Archive for December, 2009

By December 27, 2009 Read More →

Sanyo Xacti CA9 unboxing video

If you are a regular to tracyandmatt of have seen many of our unboxing video you’ll probably know that I am quite a fan of the Sanyo Xacti range of camcorders, I generally prefer to record my own video on the Xacti HD1010 but we’ve also used the HD2000 in the past too.


The Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA9


Over the last year or so we’ve had our hands on a number of camcorders from the very cheap, sub-£100 models to expensive models costing over £4000 but I have always gone back to my HD1010 as it seems to just get the job done. I’ve enjoyed playing with a variety of other Xacti models too, most recently the top of the range FH1 was reviewed too.

So what does the Xacti CA9 have to offer? Well the design is similar to the HD700/HD800 that we’ve played with in the past but this model has an upgraded 9 megapixel CMOS sonsor and a 5x optical zoom, but perhaps the biggest difference here is that the CA9 is waterproof.

Yes, waterproof, not water resistant. So you can actually take it in the swimming pool and record video under-water, excellent for holidays at a waterpark!

Take a look at the brief video below which will take you on a tour around the hardware and show you what you get with it. We’ll have the full review for you soon too!


Sanyo Xacti CA9 unboxing video


Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA9 specification:

Effective pixel count/Camera element Photos: Approx. 9.0-Megapixels
Videos: HD: Approx. 7.31-Megapixels SD: Approx. 8.84-Megapixels
Camera element 1/2.5 inch CMOS sensor, Approx. 9.02-Megapixels (total)
Recording media SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card (up to 32GB)
Internal memory: Approx. 43 mb
Recording file formats Photos: JPEG (DCF*1, DPOF*2, Exif Ver2.2*3)
Videos: ISO standard MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 (.MP4)
Audio: 48kHZ sampling, 16bit, 2ch, AAC
Resolution (pixels) Photos*4 12M: 4000 x 3000*4,
9M-H: 3456 x 2592 (low compression)
9M-S: 3456 x 2592 (standard compression)
6.7M[16:9]: 3456 x 1944
2M: 1600 x 1200
0.9M[16:9]: 1280 x 720
0.3M: 640 x 480
Continuous shots 9M: 3456 x 2592, 1.6fps/Max 13photos
2M: 1600 x 1200 , 7fps/Max 15 photos
Videos*5 HD-SHQ: 1280 x 720 (30 fps/ 9Mbps)
TV-HR: 640 x 480 (60 fps/6Mbps)
TV-SHQ: 640 x 480 (30 fps/3Mbps)
Lens 5x optical zoom lens; Aperture: F=3.5(W)-4.7(T)
Focus distance: f=6.3 to 31.7mm;
Galvanometer method structure, Auto focus: 8 groups, 11 elements (3 aspheric elements, 5 aspheric surfaces), Built-in neutral density filter
Photos: f=38-190mm(=35mm) Optical 5x zoom
Videos: f=38-190mm(=35mm) Optical 5x zoom
Photo range Standard: 50cm to infinity (wide), 1.0m to infinity (tele)
Super macro: 1cm – 80cm (wide)
Digital zoom Shooting: 12x max., Playback 62.5x max. (12M mode, depending on the resolution)
Low light sensitivity (video) Approx. 16 lux (Auto mode, 1/30 sec.)
Approx. 4 lux (High-sensitivity/ Lamp mode, 1/15 sec.)
Stills sensitivity Auto (ISO 50 – 400), Manual (ISO 50/100/200/400/800/1600, Switching system)
Digital Image Stabilizer Photos: Digital Image Stabilizer (electronic), Videos: Digital Image Stabilizer (electronic)
Audio Microphone: Built-in stereo, Speaker: Built-in monaural (L+Rch mixed output)
LCD monitor 2.5 inch, Low-temperature polysilicon TFT color LCD display,
Approx. 150,000 pixels (7-level brightness, 285 degrees rotation)
Languages English/ French/ German/ Spanish/ Italian/ Dutch/ Russian/ Portuguese/ Turkish/ Thai/ Korean/ Simplified Chinese/ Traditional Chinese
Interface AV output Video: Composite video, NTSC/PAL,
USB 2.0 (high-speed mode compatible)
Power source Lithium-ion battery x 1 (DB-L20 included: 720mAh)
Power consumption When using battery: 3.1W (when filming videos)
Approx. battery-use time*6 Photos: Approx. 170 shots (CIPA standard), Continuous video filming: Approx. 70min.
Continuous playback: Approx. 220 min.
Dimensions/Volume 70.4 (W) x 111.4 (H) x 40.5 (D)mm (maximum dimensions, excluding protruding parts)
Volume: Approx. 192cc
Weight Approx. 230g (main unit only), Approx. 249g (including battery, Approx. 17 g, and SD card, Approx. 2 g)

SD Memory Card Type Video Recording Time (Total Time)*7
16 GB 3 hr 51 min. 5 hr 43 min. 11 hr 06 min. 261 hr.

