Motorola MILESTONE review: Hello Droid
A pretty good 5 megapixel shooter
On the hardware side of things Motorola MILESTONE has a 5 megapixel camera module for a maximum image resolution of 2592 x 1936 pixels and dual-LED flash. The Open Handset Alliance finally decided to do something about the camera features in Android 2.0 – i.e. they actually included a few.
The new stuff includes built-in flash support (apparently the Samsung Galaxy made use of some home-brewed drivers to get around that limitation), digital zoom, scene mode, white balance, color effects and macro focus mode.
No, it doesn't seem much: other companies have had those in their cameraphones for ages but for the Android community this is a huge step forward. Rome wasn't built in a day after all.
The user interface is pretty decent, although not exactly perfect. You have all the options on a retractable tray at the left side of the viewfinder which can either be dragged out by a finger sweep or by pressing the menu key. With so few options at hand we don't see why most of them aren't available as onscreen shortcuts to begin with.
Instead the only things that are accessible all the time on screen is a switch for alternating the camcorder and the still camera, a virtual shutter key and a shortcut to the gallery docked in the bottom right.
Anyways, when it comes to the actual product of the Motorola MILESTONE camera - the photos - we're quite pleased with the image quality. There's plenty of resolved detail, the colors are also nicely saturated and the images are quite punchy.
At the same time though, there is quite a lot of noise and some oversharpening artifacts. Even though there's some aggressive noise reduction smearing fine detail away there are still patches where the chromatic noise is excessive. The jagged edges in some cases also indicate that Motorola still have some work to do before they catch up with the best in the business.
And here go the samples for you to check out.
D1 video recording comes to Android
Video recording on the MILESTONE is as good as we have ever seen on an Android handset. D1 resolution (720 x 480 pixels) at 30 fps is where its capabilities end and we doubt its users will need much more.
The interface of the camcorder is similar to the one on the still camera, except that there are even fewer settings. You can set the video quality, the maximum duration of the clip, adjust white balance, apply color effects and that's that.
Videos are recorded in 3gp format which suggests lower bitrate, which in turn leads to some compression artifacts. On the other hand, colors are really pleasing and the videos look very nice.
Here is a sample video for you to see.
Connectivity is certainly another area where the Motorola MILESTONE excels. For starters you get quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE for worldwide roaming and dual-band (900/2100 MHz) 3G with HSPA. The HSDPA is quoted at 10.2 Mbps and the HSUPA can reach up to 5.76 Mbps.
We then move on to local connectivity – the MILESTONE offers USB v2.0, Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP support and Wi-Fi. The USB interface is standard microUSB, which makes finding a suitable cable a lot easier. And now that they have enabled Bluetooth transfers, there is very little more to be asked for.
The one thing that would ask for is tethering, as we simply could not get our MILESTONE to do it.
Back on the positive track we have to mention that the built-in microSD card slot can also be used as a data transfer tool. Card-readers are going for peanuts these days so having one around is quite likely and they give some pretty impressive speeds.