My new digital companion.

Motorola Milestone XT720I decided already some months ago, that I wanted to switch to a new smartphone, even if I was more than satisfied with my good old HTC Touch Diamond that served me well for the last two years.

After having my Motorola Milestone XT720 (Motorola website) in heavy everyday use for quite some time, I really have to say that it was a very good decision to switch to an Android phone. I did some heavy research to choose the right phone for me and put a lot of effort into comparing quite a lot of smartphones recently.

In the end I had some points that were important for me. These points were:

  • possibility for syncronization of my contacts and calendar- large variety of apps to choose from at a low price
  • good display with a decent resolution
  • above standard built-in digital camera with a flash and autofocus
  • nice battery lifetime of the phone in standby and while phoneing
  • Good quality of the phone functionalities
  • compatibility of my cars bluetooth hands-free equipment
  • tethering support for surfing in trains and hotels
  • nice and unusual design

These were the main points and I had to search quite some time to find a fitting phone for me. I checked all possibilities and first didn’t target on a specific OS but in the end (after quite some testing on actual phones) decided to focus on the Android OS from Google. Most of the phones disqualified because of only offering a digital camera without a flash. Others featured a poor battery life. Also the price was another point in the list as I wasn’t willing to spend more than 400.- EUR for the phone without a bundled contract.

Finally I found the Motorola Milestone XT720 to be the best possible choice for my needs and … with some luck … got it for only 300.- EUR including shipping for a brand new one.

While waiting for the phone to arrive I already set up the sync of my outlook calendars with the Google Calendar and split my contacts in business and private contacts to sync them properly to Google Mail. I set up all the necessary accounts in advance, backed up all my old data from my previous Windows Mobile phone and made a list of Apps to get from the Android Market to fullfill my every needs.

The XT720 arrived at early Saturday morning and I was able to sync my stuff and set up the phone and even test the phone before my girlfriend got up that day which was a good thing as we didn’t loose too much of our precious common time.

One thing that is a bit sad is the fact that Motorola decided not to offer an update to Android 2.2 Froyo for the XT720, but this wasn’t a showstopper for me either as there will surely be custom ROMs available at some point. And even if there won’t be any update for the XT720, the 2.1 version of the Android OS covers all needs and there aren’t any applications specifically designed for 2.2 or even 2.3 at the moment.

One thing I really like about the XT720 is the quality feeling you get. The gorilla glas protection of the screen really makes screenprotectors unnecessary. Also the stainless steel surrounding, the stylish blue satinated backside and the overall build quality of the phone plus the unusual camera button area give the smartphone a very good design feeling.

The camera itself is better than anything I’ve seen and tested on other mobile phones. It features 8 MPixel with autofocus and a flashlight for low light situations. The camera sometimes has it’s problems on chosing the focus right and it needs some experience to handle it correctly. Overall I’m satisfied with the digital camera and the 720p video recordings are quite nice either.

Fitting my needs on the new phone I got some nice widgets for the homescreen and some apps that serve me very well already. These are:

  • Facebook for Android: Controlling most of the functions of Facebook comfortably on the Android. Sadly lacks the chat function, but on the other hand the Facebook chat is not the most stable one either.
  • Spark 360: A client to access and manage your Xbox Live account including friends, achievements, messages and so on.
  • Twitter: A full featured twitter client that helps keeping track of the people you follow and nicely post the short messages.
  • Skype for Android: You know what this does! 😉
  • AndroIRC: A nice IRC client already configured to automatically connect to my IRC bouncer and open all the necessary channels
  • KeePassDroid: For managing my account data (I only keep a frequent copy on my phone. Main file is on my desktop)
  • AndExplorer: A useful file explorer to move, copy, whatever files between directories
  • SystemPanel: Ending unnecessary tasks and getting a fast system overview

All other needs are almost perfectly satisfied by the standard clients like the calendar (synced with my Outlook calendar and the Facebook events), mail clients (for Gmail an my other mail accounts), browser (the buildin one is quite fine), youtube (very nice standard client), google maps (and the beta including maps navigation), contacts (synced with my contacts at Gmail) and the simple but effective notepad app.

Overall conclusion: A very nice and recommendable smartphone which is great fun to use, explore and enjoy! If you want to know more, just mail me or come over for a latte macchiato!