SD Memory Card Type Number of Photographs*7
12M 9M-H 9M-S 6.7M [16:9] 2M 0.9M [16:9] 0.3M 9M Cont 2M Cont
16 GB 3,370 3,080 4,260 5,360 11,600 15,100 19,200 4,260 11,600



Posted by: Matt

[ Post Tags: Camcorder, Video Cameras, sanyo Xacti CA9, VPC-CA9, ]

Posted in: Videos/Unboxings
By December 26, 2009 Read More →

Iphone.tvcatchup recommendation

One of our faithful readers, Justin, has sent in a recommendation for a site he feels strongly enough about to put forward a rant about. Seems like a great resource for those with an iPhone who wish to catch up on vital TV viewing on the go. Here’s Justin’s testimonial. a beta version of a website that I believe is still applying for app status with Apple. As i understand it, this application has been ongoing for sometime. It features practically live TV (maybe a minute behind the standard broadcast) on the iPhone.
Where I live and where I work, it streams faultlessly over 3G. It has 20 odd channels including BBC1 and 2, ITV 1,2, 3 and 4. Film 4, Film 4 plus 1 etc etc. I’ve saved it to my homescreen for easy access, And of course at this moment in time, it’s free! On the downside, maybe 10 percent of the time I tried to access it, the website was down.
Watching TV whilst on the move (on a train journey) can be hit and miss as the signal changes. Mobile carriers I’m sure are watching data usage. But I’ve been sensible with it and I’ve had no issues. Everyone
I’ve recommended it to has been extremely pleased with the result.

Thanks to Justin for this.

Technorati Tags: ,,
Posted in: Phones
By December 26, 2009 Read More →

Who wants to win the Motorola Milestone then?

We had such a huge number of entries and support for our Christmas competition that I thought we’d kick off the new year (of it’s a bit early) with another great competition where you can win the fantastic Motorola Milestone that I reviewed this month, if you want to know all about the prize you can read the Motorola Milestone review to find out about it!



Here’s how you can enter:

  1. The first way to enter is using the normal competition entry form here on the site. Simply let me have your forum name and answer the qualifying question: "What is the Milestone called in the USA?" and you’ll be entered in to the draw. You must be a registered forum member and have posted on the forum to enter but registration is free and simple. Go to the forum to register.
  2. The second way to enter is to follow us on twitter and to retweet the following tweet: "RT @tracyandmatt I’m hoping to win a Motorola Milestone on – Find out how you can enter too:" You can also click the retweet link below to save you copying and pasting the phrase. Your twitter name will also be entered in to the draw. You’ll have to keep following us as we’ll notify winners via DM.
  3. Finally you can enter by joining our Facebook fan page ( Become a fan and we’ll enter you in to the competition. Don’t worry if you are already a fan, we’ll add your name too!


So that gives you three ways to enter the competition and each person can enter three times using each method once, so you have three chances to win!

We’ll pick the winner at random and will announce who’s won Monday the 18th of January 2010, not a bad start to the year for one lucky person. 🙂


Posted by: Matt

Post Tags: [Motorola Milestone, Competition, prizes,]

Posted in: Competitions
By December 25, 2009 Read More →

Merry Christmas!

Just a quick message from all of us as I suspect that the vast majority of you will be either unwrapping your presents or else too drunk to be reading this! 🙂

On behalf of the whole team here at I would like to wish all of our readers a very Merry Christmas. Thank you all so much for supporting us throughout the year and contributing to our new forums, things are going quite well over there there at the moment!

For those of you that are not too stuffed with turkey tomorrow, I’m kicking off a brand new competition with a GREAT prize so you may want to make sure that you come back to enter that! Follow us on Twitter if you want to get updates when the competition starts.

Now turn off your computer and go watch re-runs of old films on TV!


