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Motorola Defy+ review




Our Score:


User Score:


  • Waterproof housing is practical
  • Tough yet styish design
  • Screen is large enough for easy use


  • Processor is a bit sluggish
  • No button for the camera

Key Features

  • 3.7in, 480 x 854 pixel LCD display
  • 1Ghz TI OMAP 3620 processor
  • Android 2.3 OS
  • 5 megapixel camera
  • Manufacturer: Motorola
  • Review Price: £213.00

We were big fans of the original Motorola Defy. Sure it wasn't the most high-tech handset around but its simple design, modest size and waterproof/semi-rugged design made for a compelling combination. Now, a year on, the Defy is back with a faster processor and… well, that's it actually. Is this enough to warrant a change of name to the Defy+, and moreover is it reason enough to take the plunge?

In case you didn't quite catch it earlier, this phone really is identical to its predecessor. It sports the same modest 107 x 59 x 13.4 mm dimensions, 118g weight, 3.7in Gorilla Glass screen, black plastic body and exposed torx bolt heads round the edge – you know, cause that makes it look rugged. Only the finish of the battery cover has changed, from a plain matt black plastic to a soft touch plastic, and the Motorola symbol has dropped its 'Blur' suffix, giving a hint as to the reduced emphasis the company is putting on its branded customisation of Android.

While none of this sounds particularly exciting, there's definitely a sense of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". That said, while something like the Sony Ericsson Arc S can get away with being merely a faster version of its predecessor, it does so because that earlier phone only arrived six months ago. One year on and we would've liked to see a little more from the Defy . An AMOLED display, a larger screen, a slimmer design, a better camera; the list goes on. Nonetheless, for its £220 price, we wouldn't expect signficicantly more, even in this day and age.

The Defy+ achieves its water and dust proof credentials by utilising rubber flaps to cover all its ports, and of course being otherwise tightly sealed from the elements. Specifically it's rated to IP67 standard meaning it can survive being submerged in water up to a depth of one metre for 30 mins. So although it's probably safe for taking swimming, you'll have to be a mindful of not diving in or exploring the depths too much. More crucially it'll survive flying from your pocket and slapping into a muddy puddle, and even being stomped on a little, so labourers or adventurous types, or just the clumsy, will be well catered for.

Motorola Defy 8

Motorola Defy 6

One downside of the rubber flaps is that you have to constantly remove them when you want to charge your phone or listen to music using the headphone jack. Indeed if you're a commuter that wears headphones everyday, you may find the headphone flap fails sooner than you'd hope. What would be a really neat addition to a subsequent model would be a similar touch charging mechanism to that seen on the HTC Rhyme, thus saving you having to remove the sealing flap from the microUSB port every time you want to charge it.

Regardless, we put the phone through its watery paces and found it effortlessly coped with a bit of rough and tumble in the dirt and a wash and scrub up afterwards.

Motorola Defy 1

As well as the microUSB socket on the left edge and the headphone jack on the top is the power/screen lock button on the top and the volume rocker on the right edge. So you don't get a shutter button for the 5 megapixel camera that sits on the rear. This is another lamentable omission as, if this is a phone meant for rugged pursuits, it would make operating the camera much easier with gloves on. Neither do you get an HDMI socket for connecting the phone up to a TV, though on a handset of this size and type this is fully expected.

Slide the clasp on the backplate to one side and the sealed back plate pops up to reveal a removable 1,650mAh battery. This is a large battery for such a small phone so we've high hopes it will keep the device going for some time. You also get a microSD slot for adding up to 32GB of extra storage, with the phone arriving with a 2GB card installed.

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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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