Review: Motorola Milestone India
We have now started our reviews section. I know that the Motorola Milestone has been out in the market for quite some time, but our plans where to start off by reviewing this phone and so here is our very first review.
Let us begin with the history of this device. The phone was first announced by Motorola in the US markets with Verizon Wireless and it was called the Droid. It was the first phone to come with Android 2.0, not just that but it was the first Android QWERTY device which got a lot of people excited around the world. The phone introduced some great features like native Microsoft Exchange Support and turn-by-turn Navigation in Google Maps. But the Droid is a CDMA phone so Motorola introduced its GSM variant for Europe and Asia Pacific and named it the Motorola Milestone. The Milestone is physically identical to the Droid however there are some significant changes in the hardware. So, let us begin with a complete review for this smartphone.
Motorola has always had something special to offer and the same is with the Milestone. The Milestone comes in decent packaging and there aren’t any big surprises inside the box. The phone comes with an eco-friendly power cable which can be used as a microUSB charger or a data cable and it has a USB adapter which enables you to charge your phone through a wall socket. Inside the box you will find an 8GB microSD card and a pair of basic headphones which can be used as hands free but we would recommend you to get your own headphones as these ones are not that great.
Motorola is well known for making great smartphones and the Milestone lives up to this reputation. Though the device is quite heavy weighing at 165g it feels sturdy and has a really nice body. It scales at 115.8 x 60mm and it is not that big for average pockets. Being a device which has a slide-out QWERTY keypad the Milestone is comparatively slimmer at 13.7mm. It features a 3.7-inch WVGA touchscreen, there are no problems with viewing the phone indoors or outdoors under the sun and it has a resolution of 480 x 854 pixels. Below the screen are four touch sensitive buttons for Back, Menu, Home and Search, but I think that the device would have been much better if it would have had physical keys instead, as the touch sensitive buttons can really be annoying. As on many occasions I accidentally activated these buttons while using some other application.
The phone has a physical QWERTY keypad and it is meant to be used when the phone is in landscape mode. The QWERTY keypad is not very pleasing at first and gets a real long time to get familiar with it. Although the keys are placed in a very useful format, they are really cramped and this causes a lot of typos. On the other hand the portrait mode touch keypad is much better while the landscape mode touch keypad is the best one to use. Next to the keypad is the D-Pad which has not really been of much use and it seems to be the reason for the congested physical keypad.
The Milestone has a single micro-USB port on the left side used for charging your phone or to connect it to your computer. On the right side it has the volume controls and the camera shutter button while on the top there is a 3.5mm audio jack and the power button. The phone comes with an 8GB microSD card and it has expandable memory up to 32GB.
Interface and Features
Although the Motorola Milestone came with Android 2.0 during launch, things have now changed and the Milestone now comes with pre-loaded Android 2.1 and brings a lot of brilliant features. The touchscreen is really very responsive but during our tests we had a few moments where it started lagging and it was due to heavy multitasking. During testing, heavy multitasking caused the phone to crash a couple of times but it was nothing major and it does not happen very often.
The most noticeable change in the device is that there is no MotoBlur and it runs vanilla Android, one thing which I like a lot as I had a real bad experience with the MotoBlur on Motorola Dext. However, if Motorola ever makes MotoBlur something like the HTC Sense UI their Android devices will see major improvements. Another thing you will notice is that Google Navigation is replaced by MotoNav and along with MapmyIndia this application brings voice-guided street-level navigation of 401 Indian cities. The next thing you will notice is the Moto Phone Portal, it can be used when the phone is connected to a PC and it allows you to access contacts, messages and photos from your internet browser. It works as an easy way to make back-ups or transfer images without the need of installing any extra software.
The most amazing thing about using an Android phone is that you never have to worry about your contacts. Once you sync them using your Google account no matter which Android phone you move to you will always get these precious contacts automatically installed on your device. The phone also allows you to sync you Facebook contacts but one thing which I found was really irritating is that it mashed up my Google and Facebook contacts. This was not a major issue but it took just a little time to sort it out. Messages are in the form of threaded conversations which makes it really easy to stay updated with the conversation you had with your friends.
The Internet Browsing Experience
There is nothing much to compare here as most Android devices are really great at internet browsing, but a good thing about the Motorola Milestone is that it has pinch and zoom functionality. Sadly it is still running the Android 2.1 and we still have to wait for complete Flash integration which will become available on the device with Android 2.2 Froyo update which will come to Indian Motorola Milestone some time in Q1 2011. While using the browser you can also zoom in and out by double tapping, it has a webkit-based browser which allows you to view websites in full HTML. As 3G is not yet available in India we were testing the phone for GPRS and it turned out to be really quick compared to a few other devices. WiFi connectivity is very important if you are planning to purchase this smartphone.
The camera on the Milestone is a 5-megapixel one with LED Flash and we did not like it a bit. The camera always seems to capture high grain images with extra noise and the focus goes really wrong. We downloaded a few camera apps available in the Android market and although they got some basic improvements to the phones camera, there are no major differences. You need several retries while capturing a certain image and it can be really irritating while capturing a happy moment with your friends while out in the night. It gives you the ability to instantly share captured images with Facebook, Twitter, eMai, etc. Moving on to video recording, it has nothing unique to offer but it captures at a decent 24 fps and a resolution of 720 x 480. The video quality is decent but it is pointless to record video in low lighting conditions.
Performance of the Milestone
The Motorola Milestone features a processor clocked at 550Mhz and 256MB of RAM. Now compared to other smartphones which have been released recently this is really low, but as mentioned before it not been a very laggy experience, although it did crash a couple of times. The performance has been smooth and quick and when compared with the Galaxy S (which is a much improved device) there was not a huge performance difference for basic operations.
Call quality is great and much improved thanks to Motorola’s CrystalTalk Plus which helps in reducing the background noise. Also, thanks to Android there are many other applications which allow you to make high quality VoIP calls around the world at really affordable prices. The battery life is decent though not really powerful. After a full charge and medium to heavy usage it lasts for a day while with minimal usage it lasts a bit more than one and a half days.
Is it a Milestone?
Yes it is! The Milestone was a really great comeback for Motorola as they had not really done a lot in the previous few years. It has put the company back in the charts and even though it has a few disappointments the device is really great. Its US variant known as the Droid has been a revolutionary device and it started its very own Droid family along with Verizon Wireless.
The device is currently priced in the Indian market between, Rs 25,000 – Rs, 26,000 and it is completely worth the money you would be spending. However, if you are purchasing this smartphone (or any other smartphone) you have to bear the extra expense of the data transfer rates as these phones are completely useless without internet connectivity. It has been a long time since the phone was launched in India and it still remains a really great and useful device for many users.
Thanks for reading our review, if you have any feedback which can help us improve our next review you can leave a comment below.