one or two typos here, but other than that, I think it’s perfect. Keep it up Buzz.

Buzz Moody
Valued Guest

If you’re after serious tech blogging feel free to view other websites and not this one.

If you don’t like how things work here, no ones making you come here.

Dylan
Valued Guest
Dylan

lol owned

rod
Valued Guest

@ craig

Crap phone isnt crap?

craig
Valued Guest
craig

The review was just poor,

Using words such as crap is not gonna put this website up there with many other respectable Android resources.

I am sure it will improve, plus many of the previous reviews have been good.

Michael
Valued Guest
Michael

I got one from Clove.co.uk and am pleased with most of it. I agree that MotoBLUR really sucks but disagree with Battery Life.

I find the battery life reasonable, which could stay for more than 2 days with Syncing and Background Data on but GPS off.

Besides, did you root it for replacing the launcher with the Gingerbread Launcher?

Buzz Moody
Valued Guest

Nope, didn’t have to root it to put on the Gingerbread Launcher. It can’t be this battery I have as it’s the same in both the Droid Pro and Milestone 2

Hey
Valued Guest

Hey Buzz,
Are you going to do a review of the Motorola Defy?
Just wondering if it is as hopeless as the Milestone 2.

Buzz Moody
Valued Guest

G’day, Chris will be doing a review of the Defy soon 🙂

wpDiscuz

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