Motorola Milestone XT720 (unlocked) review: Motorola Milestone XT720 (unlocked)

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The Good The Motorola Milestone XT720 features a sleek design and an 8-megapixel camera with HD video capture. The Android 2.1 device also offers the full gamut of wireless options.

The Bad The Milestone is sluggish at times. The camera has shutter lag, and picture quality could be better.

The Bottom Line The Motorola Milestone XT720 is a full-featured and sleek Android smartphone, but it's rather underwhelming in the performance department.

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8.0 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8

The Motorola Milestone XT720 is the next-gen model of the original Milestone--the GSM version of the Motorola Droid. This time around, Moto ditched the slide-out keyboard to give the XT720 a sleeker design, and made other improvements, such as an upgraded 8-megapixel camera and HD video recording. Yet despite being well-stocked in the features department, the Milestone doesn't quite have the horsepower of some of the latest Android devices, so if you need power, you'll be better off with something like the Motorola Droid X.

For our review, we took a look at the unlocked version of the Motorola Milestone XT720 ($460) provided to us by eXpansys USA, but recently Cincinnati Bell announced it will also offer the XT720 for $199.99.

The Motorola Milestone XT720 is a sleek but slightly odd-looking smartphone. The handset measures 4.53 inches tall by 2.39 inches wide by 0.43 inch thick and weighs 5.6 ounces, and like many other touch-screen devices, it has a slate design. However, there's a slight bump on the right side--where the LED lights for the media gallery and camera/camcorder notifications are housed--that gives the handset a unique shape. We didn't particularly care for it, preferring a more streamlined design, but it didn't hinder our use of the phone either.

The Milestone is a sleek device, but it has a strange bump on the right side.

On front, you get a 3.7-inch, WVGA (480x854 pixels) capacitive touch screen that's beautifully crisp and clear. Text is easy to read, and viewing images and Web pages look sharp. The display also offers pinch-to-zoom support and a built-in accelerometer, both of which are quick and responsive, so if you want to increase the viewing size, you can easily do so.

Overall, we had no problems with the touch screen. It registered all our touches, and we were happy to see the phone running the stock Android skin over Motoblur since it presents a cleaner interface. That said, we had issues with the keyboard. Unlike the original Milestone, the XT720 doesn't have a physical keyboard, so you only have the option of the stock Android keyboard. It was particularly cramped in portrait mode, but even in landscape mode, we had numerous mispresses and errors, so you might want to explore the Android Market for a better keyboard.

We should also note that the phone comes with an app called My Sign, where you draw gestures to launch certain apps. For example, drawing a W will toggle Wi-Fi, whereas drawing a V will call voice mail. There are preloaded gestures, but you can create your own as well. However, you can't simply make these gestures on the home screen; you have to actually open My Sign first and use the designated drawing area, so it didn't save any time.

Below the screen are the standard Android buttons: menu, home, back, and search. They're touch sensitive but provide haptic feedback so you'll feel a slight vibration when you touch them. There are some physical buttons on the phone, including a volume rocker, a camera activation/capture button, and a media gallery launcher on the right side. The top of the device features a power/lock key, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and an HDMI port; there's a Micro-USB port on the left. The camera and Xenon flash are located on the back, which also features a soft-touch finish in an attractive midnight blue color.

On back, you'll find the Milestone's 8-megapixel camera and Xenon flash.

The Motorola Milestone comes packaged with a travel charger, a USB cable, an HDMI cable, a wired stereo headset, and reference material. Since the phone was designed for international markets, the charger doesn't fit U.S. outlets, so you'll need to get an adapter or find a charger with a Micro-USB connector. For more add-ons, please check our cell phone accessories, ringtones, and help page.

The Motorola Milestone XT720 ships running Android 2.1, so you're getting the usual Android staples such as Gmail, Google Talk, Google Maps Navigation, a dedicated YouTube app, and QuickOffice. The Milestone is said to be getting an Android 2.2 update, but a release date has not yet been announced. When the update is rolled out, however, you can expect features like Flash 10.1 support and voice dialing over Bluetooth, as well as some of these hidden features.

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