Motorola MILESTONE 2 review: Landmark droid

GSMArena team, 27 January 2011.
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Great web browser with Flash

We’ve established time and again that Android has a good browser and the Android 2.2 version is one of the most capable ones around, complete with true Adobe Flash 10.1 support.

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Browsing GSMArena.com on the Motorola MILESTONE 2 • bookmarks

The user interface of the browser is completely minimalist (it’s the Google way). All you get on the screen is an address bar and a bookmarks shortcut.

The MILESTONE 2 supports two zoom methods in the browser: double tap and the multi-touch pinch zooming. Text reflow is available and makes reading desktop websites very easy on the comparatively small mobile screen.

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Text reflow in action

The excellent multi-page support is still available and the rendering algorithm is basically flawless. Panning and zooming are pleasingly fast.

Like most of its Froyo peers, the MILESTONE 2 supports Adobe Flash 10.1 in the web browser. We tried out a couple of Flash games and they worked really smooth. Sites like Kongregate offer mobile versions with Flash games optimized for touchscreen play – you don’t have to rely solely on the Android Market for entertainment (tip: a tap on a Flash element opens it in full screen).

YouTube worked too, of course, as did Vimeo and other video sharing sites.

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The browser is Flash-enabled • A Flash game played in full-screen mode

A social focus with MOTOBLUR

The custom MOTOBLUR UI on the Motorola MILESTONE 2 does a great job of integrating social networking with the rest of the phone features. We’ve already seen the socially-enhanced phonebook with status updates, the gallery with easy upload to social networking sites, and the SNS-enabled music player.

Also there are lots of social widgets on the homescreen and even a couple of dedicated apps.

The first one is Social Networking – the app behind the eponymous widget. It can display status updates from all your social networks (or just the ones you pick) and it can be used to set your status on some or all social networks.

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The Social Networking widget • setting up accounts

It doesn’t offer much in the way of browsing profiles – you can add comments, post on the Wall and like a profile, but to view the full profile you’ll need to use the browser. Not much of a problem, the browser is quite up to the task.

The difference between Social Networking and the Social Status widget is that while SN is primarily for reading status updates, the Social Status is for posting. It can also display the last status updates you’ve posted.

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Updating your status on one or all social networks through the Social status widget

The Messaging app (which we already covered) has support for both Facebook and Twitter along with the traditional text messages and email. Its main job is sending messages between contacts more than posting general status updates. The Universal inbox is the go-to place for all one-to-one communication as it combines the messages from all the services in the Messaging app.

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The Messages widget

The interface looks deceptively similar to the SMS messaging UI. It displays conversations in threaded view, with speech bubbles when viewing a single thread.

This is great, because it makes sending texts no different than sending a tweet or a Facebook message. On most other phones, the two things are separate concepts with separate UIs altogether.

The Status’ live folder is also here – it’s small and space efficient, but when you tap it, it expands to fill the screen with the latest status updates from your preferred social networks.

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Statuses live folder

Office document editor

Just like most of its Android siblings, the Motorola MILESTONE 2 comes with a rich set of organizer features and a document editor – a must for a smartphone that means business.

Quickoffice is their app of choice and it has support for viewing and editing document files (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, including Office 2007 docs). Viewing PDF files is available too.

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Quickoffice comes with a file manager

It text is readable even at low zoom levels and the 1GHz CPU makes quick work of reformatting the text to fit the new zoom level. Typing is fast too and there are options to format the text (font, text size, style and color, but no text alignment).

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Editing a Word and an Excel documents

You can’t create tables in Word documents and Quickoffice even had issues editing the text in a table. The Excel editor (called Quicksheet) also had omissions – you can enter a formula and it will work, but there’s no formula wizard to simplify formula creation.

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Viewing PowerPoint and a PDF file

Finally, Quickpoint (the PowerPoint editor) is useful for quick fixes only – you can edit text but you can’t add new slides or much else (e.g. add or delete a new image).

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