Motorola Defy video review



Read the full Motorola Defy review

The Motorola Defy certainly isn't the most premium smartphone going however to our minds it is one of the most desirable. Its semi-rugged and waterproof casing combined with a responsive touchscreen and decent internal specs make for a very practical and easy to use phone while an Android operating system that has had some useful modifications made to it only adds to the appeal. Once you factor in the modest price, you have a truly compelling option that's easy to recommend.

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December 16, 2010, 3:08 pm

Worth a mention that Motorola is "planning" a 2.2 upgrade for the Defy in the EMA come Q2.



December 16, 2010, 3:13 pm

Bought one of these for my 11 year old for Christmas, T-Mobile, 15 quid for the phone and a tenner a month for 100 mins 100 texts, unlimited internet and a free booster.

Motoblur is awful, it makes you sign up for yet another account, is much too overdone, intrusive and about as attractive to look at as a road accident, but a quick download of Zeam sorted that out. The Defy doesn't insist on Motoblur, like the Desire does with Sense for instance. It doesn't seem to affect the stock apps too badly either. To be honest, I think it gets to the point where reviewing the software supplied on Android phones is a bit pointless, as most of it will be replaced with superior stuff from the market within a few days anyway.

Screen is excellent, smaller but brighter than the one on my Nexus, while the built in 2gb RAM softens the lack of Froyo somewhat. The phone is very light, but build quality is excellent. Lack of a trackball is an irritation, but it is understandably omitted, excellent text selection, similar to that in Gingerbread goes some way to alleviating this.

It might seem low spec, but it flies along quite happily in use, Froyo due from Moto Q2 next year apparently, a mere year after it was released, but I'm sure that Cyanogen or some other mod will step into the breech well before then, odds on doing a much better job.

Rooting took 5 minutes with z4root, no roms available as yet, but you can edit this one with Root explorer, happy days.

Well worth the RRP, and a gift for what I paid, if it ran the full version of Flash, my Nexus would be on eBay. 10/10

This may just be a fault on the T-Mobile version, but I kept getting an error during Google setup, if you have this, reset the phone to factory settings and the problem goes away.

Steve 12

December 16, 2010, 5:06 pm

Thanks Robert, excellent comments.


December 16, 2010, 6:25 pm

i've got one of these and i'm loving it.

custom roms should start appearing in the next few days. re; motoblur, if you have the u.k version of the phone you can skip motoblur signin/registration. then just remove all the motoblur widgets and install a 3rd party launcher such as launcher pro.


December 16, 2010, 8:02 pm

I hope Nokia, Rim, Apple, Microsoft, HP & Nokia start raising their game because Android looks like it will become another Windows and dominate this sector.


December 17, 2010, 7:18 pm

Is the Defy really that much better than the HTC Wildfire? That costs £60 less SIM free and whilst lacking the water-proofing is still well made.


December 18, 2010, 10:11 pm

I got my Daughter a wildfire as a Christmas present back in September, and would happily trade it for one of these. Unless you absolutely have to have sense (God help you) the Defy has that 2GB onboard memory, so much more room for apps, is a tad faster and has a much, much better screen.

Frankly, it urinates on the Wildfire from a great height, so you might need that waterproofing more than you think ;o)

Hamish Campbell

December 21, 2010, 6:25 pm

errr....the wildfire and defy are miles apart. 3.2 vs 3.7 screen, resolution is vastly better, and cpu is a bit snappier plus significantly more ram. So it will be better more powerful than the htc legend which in turn is a step up from the wildfire.

Hamish Campbell

January 2, 2011, 12:46 am

NOTE: seems to be some hardware issues with the ear speaker


No official press release from motorola as of the new year. Probably want to hold off a purchase until there is confirmation that this is sorted out.

I'm actually quite keen on it otherwise :)

Jim Andrews

January 6, 2011, 2:39 am

Haim - thanks for the tip-off. You've stopped me from rushing out to get one of these phones, for now at least.

I had a look at the comments on the Motorola forum you mentioned, and had a look around elsewhere. It sounds like there is a design / manufacturing flaw that is causing the ear speaker and headphone jack on these phones to stop working. Judging by the comments from Motorola staff on the Motorola forum site, they don't seem to be getting to grips with this. As I write this comment (5th Jan), the topic has 353 posts and over 77,000 views - so it seems like this is a genuine issue.

