So far we’ve established that the Motorola Defy+ is a competent little mid-range smartphone that packs in all the basics you’d expect of an Android device. But what about some of those nice extras? Well, unsurprisingly the Defy isn’t exactly packed to the rafters but neither does it let itself down.
Although modest in terms of specs, the 5 megapixel camera actually takes quite a nice shot, getting exposure and colouration right, even if every detail isn’t captured. The app also offers a few extras like real time effects (black and white, negative, sepia, solarise, red hint, green tint, blue tint) and scene modes (portait, landscape, sport, night portrait, sunset, macro and steady shot). However, you can’t touch anywhere onscreen to focus, which makes taking shots such as our closeup of the flower almost impossible, and there are few really clever extras like an inbuilt image tweaking tool.
Also, video is mediocre. Again the basic quality is okay in terms of colouration and framerate but at only 640 x 480 it’s rather low res.
One area Motorola hasn’t skimped on for both photos and video is illumination. No, not that the phone will ornament your emails with gold lettering but that there’s an LED flash/lamp to add a bit of light to your dark shots.
Despite the gloom, the Defy has done a reasonable job of capturing this scene, though peer closer and the lack of detail is obvious.
With no way to choose a focus point, closeups and shots with the subject off centre can be a bit tricky.
When it comes to playing other videos, it’s clear why that camera is limited to non HD resolutions. Anything above 640 x 480 resolution simply won’t play and even some high-bitrate videos at this resolution will be a little stuttery on occasion.
Playing a few of our choice games that sluggish performance also came through with even Angry Birds looking a bit choppy. So in case we needed any further confirmation, this phone isn’t a powerhouse that’ll storm through everything you throw at it. Instead it’s one that simply provides enough performance to ensure you can make a call, write a text, check your emails and browse the web without frustration.
When making those calls you shouldn’t find call quality is a problem either. While again this phone doesn’t offer the best going, it will provide enough clarity to get you by, though you’ll have to wait for it to dry out to get the best from it.
Considering it packs a higher than usual 1650mAh battery we were expecting a higher than average battery life, and the Defy+ does deliver. You should easily be able to get away with charging it only every other day, rather than every night like most handsets require.
It’s this longevity combined with this phone’s ruggedness and price that really combines to make it so appealing. Retailing for just over £200, it’s eminently affordable, thus making it a potentially great choice for children or as a second phone for taking out on your more adventurous trips. Competition is minimal in this semi-rugged sector but one other model to look out for is the Sony Ericsson Xperia Active, which is a bit tougher and does sport a lanyard loop. However, it’s a much smaller handset with a more confined 3in screen.
Those looking to upgrade their existing Motorola Defys may be disappointed with the modest enhancements made to the Defy+, indeed it’s not worth the investment, but newcomers to the waterproof smartphone market should be excited. It won’t survive the most extreme of environments but for keeping going in the UKs wet and muddy wilderness, it’s more than adequate. What’s more it offers a ”proper” smartphone experience and looks quite civil too. All that for £200 seems like a good deal to us.
Score in detail