There is a fantastic phone running on the Google Android platform called the Motorola Droid. Though this device is only available in the US, its twin brother the Motorola Milestone is available in the UK via Expansys and Mobiles.co.uk
First allow me to express my amazement at the service provided by Mobiles.co.uk. I ordered my Milestone at 3:40pm on Thursday and it was in my hands by lunchtime Friday. If that wasn’t enough I discovered my phone had a fault a few weeks later so when I arranged a replacement with them, they accepted the exchange without question and I received a new phone within 72 hours. I cannot recommend them highly enough.
OK let’s get down to the review, as previously mentioned you can only get the Milestone from the above websites, for some reason there are no carriers in the UK who are willing to put their name to this device. However that does not mean you need to purchase the phone outright; I got a great deal on a Vodafone subsidised contract which meant a free Milestone for £35 a month and it even included £90 cash back!
The phone itself was attractively packaged, as it was merely subsidised by Vodafone and not provided by them it does not contain any branding. This is both a blessing and a curse as I believe this phone would have worked really well with Vodafone’s ‘360’ social networking service but it was nice to have a phone which had not been interfered with in any way.
The set up was remarkably simple; literally all I had to do was enter my Google username and password. Obviously being a huge Googleite I had all my contacts, mail and calendar immediately synched to my phone, a new Google user may have a little more work to do.
My main concern with this phone was its thickness. The fact that it has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard was a big selling point to me but it does add some bulk. I compared the thickness of it to my old iPhone 3G and found it was about half the thickness again (about 1.5cm in total), however after a few days of carrying it about I realised that this was not a big issue at all.
So how does it compare to the Droid?
As far as I can tell, the phones are identical; in fact the Milestone seems to be slightly better as it appears that Americans do not have multi-touch capability yet and we do. I believe that is the only difference however.
Are there any downsides to this phone
Yes, but from this writers opinion they are not deal breakers. The primary issue I have found is that it struggles a bit with audio playback if it is doing something else. This was using Spotify though the issue may be limited to this application. The only other issue is that I am not keen on the fixed buttons. Not so much that they exist but the fact that they are touch sensitive instead of physical. It is very easy to accidentally press one, especially the search which can get very annoying indeed.
So, should I get one?
Obviously buying a mobile phone is always a subjective experience, there are still a few limitations to the Android platform and it is not without its bugs, however thanks to Google’s business model you know that eventually any issues will be ironed out and Android will become the best mobile platform available.
My guess is that you came here for my opinion, which is that this phone (not the iPhone) is the real Jesus Phone, it is absolutely incredible and the few downsides are no match for the incredible experience of playing with it. This phone feels more like a real computer than any I have had previously.
For those of you whom are still on the fence, I will admit that I am still probably within the honeymoon period. Bearing this in mind I will write another review a few months down the line, of course at the rate that manufacturers are jumping on the Android platform the Milestone may have already become yesterday’s news.
Note: Apologies for the picture quality, I had to take it with my old iPhone camera.