A Googlephone for business?
Review Earlier this year, Motorola was doing a very good impression of a company that, if not quite dead in the water, was certainly looking increasingly like shark bait. But then came its Android-powered Dext, with some advanced social networking capabilities and a clutch of high-end features, and the US company suddenly seemed to be back in the race.
Landmark offering? Motorola's Milestone
Now with the Milestone it marks another, erm milestone, by being the first UK handset to run the new 2.0 version of the Android OS. Add in a slide-out Qwerty keyboard, 5 megapixel camera, improved browser, Wi-Fi, and A-GPS with sat nav capability, and things are looking very interesting at Motorola.
'Interesting' is probably as good a word to describe the look of the Milestone as any. It's not conventionally beautiful, with its block lines and that strange protruding lip at the bottom prevents any aspirations to cool.
It's solidly put together though, weighing in at a surprisingly heavy 165g for its 60 x 116 x 14mm dimensions. The weight is partly due to its metal casing, which features a rubberised coating on the back to prevent it sliding around on smooth surfaces.
The large screen sits above a touch-sensitive Android menu bar with back, menu, home and search buttons, while the sides sport a volume rocker, blingy gold-coloured camera shutter button and micro USB power/sync slot, with a power/lock button and 3.5mm headphone jack on top.
Smooth browsing but, on the surface, Android 2.0 looks much the same as previous versions
The slide-out Qwerty keyboard is nice and thin, but we found it just a little bit disappointing. It has four lines of good-sized keys with a large D-pad on the right. Yet, even though the keys are slightly raised, they're not as easy to find under the thumbs as recent models from Nokia or HTC. It's okay if you're not in a rush, but fast typing soon delivers typos.
Android 2.0 is mostly a badly-hashed rework of Sense UI
I tried out one of the community builds on the Hero and couldn't see any real benefits to Android 2.0 over 1.5 with sense UI, apart from working with a couple of Google's more bleeding edge apps. I think HTC's main problem is working out how to either yank Android 2.0's wretched facebook integration and stop it clashing with their own vastly superior solution. There may be some improvements in the messaging app as well, but since it's still not going to be a patch on Handcent I didn't even look at it.
I mean it'll be nice to get it, but I'm not seeing any reason to fret about it not arriving for a month or two. The moto phones are a pretty good price/spec though - if they manage to produce something keyboard-free and less ugly in about a year I may well get one
Pretty damn good
i've been playing with mine for almost a week now, and it is awfully good. basically everything you would expect to be good is, so i'll only add the negatives i can think of;
- lack of sat nav. i know it's got moto nav, but it's only a trial so that doesn't count. i hope the google one gets released soon.
- apostrophe on the keyboard. it's an alt key instead of a default one. petty, i know, but i use apostrophes a lot. it does auto add them to some words, but not to others where it's usages dependant... like its vs it's.
- the bundled power cable is reeeeally short. it barely reaches from my floor to my bedside table.
err... that's all i can think of. it's just a really good phone. 85% seems a tad low to me.
p.s.- you can sync your facebook contacts with an app.
So this is basically a GSM version of the US-market CDMA Droid? How come the review (AFAICS) doesn't even mention this? The Droid is one of the best-known new models of smartphone in the world... That merits a line, doesn't it?