Motorola Defy Review

Motorola Defy Review

We’ve never had anything like this before. A phone that’s water-resistant, dust proof and scratch resistant. In theory this should be life-proof. Inside there’s Android 2.1 with the tweaked graphical user interface called “MOTOBLUR” to bring your social networks together and make navigation a little easier. A 5 megapixel camera with LED flash around the back, a 3.7″ screen reaching out to the edge of the phone up front and, to make everything sound better, there’s something called “CrystalTalk PLUS” which means there’s two microphones which filter out background noise and amplifies you own voice.

Motorola Defy Review

Specs


Powered by a substantial 1540 mAh battery this gives the unit a standby time of almost 10 days and 6 hours solid talking time. A 5 megapixel camera with flash sits round the back whilst up front there’s a 3.7″ 480×854 pixel multi-touch capacitive touchscreen with “gorilla glass”. The handset also has aGPS, which means that photos can be geo-tagged and there’s an image stabilization feature too.

You can listen to your built-in  FM radio with the 3.5mm audio port plus there’s WiFi and Bluetooth. It’s all powered by a TI OMAP3610 800MHz processor. This is a DLNA Certified handset too, which makes it really easy to move digital content over a network. It should make it simple to watch movies, look at pictures and listen to music no matter where they’re stored.

Video Overview

As usual we’ve got our quicki-fix overview videos. First of all we decided to test out how water-proof  it really is!!



Outside

The phone feels good in the hand. It’s around the size of a BlackBerry and that screen reaches right out the the edge of the handset. The frame around the screen is a polished black plastic which continues around the side. This is screwed into the main handset with three screws each side and one down the bottom and helps to give it a more industrial feel. The back of the handset is a matt black colour which is slightly soft to the touch.

Motorola Defy Review

Along the base of the Motorola Defy are the four buttons used in Android. The first, which is shaped like four small squares, is the menu button. The second will take you home, the third will take you back to your previous item or page and finally the search option, which will pop open an app-sensitive search option. These are all touch-sensitive.

Motorola Defy Review

Up top there’s a 3.5mm audio port with a rubber cover to prevent any dust getting in. Next to that is a slightly recessed power button.

Motorola Defy Review

Along the left and between those sturdy screws is the microUSB port, again behind a protective rubber cover but a little easier to pop open than the 3.5mm audio plug. This is a little pronounced and sticks out from the left side of the device on a lot of the photos here.

Along the right-side is volume control which will swap to audio / ringer / media adjustment depending on what you’re doing at the time. Again, this is slightly recessed.

Motorola Defy Review

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The battery cover locks into place very securely (which is good to know as this will be protecting your device from the elements). In the centre is a Motorola logo and the “Blur” emblem. Above that is the 5 megapixel camera and flash.

Motorola Defy Review

Pop the battery out and you’ll find both the microSD and SIM card sat beneath.

Overall it’s a light but strong handset which is a little smaller than most other Android smartphones.

Motorola Defy Review

Inside

Inside the Defy (aka the MB525) is that MOTOBLUR interface. You login with a MOTOBLUR account which may seem a little annoying at first – most of us already have plenty of other accounts so another one may
seem a little pointless, but it actually connects all your social networks into one single Motorola sign-on, plus it’ll show status updates in the “Happenings” widgets shown below. MOTOBLUR syncs all your email, pics with continuous and automatic updates to your phone.

Motorola Defy Review
Motorola Defy Review

Plug the phone in and you’ll suddenly have a pop-up asking you to install “MotoHelper”, or you can use the device straight away as a pen-drive with the SD card you’ve slotted into the phone. The software looks like this (below) and shows your text messages, missed calls, battery status and voicemail. You can also manage the media and your device, import pictures, videos or just browse through files etc.

Motorola Defy Review

There’s also an on-board web server which pushes this nice web page to your computer so that you can manage the device even more easily. It’ll show the pictures you’ve taken, texts, signal strength, storage size,
battery life, contacts list and there’s something I really did appreciate – the ability to tweak your phone settings (wallpaper, bookmarks, ringtones and more).

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Here you can also download the Motorola Media link – it’s completely free and hooks your PC to your phone for sharing media on social networks, creating albums, grabbing new content, creating ringtones and
more. This doesn’t just need a USB connection – you can use WiFi too. Nice :)

Motorola Defy Review

Other notable additions include the Car Dock. It shows a large grid which displays in either landscape or portrait with six options, music (which will fire up some tunes from your SD card), “My Location” to
quickly find out where you are. From there you can check traffic, start a navigation or click into Google Maps.

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There’s a button to answer / make calls (you can setup favourite numbers on a seperate big-button screen for dialling whilst on the move), voice search or you can add an app to this screen if you’d like
to launch your own sat-nav software or similar.

The Defy has a range of apps and utilities on board, plus you can download loads more using the Android Market. You can turn your 3G Motorola Deft into a WiFi hotspot to share your mobile data connection
with laptops and other phones.

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Useful day-to-day apps like an alarm, timer, calendar (which sync’s it the the Google cloud or Exchange), a calculator, file manager, texting and Quickoffice for accessing, editing and sharing Office documents on
the go.

Swype – which you can see in action here – is a welcome addition. It’s just a matter of “tracing a path” to the word you’d like to enter. It makes text entry much faster and almost natural. You don’t even need to be accurate – just roughly drag your finger to the letters you need. It’s speedy, fluid and works well on a screen this size. It’s weird how it works – even words that aren’t in a dictionary, like website URL’s are found easily. It’s really intelligent and, even when you’re entering words like “look” and have to hold your finger over the letter “o” for a few milli-seconds, it just works. If that’s not good enough, try using the normal keyboard (which you can switch to) or Google Voice..

