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Motorola DEFY Review

on January 25, 2011 – 8:47 pm27 Comments

Here is the FoneArena Motorola Defy review – a rugged Android phone which is available for purchase in UK, USA and hitting India soon.The phone drew plenty of attention worldwide because it’s not only rugged but also smart !

The DEFY is a rugged smartphone. It is marketed as a complete smartphone solution for social savvy people with the added bonus of being dustproof, scratch-resistant and splash-resistant. Motorola calls it the lifeproof phone. I don’t disagree.

The DEFY is a rare breed in smartphones. Not only is it a smartphone, it is also capable of withstanding the daily abuse that life throws at it – and it does so stylishly.

When I first heard of the Defy, I expected to be greeted with a smartphone equivalent of a Panasonic Toughbook laptop, but no – the Defy looks like any normal smartphone. It is even smaller than my Nokia N8! It won’t take any design awards home as far as physical aesthetics is concerned, but it isn’t something you would be embarrassed to own. In fact it looks rather cute!

The Motorola DEFY comes in an eye catching compact box. Inside you will find the DEFY, a large 1540mAh battery, microUSB cable, 2GB microSDHC card, headphones and USB wall charger.

As a rugged smartphone, the DEFY is surprisingly small and light. It looks nothing like most rugged phones I have ever laid my eyes on. Hat tip to Motorola engineers for creating a rugged smartphone that not only looks normal but in fact stylish even.

The capacitive touchscreen is incredibly sharp. The DEFY packs a 3.7″ LCD with a resolution of 480×854, and is covered by a Gorilla Glass ensuring that it is as scratch-resistant. Multi touch is supported. Colour rendition is accurate and not oversaturated as you would normally find on an OLED screen. Contrast could be better.

Just below the display are four capacitive touch-sensitive soft buttons. Personally I’ve never been too keen on touch-sensitive buttons as they are too sensitive, and thus prone to accidental presses.

On the top of the phone you will find the small power button and 3.5mm audio jack. The volume rocker resides on the right side of the phone, while on the left the microUSB port. A reassuringly large 1540mAh battery can be found behind the battery cover. The microSDHC and SIM card slots can be found below the battery. A 5 megapixel camera with VGA 30fps video recording and LED flash resides close to the top of the back.

Looking around the Defy it is evident how Motorola managed to make it water-resistant. Not only is the battery door sealed well, the microUSB port and headphone audio jack are covered by protective flaps. But what truly surprises me was how small and light the DEFY is.

With a thickness of 13.4mm, it is barely thicker than my Nokia N8 but also significantly lighter (118g vs 135g). The lightness can be attributed to Motorola’s decision to use plastic. Some may see this as a bad thing, but I’ve seen no evidence that the built-quality is compromised by the use of plastic material. Overall the DEFY is smaller than the N8, but has the added advantage of having a bigger and more importantly, removable battery.

The DEFY is powered by Android 2.1 (Eclair) and Motorola’s own custom homescreen MOTOBLUR. The homescreen actually looks and feels like a normal Android homescreen.

The MOTOBLUR integration comes in the form of widgets. There are plenty of widgets to choose from, including Social and Status (for Twitter and Facebook), Weather, Contacts, RSS, Music Player etc. While the widgets are resizable, they are rectangular in shape, which makes them rather unattractive to look at.

The technical specs of the DEFY are modest. It runs on a 800Mhz TI OMAP3610 ARM Cortex A8 processor. The relatively slow processor (both in clock speed and out-dated architecture) coupled with Android 2.1 is evident when using the DEFY. I’ve shown a couple of HTC Desire owners the DEFY, and they’ve all commented on how laggy the DEFY felt.

512MB of RAM is available so you wouldn’t have any issues multi-tasking. There’s also 2GB of on-board storage for installing applications. A 2GB microSD card is also bundled with the phone. In addition to that, the DEFY packs quad band EDGE, dual band HSDPA, WiFi, Bluetooth with A2DP, built-in GPS receiver, accelerometer – basically almost everything you would expect in a 2010 phone.

