Motorola Milestone XT720 review

Full review: Android touting Milestone successor

Image 1 of 3 Motorola Milestone XT720 video
Motorola Milestone XT720 video
Image 2 of 3 Motorola Milestone XT720 back
Motorola Milestone XT720 back
Image 3 of 3 Motorola Milestone XT720 main
Motorola Milestone XT720 main

The Milestone impressed us, can its successor compete with the HTC Desire and iPhone 4?

Along with the Motorola Dext, last year’s Motorola Milestone heralded the rejuvination of the Motorola mobile brand. The handset was well-liked for its snazzy design and excellent 3.7 in screen which was sharp and high-resolution. But the flattish keyboard was less successful. So the new model ditches the solid keyboard, for a highly usable virtual keyboard, making the new Milestone even sleeker.

There’s a gleaming metal-edged front and pleasantly tactile rubbery back and it’s noticeably slimmer than the first Milestone.

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The new design isn’t entirely successful, mind, thanks to a wonky bump at the bottom corner. This seems to be largely to accommodate three little lights to show what mode the camera is in (stills, video or playback) but it is a little odd. Apparently it’s meant to make the phone feel more like a camera. Hmm.

The 3.7-inch high-resolution touchscreen is unchanged and prettty good - bright, sharp and inviting – though not up to the iPhone’s standard. Though the glass screen is certainly pretty reflective, which doesn’t help when taking pictures on a sunny day on the built-in camera.

Motorola Milestone XT720: Performance

The Android operating system varies between handsets, even within versions. This phone uses 2.1 (Eclair) though it lacks MotoBlur, the social networking flavour found in some Motorola phones. This is more or less vanilla Android though there are some neater-looking icons and Moto’s trademark blood-red highlighter colour.

Although it’s not exactly sluggish (apart when you're doing lots of things at the same time), the Milestone X720 is never super-speedy, so it’s no surprise when you discover the processor powering the XT720 isn’t as fast as rivals toting the Qualcomm Snapdragon 1GHz chip like the HTC Desire. This one can only manage 550MHz, which is disappointing.

The browser is standard Google far, so swift and efficient.

Motorola Milestone X720: Multimedia

The camera has been beefed up, with an 8-megapixel resolution, Xenon flash and mechanical shutter. This last is meant to speed up the responsiveness of the camera and to eliminate shutter lag. It is faster than some cameraphones, but the shutter is only part of a camera’s workings. Focusing takes time, too, so there is still some delay between pressing the button and the shot being taken. The photos it takes are pretty good though, slightly better than the Apple iPhone 4.

The 720 in the phone’s name refers to the fact that this phone shoots video at high-resolution (720p) and there’s even an HDMI connector so you can play this back on a suitable TV. Video quality is good, though perhaps not quite as strong as on the similarly-specced iPhone 4.

Equipped with MotoNav software. Android 2.1 means voice-to-text conversion in search boxes and navigation for instance

Like many smartphones you’ll be topping this up every day, although the Milestone XT720 doesn’t seem to drain the battery as quickly.

Surpassing its sibling, it’s certainly a good-looking phone that’s enjoyable to use, and has all the benefits of Android’s slick system and huge apps market. That corner bulge takes getting used to and if you don't mind the processor being less powered than rivals, this is a slim, efficient smartphone with excellent camera credentials.

The Motorola Milestone XT720 is out now, find out more from Motorola

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SPECIFICATIONS

OS: Android 2.1
Processor: 550 MHz
Storage: 150MB, microSD up to 32GB
Screen: TFT capacitive touchscreen, 3.7ins, 480x854
Connectivity: Wi-fi b/g, Bluetooth 2.1, HSDPA 10.2Mbps, aGPS, 3.5mm
Camera: 8Mp, autofocus, Xenon flash, mechanical shutter
Video: 720p @24fps
3G Talk time: 9 hours
Web browsing time: not quoted
Dimensions: 116x61x11mm
Weight: 160g

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