Posted by: Matt

Posted in: Site Announcements
By December 24, 2009 Read More →

Breakdown app for iPhone

As the weather has been so bad here in the UK, with snow and freezing temperatures, there have been record numbers of vehicle breakdowns reported. I came across a useful app for the iPhone this morning that drivers with iPhones much want to consider. It’s called Breakdown from a company called Hello24.

It’s a simple idea but like many simple ideas it’s also genius! If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in a situation where you are stuck, car has broken down or you are, god forbid, involved in an accident then Breakdown can really help.

It allows you to set up the details of your breakdown service membership, whether that’s the AA, RAC, Green Flag etc so that you have your membership number and the phone number to call at hand. It also allows you to use the built in GPS to find your current location and the ability to forward those details to a third party via text or email.

Furthermore, there is a ‘What To Do’ section that offers advice for when things go wrong, handy in itself as how many people would go in to a blind panic in an emergency!

screen1 screen4

Head over to Hello24 to check out the app. definitely worth having on your phone, just in case!


Posted by: Matt

Posted in: Apps & Games
By December 24, 2009 Read More →

Firefox mobile version coming soon!

For all of you out there who prefer to use the Mozilla Firefox web browser, you’ll be happy to hear that Firefox Mobile is just days away from its launch! (no date mentioned so we shall play the waiting game!)


Firefox Mobile will be available first to Nokia’s N900 handset with other handsets to follow. If you have an N900, the beta version is available to download on the Mozilla site.


Posted by: Emma

Posted in: News
By December 23, 2009 Read More →

Nokia N900 not compatible with Three

I first heard this a few days ago and I have to admit that at the time it didn’t fully sink in but for any of you on Three (the UK service provider) that may be thinking about the Nokia N900 as your next phone STOP! The Nokia N900 is currently not compatible with Three.


Yes you did just read that correctly, Three SIM cards will NOT work in the Nokia N900 so if you are a Three customer then you are, for the time being at least, out of luck.

I would hope that whatever the problem is it could be rectified with some kind of ROM update for the N900 but until then, if you are on Three then you should avoid the N900!


Posted by: Matt

[ Post Tags: Nokia N900, Internet Tablet, Maemo, ]

Posted in: News
By December 23, 2009 Read More →

Motorola Milestone review

By now you’ve probably seen my Motorola Milestone unboxing video and Milestone demonstration video (if not why not?!) so you will perhaps know that I have been using it quite a lot over the past week or so and many of you have already been asking me questions on the Milestone Forum pages.


The Motorola Milestone


The Motorola Milestone was launched in the USA as the Motorola Droid back in October of this year and has been hugely popular. According to some sources we’ve read, Verizon have sold over one million Droid handsets since launch which really isn’t too shabby. So the Milestone (I don’t know why it’s called that in Europe and not Droid) launched here in the UK officially on the 7th December but it was a few days later that the handset started shipping. At the moment eXpansys have the UK exclusive on the Milestone but we’ve also heard that this might be temporary and that it is likely that other retailers will have the Milestone in the new year.

Also, according to eXpansys and Engadget the milestone became the UK’s fastest selling gadget apparently selling out within three hours of going on sale on the 10th December. With statistics like that it’s hard to argue the popularity of the Motorola Milestone BUT what did I think of it? Read on to find out!


The 10 second review:

  • Device: Motorola Milestone
  • Price: Around £449.00
  • Summary: I well built Android 2.0 handset with QWERTY keyboard and decent camera.
  • Best of: Excellent screen and QWERTY keyboard. First device to have Android 2.0
  • Worst of: Some stability issues with our test unit. Battery life could be better and the keyboard keys are too small for my fat-thumbs!



What’s in the box?

  • The Motorola Milestone handset
  • Battery (1420 mAh)
  • MicroUSB sync/charge cable
  • Getting Started Guide and CD-rom
  • Wired Headset
  • 8GB MicroSD memory card
  • USB style mains charger

Don’t forget to check out the Milestone Unboxing video for a more detailed tour of the hardware.

