The Motorola Milestone 2 is a very similar smartphone to its predecessor. However, the Milestone 2's improved keyboard, HD video recording and faster processor are all welcome improvements and make it well worth considering if you're after an Android smartphone with a physical keyboard.What's Hot:
Industrial style design is well built
Latest version of AndroidWhat's Not:
Touch-sensitive menu keys.
Feels a little slower than alternative Android handsets.
Design won't suit all tastes.
The Motorola Milestone 2 Android smartphone improves only slightly on its predecessor, the original Milestone. However, the new keyboard design makes text entry much more efficient, the faster processor improves performance, and HD video recording brings it in line with many of its competitors, making it well worth considering if you're searching for an Android phone with a physical QWERTY keyboard.Design
Like its predecessor, the Motorola Milestone 2 will look at home in an office. Its slopes and rounded edges give it a distinctive look, though its style won't suit all tastes. The Motorola Milestone 2 is also quite large and heavy, though it still slips easily into most pockets or bags.
The Milestone 2 feels very well constructed and capable of taking its fair share of bumps. The combination of hard and soft plastic also gives it a nice feel. Like its predecessor, the Milestone 2's slider mechanism isn't spring-operated but it feels much less awkward — it's smooth to open and close and is easy to slide open with one hand.
The full QWERTY keyboard of the Motorola Milestone 2 has undergone a slight redesign and the changes are all positive. The keys are now slightly raised and the five-way navigational pad has been scrapped in favour of directional buttons. This has created more room for the individual keys, which are now slightly larger and therefore easier to press. Tactility is excellent and each key omits a reassuring clicking sound when pressed.
Despite having a physical keyboard, the Motorola Milestone 2 also lets you use Swype text entry with the on-screen keyboard. Swype allows you to slide your fingers over the letters you want to type in a single motion, letting the software work out the word you're trying to write. Though it sounds awkward, Swype is very easy to pick up and surprisingly accurate. As with most on-screen keyboards, the software will learn as you type and add words you use regularly to its database.
The Motorola Milestone 2 has an excellent 3.7in capacitive touchscreen, making it slightly larger than the iPhone 4. While it has a lower resolution of the iPhone's display, it is very bright and clear and text looks crisp. However, the screen requires constant wiping to keep free of the grubby marks it picks up. We also aren't a fan of the touch-sensitive buttons that sit below the display. While the menu, home, back and search keys are backlit and generally responsive, they are easy to accidentally bump and can't be used to wake the phone when the screen is locked.Software
The Motorola Milestone 2 runs the latest version of Google's Android operating system, 2.2 or Froyo. Improvements include full Flash support, built-in wireless tethering, and the ability to store supported third-party apps on a microSD card. Unlike the original Motorola Milestone, the Milestone 2 comes with the MotoBlur service, the same software featured on Motorola's lower priced DEXT, Backflip and Quench smartphones. Motoblur is a widget-based interface that combines multiple social networking and communications accounts (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LastFM, e-mail, Picasa, Photobucket and Yahoo Mail). You'll need to create a MotoBlur account to use the service, but it's free and all content and data is pushed live to the handset.
We like the idea of Motoblur, but the execution of the service on previous smartphones was far from perfect. Thankfully, some of the issues we encountered on the first iteration of MotoBlur have been corrected in the updated version that ships with the Milestone 2. You can now choose to only display contacts with phone numbers (rather than be lumped with all your Facebook and Twitter contacts in the address book), and home screen widgets can be resized, which we found very handy. The widgets we found enticing included "happenings", which lets you can see at a glance updates from all connected social-networking services, and airplane mode, Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi quick toggles. We also liked the sticky note widget, which allows you to save a quick post-it style note on the home screen.
The Motorola Milestone 2 runs fairly smoothly, with no major lag or slowdown during regular use. However, it feels a step below some of its competitors — particularly the HTC Desire HD — when it comes to speed. It isn't a deal-breaker, and we wouldn't describe the Milestone 2 as slow, but screen transitions feel slightly less snappy than on other Android handsets, and scrolling isn't as smooth or slick. We found this improved when we disabled Motoblur and used one of the many third-party launchers from the Android Market (but this means you lose Motoblur's features).
The Motorola Milestone 2's large, multitouch-aware display combined means this smartphone is great for Web browsing. You can pinch in and out to zoom just like on the iPhone (though it generally isn't as responsive, especially on Flash-heavy pages), and pages load and render quickly.
The Motorola Milestone 2 has a few handy applications preloaded, including Google Latitude, Quickoffice and a task manager. Its media player is a notch above most other Android phones — the "connected music player" automatically finds album art and lyrics from the Internet for any tracks in your library, while an included "song identification" feature, similar to the app Shazam, is also included. Other features of note include the 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and dual LED flash, which also doubles as a 720p HD video recorder. We loved the fact you can use the volume keys as zoom buttons, while the physical camera button functions nicely as a shutter for taking photos.
The Milestone 2 has 8GB of internal memory, along with a microSD card slot for extra storage. Motorola includes a 8GB microSD card in the sales package. Battery life is about standard for an Android smartphone; it will need a charge every night with constant use, but light users may be able to go almost two days without a recharge.