Motorola MILESTONE review: Hello Droid

GSMArena team, 26 January 2010.
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Telephony doing good

The Motorola MILESTONE had no issues with reception and in-call quality. The sound is loud enough so you donít need to always set the volume to maximum.

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The in-call screen

Unfortunately, the MILESTONE, just like the rest of the Android crew (except for the HTC Hero) doesnít feature smart dialing. This might not be too bad for the full-touch phones but with a hardware keyboard to hand, itís a real pity.

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No smart dialling this time

In Android, the phonebook, call log and dialer are all part of the same application. You can easily search them by flick scrolling. Voice dialing is not available though.

Thanks to the proximity sensor the Motorola MILESTONE automatically switches off its touchscreen when you hold in next to your ear for a call. There is no chance of ever hitting an on-screen button with your cheek on this one.

The call log shows all the dialed, received and missed calls all in one list.

We also ran our traditional loudspeaker test on the Motorola MILESTONE. We weren't overwhelmed but the MILESTONE still snatched a good score, meaning missed calls are only likely in noisier environments. More info on our loudspeaker test as well as other results can be found here.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOverall score
Apple iPhone 3G66.162.171.7Below Average
Motorola MILESTONE69.778.066.2Good
HTC Hero76.771.977.7Very Good
HTC Touch HD77.773.776.7Excellent

Messaging monster

The SMS and MMS messaging section is quite straightforward and simple at first glance - there are no folders here, just a new message button. It doesn't stay like that for long - under that button is a list of all your messages organized into threads.

When viewing a thread, the newest message is placed at the bottom, just like on the iPhone. At the bottom of the display is the tap-to-compose box and the send key, of course. There is a counter on the right which is displayed once you have 16 or fewer characters remaining of the 160 limit. It also shows the number of parts the message will be split into for sending.

A novelty, brought by the MILESTONE is the new option that allows you to preset the number of messages recorded in each thread. Once that number is exceeded the oldest message gets deleted.

Another cool new extra is the search functionality that allows you to quickly find a specific message among all your saved SMS and MMS.

Composing a message is a little frustrating since the text box with the message still occupies a very small part of the screen giving you quite a small part of the text to work with.

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Composing a message

To add message recipients, just start typing the corresponding name or number and choose from the contacts offered. The list of recipients is maintained in a "Name and Number" format, which is a welcome improvement over version 1.0, which added only the numbers.

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Adding a recipient

Any unsent messages and drafts are marked with a red "Draft" label. What we really like is that each thread keeps the text in the tap-to-compose box even if you exit without sending it or explicitly save it. The "undelivered messages" section however has been removed.

If you wish to manage a specific message in the history, you can press and hold a message to bring up options such as edit, forward and delete as well as view details and copy message text.

When you get a new message, your whole messaging history with that person is pushed to the top of the messaging menu, no matter when your last conversation took place.

A press-and-hold in the tap-to-compose area gives you access to functions such as cut, copy and paste. You are free to paste the copied text into any other application like email, notes, chats, etc. and vice versa.

Converting an SMS to MMS is logical and easy. When you add multimedia content to the message, it is automatically turned into an MMS. You can just add a photo or an audio file to go with the text or you can choose to go into a full-blown MMS editor, depending on your needs.

Moving onto email, the Gmail app supports batch operations, which allow multiple emails to be archived, labeled or deleted.

There is also a standard email app for all your other email accounts and it can handle multiple POP or IMAP inboxes. You have access to the messages in the original folders that are created online, side by side with the standard local ones such as inbox, drafts and sent items.

And by the way, the folders are organized in a tree structure - one click over a specific folder reveals its contents and the second click closes it.

The new feature introduced by Android 2.0 is the common inbox, which combines all your mail in a single folder so you donít need to check each one for new mail. There is also exchange support now.

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.

The user interface of both the Gmail and the generic Email apps has been slighly polished with several icons in the menus undergoing a change.

Quite naturally the way to go when entering text with the Motorola MILESTONE is the hardware QWERTY keyboard. Yet if you donít feel like sliding the handset open each time you should know that Android 2.0 comes with an improved on-screen keyboard with better layout to minimize typos and improve typing speed. Also thanks to the framework's multi-touch support you can be sure key presses wonít be missed while typing rapidly with two fingers.

Motorola MILESTONE
The new landscape QWERTY keyboard

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