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Old December 23rd, 2010, 04:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Milestone 2 - My Short Review

So today I finally received my MS2 and would like to share my impressions with those still thinking about upgrading.

1. Build Quality and Physical Appearance:

First of all I have to say I have always like the premium build quality of my MS1 as well as the sliding mechanism, metal case. This phone simply is built like a tank and looks the part of a serious smartphone. Like JKK said in his video review the phone looks and feels like a tool, something built to last.

When I started using my MS2 I have to say I am equally impressed. It is still very sturdy, nice materials used, has a good grip. I have to say though, that I am even happier now, because MS2 offers a few improvements over MS1 here. Number one are buttons for volume, camera and power. They are easier to press and much nicer in touch. The camera button is not gold anymore which I am happy with. The 'chin' at the bottom of the phone is much nicer too. Your finger dose not simply fall off the upper part onto free space below it, not you have a nice 'slope' there. Battery door is even more sturdy and more difficult to take off, which is a good thing for those who do not need to take the battery out/ change SIMs often and bad for those who have a few SIMs and change between them often. As for the sliding mechanism, I would say it is a bit more stiff than my MS1, but that will rpobably change with time. The big improvement is of course the keyboard. I will have to get used to it, but using it now it seems that the added space from removing the dial pad is very beneficial. The only thing I will be missing from MS1's keyboard are the dual Shift and Alt buttons. Moreover, the new phone has been made a bit rounder on the sides and holdign MS2 and MS1 it feels as if MS2 was smaller and thinner, which is not the case as MS2 is taller and wider by a few millimeters.

Overall I have to say I am very happy with the MS2 design.

2. Preinstalled Software:

As we all know (and are not exactly happy about it) Motorola ecided to put their MotoBlur software on the phone.
As I am an avid LauncherPro+ fan I did not even bother trying to use the Blur Launcher, but I had a chance to play with it a bit and it seems to be pretty ok. Since it does not really have any options like LPP I just played with it when I was removing a the widgets Motorola put on the screens. I have to say the most important drawback for me is wallpaper scrolling. I hate this kind of movement and it feels as if the phone was horribly sluggish. Wen I set LPP to not scroll wallapaers it feels much better. Back to Moto software. As you may or may not know all the widgets preinstalled by Motorola are also accessible through other launchers and thus I played with them for some time - I have to say there are a few nice ones. First of all the Date and Time widget. You place it on your screen and since all MotoBlur widgets are resizable you can resize this one too. If you make it small, it will only show date and time, but if you make it bigger it wil also show calendar for the whole month! I really like the resizability of Moto widgets. There are some nice toggle widgets (flightmode, WiFi, GPS) and I did not even install the one I paid for and used to use before, I set the Moto ones and so far I am happy with them. Some other additions are Messaging, Sticky Note, Contact quick tasks and they are all pretty good. I have to admit I do not use them, but I bet there will be people happy with them. Motorola also did a good job adding some extra software apart from what FroYo offers. Alarm and Timer - an alarm nad timer application that offers much easier access to alarms, DLNA, Media Share - these would be the main pieces of software added. Motorola also put in a few extra settings. The more interesting include Ad-Hoc WiFi connection settings, Caller ID Readout, In-Pocket Detection, Data Manager allowing to control how Internet is used to fetch data to various accounts (email, blur etc.), Battery manager with preset and user-configurable battery power saving modes, Zoom mode allowing you to use a zoom-in window, read-out whic makes the phone speak all the button names when you press them. I think especially with the accessibility options to zoom-in and read-out Motorola did a great job. They also added a task manager and a file basic explorer. The task manager even has an auto-kill option, even though I have no idea why someone would want to auto-kill apps having 512MB RAM instead of 256 MS1 had.

Overall I think Motorola put a lot of effort here and for those who do not want to spend hours searching for the basic software for their phone it will be a real time saver.

3. Performance:

I always used my MS1 with root and overclocked it to 900MHz which was a great improvement over the stock 550MHz clock speed. I always thought however, that the biggest flaw of MS1 was the small amount of RAM. There was never enough of it and the phone used to run at around 30MB free RAM at all times, which meant slowdowns from time to time. The biggest slowdown I always experienced was entering settings screen in the Weather Widgets I use. As a test for MS2 I opened Weather Widgets and accessed the settings screen to see if there would be any delay. I noticed that the delay was muuuch shorter and settings opened in 1/4th of the time MS1 used to need. I still need time to see the real change, but looking at all the standard things I do multiple times each day I see an increase in speed.

4. Storage:

Just one word: Uncomparable. With the 8GB memory on-board MS2 just slaughters MS1 where I kept removing stuff and moving as many apps as possible to SD with Titanium Backup. No worrying about that with MS2. Of course there are phones with more storage on the market, but I think even 2GB would be more than enough for user data and apps. Myself, I will never use the internal memory to keep anything apart from apps and movies, because I would be afraid of losing the stuff after a hard reset.


5. Final Words:

Would I upgrade from MS1 to MS2 again? I would with no hesitation.
Is MS2 a phone ready for today's competition? Not sure really if there is any competition in this segment of the Market. Apart from the oldish MS1, MS2 and Desire Z there are no more qwerty phone running Android. I checked Desire Z and the phone is just too big, with no more power or storage than MS2, so for me MS2 is a clear winner here.

