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Motorola Defy+ - Screen and Performance

By Edward Chester



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The Motorola Defy has a 3.7in LCD screen, with a resolution of 480 x 854 pixels. It's nothing special, with it being a bit on the small side compared to the 4in models that are now so common, and its visually fairly unspectacular with middling viewing angles and colours and overall brightness that are somewhat muted. However, it's perfectly adequate and certainly on par with the majority of handsets you get at this price.

What's more, as well as being finished in tough Gorilla Glass, the actual display is noticeably recessed from the surface of the glass. While this is something that we normally dislike, as it creates noticeable internal reflections and makes the image feel less like it's on the surface you're touching, on a tough device it has the advantage that the screen can flex and take a knock without risk of damaging the display behind.

Motorola Defy 7

Below the screen are the four standard Android buttons, which are illuminated and touch sensitive. As ever, we'd prefer if one of these could activate the screen so a stretch to the top edge of the phone to tap the power button wasn't required, but being as this is a smaller phone, it's not a big issue. Otherwise the buttons are responsive and conveniently positioned.

Looking at the phone's interface, the speed upgrade from the Defy to the Defy isn't immediately noticeable (from what we recall of the Defy). There are perhaps fewer moments where the device stutters, and when there is a pause it's that bit shorter, but overall it still feels noticeably slower than current high-end handsets.

The difference wouldn't be so noticeable were the phone running a different OS, such as Windows Phone or iOS but Android (and particularly highly modified versions) tends to need a bit of performance overhead to feel sprightly and that is what this phone lacks.

What's more the Texas Instruments OMAP 3630 chip used on this phone, in combination with the Motorola Android implementation, is actually slower than other 1GHz, Android phones, such as the HTC Rhyme.

Motorola Defy 4

To demonstrate this difference in performance we ran a few benchmarks; RightWare BrowserMark, Sun Spider and the 3D test from Antutu. The former two are browser-based benchmarks, so are cross platform and software dependent so give a reflection of how speedy the whole system feels, while the latter is an Android only 3D benchmark app.

SunSpider revealed just how sluggish this phone feels at times with its 6908ms time being nearly double that of the HTC Rhyme and over three times that of dual-core handsets (lower is better). BrowserMark showed the Defy in a better light, though it still trailed the Rhyme with 33192 points compared to 45024. We didn't run Antutu when testing the HTC Rhyme but have a 1.5GHz HTC Sensation XL to hand and it scored 1190 compared to the Defy , which got 706 points. Considering the Sensation XL's faster processor this is actually a respectable score, again demonstrating that the underlying performance is there but that the software implementation is holding back some elements of the interface.

All told, though, despite some reservations, this remains an easy to use handset that gets the job done – just don't expect it to fly.

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December 7, 2011, 10:37 pm

Have they fixed the issues surrounding the ear piece though? This is one of the few phones that'd make me tolerate the dogs mess that is Android.


December 8, 2011, 12:57 am

All I can say is 'so far, so good'. I've been using a handset on and off for a couple of weeks, with it being dunked a few times during that period, and have had no issues. There is a chance there will be a repeat of the issues as the basic hardware has changed so little but I think the original handsets only had sporadic problems anyway.


December 8, 2011, 4:04 am

Sporadic is enough to put you off though, especially if you'll buying it second hand like I'll be. A solution exists though for those inflicted, involving replacing the damaged ear piece with one from an old Sony Ericsson handset.


December 8, 2011, 4:17 pm

I mean sporadic as in it only effected some handsets. Assuming you buy a working one there's little to suggest it will then stop working.

Martin Daler

December 8, 2011, 8:15 pm

How so Ed? From what I understood, all the fautly earpieces started out working, and developed the fault thereafter.


December 9, 2011, 11:56 pm

Have had a Defy for a year now. It is noticably slower than our Atrix but you get what you pay for. Screen size is perfect for use as a hiking gps (Backpack app is awesome). I think the reviewer misses the point there. A larger screen would mean a larger phone and that wouldn't really help in an "active" device. The defy has rubber flaps (so does our indestructable Sonim btw). They are used every day nearly for the headphones and charging. They are still as good as new. The screen has a few scratches but nowt major. Very good, limited speed phone. Perfect for outdoors as it has survived mud and water over and over. Even a fall in the river. It's not a patch on the Sonim xp3.2 Quest pro, it isn't supposed to be. BUT it is smaller, lighter and can do so much more. A friend has the shiny new Sony Xperia Active. It's tiny with a very nice screen that responds better in the rain than my Defy but the battery is unbelievably poor. Doesn't last an 8 hour hike, makes it a bit pointless. He's looking into on of those Duracell recharge on the go units. The Defy battery has to be charged every night. The Sonim lasts for yonks, days at a time.

Martin Daler

December 10, 2011, 6:28 pm

Thanks Paul B, exactly the kind of "how does this device stack up in real, everyday use, especially the particular use for which I would buy this particular device" type of info which reviews, forever trapped in their "formula", often seem to lack. For example, the 'use in the rain test' is not in the formula for a phone review, so it never rates a mention, but here it is useful and relevant. It is the sort of detail which only jumps out at you is you have actually lived with and used the device to it's full. Well done!


December 12, 2011, 5:01 pm

Because the reports seem to suggest the problems occurred fairly quickly, in which case a working second hand device is reasonably likely to be okay. It is of course a risk though.


December 12, 2011, 5:08 pm

Couldn't agree more. It's great to hear from our readers giving constructive advice back to the community. Especially as in this case we didn't really envisage this phone as being for quite the usage you put it to, so such tests weren't on our radar. Thanks Paul B.


December 14, 2011, 11:38 pm

hi all

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