Written on 11/28/2009 11:21:00 PM by poison_ivy
UPDATE: As promised, I'm updating this review as we speak and will add more in the future.
Before anything else, you should know that the Motorola Milestone is up for pre-order at Expansys.com, and yes, I'm one of those who've pre-ordered. I just want to get my hands on this mobile phone which had AT&T and Apple contesting Verizon's ads in the US. So what made me pre-order? Well, I've had a short hands on time with it, thanks to friend who just got back from Germany (one of the luckiest countries to have it first). Anyways, have a read to see if it's worth pre-ordering for you.
The phone is beautiful, I'll tell you that. I've heard of the Motorola Milestone or "the Droid" as it is better known in the US but I didn't really paid much attention to it mainly because I thought it was another touchscreen Android phone. Well, you'll probably be surprised as me when you find you that a mobile phone this thin is actually hiding a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Yes! A keyboard! And the Motorola Milestone is only a tad thicker than the iPhone 3G so that alone made this phone drool-worthy.
The materials used is also top notch with combination of plastic, metal, gold highlights and soft metal, this phone is SEXY.
The Motorola Milestone has a 3.7 inch capacitive screen, it has WVGA resolution and for some reason, even if its not AMOLED screen, I find that the colors seem to be more vivid here, or maybe I just got so used to my Samsung i8910 HD. There's no physical buttons on the screen but there are four touch sensitive icons just below the screen. The Milestone also has an onbaord 3.5mm headset jack on top.
Now while I love that it has a QWERTY keyboard, I hate the fact that the monstrous directional pad and that extra metal that serves as the Motorola Milestone's chin seems to be in the way, at least, for us right-handed individuals. There seems to be a bit of reach for my thumbs for some keys. My friend told me that that was his first complaint about the keyboard but after a while, you get used to it, so I took his word for it.
UPDATE: I still can't get over how thin this mobile phone is but I forgot to mention that it's also heavy. When compared side by side with my Diamond2, both mobile phones are almost the same thickness and as previously mentioned, the Motorola Milestone is only a tad thicker than the iPhone 3G. The glass screen makes any finger sweeping motions really smooth but again, the metal and glass may have added to its weight. I'm still getting used to the directional keypad and I still feel like it's in the way but I do hope that I'd get used to it.
I've read that the Motorola Milestone shares the same CPU as the iPhone 3GS and the Palm Pre so its no wonder that navigating the mobile phone is very snappy. Then again, as with my recollection with my hands on time with the Samsung Galaxy, Android has seem to be more responsive and less laggy than WinMo but its better defined in the Motorola Milestone and the UI is now comparable with the iPhone.
The Motorola Milestone also has multitouch capability and the pinch zooming action is available on the browser and picture gallery. However, the multi touch capability doesn't seem as smooth and fluid as on the iPhone, and even on the HTC HD2. There's a noticeable hiccup when zooming in pictures.
Update: I take back what I said about the laggy pinch zooming in the picture browser. Mine actually does a fast job of zooming in pictures, maybe my friend's Milestone has some issue but anyways, the pinch zooming is GREAT, comparable with the iPhone and even better than the pinch zooming on HTC HD2.
The Motorola Milestone features threaded messaging and there's also an on-screen keypad for those times that you're just too lazy to slide out the physical QWERTY pad. The on-screen keyboard actually reminds me of the one used by Opera on their latest Opera Mini 5 browser. The onscreen keypad is also useable and keys are evenly spaced and not cramped.
Update: One problem I have with the onscreen keyboard is the lack of any directional arrows. Now say I mispelled something two words back, I have to touch the word to bring the cursor back and well, with fat fingers, most of the times, I'm two to three letters off and it kinda slows down my texting. It would be nice if there were any arrow keys or if they implemented something similar to the iPhone wherein you have to hold on to the screen and a magnifying glass appears so you can accurately go back to any mispelled words. And I also want to clarify that the on-screen keyboard is even spaced when in landscape mode, in portrait mode, well, like any other touchscreen, the letters are a bit cramped. I love the fact that your contacts appear with their thumbnail pictures in the messages folder. I don't know if I'm just missing it or if there's really no option at all but I can't seem to find any way to delete multiple messages in your messaging inbox.
New: Contacts and Calendar
Now since I always seem to have a new smartphone to review, I have now made it a point to save my contacts and calendar with Outlook. My outlook contacts and calendar synced without any problems with the iPhone 3G and even the Samsung i8910 HD and even the picture thumbnail was saved but when I tried to synchronize with the Motorola Milestone, well, out came my biggest gripe about the phone: there's no direct synching with Outlook. I had to resort to exporting and then importing them to my Google account.
Speaking of Google account, next came my biggest gripe: You HAVE to HAVE a Google account in order to make use of contacts and calendar. Now while I do love gmail, I have problems sharing my information on a device other than my desktop PC. I've heard of horror stories about gmail accounts being hacked and so, since I have a paypal account linked to my gmail account, like any other paranoid users would do, I created a separate account to use on my Milestone and then forwarded all my mails to that account. I certainly hope that Google would remedy this situation as a lot of potential customers who were Windows Mobile users would definitely be turned off.
Audio, Multimedia, and Browser
Audio quality on the Motorola Milestone is very good, using both the headphones and speakers. Motorola has always been good at producing phones with great speakers and the Motorola Milestone is no exception. Sounds through the speakers come out great, whether it's voice or music. Same goes using the headphones. I guess even though Motorola has been in hiatus, their formula for audio quality didn't get lost. Now while audio quality is great, the music player reminds me of Samsung's TouchPlayer, only a bit more ugly. I really wish Motorola added their own music player or Google would put in a better music player on the Android. Right now, my top 3 music players on mobile phones are still the iPhone, HTC Diamond2, and Samsung's Touchplayer.
Android 2.0 browser doesn't supports flash content and browsing web pages has been one of the best experience I have in a mobile phone--second only to browsing on the iPhone (now if only Apple supports flash content then there's really no reason for me to throw away my iPhone 3G, right Apple?). Anyways, the pages render fast and the pinch zooming action is actually better implemented on the browser.
The Motorola Milestone has a 5 megapixel camera and obviously, Motorola didn't bring any camera expert on this area. Focusing and snapping pictures is Sloooww. Picture quality is really not that great. The Samsung Omnia 2 and Samsung i900 still has the better five megapixel camera on a smartphone. But then again, if you want a good cameraphone, then just buy the Samsung i8910 HD.
Update: Battery Life
I'm on the fence on battery life. It lasted me around 1 1/2 day. On one hand, it lasts longer than my HTC Diamond2 when both phones have their WiFi turned on but on the other hand, when using it normally, my Diamond2 lasts around 2 days compared with the Motorola Milestone which is still around 1 1/2 day.
I was on the brink of purchasing the HTC Hero as my first Android phone but then the Motorola Milestone came along. The Motorola Milestone sports the latest Android 2.0 ROM, it has great messaging feature and superb audio quality. Browser is the second best in the market so if you're not into iPhone and you really want a physical keyboard on your phone without compromising on the weight and bulk of the phone, then reall, you shouldn't think twice about getting the Motorola Milestone. For me, it's one of the sexiest QWERTY smartphones around.
Update: Okay, so it's not really THAT sexy but still the build quality is good and it's thin (you can be thin but not sexy, right?). The UI of the new Android OS is now up to par with the iPhone so those looking for a smartphone which is more "open", the Motorola Milestone is definitely the phone of choice.