Motorola Milestone specification:

  • Dimensions: 115.8 x 60 x 13.7mm
  • Weight: 165g
  • Battery:
    – Talk Time: 6.5 hrs
    – Standby Time: 380 hrs
    – Capacity: 1400 mAh
  • Display: 480 x 854 pixels/3.7" /  Touch Sensitive(Capacitive) / MultiTouch
  • Network: 2G: 850/900/1800/1900 (Quad-Band) / 3G: 900/2100 (Dual-Band)
  • Camera: 5 mega-pixels (auto-focus)
  • Dual LED Flash
  • GeoTagging
  • Video: DVD Quality Video Recording 24fps Video Recording (720 x 480)
  • Music: Supported formats: MP3, AAC, eAAC+, OGG & WMA
  • 550MHz TI OMAP 3430 CPU
  • Memory: RAM 256MB, FLASH ROM 512MB, USER STORAGE 256MB
  • microSDHC (external)
  • microUSB
  • Accelerometer/G-meter
  • 3.5mm Audio Connector
  • Bluetooth (2.1)
  • Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11g)
  • Navigation: AGPS / Digital Compass



Let’s just take a quick look around the Milestone to see where everything is;

Starting at the front we have a 3.7″ transflective, capacitive touchscreen display which is capable of 16.7 million scales which explains why the image on-screen looks so good. There’s also some conflicting information about the overall res of the screen I’m sure (based on the screen grabs I’ve taken) it’s 480×854 but other sources claim 480×800. Below the screen there’s a couple of touch-sensitive ‘buttons’. From left to right these are: Back, Menu, Home and Search. These buttons are not physical but there’s haptic feedback when pressed as there is when you touch the screen. Directly under the screen area is the ‘chin’ as we call it. For some reason there is a step between what is the front screen and the back portion of the handset. What the purpose of this is, if indeed it has a purpose beyond a design feature, I don’t know but I find it a bit ugly.


Motorola Milestone front view


Moving on to the left side of the handset you’ll find the MicroUSB sync/charge connector. Nothing out of the ordinary about this but there’s no cover over it. There’s nothing else on the left face.

Motorola Milestone left side

Motorola Milestone left side


The bottom of the handset it totally barren.

Round to the right we can see the dedicated camera button, which is a fetching gold colour. Like the shutter button on a ‘proper’ digital camera, this one has two steps. Press it half way to set the focus and then press it all the way to actually take the picture. Towards the top of the right side is a standard up/down volume rocker, black rather than gold.

Motorola Milestone right side

Motorola Milestone right side


On the top of the device we have the 3.5mm headphone connector that will allow you to use either your own standard headphones or the included wired headset. Next to the headphone socket is the power button. This also doubles as a lock/sleep button.


Motorola Milestone top view


Flip the unit over to look at the back and the design here is pretty straight forward. The back is almost completely flat with the exception of a slight lip at the top and bottom of the handset. These help to protect the 5 megapixel autofocus camera and the dual LED’s from damage when you place the handset on its back on a desk. The battery compartment takes up about three-fifths of the back. The cover is made of metal and slides on and off easily but is also reasonably secure. It’s under this battery cover that you’ll also find the SIM-card slot and MicroSD card socket. The back also has a nice gold-coloured grille which is where the batter cover slides to remove.

Motorola Milestone back view

Motorola Milestone back view


Back to the front of the device and sliding the screen open from left to right reveals the QWERTY keyboard and D-Pad. The Keyboard has 4 rows of keys and 40 keys in total. They are quite small but quite tactile when pressed. Next to the keyboard, unusually to the right of it, is the navigation D-Pad which has a gold-coloured action or ok/enter button in the middle. The keyboard sliding mechanism is solid and positive.

Motorola Milestone front and keyboard view

Motorola Milestone front and keyboard view



  • Good quality capacitive touchscreen
  • QWERTY Keyboard
  • Build Quality
  • 5.0 megapixel camera
  • Good network reception



  • Battery life
  • Small keyboard keys
  • Stability issues



The Motorola Milestone is actually the first Android device that I was looking forward to reviewing. Obviously we’ve looked at other Android handsets in the past and although other members of the team have enjoyed using the Android OS it’s not something that I particularly liked but I was keen to see what, if anything, had changed in Android 2.0 in terms of making at a better user experience. The other thing I wanted to try for myself is the QWERTY keyboard on the Milestone.

The Milestone is physically a pretty large handset. Its proportions are quite deceiving and it’s almost the same size as the HTC Touch HD, just a little thicker. It’s also quite a weighty handset at 165 grams, that does perhaps sound quite heavy but in reality when in your hand it doesn’t seem that bad.

Looking at the handset I am happy with the overall design. Judging by the comments on the forum it’s one of those handsets that, just like Marmite, you either love or hate. Some thinking the design is blocky or retro. I quite like it but the step below the screen and between the front and rear part of the screen handset is, I think, a horrible design choice. I’ve been told that this is something to do with the location of the antennas but I cant really say that I buy it whilst that may be where the antennas are located I cant see when the front half of the device could not be as big as the back!