Like many modern smartphones, the DEFY has two microphones, one which is used to cancel out noise. Motorola dubs this the CrystalTalk technology. In-call quality is good and clear while I never encountered any issues with reception. Smart dialing feature is missing, though I didn’t find that I miss it at all.

The phonebook is brilliantly social savvy. You can link each contacts with their own Twitter and Facebook accounts, thus giving you an easy way to view any of your contact’s latest social updates. Linking the contacts is easy and painless, though isn’t as straight forward as Microsoft’s approach with Windows Phone 7.

Messaging is easy with the DEFY. Threaded messaging is here, and the built-in Swype support makes composing texts and emails a relatively painless process. Gmail is unsurprisingly supported and works in a way that you would expect it to, including option for push e-mail, labels and archives.

Web browsing is a breeze thanks to the high resolution screen. Despite running on Android 2.1, Flash is included. Zooming can be done via either double tapping or pinch to zoom. While multiple tabs are supported, text reflow isn’t.

Most modern smartphones are very well capable of replacing dedicated DAP (MP3 players), and the same can be said of the Defy. The music player, while basic, is intuitive. The audio quality is very good with overall good frequency response. It isn’t as good as the iPod Touch or N8, but most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference unless they invest in $200 headphones.

As the DEFY comes with built-in GPS receiver, you can use Google Maps as a SatNav device. Google Maps is preloaded, though if you want the latest and greatest you can always grab the latest Google Maps 5 via the Android Market.

The DEFY comes with a standard (in 2010 terms) 5 megapixel camera with LED flash. Video recording is limited to VGA resolution, which is disappointing but hardly surprising – Motorola never set out to make the DEFY a cameraphone. Still for a social phone you would expect better.

Unfortunately because the DEFY does not have a physical camera shutter button, it was impossible to take pictures underwater. I tried, but because the DEFY uses a capacitive screen, water makes it difficult to operate the screen. So forget about using the DEFY for cool underwater shots.

You can also forget about low light photography as the DEFY is poor at that. With good amount of lighting available, the DEFY managed to capture some decent pictures with good amount of detail. The camera UI is simple to use, with a handful of options available to the user (nothing manual).

So is it worth your time? Geeks will unlikely taken by it – the DEFY is slow compared to its other Android cousins and the lack of Froyo/Gingerbread will no doubt put some people off. But it isn’t without its charm. The DEFY is a competent smartphone competing in a category that has no competitors. There are no other rugged or semi-rugged consumer smartphones that looks as stylish as the DEFY on the market. If you are in the market for a clever social phone with the ability to keep up with your hectic lifestyle, then the DEFY is for you.

Good

+ Small and stylish

+ Water, scratch and dust resistant

+ Good battery life

+Social networking integration

Bad

- Slow , might be android upate might fix things

- Android 2.1

- Clunky looking widgets

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A keen mobiler for more than a decade. I am passionated about music, photography, video games, fellwalking, technology and social. I blog occasionally at http://jonchoo.blogspot.com, though I mainly tweet about insane stuff at -> http://www.twitter.com/jonchoo You can also email me on my Gmail account at jthchoo

  • sandip

    how did you get hold of this phone buddy? ;)

    • Rajiv

      From my brother fromUSA

  • Rajiv

    Pls somebody help me to setup this (Motorola DEFY) phone !!!!

  • http://codewordz.com Pratyush

    Hi Jonchoo,

    GSM Arena mentions that Defy is upgradeable to Froyo, it is true ?

    Earlier they mentioned the same for Samsung Galaxy 3 which made me buy it but later Samsung announced the opposite.

  • http://www.techtip.org/ surkhab

    inspiring information! I am looking forward to reading more from you!

  • rajeev

    hi this is tooooooooo gud beter then lg optimus or htc wildfire cemra is verry nice

  • http://www.bharatbuy.com Nevin

    m confused between desire and defy.

    • optimist

      go for desire

    • Rajiv

      I am using DEFY at present it is best !!!!!many more applications……

  • goldie

    I am using motorola defy….

    good phone… with all feature…. motorola defy = samsung galaxyS

    all feature r same… got good display… nd sensitivity of touch is equal to galaxyS…

    happy with motorola DEFY

  • manoj

    hi friend..

    i want to buy the phone so plz suggest me its is a good phone or not.

    i have to buy or not

    • Rajiv

      Motorola Defy is the best phone I have used.. It has many applications & also you can get from Android market they are free + you can purchase..