I cannot tell you if you should upgrade or not. I am a phone geek and change phones at least once a year without my provider's help. I will wait until spring and wait for those new phones with dual-core CPUs to see how they work or simply go for an Android Tablet like Notion Ink Adam.


BTW., I used z4root and rooted the phone to remove some of the stuff I do not use. No problems with rooting and everything was set up within 2 hours from getting the phone.

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Old December 23rd, 2010, 05:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I think you've missed off one major problem on the software front.

Blur Accounts. The only account that you can manage _outside_ of Blur is the google one. Everything else has to go through Blur for contact/calendar management etc. The standard android account sync is not broken and is more full featured than Blur account management (yes, you can actually force a sync!), so this is still the biggest draw back to me.
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Old December 23rd, 2010, 05:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karnka View Post
I think you've missed off one major problem on the software front.

Blur Accounts. The only account that you can manage _outside_ of Blur is the google one. Everything else has to go through Blur for contact/calendar management etc. The standard android account sync is not broken and is more full featured than Blur account management (yes, you can actually force a sync!), so this is still the biggest draw back to me.
I do not use ANY social apps on my phone so I did not try that.

One thing I actually mised was the fact the Motorola change button positions. I do not know the reason for that and I am not sure I like it. It will take time to get used to it too. Not a problem if you have never had Milestone 1.
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Old December 23rd, 2010, 05:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Not just _social_ unfortunately, the same goes for MS Exchange.

Button layouts is a good point but it's not just Motorola who are messing people around with these.

Visualized: the real Android fragmentation -- Engadget

It is a pain.
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Old December 23rd, 2010, 05:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karnka View Post
Not just _social_ unfortunately, the same goes for MS Exchange.

Button layouts is a good point but it's not just Motorola who are messing people around with these.

Visualized: the real Android fragmentation -- Engadget

It is a pain.
If Blur is involved with Exchange that it is not right.

P.S. You can always install a 3rd party exchange app and forget about Blur altogether.
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Old December 23rd, 2010, 05:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
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My point exactly, it is not right.

It is a pain as stock 2.2 plays quite nicely with Exchange and the alternative is touchdown which is ~20.
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Old December 23rd, 2010, 07:05 AM   #7 (permalink)
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My point exactly, it is not right.

It is a pain as stock 2.2 plays quite nicely with Exchange and the alternative is touchdown which is ~20.
If I were you and I was annoyed by Blur I would just spend the 20GBP and never see MotoBlur again.
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Old December 23rd, 2010, 07:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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If I could spend 20 and have stock Android, now that's a deal I would go for but buying touchdown won't get me completely away from 'Blur'. The contact synching with facebook etc will still be through Blur...

Anyway, if there was a stock ROM I'd be keen to try it.
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Old December 23rd, 2010, 07:53 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by karnka View Post
If I could spend 20 and have stock Android, now that's a deal I would go for but buying touchdown won't get me completely away from 'Blur'. The contact synching with facebook etc will still be through Blur...

Anyway, if there was a stock ROM I'd be keen to try it.
If you root your phone you can delete everything that is in any way related to Blur and then get the apk for exchange from 2.1 or clean 2.2 and install that.

Maybe check GOT and see too.
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Old December 23rd, 2010, 07:55 AM   #10 (permalink)
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The exchange support isn't an apk as such... it's baked into the O/S... it's part of the settings/accounts and 'Blur' is very much central to the implementation of this on the MS2 and the whole contacts set up too.

If I could do it I would
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Old December 23rd, 2010, 08:02 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karnka View Post
The exchange support isn't an apk as such... it's baked into the O/S... it's part of the settings/accounts and 'Blur' is very much central to the implementation of this on the MS2 and the whole contacts set up too.

If I could do it I would
If you want a license for TouchDown let me know and I will find a way of getting it for you.
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Old December 23rd, 2010, 10:13 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks, I appreciate it.

Let me have a proper go with the trial version before anyone goes to any trouble
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Old December 23rd, 2010, 10:59 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Thanks, I appreciate it.

Let me have a proper go with the trial version before anyone goes to any trouble
Try it and when you have decided let me know.
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Old December 23rd, 2010, 11:20 PM   #14 (permalink)
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@Szadzik,
That was a good review.Please ask santa to chase moto for India release of MS2 ;-)

@karnka,
I think FB and twitter accounts should not be added to blur. We should use the official apps separately without blur.This is not a solution to your problem,but that can be done to avoid blur.When it comes to exchange sync, i agree with you that blur is the integral part.

Merry christmas fellas.

Happy Holidays.

Regards,
Kumar.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 04:55 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Hello.
I have 2 questions to Milestone 2 users:

1. How long does the battery work between charging?
2. How do you find the hardware keyboard. It was awful in Milestone 1, how is it Milestone 2?

If those satisfy me, I would probably take this phone.

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Old January 27th, 2011, 10:05 AM   #16 (permalink)
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1) I charge it most days. It could probably do a day and a half to two days but then in the second day you might find yourself short... I'm sure you could turn off lots of things and improve the performance but then what's the point... Better than my Galaxy S overall.

2) Very nice keyboard. The keys are domed so it is certainly better than the Milestone 1.
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Motorola Milestone 2
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The Motorola Milestone 2 is the European Version of the Motorola Droid 2. The biggest differences are that this phone runs on a GSM network. It runs Android with MOTOBLUR, but so does the Motorola DROID 2 on Verizon. Spec-wise it's all the sa... Read More



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