After starting life as the Motorola Motoroi in the wilds of the USA, the Milestone XT720 has finally reached our shores. Taking the touchscreen and Android-based delights of the original Milestone, but eschewing that ghastly QWERTY keypad, it wants to be the ultimate Google phone. Can it succeed? And does it best its older bro’? Read our Motorola Milestone XT720 review to find out.
Hefty. That’s the first word that pops into your head when you pick up the Motorola Milestone XT720. It’s not terribly fat at 10.9mm, but with its metal trim and sizeable 3.7-inch screen, it feels more like a tablet than a mobile phone. That nasty kink on the bottom corner of the device is also infuriating.
Physical niggles aside though, this is a truly assured vanilla Android phone under the hood, with 2.1 software and a neat virtual keyboard too.
The Motorola Milestone XT720 is not a looker. Almost every one of its rivals has a more slinky frame or better looks. That said, it’s so solid that you feel confident it could withstand all but the biggest knocks and scrapes. It weighs a ton. Well, 160g, which in smartphone terms is the equivalent of Jimmy Five Bellies. By way of comparison, the Nexus One tips the scales at a svelte 130g and has the same size panel.
The aforementioned kink on the bottom right hand corner is a pain. It distracts from what could be a straightforward candybar design. Ostensibly, it’s there to house the camera buttons and make the Motorola Milestone XT720 look more like a snapper than a phone. If you like your mobiles solid rather than spectacular in the looks department though, this is where it’s at.
This phone’s number-one feature is undoubtedly its camera. It’s stunning and is perhaps the best we’ve ever used on a phone. It’s certainly the best we’ve seen on a blower rocking Android.
That’s not just because of the eight megapixels, but the fact that the stunning 3.7-inch 480x854 panel renders your pics brilliantly. What’s more, the Xenon flash makes taking snaps in low light a doddle.
The fact it’s also so versatile, with red eye reduction, auto focus, face filter and even anti-shake means this is almost a compact replacement. Photography snobs might scoff, but for Facebook pics and shots on a night out, this is the best phone going at the moment.
Vanilla Android is the order of the day here. It’s Eclair, Android 2.1, so FroYo’s delights, such as a Wi-Fi hotspot feature, remain MIA. That’s not of too much concern, as the core functionality is still stunning. And if you don’t like HTC Sense’s social networking focus, then it’s a boon.
It’s as pure an Android experience as you’ll find on the Nexus One, with Moto-specific apps thrown in. The Nav app is OK, but you’re better off plumping for Google Maps Navigation, which looks peachy on that lush screen. Android Market is here too, so scooching around for new add-ons couldn’t be easier. This is Android at its simplistic best.
Ease of use
The capacitive touchscreen here is every bit as good as that on the original Milestone. The virtual keyboard is great, thanks to Android 2.1 software making things much more stable than with previous iterations.
One concern we did have, however, was with the screen’s over responsiveness. At times it registers prods too easily and can feel a bit more slippery and less reassured than rivals such as the HTC Desire or iPhone 4. Multi-touch is great, but again can feel a tad unwieldy while browsing. Also, you’ll want to turn off the utterly infuriating haptic feedback.