Review: Motorola DEFY

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The Motorola DEFY has landed in Australia. One of the latest offerings on the Telstra’s network, the phone features a five megapixel camera and a chassis unlike other Android offerings from all carriers. However, is it a good phone compared to the rest of the Android phones, such as HTC’s Desire HD? Or does it fall flat on its knees?

Our verdict of the phone is after the jump.

  • Score:

    8.5 / 10

  • The Good:

    Excellent 5mp camera; multimedia options; shock-proof, dust-proof and water-resistant chassis

  • The Bad:

    Phone lags slightly; microSD card behind battery; Motoblur interface is small

  • Bottom Line:

    A brief summary of the device!

Design and Features

The design of the phone is unique because it is one of the few Android phones that is purposely designed to be used when in a construction site, or for a student who happens to carry a lot of books on his hands. The phone is shock-proof, dust-proof and also water-resistant. However, don’t expect this phone to be a clunky bubble of plastic and rugged edges, because the phone is slim in black, with rounded edges. It is great for the eyes – both yours and anyone else watching. The phone also features a 3.7-inch screen, but the screen is worth noting because it is using Gorilla Glass – a special type of screen that is cannot be cracked – adding to the phone’s durability.

As well, it features a 3.5-inch headphone jack and has a volume rocker. It also has four soft-touch keys, and a mini USB slot used for recharging and data syncing. Other than that, the design just features exposed screws across the edges that hold the phone together.

It has the average features for a phone, with a 5 megapixel camera and flash, 2GB of internal memory with a microSD slot for additional memory (unfortunately, it is under battery), and FM radio. The camera is impressive. We found that colours are more natural in the photos – especially in low light settings, possibly thanks to the dual-LED flash. It is also customisable, so if you don’t like the settings, you can always change them.

We particularly love the phone’s media options. It features the usual media playback items of music and video, put also adds FM radio plus Shoutcast radio, so you are not out of options to listen to music. It also features places where you can find videos to watch online, such as YouTube, GoTV and the usual Foxtel and BigPond (the phone is running on Telstra). What is also good is the TuneWiki connectivity, allowing you to find lyrics and album art for the songs you are playing, and even show what others are listening. All of these are integrated seamlessly into the media application, meaning that you don’t have to open another application within another application to use it.

The phone also adds a way to stream media between your phone and other devices, and even transfer them without popping in the USB cable or an microSD card or even using the tricky Bluetooth. Pretty helpful if your friend has something you like, and want it now rather than just waiting until he burns you a CD or copies it to a USB.

Android + Motoblur

The phone also runs on Android 2.1 – currently, the latest is 2.2 but 2.3 (Gingerbread) is soon to be released) – meaning some improvements may not appear. However, at least it is running Android 2.x rather than running version 1.6, a common version for Android phones (especially for the cheap ones).

Motoblur is, despite my colleague Tom Solari’s view on it, awful – it is sluggish to run and there are limited social networking options, though to be said, the options are Twitter and Facebook (among GMail and your email box). The interface almost makes my eyes hurt as the fonts are small and hard to read. Despite this, it does do what it promises – keep you up to date with your social web life, but its constant need for data would mean that you could go over your limit unless you happen to have unlimited use of Facebook and Twitter.

The good thing is, because it is Android, you can definitely find different applications for Facebook and Twitter, among other social networks – most for free.

Motoblur does also have a ‘Find my iPhone’-esque feature, which is alright. Similar to its competitor, it can remotely delete data, and find the phone based on the GPS location. Do be warned that it isn’t entirely accurate, it missed my location by 200m.

Performance

The phone’s performance is alright. There are some times where it lags a bit when trying to open an application or open the keyboard. That might be because of the processor or RAM of the phone. Though, because of MotoBlur, we had hoped that the processing power was a tad bit higher. That’s not to mean that this phone is sluggish as a snail. However, if you happen to hate waiting for something to load for just a few seconds more, then be prepared to change your habits.

Call quality is excellent the phone, with the receiver able to clearly understand a word. As well, I was able to hear clearly what the other person is saying. Data speeds are also fast – but all these things are partially due to the carrier, Telstra with their superior Next G network.

Overall

If you know you are going to drop your phone or even put a tiny scratch or dint, this phone is perfect with its design. The phone’s multimedia and camera features are also top of the line, with a brilliant lens and design of the interface for the multimedia player makes this a very good competitor in the Android phones. However, what is a shame is that the phone’s processing power – thanks in part with Motoblur constantly hogging most of the processing power, causing it to lag a bit. However, if you can mind that, this phone is excellent for you.

The Motorola DEFY is available on the Telstra NextG network.