I also noticed a comment on Amazon (UK)and T-mobile (UK) sites that there are some well known Wi-Fi problems with this phone. Apparently it doesn't always get on with 802.11n wireless routers, and a firmware update is promised by Motorola some time to fix this. Again there is a lot of discussion of this on various forums.

Such a shame, this is the first Android phone that I have seen that I would actually like to own, and after reading this review I was all set to get one when my current contract expires. However the ear speaker issues sound like trouble, and I've just bought an 802.11n I think I'll stick with my old "dumbphone", for now.

In the meantime, I'll keep an eye on TR for news of the Defy-2 or equivalent.

Hamish Campbell

January 7, 2011, 5:25 pm

Yeah, I wanted to buy it too. But it's not sold here in Denmark so would have to get it in Germany....then returns start being a bigger hassle.

Interestingly the listing has a special note about this issue, whereas the version does not!

Well motorola have some swish and powerful phones out in CES I see, so hopefully the defy will get fixed (there is a suggestion that new production is ok in the forum) and the price will drop further!!

Michael Nickson

January 18, 2011, 6:57 pm

I've had the Defy for just about a week now and its brilliant. It's my first android phone so i dont have any others to compare it to, but it's just fantastic!!

I've had no issues with faulty earpieces or wifi, but i must just have one of the handsets that works properly. Only little bug i found was trying to download from the Android Marketplace first time. Soon fixed it though by re-starting the download several times and it worked.

I was unsure about getting a touchscreen phone without a keyboard but have found the swype technology very useful and accurate. I can now send reletively large emails effortlessly!

Despite its ruggedness, the Defy is lightweight, the design is very slick and the build quality is tremendous. It is available on T-Mobile free of charge, for £20 a month with 300 minutes, 300 texts, unlimited internet and unlimted landline calls. I got a slightly better deal by calling them up direct.

I would recommend this phone to anyone. Even my brother, who has a Galaxy S, is impressed. Wouldn't swap it for anything. I don't even notice the Motoblur OS that everyone seems to hate, but as i said earlier, i'm new to android.

Top phone 10/10

Jim Andrews

February 10, 2011, 4:45 pm

A follow up to my previous post...we now have two of these phones, a snap decision after one of our "dumbphones" packed in and our contract was up for renewal.

I've only had them for 5 days, but so far, so good. Great in fact. Both phones are well built, light, compact, easy to use (though touch screen typing is taking me a while to adjust to - my wife is much quicker than me).

I am using my headphones A LOT to see if the speaker problem occurs, no problems yet.

Synchronisation with Gmail accounts is a revelation after messing around with backing up contacts & using calendars with a dumbphone.

If (like me) you were dithering about whether or not a smartphone was a toy or something genuinely useful, I can tell you the answer. It's both. Your choice.

No problems with Motoblur, but like the previous post I don't know any different.

I was tempted to throw it in the kids' bath last night to test the waterproofing but bottled out. However it survived a run in the pouring rain yesterday, so that's pretty impressive (even more impressive was that it recorded the run in My Tracks).

Only grumble is that the 2GB card fitted on arrival is a bit small.

I would also recommend this phone to anyone. 10/10.


February 3, 2013, 11:04 pm

Yep the screen shatters on impact with concrete. (so much for being able to drive over a Defy as advertised) Photo quality is great when I take them not so when others do.

After 2 years I'd say sturdy, great photos, not always smart but economical contract and is more clumsy proof than other phones I've had, and appreciated the Defy after dealing with the current HTC Desire. My mistake was not to get it seen to during it's warranty when things didn't work properly. Also with any phone accessorize with a casing and screen protection film. The standard 2 year warranty is void if they think you've dropped it (eg pixel spotting on screen) If mine had not shattered I'd be getting a much cheaper sim only deal. However don't think I could put up with the poor quality photos and flimsy HTC Desire I've inherited for free. Suddenly I'm longing for my Defy.


March 13, 2015, 11:20 pm

Time did not treat this phone well, it's the biggest piece of shit in the world now, do not buy this phone ffs, it's such trash, it will turn off in the middle of phone calls, can't handle any apps without losing battery really quickly and you can't always use the camera ebcause it only works when it wants to. I got sent about ten pictures on whatsapp and the phone just completely died, it would not turn on or connect to the computer just because 10 photos addded to 50 that I had made it crash, a decent apple/samsung product can handle over 300 pics easily, but nope over 50 and it's dead

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