The Milestone range put Motorola back into the smartphone game, and although the first handset carrying the name wasn’t quite met with the same interest in the UK as it was across the pond, it proved popular enough for the manufacturer to release a successor, the Milestone 2.
In between the two another smartphone emerged called the Motorola Milestone XT720, and unlike its fellow siblings it doesn’t sport a slide out QWERTY instead taking the full touchscreen approach. It has a higher range of specs compared to the original Milestone and is one of the thinnest Androiders at just 10.9mm thick. Let’s take a closer look:
The QWERTY slider isn’t the only physical feature the Motorola XT720 has ditched. Although the front panel follows touchscreen tradition, being dominated by the 3.7 inch TFT capacitive display with four touch-sensitive icons lining the bottom, there’s a rather odd protrusion on the right hand side of the handset which houses three camera mode buttons. It makes the XT720 look ever so slightly deformed and although the camera icons serve a useful purpose, we’re not sure if here was the right place to put them. The handset doesn’t have the smoothest overall feel either. The chrome rim around the edge of the display has an uncomfortable feeling ridge, and while the XT720 has an extremely solid reliable build, it wasn’t very pleasant to hold. Having said that, the chrome ridge and additional camera icons give the handset a quirky charm and if out of the box designs are your cup of tea then the XT720′s alternative looks may be enough to sweeten the deal.
Power and Operating System
A 720MHz processor fires up the XT720, which may not match up to the Milestone 2′s mighty 1GHz monster but is fine for Android 2.1 which runs the show. The Éclair experience on the XT720 isn’t joined by Motoblur therefore offering a pure Android user interface. There’s access to the Android Market and five customisable homescreens leaving a generous amount of space for downloads. All the usual Google apps turn up too including Gmail, Maps with StreetView plus a pre-installed YouTube client.
It’s also worth mentioning the MySign function which can open an app or shortcut from a designated on-screen gesture. Some may not find it necessary, but it’s a useful added touch for those who may get lost in a sea of apps and homescreens.
Internet: The Motorola XT720′s large high-resolution display does justice to the WebKit browser, which allows you to have up to 8 windows open at a time. Pinch to zoom is responsive, although it took a few moments for the text to resize and more often than not, it actually fitted the screen worse than it did before. As it turns out we would have preferred to just scroll along to save us the hassle of waiting.
There’s Flash Lite support, which doesn’t quite match up to Froyo’s Adobe Flash 10.1 feature, but Motorola claim that the browser is ready for the upgrade. In terms of connections the XT720 has 3G connectivity via HSDPA and HSUPA plus Wi-Fi.
Camera: The snapper may pack an impressive sounding 8 megapixels and is capable of HD video recording at 720p, but we weren’t so amazed by the picture quality. They weren’t as sharp as we hoped from a camera of this spec, and the colours were a little washed out too. Generally speaking, it’s fine as a point and shoot option, but serious photography fans may be left feeling a little under whelmed with the camera’s overall performance.
As we already mentioned, there’s a Xenon flash on offer and a variety of shoot modes available such as face recognition, image stabilisation and scenes.
Media: The MP3 music player easily finds tracks stored on the microSD card and displays a control panel on the homescreen. There’s an FM radio in there too.
Video playback rendered well although the XT720 doesn’t have DivX or XviD support, sticking to the standard MPEG4 and WMV format.
Other tech specs:
- 150MB storage plus 259MB RAM and 512MB ROM.
- MicroSD card slot that’s expandable to 32GB. An 8GB card is included in the box.
- HDMI port – cable comes in the box.
- Bluetooth 2.1
- microUSB port 2.0
- Proximity sensor
- GPS and digital compass
- 8 hours 40 minutes talk time (3G)
The camera left us feeling nothing short of disappointed – we just wouldn’t expect shots of a slightly blurry and dull from a camera of the XT720′s calibre even if it isn’t purely designed with the cameraphone fan in mind. We’re not so keen on the design either. It may be quirky and a bit different, but the solid build made this handset feel every so slightly brackish.
The Motorola XT720 continues the legacy of the Milestone family as it has proved to be a success in usability with an impressive range of specs. The high quality screen and plenty of entertainment options will easily please multimedia fans and with Android being the only platform on board, it’s an easy handset to get to know and love.