Motorola Milestone 2 Android smartphone
Review Following a period in the doldrums, Motorola has certainly turned a page coming up with a series of well-specified Android smartphones and its own innovative social networking tools. The Milestone 2 is not to be confused with the second Milestone phone, the Milestone XT720 – no, you're right, it is confusing. Featuring a slide-out Qwerty keyboard and Motoblur, it takes some of the best bits of the original Milestone. Add the HD video of the XT720, along with upgrades and tweaks that improve virtually everything and what could go wrong?
Motorola's Milestone 2: curiously enough, the third in the series
Like the original Milestone, the 2 is a chunky beast at 116 x 61 x 14mm and 169g, with much of the bulk attributable to that solidly built slide-out Qwerty keyboard. Most of the front is taken up by the 3.7in capacitive touchscreen with room beneath it for just a thin slice of touch sensitive controls: menu, home, back and search. There's a little indented lip at the very bottom, which, like the chin on HTC's Legend, has no obvious benefit except to give it a slightly more distinctive look.
On the sides there's a volume rocker and micro USB power/sync slot, with a power/lock button and 3.5mm jack on top. The slide-out Qwerty keyboard has been improved since the original. By doing away with the large navpad there's room to space out the keys a little and even add a few more, bringing the total to 45. They're made of rubberised plastic and the centres have been raised slightly, making them easier to find under the thumbs. Along with Android's really rather good predictive text, it's a joy to use.
The Milestone 2 comes with the current Android 2.2 OS which gets a little bit of a facelift and a few extra features, notably the ability to use the handset as a 3G hotspot with the capacity to connect up to five devices to the Internet at once. It's a serious drain on the battery, but could come in handy, especially if you can plug it into the mains.
Up to seven home pages can be filled up with icons and widgets in the usual Android fashion. A series of dots at the bottom tells you which screen you're looking at. It's all powered by a 1GHz processor which seemed to keep things running smoothly enough, only showing a little sign of strain in the form of lag when I got close to running the maximum seven functions at once.
Features all the social niceties of Motoblur
Chief among the widgets is Motorola's Motoblur service, which combines your Facebook, Twitter, email (all of which are easy peasy to set up) and other social networking alerts into a single stream. I really liked this on Motorola's Dext and felt they'd missed a trick by not including it on the other Milestone models.
Next page: In the picture
Motorola extremely poor at software updates
I own the first Milestone. Motorola are by far the worst of the handset makers when it comes to software updates. Android 2.1 arrived horribly late. Android 2.2 isn't there yet. (We're promised it "from the end of the year", but I'll believe it when I see it.) I sincerely doubt we'll ever see 2.3 or newer.
But manufacturers don't have to support a handset with updates forever and most don't, right? For almost all other Android handsets, if you want to get the latest and greatest Android version without the aid of the manufacturer, you have a multitude of alternative sources - you go and grab a third-party firmware, install it and you're done. Motorola have locked the Milestone down so that this isn't possible. Efforts to crack their lockdown have thus far been unsuccessful.
People have complained loudly and repeatedly to Motorola about this. Motorola either can't understand or refuses to try.
I won't be buying Motorola again until this policy changes. I could provide a small list of software and hardware issues with the original Milestone, but the fact that I'm now two (soon three) Android versions behind, on a handset that's just over a year old, is enough to tell me that I don't wish to give Motorola 400+EUR again any time soon.
Same as the Milestone?
Is this as locked down as the originaly Motorola Milestone? I'm sitting here 29th December with that phone and after months of waiting for a promised Q4 2010 initial roll-out of FroYo it got to around 22nd December and Motorola announced that it would now be Q1 2011, at least four or five months after the identical (bar the radio) Motorola Droid. That experience alone has put me off Motorola phones for life. It's a shame because the phone itself is very solid and with a processor clocked at 550MHz that can easily manage 1.33GHz yet due to a locked bootloader the only real software upgrades available will have to rely on Motorola.
when's the Reg going to review the Defy? Has a more than decent spec and T-Mobile is punting it at £25pcm for 18 months. Looks like like the best combo of spec (3.7" screen, 1.5GB storage, semi-rugged) and price on contract. Currently split between getting a Defy on contract or an Orange San Fran. on PAYG
i might consider one of these they look pretty good
Anything that adds too much crapware is a "fail" for me.
Unless you can easily remove all those added crap and always keep up-to-date as google's own phone, it is no good.
It's not I trust google, it is all about I trust those phone makers even less.