Motorola’s Milestone XT720 smartphone is powered by Android 2.1 and has an 8.0 mega pixel camera. The phone is the latest version of Motorola’s Milestone series in India and comes with Xenon flash, which makes it the first Android smartphone with this feature.
The device because of its form factor might give a false impression of being a slider, but it is not. It is a bar phone with a 3.7 inch touchscreen.
The previous Milestone, however, has a sliding Qwerty keyboard and it would have been less confusing had Motorola continued with a touchscreen and Qwerty keyboard in its Milestone series. In fact, Milestone 2, the next in line, is also a slider.
Another advantage to having a keyboard is that some users are more comfortable typing on a keyboard than they are typing on a screen.
Bulky yet elegant
The XT720 looks stylish with its elegant design and silvery finish, but feels quite bulky at 160 grams, especially if you compare it to smartphones such as Samsung Galaxy S or HTC Desire. The previous Milestone, however, is even bulkier than this device.
The front panel of Milestone XT720 has a 3.7 inch TFT screen which offers WVGA resolution of 480 x 854 pixels and a mirrored finish. The touchscreen provides a quick and easy interface, and is an absolute delight to work on. One can also zoom into and out of any part of the screen by pinching it.
Above the screen is a proximity sensor that switches off the display as soon as the phone is brought close to the ear. Below the screen there are four touch buttons for menu, home, back and search. And on the right of the screen are three flash LEDs which light up while the gallery, camera or camcorder is being used.
On the right panel there are volume controls that double up as the camera’s zoom keys. The panel also has a button that can be used to view the gallery, and another one to click pictures or make videos. These controls add to usability as one does not need to go to the menu each time one wants to view pictures or click photos.
The left panel of the phone does not have much except for a USB and charging port. While the bottom of the Motorola Milestone XT720 is entirely free of slots.
The power key, 3.5 mm jack and HDMI port are located at the top of the device and the HDMI port can be used to connect the phone with a TV.
The phone’s back, which is black slate coloured, features an overwhelming 8.0 mega pixel camera with auto focus and Xenon flash. The 8 GB microSD card and SIM card are placed under the battery cover.
Smooth as silk interface
A smartphone with Android 2.1 OS, a 3.7 inch highly intuitive touchscreen and an ARM Cortex A8 processor clocked at 720 MHz should not fail to impress you with its interface. We tried running three-four applications at a time and didn’t encounter any problem.
The home screen has five panels which can be customised according to one’s needs and priorities. The panels can be changed by scrolling horizontally. Pressing the home key for long brings up the six applications that were accessed last.
The screen shows a Qwerty keyboard that can be used for typing either in portrait or in landscape mode. However, we prefer using it in landscape layout as the keys are very close to each other in portrait mode, making it difficult to type without making mistakes. The predictive text function within the messaging app is very useful in this case.
Motorola XT720 enables contact integration with Google with great ease and most contacts get synced as soon as one logs in. However, the same cannot be said for phonebook integration. The phone fails to move all contacts from the SIM automatically onto the phone, leaving the user to fix this manually. However, it does offer a great social networking experience.
Connectivity and applications
The smartphone supports 3G, Bluetooth with A2DP, WiFi, USB and HDMI connectivity. It comes with several pre-loaded applications and the rest can easily be downloaded from the Android Market.
We particularly liked the My Sign! app. It allows the user to associate hand drawn symbols with the most common activities one performs on the phone such as calling, texting and emailing etc.
The phone also features apps such as corporate calendar and directory, Google Maps and navigation, media share, Quick Office, video editor and Facebook etc.
Motorola XT720 has a built in GPS receiver with support for A-GPS (assisted GPS), which is excellent for navigation.
Motorola XT720 is an excellent buy for people who think that a good camera is an important feature in a smartphone. The previous Motorola Milestone device had a dual LED flash with a 5.0 mega pixel camera. The phone’s Xenon flash allows users to take good quality pictures even in the dark and we can definitely vouch for that!
Once the phone is in capture mode, touching the screen brings up options for settings. The user can choose among modes such as portrait, landscape, sport, night and sunset etc. It is also possible to turn the flash on or off, control brightness, change from camera to camcorder mode or vice versa and view the gallery in which pictures are saved.
The phone has features such as a face detector, image stabiliser, ISO settings and panaroma etc. However, one can only access these features via the settings menu.
Using the Motorola Milestone XT720, it is possible to tag and geo tag one’s pictures or directly share them with one’s friends via Bluetooth, Facebook, and Picasa etc.
The good part about this phone is that it comes with an 8 GB microSD card, which we think is sufficient for a normal user. Internal memory, however, is limited.
The music player makes it possible to sort songs by categories such as artist and album. It is also possible to create one’s own playlists. We created some and found it quite easy and fun.
The phone comes with a 3.5 mm audio jack. And we found that the phone’s FM radio had rather poor reception.
Another thing that we do not like about the phone is its low battery backup. Despite being completely charged, the phone’s battery gets discharged very soon.
The Motorola Milestone XT720 is a pretty decent device. It is a great combination of stylish looks, smooth interface and good performance.
Priced at close to Rs 27, 500, the retail pack bundles a wired headset, USB cable and charger, HDMI cable and an 8 GB microSD card.