Milestone-step1 Milestone-step2


Overall the build quality of the device seems great, the sliding keyboard mechanism is solid and positive and feels like it will last. There’s also a satisfying click when you open or close it fully.

On the back you have a metal battery cover which, as I mentioned here earlier, takes up about three-fifths of the back of the handset. The battery cover on my review model is quite secure. It’s made of metal and the lugs that hold it in place are also metal. There have been reports that the battery cover on the Motorola Droid comes loose over time and needs securing with sticky tape. I’ve had no such problems as yet so whether or not this has been addressed on the Milestone or if my handset is not old enough to demonstrate the problem I am unsure.

You have to open the battery compartment and remove the battery to gain access to the SIM-card which is pretty standard but you have to remove the battery cover in order to get to the MicroSD slot too. If you are a frequent card-swapper then this could get annoying and maybe this is what makes the battery cover work lose?



Also on the back is the 5MP camera and Dual LED flash. There’s no lens cover for the camera so remember to wipe it on your shirt before you take a picture! Fortunately the design of the back should help to prevent the lens from being scratched.

As mentioned above, the sliding mechanism is really good and moving the screen reveals the physical QWERTY keyboard. It’s a 4-row keyboard with a total of 40 keys, there is room for two more keys but the space isn’t used. My appreciation of the keyboard has been up and down. Initially I liked it, the keys are nicely tactile and positive, I expected to get used to the keyboard, as I have done with countless other devices in the past, and to eventually enjoy using it. The reality is though that I simply find the keys are too small and with no space between them I continually mash 2-3 keys at a time. Now I do have fairly large thumbs but you will either need slender digits or a lot of practice/patience to really get to grips with the QWERTY. For me, anything but a quick message then the keyboard became frustrating and I went back to the on-screen keyboard.

Next to the keyboard is the D-pad. I don’t find that I use this very much but it’s there is you need it, perhaps more useful if editing text and moving the cursor round.



So that’s about all for the Milestone, physically. It’s time to power up and have a look at the handset in use. A word of warning to anyone using the Milestone for the first time. Initial setup takes quite a while and the handset will not work without a SIM-card so if you did choose to use the handset without a mobile contract you will have to at least use an old SIM to make it work, minus a SIM and you are only able to make emergency calls and you’ll be unable to go further than that.

When you turn on or take the handset out of sleep mode you’ll see a screen showing the date and time and carrier name. Above in the menu bar the battery indicator, signal strength and WiFi status are also shown. On the lower portion of the screen you’ll see the Milestone’s version of the ‘swipe to unlock’, here you have to move the lock icon in an arc from left to right. In reality a quick left to right will suffice, no need to trace the curve.

Unlock Screen

Unlock Screen


Once unlocked you are initially presented with the ‘home screen’.  This is the uncustomised view of the screen with the default background image and the standard 6 icons on the ‘desktop’. These shortcut icons can be moved or deleted and you can add new shortcuts as you see fit. You can also add widgets to the screen. Widgets include an analogue clock, calendar view, media player controls and power controls.

Home screen

Home screen


If you are not familiar with Android, the grey button at the bottom of the screen is like the Android version of the Start Menu in windows. When you press it, or slide it upwards you’ll see a list of installed applications. This lets us go in to things like the web browser, maps and email.

Applications Menu

Applications Menu


Here in the application menu you’ll find many apps that are standard on all Android devices as well as a few that are Milestone specific. For example the Motonav app and Phone Portal that we’ll look at later.

Getting in to the Settings Menu is simple a matter of pressing the Menu button on the front of the unit, this is the button just below the screen. The menu button is also used in many other applications to alter settings in there too. From the settings menu we have options to alter the Wireless and Network options, Call settings, Sound & Display options etc. It’s here that we can set up Bluetooth and WiFi settings.

Settings menu wireless settings

Settings and Wireless Settings menus


Setting up a WiFi connection is a very straightforward affair. All you need to do is go in to the wireless settings menu and enable WiFi. It’ll then scan for available wireless networks and show you which ones you can connect to. The WiFi reception in the Milestone seems very good. Not only can I see my own wireless network throughout the house but I can see two other wireless networks, that belong to my neighbours which is quite some distance away.

