Motorola Defy review

Motorola's latest Android smartphone is comparatively inexpensive, but is it still worth buying an Android 2.1 handset when 2.2 models are available for around the same price? Read on to find out.

We had one big problem during testing the phone refused to connect to our 802.11g WPA-encrypted wireless network. We had more luck with an 802.11n router, but this would still drop the connection occasionally. A quick internet search shows this is a relatively common problem, so we hope Motorola addresses this with an update.

The Defy had no problem acting as a hotspot, though. Since the Defy uses Android 2.1 rather than 2.2, this is accomplished through a separate 3G mobile hotspot app. This lets you share the phone's 3G data connection over WiFi, and encrypt the connection with WPA. You can only do this on an iPhone by jailbreaking it.

As you'd expect, it's very simple to set up Google Mail and integrate Google's Calendar with the phone's. We also had no problems with our Exchange Server 2003 account unlike Windows Phone 7, Android lets you have a space in your Exchange username. We could also send and reply to meeting requests for both Exchange and Google from within the calendar application, although recipients of meeting requests on our Exchange Server 2003 email server sometimes had trouble reading them.

The Defy can read PDFs as well as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2003 and 2007 files, but not edit them. You'll need to buy a document editing suite such as Quickoffice Mobile Suite (6.44 from the Android Market) to change your Office documents.

The Defy works well as a music player you can just copy files onto it in Windows Explorer and the phone will find them, or you can enable the Media Transfer Protocol and copy tunes and video over using Windows Media Player. Video support was less impressive; while our iPhone-format MP4 files were fine, XviD videos wouldn't play. Installing the excellent RockPlayer from the Market (6.43, free ad-supported) fixed this, but we still couldn't use hardware video acceleration for smooth playback.

Test shots taken with the 5-megapixel, flash-equipped camera were pretty standard for a smartphone. Photos had reasonable colour balance but a slightly flat quality. There's 4GB of storage for apps and media 2GB built-in and a 2GB microSD card which can always be swapped out for a larger capacity card.

The battery is very good lasting 44 hours and 15 minutes in our MP3 playback test. This is only a couple of hours behind the exemplary iPhone 4.

So what's our verdict?

If you're looking for a new handset, then you should really compare pay as you go mobiles on the web. At Dialaphone they have deals from all of the top manufacturers and networks.

Verdict

There's plenty to like about Motorola's Defy – the screen is fantastic, it's compact and light and the unobtrusive toughened exterior should help it last. Even if you don't need the MotoBlur social networking aggregation, Motorola's other software tweaks, such as the improved keyboard, help make Android 2.1 feel more up to date. The phone can feel slightly sluggish though and the WiFi problems are worrying. Nevertheless, the Defy is still good value on a contract. Our favourite budget Android handset is still the Acer Liquid Metal. Although its customised Android interface is arguably more convoluted, it feels more responsive due to its faster processor and it comes with Android 2.2. It's not currently available on contract though and costs around £50 more than the Defy when purchased SIM-free.

Connectivity: GSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/2100 Display: 854 x 480 pixels, 3.7 inches OS: Android 2.1 with MotoBlur Camera: Five megapixels GPS: A-GPS Processor: 800MHz Bluetooth: v2.1 + EDR Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n Memory: 2GB internal, 2GB microSD card Dimensions: 59 x 107 x 13 mm Weight: 118g Battery: Li-Ion 1500 mAh

Featured Resources

Next-generation time series: Forecasting for the real world, not the ideal world

Solve time series problems with AI

Free download

The future of productivity

Driving your business forward with Microsoft Office 365

Free download

How to plan for endpoint security against ever-evolving cyber threats

Safeguard your devices, data, and reputation

Free download

A quantitative comparison of UPS monitoring and servicing approaches across edge environments

Effective UPS fleet management

Free download

Recommended

Apple unveils iPhone 13, new iPad, and iPad mini
Mobile

Apple unveils iPhone 13, new iPad, and iPad mini

14 Sep 2021
Apple delays controversial CSAM detection feature
Security

Apple delays controversial CSAM detection feature

3 Sep 2021
Apple is experimenting with attention sensors to save battery life
battery life

Apple is experimenting with attention sensors to save battery life

1 Sep 2021
Apple launches repair program for iPhone 12 audio issues
Mobile Phones

Apple launches repair program for iPhone 12 audio issues

30 Aug 2021

Most Popular

Best Linux distros 2021
operating systems

Best Linux distros 2021

11 Oct 2021
Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans
Laptops

Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans

11 Oct 2021
Royal Mint to recover gold from smartphones and laptops in world first
Technology

Royal Mint to recover gold from smartphones and laptops in world first

21 Oct 2021