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First Look at Motorola MILESTONE XT720
Is it even possible to begin one's weekend without any thoughts and ideas about the new "robot?" In my opinion, it's not; hence I suggest that you join the discussion of Motorola's new "milestone" – the Milestone XT720 smartphone, i.e. "eXTended." It sports both metal and matte soft-touch plastic, glass screen coating and unusual shape, 3.5-mm and HDMI connectors, as well as an 8-megapixel camera with HD motion video capture and xenon flash. And all that is powered by Android 2.1.
Motorola Milestone XT720 – there's so much depth behind the cumbersome name! To be serious, having got my hands on the model, I am impressed and willing to tell you why in brief.
Immediately after its announcement as the handset for SK Telecom in South Korea the rumors started circulating on the web if the European version will become available in the future. Motorola XT720, which is the carbon copy of MOTOROI was announced on June 7 in the UK and will be available on numerous markets.
In this article I would like to speak about my initial impressions, explain certain details and particular features of the model. Motorola Milestone XT720 – there's so much depth behind the cumbersome name! To be serious, having got my hands on the model, I am impressed and willing to tell you why in brief.
Design and materials
The smartphone undoubtedly boasts original looks. It is asymmetrical with the small protrusion in the right bottom part, which produces a particular impression of XT720. The materials are sheer Motorola style – the front panel is covered with a protective glass, back cover and sides made of metal finished with the special layer producing the impression of soft touch plastic. On one hand the smartphone's body feels great, but on the other hand this approach has already been used in Motorola RAZR2 V8 and there were some complaints as to this layer, which wore off easily on the battery cover. Only time will tell if it will be the case with XT720.
In terms of the size XT720 is comparable with Sony Ericsson X10, HTC HD2 and HTC Desire. When you hold it in hand this model feels more like SE X10 and HTC HD2 and produces an impression of bigger size. One prominent feature of XT720 is its slimness of 11 mm.
My impressions from the design and body materials are absolutely positive. Despite the irregular shape and the possible issues with the back cover layer. The design of Motorola XT720 for no apparent reason reminds me of the good old days when Motorola was at its best with such models as RAZR V3.
The built of my engineering prototype was above any criticism with all parts tight fitting without any loose elements. The battery cover is fixed well.
There are some questions here. Motorola XT720 has only four keys under the screen and they are all sensor ones. There is no navigation key as well as call and end buttons, which I view as significant disadvantages. HTC at least uses the navigation element - trackball, optic trackball, etc. We do not have such an option here.
On the other hand XT720 has convenient volume control buttons and the buttons responsible for switching the handset on, activating the screen, working with the camera and going to the gallery. Moreover, near the latter two buttons situated on the protruded part, responsible for asymmetrical shape, you can find indication panel for camera modes. It features three icons, one of which is backlit if you choose: camera mode, video recording or gallery view.
XT720 has the screen with characteristics identical to the first MILESTONE model. It is a 3.7" TFT capacitive screen with FWVGA (480x854) resolution. In terms of picture quality and color reproduction Motorola TFT screens are slightly inferior to AMOLED displays from HTC and will be far behind Samsung Galaxy S, especially as to the performance in the sun.
In general the screen of XT720 is good and contemporary. It provides fair readability, high definition of images, powerful brightness and maximum viewing angles. It has protective glass, which makes it impossible to scratch the screen with the keys or other sharp objects.
One of XT720 main selling points is an 8 MP camera with Xenon Flash, followed by HD (1280x720) video recording feature. As far as the camera is concerned, it works fast, has plenty of setup options, including macro and image stabilizer. I will not evaluate this element judging by the engineering prototype, but would like to mention a couple of things. First, MILESTONE XT720 has a user friendly camera interface. It is intuitive without excessive controls.
Second, this smartphone features hardware buttons for camera and gallery alongside the abovementioned indicators. Frequent users of the phone's camera will find these elements useful. Third, XT720 boasts a Xenon Flash, which is can be quite rarely seen in mobile phones, for the first time used on an Android smartphone.
Just in case, I will offer several pictures taken by the engineering prototype of Motorola MILESTONE XT720. The quality may be different in the final version of the phone.
The handset works under Android 2.1. and the company promises to release an update to 2.2 (Froyo) soon after the model hits the shelves. In the engineering prototype I noticed little additional software and add-ons: slightly altered menu, home screens, software list activation button and several proprietary utilities.
Small notice: all screenshots were made by a camera. Those who know how to make Android screenshots with the help of hardware will hopefully understand why I used the camera for this quick series of pictures.
The model will have little additional software and proprietary add-ons. Some may view it as a downside, but it is not critical. On the other hand unlike the MILESTONE XT720 will not take too long for localize and fine tune the software and the model should become available in time. Motorola will not postpone this model to finalize the shell or anything similar.
XT720 uses ARM Cortex A8 with 720 GHz, which surpasses the first MILESTONE model. It offers 512 MB of storage and an 8 GB card in the box to store different data. We should not expect XT720 to provide better productivity than the MILESTONE, but everything is quite decent here. Definitely the synthetic tests may show difference between this model and the MILESTONE or HTC Desire, but the overall performance of all new Android flagships is comparable and what matters the most, they offer comfortable everyday use.
The handset has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS, which are standard features for any present day Android smartphone. At the same time this model has HDMI jack, which is not easily found elsewhere.
MILESTONE XT720 will be available to buy around August or September and will be priced closely to HTC Desire and Sony Ericsson X10.
The first impressions of the smartphone are exceptionally positive; it's a good old Motorola, the company's touch and style can be seen practically in any detail, from the hardware keys and case materials to design and screen wallpaper selection. Android market is not vast yet and is just starting to grow, so it is nice to see that the major manufacturers come up with solid products and not just expand their portfolio. Motorola XT720 is a good example of this trend. This smartphone has its unique design, commendable features and its distinctions in the form of camera add-ons, is offered in metal body and at a reasonable price. Moto?
Published 15 June 2010
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