Whilst on the subject of reception. I tested the Milestone with Orange and T-mobile SIM cards. Both networks perform quite badly in this area, in fact I don’t get any mobile reception to speak of at all at home, but the Milestone does in fact manage two bars of reception on T-Mobile and one on Orange which is pretty much unheard of here! My iPhone by comparison says ‘No Service’ almost permanently and even with the two handsets side-by-side the Milestone gets reception where other handsets, such as Tracy’s HTC Touch Pro2, do not.  A definite plus for the Motorola then.


The phone dialer


Call quality is also very good. I’ve had no issues with echo or sound problems in-calls on the Milestone and I’ve not experienced any dropped calls which I am sure has a lot to do with the good reception.

The Milestone, like just about every other handset that you’ll find on the market today it would seem, has built in GPS. Again as with the WiFi and mobile network reception, the GPS seems to work very well. Firing up Google maps takes just a few seconds for the app to load and despite me sitting indoors and not particularly near to any windows or anything that might help, Google Maps will pick up my position in around a minute from cold which is really quite impressive. Using Google maps in-car the accuracy seems good too and whilst not moving the GPS  ‘drift’ is not terrible.

map map2

Google Map Screens


The Google Maps application installed is the box standard version of Google Maps with the ability to view Satellite, Traffic and Latitude layers, search for an address and navigate between two points.


Motorola have also bundles Motonav with the Milestone. Motonav is a half decent SatNav application. It looks similar to CoPilot, allows you to set up preference such as home location, colour settings for the maps etc. One cool feature is that you can pick 3D vehicles to be displayed on the map rather than a simple arrow showing your heading and 3D buildings can be enabled. Motonav is a 60 trial version that can be activated later if you so choose. I’ve not spent much time testing Motonav, that would be a whole review in itself I think but it seems to do a decent job.

motonav1 motonav2



So to the web browser. The Motorola Milestone comes with the standard Android WebKit web browser, Motorola choosing not to install any kind of custom browser. The browser itself seems to work well, pages load and render quite rapidly, faster than the iPhone 3GS at loading our site. If you have a look at the two screen grabs below of T&M rendered on the Milestone you should see how well the text, even the really small stuff, is rendered and just as with the iPhone and the HD2, and thanks to the multi-touch screen, one can use two fingers on the screen to pinch or pull and zoom in and out of the page and double tapping the screen will enlarge a portion of the web page.

The search button below the screen launches the google home pages for searches, which is exactly what you would expect, but remember the Home button will take you back to the main home screen and not the browser home page!

The browser has an extensive settings menu allowing you to adjust such things as text size, zoom, image loading, pop-ups and JavaScript to name just a few so there is quite a bit of control!


browser-portrait browser-landscape

Web browser screen grabs


Like so many other smart-devices hitting the market now, the Milestone has it’s own YouTube client. This allows you to browse through or search for videos and then plays them back full-screen for you. The other thing about the YouTube client is that when you see embedded YouTube videos on a web page in the browser you can click on play and this will launch the video for playback within the YouTube app. Videos do not play in-place on a web page.

The YouTube client works pretty well, more or less the same as the iPhone and the Windows Mobile version.

YouTube client

YouTube client


So I’ve mentioned that I am not a huge fan of the hardware keyboard, the jury’s still out as to whether I’ll get used to it, there’s the on-screen QWERTY that can be used to text entry and I am finding that I can type faster and more accurately on that than the physical keyboard. The capacitive screen means that typing a joy and the keyboard is pretty similar to the one on the iPhone. As with many other on-screen keyboards the letters appear as you release the key, not as you press so if you put your finger down in the wrong place you can move and release it to get the correct one.

Some of you already spotted the deliberate mistake(!) in my demo video. You can indeed use the on-screen keyboard in landscape mode simply by rotating the handset, the accelerometer will rotate the display and then the keyboard can be turned back on in landscape. The mistake I made when recording the video was in leaving the hardware keyboard out, when you have the device open you are not able to turn on the on-screen keyboard in landscape mode. Also not all apps seem to support screen rotation.

portrait-keyboard landscape-keyboard

On-screen QWERTY keyboards


Email is very simple to set up. There’s options for Gmail, Exchange and POP3/Imap email accounts. I set up my Exchange account in less than a minute, only needing to provide my Name and Email address, Username, Password and email server address. After entering these details the Milestone begins to sync your email and contacts and as I was connecting over WiFi the whole process took only a few minutes.