      • Sanjay.R.K

        Hello sir, How about Backflip?
        The features are more and it has a Qwerty keypad?
        Can you please give me some info on the processors these phones use?

  • Rajiv

    MOTOROLA DEFY is the best phone I have ever used….Just purchase the same you will enjoy it… also download various applications + games from Android Market many more are free…

  • chakrank

    hi guys

    i’m confused between MOTOROLA DEFY and NOKIA C 7 the water proofing and android is pulling towards DEFY any suggestions are welcomed

    • Rajiv

      My daughter is using Defy… This is the best phone I have used only problem is if you want to call while playing game on it some times it hangup but overall its graphics & Live wallpaper is excellent !!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Naveen 2410 Kumar

      obvisly yar go for android its new generatrion phon and nokia is outdated these days… yar its good .

    • Ahmed_faizy11

      you have to buy moto defy bcoz it is android nd dust proof nd water proof 

  • Harshit Gupta

    Hey i want to buy this phone and i am too much worried about the headset problem that has mentioned on so many groups about this phone, can someone please tell me what’s the exact problem and also what can I do to ensure that the handset I buy doesnt have this issue.

  • http://mastsethi.blogspot.com Mastsethi

    I just bought my defy today, I got black color, white was out of stock!
    Which is better, black or white?

  • Nik

    Hi guys….any one knows about Mortorola’s after sales service in India -> Delhi????

    i wanna buy this phone but confused about Defy and HTC wildfire S…bettr after sales service will be the tie breaker for me…….
    plz suggest….

    • Naveen Kumar

      u just go for Defy as compare to htc wildfire with updated andrd 2.2 and having high processer speed with better touch.
      and 2gb inbilt rom is performing osum…..

  • nikhil hunter

    i suggest to buy defy
    its awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mikel Nichol

    can it b upgraded 2 android 2.2 or higher???

  • Asdf

    Defy: Phone which is so rugged on Hardware ..but so stupid on Software.
    Motorola : Company which is no loyal to customers. Sad for Defy buyers…they will not receive further Firmware Updates and need to live with stupid Foryo firmware.

  • Ramani

    i have this phone, and it has a 2GB memory! i put a new memory card of 4 GB and the phone has become damn slow! any idea on what i could do to make it run faste with a 4GB card?

  • Durgesh kumar

    After too Many researchs on Net I got my Motorola defy. And I am not regretting a bit.:)
    This is the best smartphone one can ever had. :)
    At this price Moto defy would be the best choice for you All. I was stuck between Samsung Galxy Ace, WIldfire S(HTC), HTC Salsa. But I finally went with Defy. I know that Motorola has very bad service in India. But you won’t need any service issue in Moto Defy.;) So why to worry for. Afterall 14-15K is a much money to spend for( Not much for those who are working in a MNC. :.. But for me (Student) It was too much.),So don’t go for Samsung Ace ,as it has very poor touch sensitivity , and I don’t know what is the 800mhz is doing in Galaxy Ace because even Angry Birds runs very Slow. Huh..!!Forget HTC wildfire or Salsa And Go For Moto Defy. 
    It’s touch quality is more than awsome. And any Game on it is running like butter on hot Knife.:P
    In India Dust is A problem, Unexpected rain is Problem.. LOl. So You want to spend your money on a phone which can resist water and dust too.:P.
    This is the real Piece of Technology. 
    And yeah This piece can have some problem(I didn’t get any yet), But At this price Bachhe Ki jaaan Loge kya? remember Nothing in this world is Perfect.;). I have installed Dolphin brower HD and i am Enjoying Full HD Video.;).
    I got my Moto Defy from Flipcart at 14,500.. However Infibeam is giving at 14000.
    So don’t be in nay confusion , just go for it. :)
    (This is my first review on net, I am not a professional writer so If I have done anymistake please let me know. )

    Moto Defy Is the Man guys. :)