Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Millennius Google Phone
If you're on a tight budget and can't afford a top-end Android smartphone, Millennius' Google Phone may be right up your alley.
- Price, decent features list, firmware upgradeable to 2.0/2.1, all the basic benefits of an Android smartphone
- Questionable build quality, unresponsive resistive touchscreen, touch-sensitive keys aren't responsive
If you're on a tight budget and can't afford a top-end Android smartphone, Millennius' Google Phone may be right up your alley. There are plenty of downsides, so don't expect comparable performance to more expensive phones. But at this price, Millennius' debut effort is worth a look.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
If you want a Google Android smartphone but can't afford something like the HTC Desire or Google Nexus One, the Millennius Google Phone could be the right pick for you. Costing less than half the RRP of most Android smartphones on the market, its underperforming touchscreen and basic features shouldn't deter budget shoppers.
Australian distributor Millennius is known for its cut-price consumer electronics like LCD televisions but the company has now made its foray into the smartphone market. Millennius' first offering is the aptly titled Millennius Google Phone and runs the 1.6 version of Google's Android operating system. With most smartphones now priced at around $1000, the Millennius Google Phone is a steal at $399 for the 8GB model and $449 for the 16GB version.
The Millennius Google Phone doesn't feel like the best smartphone on the market, doesn’t look the sexiest and certainly isn’t the most powerful, but it's important to take its budget price into consideration. The smartphone is predominantly constructed from plastic; Google's Nexus One, the Apple iPhone 3GS and HTC's Desire all use a combination of metal and plastic. The Millennius Google Phone has questionable build quality; when we opened the back cover to insert the SIM card, the plastic felt flimsy and easy to damage.
The handset's display is a generous 3.2 inches; it's relatively clear and possesses good colour. Unfortunately the biggest letdown is the resistive touchscreen. It is particularly hard to use when scrolling and texting, lacking the smooth feel of most competitors. Millennius does include a stylus (though the Android OS wasn't ever intended for stylus use).
The Millennius Google Phone doesn't have a physical keyboard — you'll have to use the cramped touchscreen keyboard (it works slightly better in landscape mode). There is a trackball the lets you to select and scroll, as well as four touch-sensitive buttons, and answer and end call keys. The touch-sensitive buttons don't always respond to presses, but the trackball is efficient and feels smooth. There is also a lock button and 3a .5mm headphone jack at the top of the phone, while volume controls and a dedicated camera button can be found the right. The left side features a micro-USB port for charging and syncing with a PC.
The Millennius Google Phone runs the 1.6 version of the Android operating system but Millennius has promised an update to 2.0 or 2.1 following the phone's release. The basic specifications combined with a Qualcomm 600MHz processor and 256MB of RAM make the Millennius Google Phone reasonably fast and responsive. The Web browser crashed a few times during our review but most of the other functions worked without any issues.
As this is an Android smartphone, the Millennus Google Phone offers the regular features and functions of Android, including the Android Market for third-party apps, an excellent notifications taskbar and automatic and seamless synchronisation with Google services. The phone automatically synchronises your Google calendar, mail and contacts over the air. Unfortunately, you still can't choose to save downloaded apps to the microSD card, and Android remains an inferior multimedia choice when compared to the iPhone. The Millennius Google Phone also lacks multitouch technology, so pinching the screen to zoom in and out of apps like the browser and Google maps isn't available.
The Millennius Google Phone has full HSDPA support (including Telstra Next G compatibility), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0, an accelerometer and a digital compass. The phone also includes a 5.0-megapixel camera with LED flash and VGA recording in the MPEG-4 format. There is also an ambient light sensor and a microSD card slot to expand memory. Millennius claims a battery life of 280 minutes talk time on a 3G network and 120 hours of standby.
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