With such an ample high-res screen and a full QWERTY keyboard, the Motorola MILESTONE looks like the logical choice for people who take handheld browsing seriously. The Multi-touch support allows the pinch zoom, while the great Android Webkit-based browser provides one of the coolest interfaces in the business.
Android 2.0 also introduces the double tap zooming gesture, whereby double-clicking on a selected part of a web page quickly zooms in on it to fill the screen. Regardless whether you use this option or the pinching gesture zooming, it is smooth and fluid and the same goes for panning and scrolling around the webpage.
Unfortunately, the Motorola MILESTONE doesn’t support text reflow while zooming to maximize its usability but given how wonderful the high-res screen, we are almost willing to let that one go unpunished.
Another new feature is the address bar, which is now constantly available so typing a new address is easier than ever. With the high resolution there is still plenty of space available for the website contents to be displayed.
The final new feature brought by the new OS version is bookmark enhancement with page thumbnails.
The browser allows you to have multiple web pages open at the same time. If you hit the Windows button in the browser menu, you will see all the currently opened pages and you can choose which one of them to view. Switching from one page to another involves smooth transition effects.
Strangely enough we didn’t see the magnifier functionality that was present in the other recent Android handsets that we reviewed. It’s certainly not missed too much given there is another zooming gesture to replace it but we just don’t see why they had to remove it.
The excellent multi-page support is of course still available and the rendering algorithm is basically flawless. As you may suspect, the Android browser is fast and the interface clean. But unlike so many of its smartphone siblings, Flash support is not available.
There is of course a YouTube application onboard but Flash content doesn't start nor end with YouTube.
Yet things might improve in the future as the browser supports HTML5 and its video tag that allows videos to be streamed even without flash. This is again only a partial solution as there are too few sites using it at the moment (after all even most desktop browsers don’t support it yet) and, of course, it only works for video.
Just like most of its Android siblings, the Motorola MILESTONE comes with a nicely stocked organizer, though it does lack a preinstalled document viewer. Luckily you can fix that instantly by getting the one of the free apps from the Android market.
For instance, the free version of Quickoffice has support for viewing document files (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF). For editing, you will need to get the paid app.
The best part about it is that the viewer integrates with the Gmail app as well, which makes viewing attachments easy. Unfortunately, you are unable to save them in the phone's memory (that only works for images, we guess). Attaching saved files (and we mean all kind of files) is possible though.
The calendar has four different types of view - agenda, daily, weekly and monthly. Adding a new event is quick and easy, and you can also set an alarm to act as a reminder.
With the MILESTONE the agenda view allows infinite scrolling in case that is how you like to browse your events. The events notifications have also been updated and now show the attending status for each invitee.
There is also a calculator aboard. It is nicely touch optimized - the buttons are big enough and very comfy.
The MILESTONE features a decent alarm clock application which allows a huge number of alarms to be set, each with its own start time and repeat pattern.
Finally comes the YouTube app, which as we said, partially compensates for the web browser's lack of Flash video support. Its interface is simple enough to allow you to find what you're looking for as quickly as possible.
The Motorola MILESTONE comes with a capable GPS receiver, which coupled with A-GPS technology, gets a sattelite lock decently fast.
It comes as no surprise that the Google Maps applications comes preinstalled, but this time you also get Motorola's proprietary MOTONAV software. Unfortunately, you have to pay extra for voice-guided navigation.
Quite naturally, the app also sports Street View mode. In fact, this mode is probably the best part of the Google Maps. If the Street View is available in the area you're interested in, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the area. When the digital compass is turned on it feels like making a virtual tour of the surroundings!
Unfortunately, voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation isn't possible using Google Maps like on the MILESTONE American cousin - Motorola DROID. Still, there is some kind of navigation: your route and current location appear on the screen so you'll reach your destination eventually... assuming you can read maps of course.
So to put it simply if you want to use proper navigation on your MILESTONE you will have to either purchase a MOTONAV license or download a third party app from the Android Market. In any case you should be prepared to pay at least 50 euro a year.