I do like how email is displayed on Android devices, I prefer the email views to the one you have on the iPhone, I find the layout much more useful.

gmail mail-view

Email preview and email views


The calendar will also Sync with your Exchange server but you actually have to go in to the calendar on the Milestone for this to work initially. The first time you enter the calendar after setting up exchange email you are asked if you wish to allow synchronisation. Assuming that you pick yes then it’ll start sucking down all of your appointments and calendar events. I don’t have 100’s of calendar entries so for me the sync process took only a few minutes. Once complete the calendar opens up and shows upcoming events. There are options for 1 day, 7 day and 1 month views. You can also add the calendar widget to the homescreen and that will display your next appointment on the screen and when you tap it that will go ahead and open the calendar for you.

Calendar-one-day Calendar-month

One day and one month calendar views


Setting up a GMail account is also easy but I set up a new Google account purely for the review and to see how easy this would be to do on the device itself, wondering it it could be done without having to resort to using the desktop computer. The answer here is that yes you can set up a new Google account. Perhaps the easiest way to set one up though is through using the Android Market App.

In order to access Android Market, the Android version of the AppStore, you have to have a Google account. So launching Android Market for the first time you will be asked to either enter your Google account credentials or to create a new Google account. Choosing the later you are asked to enter your name and pick an email address. If you pick an address that’s already taken, as I did, Google will make some suggestions that you can either accept or else try again. I took the first suggestion, entered a password and away I went. You are taken in to the Market and you can browse through all of the available apps and games. There are around 20,000 apps, some of which you have to pay for and some of which are free. There are some very good free apps and games there to play with!

Android Market

Android Market


My must-have apps are Palringo and Twitter. If you’ve not tried it before Palringo is available on just about every single platform from PC and Mac to Windows Mobile and now Android. It’s essentially an IM application that allows you to have all of your IM account in one place and supports Windows Live Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk, ICQ, Jabber, iChat, MobileMe and Facebook Chat. It definitely worth checking out and the best bit is that it’s a free application!

As for the TwitterTweet – There are several free Twitter clients for Android that you will find in the Market but this is the one I like best.

palringo TwitterTweet

Palringo IM application and TwitterTweet Twitter client


If you want to connect the Motorola Milestone up to your PC it has its own PC-Suite application called Moto Phone Portal. This works in a rather unusual way. When you connect your PC via USB a network connection is established, the Milestone is given its own IP address and then the PC launches a web browser window that connects to the handset using that IP address, the Milestone effectively becoming a mini web server.

This allows you to view your call history and read SMS messages from the PC as well as manages contacts, photos and other phone settings. This seems to work really well actually and allowed me to transfer the photos I needed for this review to show off the camera!

Moto Phone Portal Phoneportal1

Moto Phone Portal on the Milestone and on the PC


So the camera on the Milestone is a 5 megapixel autofocus shooter with dual LED flash. 5mp may not sound like a lot with some phone cameras beginning to exceed the 12mp mark but it’s not all about the CMOS sensor. Optics also play a big part in camera quality. Motorola seem to have done a reasonable job with the camera.

The dedicated camera button works just like a ‘proper’ digital camera with a two stage press. ‘Half press’ to auto focus and full press to take the picture. Disappointingly, pressing the camera button does not automatically launch the camera app. which is a little annoying so you have to go in to programs and find the camera app to get started.

When you launch the app, if you listen carefully, you can hear the camera making a few squeaks as the autofocus comes to life. With the flash set to auto, naturally it only fires if required.

 Camera Interface

Camera Interface

Overall the pictures are ok, mostly usable for a quick snap and passable for Facebook on an evening out. I did have one issue with the flash though, for some reason the flash only seems to illuminate half of the picture. Have a look at the photo below to see what I mean. At first I thought I had my finger over the flash but after taking a few more snaps, making sure the fingers were well clear I wonder if only one of the LED’s is firing. If anyone else has this issue please let me know!

 2009-12-22(2) 2009-12-22

Camera samples: Left showing the flash issue and right with the flash forced to OFF


Just a quick bit on the Milestone as an MP3 player as I am aware that this is already looking like a long review!

In the programs menu you’ll find ‘Music’ note that’s music and not media player. When you launch the app you are presented with Artist, Album, Song and playlist views. In much the same way as any MP3 player out there, you can sort and show your media, in this case music in those three ways.

