Motorola Milestone: Review

Midas’ touch turned stones into gold, but Motorola has struck gold with this Android powered touch phone ‘Milestone’. Seriously this is the best cinematic opening line, I could come up with. So let me cut it short and jump straight to the review.

Build Quality

The handset feels solid in hands, but a bit heavy at 165 gms. But it comfortable fits in one hand and ideal of single hand operation. The build quality is very good and the metal chassis enhances the feel. The plastic used are of good quality. The slide mechanism is is sturdy. There is a slight misfit in the assembly and it feels a bit wobbly when its slid in. The lens protection is missing and the design is such that, the lens could get scratched easily. The Milestone build quality is good, but the sliding form factor in any mobile is always a cheesy subject.

Display

The display is a brilliant TFT capacitive screen. The screen is quite large measuring 3.7 inches diagonally. The display is capable of 480 x 854 pixels resolution. The capacitive screen is very responsive and smooth. The screen’s brightness is controlled automatically depending on the ambient lights. Outdoor visibility is little poor, but its manageable. Milestone’s display is a delight to the user and is a clear winner and selling point for this master piece. What else can I say, apart from repeating “brilliance’.

Hardware

As I mentioned earlier, the phone is a bit heavy. The top face of the mobile is fully occupied by the brilliant display and the capacitive Android buttons. The 4 Android need a special mention. They are very responsive and its a charm to use them. The proximity and ambient sensors are place on the top near the speaker. The mic is place below the buttons on the bottom part of the handset. This placement enhances the clarity of speech. At the bottom, there is nothing and its left plain. On the left side there is a micro usb slot. A rubber protector would have been appreciated, if present. The top of the handset houses the lock/power button and the 3.5mm audio jack socket. The right side has the volume rocker and the dedicated golder color camera button. At the back, there is the unprotected 5MP camera assisted by the dual LED flash. The battery cover has a rubbery feel and it enhances the grip. The loudspeakers are placed below the battery cover and its unobstructed placement ensure that the sound is audible even when the mobile is placed face up. The slots for SIM card and microSD card are located inconveniently near the battery. The battery has to be removed to swap these cards, which means memory card is not hot-swappable. The design and engineering of hardware is good but could have been more usable.

The slider reveals a brilliant keyboard beneath. The keys are small, but they are ergonomic to most people, though people with large fingers may suffer. The navigation keypad looks aesthetic, but its pretty useless. Its space could have been used better to provide bigger keys.

Connectivity

Milestone is quad band GSM / GPRS / EDGE capable.ย  Its 3G enabled with HSPAnd it has HSDPA capable upto 10.2 Mbps and HSUPA up to 5.76 Mbps. The handset has USB v2.0, Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP support and Wi-Fi. The USB is standard microUSB and it charges when connected to PC via the USB. The mobile connects to WiFi networks at ease. It requires little or no configuration, except the security settings. If WiFi is not available, it automatically switches to GPRS connection. Priority is given to WiFi connection, which is quite logical. But I found it a bit difficult to disable GPRS connectivity. Once connected, the applications and browser use the active connection and its a smooth experience.

Web browsing

The high resolution screen and the full QWERTY keyboard enhances the browsing experience. Pinch zooming is possible in this Android Webkit-based browser, but the auto fold of text doesn’t happen effectively for most of the web pages. The address bar location is persistent and very convenient. Booking a page can’t get easier. Switching between tabs is a charm. The browser is fast and the interface clean and the only thing missing is the flash support. I am confident that this device will soon get Froyo (2.2) and ultimately get Flash support.

Camera

The camera is a 5 megapixel CCD capable of image resolution upto 2592 x 1936 pixels. Its assisted by a dual-LED flash. The camera is excellent for out-door photography, but the dual-LED is still not enough for dark subjects. The camera is tightly integrated with all possible sharing options and it requires absolutely no manual setup. The Android 2.1 camera interface has more features and camera options, but its a lot slower between photos. The mobile lacks the front camera and I really don’t understand why Android handsets can’t be a good camera mobile. But again Android platform is a advantage, as one can expect improvements in the forth-coming versions, without having to shell out to change the handset or upgrade. Geo-tagging is a nice feature and manually tagging photos is also feasible.The media gallery is a charm. Its designed well for the capacitive multi-touch screen.

Battery

Battery is a pain-point for Milestone. But for a smart device with a large bright display, what more can be expected? With 4-5 hours of wifi connectivity, 8 hours of GPRS connectivity, a few calls, frequent gaming, rare usage ofย  music player and occasional messaging, the battery drains out in less than 20 hours. But with USB charging feature, its not very difficult to find a port around to charge your handset via the very common microUSB cable.

and Finally…

Motorola Milestone is a dream come true for any gadget freak. For anyone, who wants to stay connected always, this is the right choice. Everything is near-perfect and with the super OS Android as its backbone, Motorola Milestone is a clear winner.

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