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Other apps include Amazon MP3 – a great way to grab the tunes to listen to on the provided headphones..

The in-built browser is stunning. Multi-touch zoom,  text reflow (so you don’t have to scroll left and right to read text), bookmarks, tabbed (windows) browsing, text selection and the ability to save shortcuts to pages and sites. It’s all there. Every site you want to view is viewable easily but, if you want to rotate the screen, you can view sites in the landscape format. It’ll pick up RSS feeds from sites and you can quickly fly around sites in a smooth and understandable way. Give this phone to someone, ask them to browse to a
site and they’ll do it – no problems, no learning, no stress.

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Your contacts, your appointments and your email can all be sync’d with the mighty Google cloud. It’s not something you have to sign up for if you don’t want – there’s POP3, Exchange and other connection types – but with the Google connection you can easily setup reminders, pull down contact details and more. Once you’re in the contacts system you can swipe left and right to view status updates and communication history. Press the dedicated search button and you can find someone quickly, drag down and – if you scroll faster – you get each letter pop up as your fly down the alphabetical list. It’s all geared to make communicating and connecting easy and fast. Your contacts just sync, as do pictures and updates. Brilliant.

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We loved the connected music player. Everything is brought into one place – if you want some media, it’s here, whether it be FM radio, online radio, online video or your own on-board stuff – click into the Connected Music Player and enjoy. There’s also a Shazam-esque song identification system so you can find the name of that tune being played in your coffee shop. A DLNA media streamer will also let you share media to other devices (like connected TV’s etc) and copy media to other servers. It’s good to see it all ready to go out of the box.

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Conclusion

The 1540 mAh battery lasted well and, even if you doubt that you’ll need a waterproof phone, it does give you that extra confidence in the rain or when you leave the phone in the bathroom, plus that gorilla glass can save you when the phone slides across the car. It feels good in the hand and is an ideal size. It’s relatively quick too and we were impressed by the connected media player – bringing together on-device
media with FM radio and online streams is something that others should do too.

The lack of predictive dial was a pain, and something we’re almost growing to expect in handsets now. The camera could have been a little better too, however it’s not a handset we’d discount. It looks good, it’s well built and has stacks of features. The on-board web server, DLNA (for streaming media to compatible TV’s and other devices) and the Swype data entry were also notable plus points for us.

Link – Clove.co.uk

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  • Anonymous

    This looks like a nice phone but I do think, a negative should’ve been mentioned for including Android 2.1.

    Why on earth isn’t it 2.2? It’s been out months.

    • Chimpaudio

      It’s typical Motorola. They probably won’t update it in Europe! All that glistens is not gold- this is a fairly low cost phone and you’ll find the rubber seals probably won’t maintain the claimed IP rating for more than 12 months. Good reveiw but my Moto experience tells me you’ll be on your own if things go wrong.

  • Younggrant3

    i think this the phone ive been looking for really want a smartphone but need somthing a little bit tougher

  • Rickardo

    Motorola have stated that Defy (in Europe) will be getting 2.2 Froyo in Q1/Q2 this year. I have this phone and love it apart from the poor Exchange implementation (but I believe that is common for non-HTC Android phones), having come from HTC Touch Pro2.

    • Chimpaudio

      Motorola stated and promised on numerous occasions that they would update the Dext to Android 2.1. It never materialised and they stated that the 1.5 version was the best hardware/software experience possible. Its pretty well documented that Motorola renege on most of their Android upgrade promises outside the US. If they do upgrade your Defy at the time they say they will I’ll be surprised. Android has been good for Moto but IMO Moto have been bad for Android. Just my 10 cents worth.

      • Big Al

        Android 2.2 (Froyo) upgrade arrive as promised in Q2 (June 16th to be precise) and it’s fantastic.
        Oh ye of little faith!  The best phone-by-far.

  • harrytheweb

    Its omap 3630 not 3610 performance is high end. You can get a predictive dialer from the market place for free. Moto kyboard is also available rather than swype. Moto keyboard is generally accepted as the best android keyboard. The speaker is amazing!! Worth saying that if you dont like moto blur you can skip it at start up. Its £250 … enough said.

  • Sarah booth

    I will not have a motorola phone again I had nothing but trouble. I had my first one for 2 months then it kept on over heating so they sent me a new one that was faulty cut a short story. I had 4 of them then they changed my phone completely, I thought it was a great phone but
    Now won’t touch them.

  • Camilla

    absolutely rubbish phone, I wanted something other than an iPhone and thought this would be great, over promised and underdelivered. Continually freezing, taking ages to load when you click on items. Want to get into your contacts quickly to make a call? Expect to wait up around 1min before load and you can search in them.
    The keyboard is too close together and so frustrating – I do NOT recommend, several of my friends also have this phone and we frequently come up against issues with it.

  • Guest

    Hi,

    Have the slightly newer Defy Plus with faster CPU and bigger battery. Good replacement for my Desire and it has all the waterproofing I need for out door stuff. Works well with Gingerbread Stock (Rooted for Titanium Backup).

    Waiting for an ICS ROM before I upgrade.

    All in all a good phone if you need the rugged aspect, but if you don’t there are probably better options elsewhere.

    Regards