The Motorola Milestone 2 supplants the Milestone and is Motorola's flagship QWERTY side-slider, and as such is given the gift that most phones want these days Android 2.2. Motorola told us that they had listened to feedback on the original Milestone, which prompted the next evolution to the device we have today. There has, of course, been an update in the US to the Droid 2, which Motorola called a "sister" device, before moving to state that the Milestone 2 was a more capable handset.
The Milestone 2 takes the side-slider format, one that Motorola has worked to its advantage, relatively unchallenged in the high-end handset bracket. The Milestone 2 has the same premium finish that we saw previously, and the design is only altered slightly and at fist glance from the outside at least, you'd think they were the same device.
There has been a little refinement around the bottom of the sliding screen, with a longer lower lip, extending to cover some of the main body of the phone when closed, with an eye-catching curve that feels great under your thumb. It measures 60.5 x 116.3 x 13.7mm and weighs 169g, so despite the sliding keyboard, it isn't too fat.
The top is dominated by the 3.7-inch 854 x 480 resolution display, the same size as the HTC Desire, but squeezing in some extra pixels. It is a standard capacitive TFT display however, so doesn't have quite the vibrancy of the display on the Samsung Galaxy S, but in our eyes-on time we didn't find it lacking.
Ranging across the bottom of the display are the four main touch controls: menu, home, back and search, the icons re-ordered from last time which will annoy those looking to upgrade. Around the rest of the body you'll find a volume rocker and camera button, and the power/lock key, but otherwise it is relatively button free.
Around the back is a solid-feeling metal backplate and in the corner sits the 5-megapixel camera with twin LED flash. It looks solid and it feels solid, a welcome change from some of the other plastic-backed sliders out there. If premium is your thing and you want a keyboard then the Milestone 2 is probably the phone for you.
Slide open the phone and you are presented with a new keyboard. Although the major change is the removal of the navigation pad on the right-hand side and replacement with standard cursor keys, this has had quite an impact on the keyboard overall. There is now more space for those essential shift and return keys. The keyboard sees the addition of a back and OK button; search is present, as well as voice search.
Removed, however, is the menu button from the Milestone, which perhaps explains the re-ordering of the buttons across the bottom of the screen, as the menu button will then fall within reach of your fingers when using the keyboard.
And what a keyboard it is. It feels fantastic to type on and within seconds we were rattling off messages at full pelt. If you've never been quite happy to take the step to a touchscreen phone, the Milestone 2 offers you the best of both worlds: plenty of screen space with very capable on-screen keyboards and a physical QWERTY keyboard that's easy to use. No doubt there will be some quirks, but we'll have to wait till we have a Milestone 2 in for review to see what they are.
But it's not all business with the Milestone 2. One of the criticisms of the Milestone was the absence of Motoblur, the social network integration system that Motorola has applied across a number of consumer devices. If you're unfamiliar with Motoblur, then it basically collates information from the major social networks into your device and feeds them out in various ways - you get update widgets, it populates your contacts with enhanced information and so on. This time it is flagged as Motoblur Enhanced, so it contains more options for how and what you see so that you can keep it all under control.
Android fans will be pleased to hear that this is an Android 2.2 (Froyo) device, so it will have the latest version of Android at launch. How long it stays the latest version and how easy it will be to upgrade remains to be seen, but as a 2.2 device you have a range of added benefits over previous iterations.
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