So the music player does not handle video at all, I thought this quite unusual as on most devices you would expect to see music and video handled by the same app. Not so on the Milestone the. There is another app, ‘Media Gallery’ which allows you to view photos, wallpaper and folders etc. and there is an option in there to play video that has been recorded on the built in camera but not anything that seems to deal with media that you have transferred, such as films in MP4 format. I’m sure that there are apps on the Android Market that handle this but it’s surprising that there’s nothing pre-installed!

Audio playback itself is good, nothing spectacular but nothing bad either. Fortunately there’s the 3.5mm headphone socket that allows you to use any standard headphones which I always prefer to do given the choice. For those of you that like it loud the volume level is good too.


The Music app view


Overall the Milestone performs very well. The 550MHz CPU might sound like it could be a little under-powered but in practice this seems not to be the case. In using a variety of different applications both those bundled with the handset and those downloaded from Android Market, I’ve not come across anything that makes me feel that they handset needs more horsepower.


The Motorola Milestone has a great screen. It’s a good size and being capacitive, as almost all Android devices are, it’s very responsive. Even in direct light (not sunlight as I haven’t seen any of that in weeks!) the screen is still readable. The colours are bright and vivid.

Much was made of the fact that the Milestone has a multi-touch screen where the Droid did not and while this is pretty handy when using the web browser, being able to zoom etc. I’ve not seen anywhere else on the handset that this works. I cant zoom using two fingers in Google Maps and I cant use two fingers on the on-screen keyboard, pressing shift and another key for example, that just doesn’t work at all. So I’m not sure how the multi-touch on the Milestone is the holy grail? Am I missing something?


I wonder if the good WiFi and mobile network reception comes at a price. The reason I say this is that the battery life on the Milestone is really poor! Whilst reviewing the handset I have been charging it fully and then using it throughout the day. I have not been making many calls and have had the WiFi OFF most of the time. Still I can only get about one days use from the battery and as soon as you start using it for something like GPS or you turn on the WiFi then the battery life is drastically reduced. So I wonder is the radio is working a little too hard? I cant imagine that the 550MHz CPU would be drawing all of the battery power when you consider other devices out there with 1GHz CPUs are getting longer battery life.

We appear not to be alone with the poor battery performance either as several other people have mentioned this over on the forum.


The other issue that I’ve come across with the Milestone, apart from the camera flash, is that a few times the handset has rebooted itself. While writing the review I’ve had it sitting on the desk beside me and I’ve been poking away at it periodically where I’ve needed to check my facts on something etc. Despite not touching it, on two separate occasions with no outside prompting I have noticed the phone switch of and reboot.

The first time this happened I put it down to a one-off and thought that perhaps it might have something to do with one of the many applications that I had left running on the device. However the second time was just a few minutes after I had turned it on. I’m not sure what is causing it, again if anyone else has seen this behaviour I would like to hear from you please.





I’ve not been a huge fan of Android in the past, preferring Windows Mobile or the iPhone to Android but I have to say that the Motorola Milestone is definitely the best Android powered device that I have used to date. There are some nice refinements in Android 2.0 and the Milestone itself is very well made and a good all round contender.

There are a few niggles with the handset that I have mentioned above, probably the worst being the battery life and the couple of un-prompted reboots are a bit of a worry but I suspect that these can and will be both addressed with a future ROM update.

The keyboard isn’t ideal for me but my hands are probably larger than average and you still have the option of reverting to the on-screen QWERTY if you need to.

So if you really need a device with a hardware keyboard then the Motorola Milestone is surely worth considering but if a hardware QWERTY isn’t your thing then it might be worth looking elsewhere, Acer Liquid perhaps?

Don’t forget you can aske questions and post comments about the Milestone and my review on the Milestone forum thread.


Review by: Matt

[ Post Tags: Motorola Milestone, unboxing video, Android, Eclair, ]

Posted in: Reviews
By December 22, 2009 Read More →

Mobile Tech Addicts Podcast 53


Our latest podcast, Episode 53, is now available for download. This week Andy podcasts from Shanghai, we babble about Vodafone’s iPhone, N900 and cancelling of the HTC HD2 and I have a new Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android.

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Posted in: Podcast
By December 22, 2009 Read More →

Review: Acer A1 Liquid

1DDFC329-16BE-4F3A-BA93-93D9185EDDC5 My initial reaction to this Acer Android device was desire and excitement. On paper everything looked great, the design was sexy, the OS robust and the price tag was uber-attractive. Did it do it for me? Well, yes and no. You will have to decide.

Posted in: Phones