Defying norms

Hindustan Times | ByShayne Rana, New Delhi
Mar 01, 2011 12:14 AM IST

A sturdy Android phone that sports most bells and whistles and touts resistance to water and dust.

The Motorola Defy aims to offer the smartphone user a little bit more than standard functionality. While the Defy can be your average mid-range Android mobile, its slightly rugged shell gives it an edge over the competition. After prolonged use, we found the design quite comfortable, given its 118g weight. The Button and port placement is optimal for accessibility too.

HT Image
HT Image

The device is designed to be water and dust-resistant and is pretty sturdy owing to its 3.7-inch, 480x854-pixel Gorilla Glass-encased display and hard plastic shell. We dunked it into a glass of water but the results weren’t impressive. Water tends to seep in through the camera/flash gap and through the locking system at the rear panel. The rear panel though, has a division that is designed to keep the water out of the battery compartment. In conclusion, accidentally spilling water on the handset may be a cause of concern.

Old software
What’s more upsetting is that, Motorola has launched yet another handset running Android 2.1 with no mention of an update to Froyo 2.2. The Defy’s 800MHz Cortex-A8 processor does make it faster than Motorola’s Milestone but the ‘MotoBlur’ user interface still has some kinks. Call quality is great with dual mics for active noise cancellation — rest assured you’ll hear conversations clearly and so will whoever’s on the other end.

Good for music
The Defy does not support DivX playback, but a quick fix is to download the Rock Player Lite app. Music quality is good. Tones are refined and well-balanced. The player will also automatically download album art whenever possible and also comes with access to SoundHound for music recognition and TuneWiki for track information. You can also watch music videos within the player via YouTube of GoTV channels. The Defy supports 3G but lacks a front-facing camera, so video calling is out. It features a 3G Mobile Hotspot app that allows you to create a Wi-Fi access point to which devices in the vicinity can connect. Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP and USB 2.0 complete the connectivity options.

MotoNav missing
Although the handset comes with GPS support, Motorola has not deemed it fit to include the MotoNav app for maps. You’ll have to use Google Maps when travelling. A 5MP-camera with an LED flash is strapped onto the Defy. It’s not unlike the Milestone’s and offers a variety of scene modes, effects and geotagging. It lacks white balance adjustments and 720p video recording. Image quality is acceptable. However, photos appear rather dull even when shot in bright lighting. There seemed to be a bit of a problem with the focus too.

The 1540mAh battery
The batery averages at about 5.5 hours of talk time. On a single charge, with battery saver in play, you’ll be good for about two days. Just make sure you’re running the Task Killer app to optimise its speed.

What we like
Lightweight design
Great audio quality
Scratch resistant display, water-resistant to an extent
Hard shell prevents internal damage

What we don’t
MotoBlur interface not up to the mark
Water seeps in through some gaps
No front-facing camera for video calling
No HD video recording
Music player EQ settings are not within the player

With a price tag of Rs. 18,990, the Motorola Defy appears fetching but it doesn’t deliver too well on all fronts. It’s sturdy no doubt, and manages to keep most of the elements at bay.

The Defy is a great handset with plenty of features but dealing with its minor but many quirks gets cumbersome.

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