Motorola MILESTONE 2 review: Landmark droid

GSMArena team, 27 January 2011.
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BLUR-red phonebook with social skills

A MILESTONE 2 phonebook can store a serious amount of information about your contacts. It lets you input numbers for work and home, and you can even create custom labels. There is, of course, an email field and you can assign a custom ringtone.

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The MILESTONE 2 phonebook is great • History • Status updates

There are many info fields that you can assign to each contact, but it still remains perfectly organized.

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Editing a contact's details

When viewing the contact list, you can swipe right to reveal the History – a list of all recent communications with all contacts. Alternatively, a left swipe displays all recent status updates from all contacts.

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Viewing a single contact • History for that contact • The contact’s status updates

This swipe magic is available when viewing individual contacts too – in this case only history and status updates for that contact are displayed.

For this to work, you have to link the contact with their Facebook, Twitter, MOTOBLUR address book or Gmail accounts. This gets done in a second – tap the menu key, Link contact and pick the appropriate account (those are pulled automatically from the services you’re logged on to).

Telephony with noise cancelation and pocket detection

The Motorola MILESTONE 2 had no issues with reception and the in-call sound was clear and acceptably loud. The phone has the proprietary CrystalTalk technology, which is not only a software or DSP enhancement. A real secondary mic makes sure none of the background noise interferes with your call.

There are several settings for the Voice quality – Standard, Balanced, Bright or Extra bright. They change how the voice sounds – louder, crisper, more bass and so on. They really change how the voice of the other caller sounds.

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The dialer app • Smart dialing • Voice commands

The MILESTONE 2 offers smart dialing (searching both numbers and names) but you can also use voice commands, which can call a contact (or dial a number you dictate), redial, send a message (using voice input), open an app or a contact or even play a certain music playlist.

The MILESTONE 2 offers In-pocket detection, which locks the device when it detects that it’s in your pocket.

Another telephony feature is the Caller ID Readout, which can speak out the name of the caller.

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Caller ID readout • voice quality settings • In-pocket detection

We also ran our traditional loudspeaker test on the Motorola MILESTONE 2. It scored “Average”, meaning you could miss some calls in noisier environments. More info on the test, as well as other results can be found here.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOverall score
BlackBerry Torch 980065.965.865.5Below Average
Samsung I9000 Galaxy S66.6 65.966.6Below Average
Motorola MILESTONE 266.563.674.9Average
Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 mini pro66.666.675.1Good
Motorola MILESTONE71.166.175.9Good
Nokia N875.866.282.7Very Good
HTC Desire Z72.772.782.5Very Good
LG Optimus One P50077.174.577.9Excellent

Universal inbox blurs the messaging lines

All text-based communication on the Motorola MILESTONE 2 is handled in the Messaging app. It combines a standard text messaging, Gmail, Facebook and Twitter along with the Universal inbox, which combines the messages from all those sources into a single, chronologically ordered list.

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The Messaging app • threaded view for SMS/MMS messages

The SMS and MMS department is standard Android stuff – threaded messaging is enabled and the message composer has a neat and simple interface.

When viewing a thread, the contact photo is placed on top and messages are displayed as speech bubbles (the newest message is placed at the bottom). Overall it looks like an IM app.

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Composing a message: adding recipients, adding multimedia

The tap-to-compose box starts off with a single line but it will expand to three lines if needed. A press-and-hold in the tap-to-compose area gives you access to functions such as cut, copy and paste. If you press-and-hold on the text cursor it will launch the magnifying glass instead, which lets you position the cursor with high accuracy.

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Text editing functions • The magnifying glass

The MILESTONE 2 lets you preset the number of messages recorded in each thread. Once that number is exceeded the oldest message gets deleted. Delivery reports are available as well.

Moving onto email, the Gmail app supports batch operations, which allow multiple emails to be archived, labeled or deleted. You can enable push email or schedule automatic updates. There’s an option to sync only over Wi-Fi, which is sure to save you some mobile data charges.

The generic email app does an excellent job at mimicking the Gmail app carrying over all its cool features (batch operations and the rest). It also supports Push notifications, which instantly notify you of a new email.

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The Gmail app

The Universal inbox uses the same UI as the generic email client but it doesn’t limit itself to just one method of communication – it lists text messages, emails and Facebook and Twitter messages all at once (though you can switch off some of those, if you want). Batch operations are supported here as well.

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The Universal inbox

When you tap the compose button, you are prompted to select which service should be used to send a message.

The Universal inbox is great – the only thing we missed was some sort of filtering or message ordering options to manage the huge number of messages that will end up in there.

Google Talk handles the Instant Messaging department. The G-Talk network is compatible with a variety of popular clients like Pidgin, Kopete, iChat and Ovi Contacts.

We’ll cover the Facebook and Twitter sections of the Messaging app when we discuss the social networking features of the Motorola MILESTONE 2.

We already covered the keyboard-based text input but there’s Swype too if you want to quickly enter a short text without having to slide open the hardware QWERTY keyboard.

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Default keyboard • Swype text input

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