Maybe try to play the "teeter" game, its pretty addictive really and uses the accelerometer exclusively. Also i didnt see any reference to the d-pad having a touch sensor. You can spin your thumb around the d-pad circle and zoom in and out in web pages and pictures.
Mine sometimes doesn't register moving it sideways either (I'm the advocate for my store). I found that if you are zoomed in on a page it will not move to landscape. You have to zoom back out and then turn the phone and it will normally register the flip fine.
Mine usually would flip to landscape mode on 90% of the web pages and applications. I did have to go into settings and set it to "mobile view" and that resolved most of the landscape versus portrait settings. I found the phone to be very responsive. But, I took it back.