Motorola XT720 Review : Android comes with Xenon

Most Android phones in the market today suffer from lack of a powerful camera resulting in many wannabe Android buyers deciding to look elsewhere. Motorola aims to change just that with its Milestone XT720 sporting a 8 MP camera with Xenon flash & potentially a perfect camera-mobile for Android fans. We review the XT720 to find out whether it lives up to its potential.

Design:
The XT720 design has an industrial feel to it mainly due to the choice of materials used & the absence of rounded edges. And then there's the odd protrusion at the bottom which makes it more wider at the bottom than it is at the top. The protrusion has space for three lights, which alert you to the camera option you are currently in: Gallery, Camera or Camcorder. The design makes is slightly difficult to reach across the screen one-handed. The build quality of the XT720 is excellent though and the phone is built to last.

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We compare the XT720 below with the Samsung Galaxy S & iPhone 4 from a side-on view:
(Left to Right: Samsung Galaxy S, iPhone 4, Motorola XT720)

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We also see below how the 3 phones look from a rear view:
(Left to Right: iPhone 4, Samsung Galaxy S, Motorola XT720)

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Hardware:
The XT720 has a 550Mhz processor (which has been recently hiked to 720Mhz thanks to a firmware upgrade) coupled with 256MB RAM. On paper this may sound too little considering the faster CPU & higher RAM found on the competition but we are happy to report that we experienced no lags whatsoever while using the phone with a reasonable number of apps running in the background.

Display :
The XT720 has a gorgeous 3.7 inch TFT screen with a resolution of 480x854 pixels. The text was crystal clear without any blurring around the edges of icons or text. The display also had wonderful contrast & overall we were very pleased with the display of the XT720.  The capacitive display has great response. In fact we found the display slightly on the over-sensitive side due to which we ended up accidentally clicking the border icons quite often while handling the phone.

Should the XT720 have had a Super AMOLED display which would have made it more legible in sunlight? We compare the displays of the Samsung Galaxy S & Motorola XT720 side by side.

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We also see below how the Retina display of iPhone 4 compares with the XT720 display:

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Android 2.1 without MotoBlur
The XT720 does not run MotoBlur, Motorola’s proprietary Android skin and as such the phone runs a raw version of Android 2.1. We hope that the XT720 will be upgraded to Android 2.2 in the near future.
There are 5 fully customisable home screens which you can scroll between by swiping left or right. Addition menu options can be revealed by opening the full menu by dragging an arrow located at the bottom of the screen.
The rest of the phone’s interface has the standard Android 2.1 user interface
Camera
The 8 MP camera is pretty impressive offering you plenty of features such as face detection, image stabilisation, ability to manually set the ISO, multi-shot mode and a series of scene modes like macro and portrait. The touch to focus feature is very easy to use too. We were able to get the XT720's camera to focus on objects that were pretty close to the lens, making for some impressive close-up shots.
The xenon flash is bright too, and did a reasonable job of lighting up our images. All in all, we were impressed with this camera, and the quality of shots it produced. We are certainly comfortable saying that it's the best camera we have ever seen on an Android smartphone.
Video capture though suffers from a few occasional jerks. Overall we were happy with the videos we shot but video recording is certainly not in the same class as the still camera.
HDMI
Besides the 8MP camera with xenon flash, the XT720 has one more  selling point. That’s a HDMI output which can be used to display your phone screen on a HDMI compatible TV. It worked flawlessly in our tests.
GPS
In India the XT720 comes preloaded with lifetime free access to voice-guided MapMyIndia maps of 401+ cities. Its easily one of the best navigation systems to use in India.
Battery Life
In real life, the XT720 lasted easily for a day with heavy use. Expecting anything more may leave you disappointed.
Verdict:
The Motorola XT720 currently retails for around Rs.27000 in India which is roughly the same price as the Samsung Galaxy S & the HTC Desire. We believe that the XT720 needs a little price correction to make it more attractive in the market. Nevertheless, the XT720 has the best camera amongst all the Android smartphones, so if you are looking for a powerful camera on your Android phone, then the Motorola XT720 is a very good buy indeed.
We thank Motorola India for making this handset available to us for review.

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