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Motorola Milestone Review, Part 2.
Motorola Milestone: Multimedia
The audio player is straightforward and can automatically sort recognised tracks and albums by artist, and it will also integrate with any playlists you have on iTunes or Windows Media Player.
By default there's no onscreen widget on the home page, so getting back to the music player while in another application can be a chore. Of course, you can simply add the widget if you want a shortcut, although having some dedicated media keys somewhere would have been useful.
The built in speakers are somewhat tinny, but few devices of this size can produce truly great audio and the Milestone is about on par with the competition in this respect.
There's a standard 3.5mm audio socket, so you can plug your own headphones in. The stereo wired headset supplied in the box seem to be pretty good though, so you may be happy with the ones that Motorola supply.
The display on the Motorola Milestone is beautiful and pin-sharp, but the standard video player struggles a bit to make the best of it. On some media types, especially WMV movies, the player can be unreliable and may crash or lock the user out while playing. Video playback can be jumpy if applications are running in the background, some formats are worse than others. Android has a nasty habit of running applications that you can't see, so power cycling the phone or using an add-on application such as TasKiller can free up resources and improve playback.
You can transfer videos using the supplied Motorola Media Link software which converts the clip to a pretty paltry 325 x 288 pixels. Alternatively, you can use something like AVS Video Converter to change formats to something that will play acceptably.
The video player can cope with most major video formats, although the best results seems to be to use an MPEG4 file with an H.264/AVC video codec at 640 x 480 pixels and 30 frames per second, the same sort of encoding that you might use for an iPod (you might find these with an M4V extension for example).
You can also share video clips via YouTube, Bluetooth or Google Mail. This is particularly useful for videos that you have taken yourself, although the Milestone does restrict large video uploads to WiFi only.
However, if you can get the video to work then it displays very well on the MILESTONE's excellent screen. With some work, and perhaps a bugfix for the video player, then it could be a useful way to watch videos on the move. And this being an Android phone, then there are plenty of other video players available as well.
One major difference between the Milestone and the US DROID is that the DROID has Google's new turn-by-turn navigation system. Milestone users have Google Maps and a trial version of MotoNav which is a fairly reasonable application. You'll need the optional vehicle mount if you want to use the Milestone as a satellite navigation tool.
Google Maps works in exactly the way you would expect it, and it includes support for Google Latitude. But it turns out that GPS is used pretty much everywhere, including geo-tagging videos and photographs and also allowing local search with Google itself. And as ever, the Android market has other applications that use the inbuilt GPS facilities in new and interesting ways.
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