Style and handling summary for Motorola Milestone XT720 review
The Milestone Milestone XT720 is a hefty phone in both size and weight, with a ridged back that accommodates the Xenon flash.
User friendliness summary for Motorola Milestone XT720 review
The capacitive touch-screen is sometimes over-responsive, leading to launching apps unintentionally, and the QWERTY keyboard requires careful handling.
Feature set summary for Motorola Milestone XT720 review
The features on the Motorola Milestone XT720 are impressive and include HSDPA and Wi-Fi internet speeds, A-GPS, a capacitive touch-screen and the star feature: an eight-megapixel camera with Xenon flash.
Performance summary for Motorola Milestone XT720 review
The unpowered processor means you get delays in launching applications.
Battery power summary for Motorola Milestone XT720 review
The battery power is good considering all the features on the Motorola Milestone XT720 : up to 540 minutes of talktime.
Full Review and Specification for the Motorola Milestone XT720
Motorola had a bit of a low period for a while, following up the massive success of the iconic RAZR with a period of absence punctuated by the occasional odd concept phone like the Aura. But since the release of the Dext last year the manufacturer appears to be on the up and up. The Milestone XT720, the second phone in the Milestone range, is powered by Android 2.1 and looks to be another success.
Style and handling on the Motorola Milestone XT720
The Motorola Milestone XT720 is a chunky, heavy handset that weighs a hefty 160 grams. The 3.7-inch screen is great but set in a wide border; we can't help thinking that either the screen could have been bigger or the phone smaller. Like many touch-screens it's a fingerprint magnet, but it does seem worse than usual. Below the screen sit four touch keys for menu, home, back and quick search.
The back of the phone is navy blue, which sounds odd but actually looks great against the metallic front. This is where you'll find the XT720's killer app: its eight-megapixel camera with Xenon flash. More on the camera later, but the flash and (unprotected) lens are on a slight ridge that makes the phone even fatter. It needs the bulk to accommodate that flash, of course, but some users may be put off by it.
Touch-screen on the Motorola Milestone XT720
The Motorola Milestone XT720 is a capacitive screen, which is better than the resistive kind, although in this case the screen is almost too responsive. We kept accidently hitting an icon twice, or brushing past one and launching up an app we hadn't wanted to.
Whereas the original Milestone had a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, the XT720 relies on an on-screen virtual one, with a haptic response so you know your key press has been recognised. It works in both portrait and landscape view - the latter is larger, obviously - although the accelerometer takes a few moments to register when you change from one to the other.
A new feature Google is introducing is a Voice Input key, located on the keyboard next to the space bar. This enables you to dictate your messages instead of typing them and it works well, except for unusual names. And dictating email addresses takes far longer than simply typing them into the address bar.
Shortcuts and widgets on the Motorola Milestone XT720
The Milestone XT720 has five home screens, all of which are customisable. The main screen can be reached from anywhere simply by pressing the home key below the screen.
No social networking apps have been preloaded, which seems odd, so you have the option to go via the browser or download the apps from Android Market. It's free to download both Twitter and Facebook and a far easier option than using the browser.
YouTube is preloaded on the phone, though, and if you drag it to a home screen it will update regularly with recommended videos. Playback quality is variable: clips take a few seconds to load and if you don't play them in high quality are grainy and small. But select the HQ button and everything changes: the videos are larger and the quality very good indeed.
We're always pleased to see a 3.5mm audio port for plugging in your headphones, and the speaker is also pretty good, and loud enough to bother fellow passengers on public transport.
Internet on the Motorola Milestone XT720
Internet is a speedy business on the XT720. If your network is up to it, you will get HSDPA data speeds of up to 1.2Mbps, and there's also Wi-Fi.
Thanks to the Android 2.1 OS you also have multi-touch, the pinch-and-pull method of zooming pioneered by Apple. Having experienced this on other Android phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S, where it was slick and intuitive, we expected great things from it here. Unfortunately this wasn't the case, as text and pictures take a couple of seconds to change size.
Processor on the Motorola Milestone XT720
This is not the only slow thing about the Milestone XT720. The ARM Cortex A8 720MHz processor is fast, but doesn't come anywhere near the speeds achieved by the Galaxy S, HTC Desire or iPhone 4.
Even that eight-megapixel camera is slow to launch, with a delay of about four seconds between pushing the perfectly positioned dedicated camera launch key and the camera firing up, by which time that spontaneous shot you wanted to capture will be well gone. There's also a delay when you actually take the photo, so don't move as soon as you've pressed the button.
Camera on the Motorola Milestone XT720
But despite the delays, the camera on the Milestone gives great results for but still and video photography. Quite apart from the eight-megapixel resolution, the Xenon flash makes all the difference. Even the pictures that we took in complete dark came out clear and detailed. A plethora of settings are on board to help you along including multi shot, face detection, red-eye reduction and camera shake prevention. Even the most amateurish of snappers can get good-quality pics from it.
Video is also superb, enabling you to shoot over four and a half hours of high-definition footage in on go. Perfect for budding filmmakers. You also get a HDMI cable boxed in, which means you can watch your footage back over HDTV, and a button next to the camera key gives you access to your gallery.
Sat nav on the Motorola Milestone XT720
For navigation you have Motonav, Motorola's proprietary mapping service. It gave us a quick and accurate location fix, and the 3D maps and clear voice instructions make everything clear and easy to understand. Sometimes our positioned jumped instead of moving smoothly, but other than that it worked well, and plenty of users are likely to take up the paid service once the free trial has expired. If no, Google Maps provides a reliable and familiar alternative.
The verdict on the Motorola Milestone XT720
The Motorola Milestone XT720 is great in theory, ticking all the boxes for a good and reliable all rounder. However, it is big and heavy with a processor that can't handle the feature set, meaning you are prone to delays. It's a good device with a fantastic camera - it just may not compete against similarly priced, and better, competitors.