As we already told you, we decided to include this one because Android 2.0 adds quite a lot of camera features. Honestly, it wasn't really hard as previous Android versions simply didn't offer users any customizable camera options.
The new stuff includes built-in flash support (apparently the Samsung Galaxy made use of some home-brewed drivers to go around that limitation), digital zoom, scene mode, white balance, color effects and macro focus mode.
No, it doesn't seem much: other companies have had those in their cameraphones for ages but for the Android community this is a huge step forward. Rome wasn't built in a day after all.
On the hardware side of things Motorola MILESTONE has a 5 megapixel camera module for a maximum image resolution of 2592 x 1936 pixels and dual-LED flash. We can hear all those Satio fans giggling back there but in the Android world it doesn't get any better than that.
And it took quite some time for the nearly nonexistent customizable options to find their way in.
The user interface is pretty decent, although not really perfect. You have all the options on a retractable tray at the left side of the viewfinder which can either be dragged out by a finger sweep or by pressing the menu key. With so few options at hand we don't see why most of them aren't available as onscreen shortcuts to begin with.
Instead the only things that are accessible all the time on screen is a switch for alternating the camcorder and the still camera, a virtual shutter key and a shortcut to the gallery docked bottom right.
Anyways, when it comes to the actual product of the Motorola MILESTONE camera - the photos - we're quite pleased with the image quality. There's plenty of resolved detail, the colors are also nicely saturated and the images are quite punchy.
On the other hand there is quite a lot of noise and some oversharpening artifacts. Even though there's some aggressive noise reduction smearing fine detail away there are still patches where the chromatic noise is excessive. The jaggedness edges in some cases also indicate that Motorola still have some work to do before they catch up with the best in business.
And here go the samples for you to enjoy.
The Android 2.0 also brings a new gallery to the Motorola MILESTONE. It brings in a new view mode, which we find rather attractive.
Of course the gallery supports gesture controls like changing images or panning with finger swipes. Naturally you can altenate images without having to return to the default view. Just swipe to the left ot to the right when looking at a photo in fullscreen mode and the previous/next image will appear.
The pinch-zooming is also available here thanks to the MILESTONE multi-touch support. There is no double tap zooming however.
A strange bug of the gallery we noticed is its inability to zoom to 100% for some unknown reason. That can make you think that you photos lack detail when you look at them on the handset but transfering them to a computer reveals the truth. You don't see the real image in the gallery but a downsized version instead.
Video recording on the MILESTONE is also at the top of the Android food chain. D1 resolution (720 x 480 pixels) at 30 fps is where its capabilities end and we doubt its users will need much more.
The interface of the camcorder is similar to the one of the still camera, except that there are even fewer settings. You can set the video quality, the maximum duration of the clip, adjust white balance, apply color effects and that's that.
Videos are recorded in 3gp format which suggests lower bitrate, which in turn leads to some compression artifacts. On the other hand, colors are really pleasing and the videos do look nice.
Here is a sample video to check out.
You wonít call it love at first sight when a device of this bulk is involved but we really liked handling the Motorola MILESTONE. The handset was quick to grab our attention and performance didnít let us down so its prospects seem pretty good. From the interface looks and response to build quality, the Milestone behaves admirably and is sure to make many users happy.
Hopping on the Android bandwagon might have looked like Motorola catching one of the last trains out of Loser station. But in fact thereís nothing about the MILESTONE to suggest a rushed and sloppy job. It is easily the most feature-packed Android weíve laid our hands on and if the good impressions last after the full review, we donít see why that last minute ticket canít be their winning one.