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Leaving a mark

Among the large number of Android handsets available to the Indian audience, the Milestone looks the most sophisticated.

tech reviews Updated: May 11, 2010 17:33 IST

Among the large number of Android handsets available to the Indian audience, the Milestone looks the most sophisticated.

It is not meant for the average social networking, media-loving mobile user and it’s designed to look and feel intimidating.

The large 3.7-inch capacitive touchscreen display sports a 480 x 854 pixel resolution with 16 million colours making it one of the most comfortable displays to stare into, ven in bright sunlight. The proximity sensor and accelerometer work flawlessly with a slight micro-second delay, which is just what’s needed. The touch-sensitive keys at the bottom of the display are perfectly receptive. The volume/zoom keys are placed on the side and the gold tint given to the camera key adds a hint of elegance. The 3.5mm handsfree port (very comfy handsfree kit included) is placed on the top right next to the power/screen lock soft key and the micro USB slot for the charger and PC connectivity is located on the side. The rubberised rear panel is easy to grip in your hand and the Milestone weighs 165g. The QWERTY keypad takes a bit of effort to slide up and that seems a bit old fashioned to me. The keys are comfortable and make for quick typing however the oversized d-pad on the side is a bad idea. The phone comes bundled with an 8GB card.

Interface
The Milestone runs on Android 2.1 which gives the OS a slight boost in terms of usability. With music, surfing the Internet, downloading emails, social networking and messaging there didn’t seem to be an issue with speed. Keeping the ‘Home’ key pressed pulls up a box that shows all of your running apps making multitasking even easier. The ARM Cortex A8 600 MHz processor with PowerVR SGX530 graphics is a serious enhancement over some of the other handsets in its class and it manages its usage very effectively. You have a choice of choosing how many panels you’d like to have active. The minimum is three and the maximum is 9. The Milestone also supports Live Wallpapers similar to the Nexus One.

The handset could have done with more preloaded widgets. The fluidity of the multi-touch feature is limited nor is it as smooth as the Legend’s. Motorola’s Crystal Talk technology makes calls from handsfree, speakerphone or earpiece ‘crystal’ clear. The virtual keypads are well spaced out and you’ll find yourself using the onscreen QWERTY more than the slide out option.

Media
Here’s an Android handset that takes the native music player up a notch. The Audio effect feature allows you a limited but useful way of customising your listening experience. There’s a separate setting for the handsfree and the speaker phone with EQ presets and the handsfree kit has an additional surround sound setting. Music quality is brilliant. Tones are very well balanced and there is a resounding thump in the bass. The Android player is also designed to easily create playlists on the go.

The lack of an FM radio and proper codec support for videos is a harsh reality to face. But if you find the right converter for your video files the large display and great audio still makes it overall, a really good video experience. An image editor is available to make a few adjustments to your pictures, colour corrections etc. Connectivity

It’s a 3G ready handset that can handle both HSDPA (10.2 Mbps) and HSUPA (5.76 Mbps). There’s EDGE/GPRS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP and USB 2.0. The handset also has a built-in GPS module and with A-GPS support. The latest version of Google Maps and Motorola’s Motonav are both available. Motonav is a quiet a sophisticated mapping application that comes with quite a few options and settings for customisation. The 3D turn by turn navigator for over 401 cities in India, is loaded and is extremely handy and easy to use. The Milestone doesn’t immediately come across as a very social networking friendly handset. For one thing this is the first and only Android handset that doesn’t have a loaded Twitter app. Facebook and GTalk are on board. Your address book easily integrates with Facebook and your Google account.

Setting up your Gmail or other POP/IMAP accounts account is always easy on an Android handset. You can also easily sync your MS Exchange account with the Milestone as well. It even has a Corporate calendar and Directory that syncs with your Exchange account. Motorola’s Media Phone Portal allows you to connect to your computer via USB or Wi-Fi for transferring your media or other files, another handy application. You can upload your pictures to Flickr or Picasa directly from the phone. You can’t use the handset as a modem for your laptop or PC. The native browser is still one of the better options out there.

Camera
The 5 megapixel camera comes with a Dual LED flash and supports D1 i.e. 720 x 480 pixels (@24fps) video recording. The interface is simple and easy to get around. Features include quiet a few scene modes including Sports and Macro with a few effects thrown in. There didn’t seem to be any White Balance settings. Geotagging images were an option though. Image quality on the whole was grainy with a bit of noise being quite evident throughout the pictures. The edges of objects weren’t sharp on most counts. Macro images were a different story as extreme close ups usually came out quite sharp.

What we like
eat design overall
Superb music player
Preloaded Motonav navigation is very well designed
Multitasks very well
Crystal talk makes for clear audio on calls

What we don’t
Camera has limited features
Large D-Pad could be an issue for some
No Divx support for videos, or Fm radio