Cincinnati Bell Motorola XT720 Android Smartphone Review and Video

Motorola's XT720 (known as the Milestone XT720 abroad) has arrived at Cincinnati Bell but nowhere else in the US yet.  Phandroid brings a full review and unboxing video.  Here's some of the highlights from Quentyn Kennemer's piece, and you can also follow the link for his full report.  One thing to ask as you look over these specs: is this phone fighting above its weight class?

First, here's what you get in the box.

I like that Motorola included a couple of goodies that didn't come with its showcase DroidX: the hard-to-find micro-HDMI cable (which Verizon is happy to sell you for $30), and earbud headphones with a small microphone on the wire.

The phone itself feels solid and serious, not a piece of plastic junk.  Important hardware is similar to the Milestone XT720's power, except the TI OMAP 3440 processor is now clocked at a faster 720 MHz.  (The Milestone XT720 originally clocked in at 550 MHz but Motorola is now claiming it can run "up to 720 MHz").  The screen is a 3.7 inch thin film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT LCD), at a resolution of 854—480.  It has 256 MB of RAM and 512 MB of ROM, just like its worldly cousins.

Cincy's exclusive (in the USA, for now) smartphone boasts an 8 megapixel camera coupled with a xenon flash.  Most of the other Power Smartphones out there use an LED flash.  Video is at an impressive 720p resolution.  Kennemer loves that xenon flash and says it's superb in low-light conditions (photos below).  Surpassing its 1 GHz competitors (DROID X, DROID 2, you listening?) it has some extra camera indicators and buttons along its edges.

Alas, he could not get that HDMI cable to work with his Samsung HDTV.  Many are reporting similar problems, after going through great pains to locate the cable in the first place.  The issue is the cable's Type D connection simply doesn't work with some older (2008!) HDTVs.

Here's Kennemer's hardware video:

Audio quality is good and loud.  Battery life is acceptable and can get through a whole day, given how notorious smartphones are at sucking away charge.

Software is interesting.  Instead of MOTOBLUR, the XT720 comes with something that looks like it.  No MOTOBLUR widgets or services, so pretty close to stock Android.  There are a few non-Google apps thrown in (that you cannot remove).

Here's his take on the software included with the phone:

And as far as Kennemer is concerned, the XT720 can replace your point and shoot camera.  Here's a closeup in daylight using the xenon flash:

And here's one shot in complete darkness

Outdoor pictures look fine too.  You can see larger versions of these images by clicking them (takes you to Phandroid site).

Alas, the video doesn't come close to comparing.  Here's some video Kennemer shot moving from daylight to interior light.  He thinks the DROID 2 and DROID X handle video better than the XT720.  It is possible the video quality is suffering due to the type of SD card installed: the phone has a Class 2 SD card with 8 GB of storage.  He recommends you replace it with Class 6, which is optimized for HD video.  (In fact, the DROID X is stocked with Class 6 microSDHC cards per Motorola.  The DROID 2 doesn't specify speed class.)

And I'll share his  conclusion:

I'm not sure if it would be accurate to call this a milestone for Motorola, in reference to the header of this conclusion, but it's certainly a Milestone for Cincinnati Bell. While they've enjoyed great success with their first Android-powered handset - the Blaze - the Milestone XT720 trumps it in every imaginable way and can definitely hold its own up against the more capable offerings of some of the bigger carriers out there. Everything from the camera with the amazing Xenon flash and build quality of the overall hardware down to the nimble feeling you get with the not-so-bloated software makes the XT720 a device worth checking out if you live in Ohio and can take advantage of Cincinnati Bell's network. Unfortunately, video on this device failed to impress as the outcome was equivalent to watching a dirty old VHS, but I can't confirm if that was just a problem with this particular unit or if it's an issue across the board. Even with that, I wouldn't be hesitant to buy this device - especially if you fancy their deep selection of affordable rate plans - and I could see myself carrying it for a long time without a desire to dump it.

Full review at Phandroid.

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