xt720-23

Motorola Milestone XT720 Review

October 24, 2010 - Written By Chris Yackulic

Introduction

Today we take a look at the Motorola Milestone XT720 (Motoroi in Korea) that was released earlier in July of this year. It launched on a few smaller carriers in the United States and is now available in Canada on Wind Mobile.  This phone has a unique design and actually was a pleasant surprise.

Looks

In terms of looks the Motorola XT720 is actually a standard candy bar-styled Android smart phone. On the right-hand side it curves out with a small groove at the bottom, almost for gripping the phone.  The phone does feel, at first, a little awkward when you hold it compared to most rectangular shaped phones, but once you put it in the palm of your hand you’ll see that your inner palm rests nicely and that the phone naturally sits in your hand.  It comes with a very sharp smoked glass look at the top of the phone, with a chrome bezel around the sides.  It has a dark navy blue backing which is a hard plastic, and considering how nice the front of the phone is, it’s a little let down by the style in the rear. It should have been a little nicer but it’s definitely still sharp-looking.

The phone itself is 116 x 10 x 61 x 11 mm in size and is a little heavy, weighing in at 139 g.  It has a power button and as well a 3.5 mm jack, the top volume rocker on the side, and it also has a camera button at the bottom.  This actually works quite uniquely, and it has white lighting panels on the front that show you if you are in camera, video  or playback mode, which is a very nice feature.  On the front bezel part, touch buttons for home, settings, back, and search are  all seamlessly integrated into the beautiful smoked chrome finish.  The top has a USB port for charging and a mini-HDMI jack  for hooking up to video.  I must admit that I am very surprised how nice this phone actually looks. Pictures on the Internet or photographs don’t do it justice because of the smoked chrome finish, which is hard to capture. This is one of the sharpest-looking Motorola phones that I’ve seen in a long time.

Hardware

The phone is running an ARM Cortex A8 720 megahertz processor, which may not be technically on par with the 1 GHz processors that are in most high-end Android devices.  The processor does run all applications extremely smoothly and without hesitation, and is definitely not a drawback.  The Wi-Fi is a disappointing 802.11 b/g only.  And it only comes with 150 MB Storage, 250 MB of RAM on a 512 MB ROM.  As with most Android devices, it does come with a microSD slot and an 8 GB card included, which is expandable up to 32 GB.  Overall, you will not be disappointed with this phone.  It may be lacking some of the higher-end features, but not by much, and you definitely will not notice it in real-life use.

Screen

The screen is 480 x 854 pixels at 3.7 inches, and uses that TFT capacitive touchscreen with 16 million colors, with touch-sensitive navigation controls, multi-touch input method, and a UI auto-rotate sensor.  It may not be the highest specs screen display, but it actually gives off very vibrant colors and as well a sharp image, and is not straining on the eyes.

Battery

The battery is a standard lithium polymer (Li-Po) 1390 mAh, is rated for standby time of up to 200 hours and talk time of over 8 hours as well.  Of course these are the manufacturer specs which obviously in real world usage are lower. I found these batteries to be a little short in standby time but definitely on average with most smartphones that suck up a lot of juice because of the amount of usage put on the battery.

Operating System

This phone was released at a time where 2.1 Android operating system was the latest OS available and it does run very smoothly on the phone with no lag.  The latest Android operating system 2.2 (Froyo) is not available for this phone as of yet, but will hopefully see it in the near future.  That of course all depends on Motorola’s upgrade path for this particular model.

Software

When I turn on the XT720, I received a pleasant surprise. There was no Mototola Motoblur software running.  Motorola has been putting Motoblur software on almost all phones except for a few high-end devices in this past year.  I’m not a fan of the Motoblur software and may be OK for younger people or people who are really into social media and networking, but I find it to be leggy software that is just not needed.  So as I said I was pleasantly surprised to turn on this phone and see vanilla Android stock software running and no additional software to slow it down.

Applications

Because of this stock Android operating system with no Motoblur, it does not come with a lot of extra bells and whistles that are not needed; a pleasant surprise and in this day and age.  Other than the basic standard Android applications that are on all Android devices, there are not a lot of extra applications to talk about which I find very refreshing.  A lot of carriers and manufacturers these days are bloating phones and taking up valuable space on the phone with pre-installed applications that some users will never use.  I firmly believe that it is up to the user to decide what applications they want to be installed on their phone.  With the amazing amount of applications available on the Android market, you’ll have no shortage of fun and useful applications to put on this phone.

Keyboard

The keyboard on this phone is a touchscreen keyboard that is actually fairly accurate, and as I have said many times, this is something that Motorola does very well on all of their smartphones.  This is a very user-friendly and precise keyboard.

Camera and Video

Another pleasant surprise on the Motorola XT720 is it actually comes with an eight MP camera, and for a midlevel phone this is quite surprising. Even some high-end Android devices only come with 5MP, so this is a definite bonus on this phone. It takes pictures up to 3264 x 2448 pixels with an auto focus and a Xenon flash that is very bright.  It also records video at 720p, at 24 FPS.  The image quality of the pictures is very good and is a definite selling point on this phone.  It also has white indicator lights on the front when using the different modes, which is a nice feature and one of the first phones that I’ve seen to utilize it.  The phone also has HDMI port for TV out.

Call Quality

The call quality is average and obviously is dependent upon your carrier and the signal at you are getting.

Pros:

  • A  very sharp-looking phone
  • Excellent camera
  • Stock Android
  • No bloatware
  • HDMI

Cons:

  • Slower processor
  • Small amount of internal storage
  • Flimsy jack covers
  • 802.11 b/g only

Conclusions and Final thoughts:

When I first got this phone, I was not sure what to expect. The design of the phone in terms of shape definitely had me looking sideways at it.  Once I put it in the palm of my hand and saw how well it fit, how comfortable it was, I understood the unique design.  The smoked chrome glass finish with the embedded function touch buttons gives this phone a very high-quality look and finish to it.  I definitely recommend this phone to anyone looking for a new Android device.  It’s lacking a little bit of that extra power of some of the higher-end phones, but not enough of a difference that you are going to notice.

The one thing that I am actually disappointed in Motorola for about this device is not making this phone more widely available!  This device is certainly better than a lot of the Motorola devices that I have tested this year on the lower spectrum or midlevel.  So if you are in the market for a very good Android smartphone with nice fit and finish, the Motorola XT720 is for you.