HTC Desire Z vs Motorola Milestone 2 (aka Droid 2)

The HTC Desire Z has been popping up all over the place in the last few months but the High Tech Computer Corporation of Taiwan has finally decided that their new QWERTY keyboard Android smartphone is ready to meet the public in an official capacity. Yes, the HTC Desire Z is here.

But hold your horses Android fanboys the world over. Take your homework beyond HTC for a moment and you’ll remember that this isn’t the only slider keyboard of the Google OS persuation doing the rounds at the moment. Not one month back did Motorola launch the QWERTY-based Motorola Milestone 2 aka the Droid 2. So, with two such similar handsets released at two such similar times, the question we really need the answer to, of course, is which is the best? So, here is the HTC Desire Z vs Motorola Milestone 2 - the the incredible Android QWERTY showdown.

Form

Winner: Milestone 2
116.3 x 60.5 x 13.7mm, 169g

Loser: HTC Desire Z
119 x 60.4 x 14.16mm, 180g


There’s not a hell of a lot in either the dimensions or the weight here but the difference is that the HTC Desire Z is just that little bit bigger all round. Considering both have the same size display, you might want to opt for the Milestone 2 to have something a marginally more pocketable.

You could argue that one handset is pretty than the other but we’ll have to leave that down to your personal taste. However, one aspect of form that is worth noting is that the Milestone 2 doesn’t have a track pad of any kind. Most users of Android phones will tell you that they’re not that important but chances are you’d be thankful of the optical unit on the HTC Desire Z at least a few times each month.

Display

Tie: HTC Desire Z
3.7”, WVGA, Super LCD

Ties: Milestone 2
3.7”, 854 x 480px, LCD, 265ppi


HTC hasn’t quoted the exact pixel dimensions of the screen on the Desire Z and the problem with the term WVGA is that it’s non specific. As it goes, 854 x 480px is very a common WVGA resolution and, given that both phones measure 3.7” on the diagonal, there’s an excellent chance that they share the same pixel count and density as well. The only difference then becomes what on earth HTC means by a Super LCD but, seeing as there’s nothing more offered on that one, we’re calling it a tie. Should we discover there’s a wider colour gamut or better viewing angle or something else for the enthusiast, we’ll let you know.

Engine Room

Winner: Milestone 2
1GHz, 512MB

Loser: HTC Desire Z
800MHz, 512MB


It was touted at over 1.2GHz at one point but the system on a chip solution for the HTC Desire Z has actually turned out to be much more modest. It’s an 800MHz Snapdragon MSM7230 at the helm featuring Adreno 205 graphics in the GPU department if you really want to know. While the Milestone 2 is the same in the RAM department, it has the magic 1GHz CPU that’ll make the grade for Android 3.0 when it arrives later in the year. The Desire Z is not only less powerful but is going to get left behind.

Storage

Winner: Milestone 2
8GB flash + microSD

Loser: HTC Desire Z
1.5GB flash + microSD


Phone memory is an issue on Android. With the likes of eBay, Evernote and even most of the Google apps still yet to pull their fingers out, the large majority of the software you download cannot be housed on your microSD card. So, by that token that 6.5GB extra flash memory on the Milestone actually counts for much more than it seems. If you want more space for more apps, messages and all the rest of it, go with the Motorola.

Software

Winner: Desire Z
Froyo + HTC Sense 2.0

Loser: Milestone 2
Froyo + MOTOBLUR


It’s a pretty level playing field here in that both of these QWERTY superphones come with Android 2.2, aka Froyo, pre-installed. The real difference is, of course, the Brandroid UIs on top. While MOTOBLUR is a pretty decent effort from Motorola, offering a good, if fairly heavy, social network integration, it’s HTC Sense that’s been taking the plaudits ever since it first showed up on the Hero. Sense is now officially on its second version and features the popular propellar mode as well as good looks, customisation and excellent usability. There’s many who’d throw themselves on the pyre for this piece of software. You might meet them in the comments below.

WARNING: While this is the way it stands at the time of writing, come the launch of Android 3.0, it’s the Milestone that’ll win here. According to what Google has already laid out, the HTC Desire Z does not meet the minimum spec standard to graduate to Gingerbread.

Battery

Tie: HTC Desire Z
1300 mAh Li Ion

Tie: Milestone 2
1400 mAh Li Ion - 10hrs talk, 315hrs stby


Another tricky category here until we get the Z into the Pocket-lint labs because HTC hasn’t quoted any usage stats. What we do know is that it has a slightly smaller battery than that on the Motorola Milestone 2. However, at the same time, the HTC mobile is running a less aggressive processor which could easily make up the difference in terms of battery life.

Imaging

Tie: Milestone 2
5MP, Dual LED Flash, 720p/30fps video

Tie: HTC Desire Z
5MP, LED Flash, 720p/30fps video


We’re not going to tell you that the Milestone 2 wins here just because it has dual flash. Both cameras are perfectly matched with each offering HD video capture and a decent degree of resolution. Naturally, there may be differences in performance once we get down to the nitty gritty of reviews but, on paper, it’s draw for this category.

Connectivity

Tie: HTC Desire Z
WF/BT2.1/HSDPA/USB 2.0/DLNA/GPS/3.5mm

Tie: Milestone 2
WF/BT2.1/HSDPA/USB 2.0/DLNA/GPS/3.5mm


It’s another good match here. Both of these QWERTY leaders has the increasingly popular DLNA support so that you can stream your media straight to your telly over your home network. Naturally, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G are all included but there’s no HDMI-out featuring on either.

Price

Tie: HTC Desire Z
Unknown

Tie: Milestone 2
£399.99


The HTC Desire Z is going to be a Vodafone exclusive when it arrives in October. However, as yet, there’s no mention of price or indeed whether you’ll be able to pick one up SIM-free. What we can say is that the HTC Desire HD is set to cost £415, so one would expect the Z to come in either at the same price point or possibly a little lower. Either way, we have to call a tie until we know for sure but we’ll probably find it matched pretty much pound for pound with the Milestone 2.

Conclusion

Never in the history of our Pocket-lint match-ups have we seen so many ties between two products. Both of these phones are an excellent shout for QWERTY Android handsets and, on paper, they’re virtually inseparable. All the same, it’s the Motorola Milestone 2 that takes the prize as the king communicator on the Google mobile platform. It’s just that bit more powerful, pocketable and capacious.

What it will come down to for most users though is look and feel and whether they prefer that slightly more enjoyable usabilty that HTC Sense can offer. Our money would go on the Milestone 2 all the same though with the fact that you won’t be able to upgrade the HTC Desire Z to Android 3 being the real clincher.

Check out our hands on photos for a closer look at the HTC Desire Z and the HTC Desire HD as well.



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