Media playback has also had an overhaul with Motorola’s Connected Music Player taking over most such duties. This brings together a number of offline and online media services into one interface.
My Music takes to you to a fairly typical music player, which is nice enough to use and also adds lyric playback, which is a nice touch. Sound quality is okay, with it being on par with something like the iPhone if not quite up there with a dedicated mp3 player.
The radio option gives you access to the FM radio (for which you’ll need some headphones to act as the aerial) and Shoutcast internet radio, which works very well if you can find a decent station!
Next up is Music Videos, which as well as giving you access to your locally stored videos has links to YouTube and GoTV. TuneWiki Community provides links to various social networking centric bits of information like what’s hot, and who’s playing what where. Finally, rounding things out is SoundHound, which is an alternative to Shazam for finding out what tune it is you’re listening to by recording what’s going on around you.
Probably the most major change, though, is the social networking integration. Sign in with Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as your usual email accounts, and all your social networking friends will be added to your contacts. Or, if you only want your email contacts, you can remove the social networking contacts but retain the links to Facebook et al for the contacts you still have.
As with the social networking widget, you can tap a contact and see a feed of the person’s updates and reply to them right there and then. Also, swipe left from the main contacts list and you’re presented with a feed of all your contacts’ messages and updates, swipe right and you get your recent contacts. Unlike so many similar attempts to integrate social networking into Android, this actually adds genuinely useful functionality.
As for the rest of the software, it’s typical Android so provides oodles of features including GoogleMaps, a great web browser that unlike the iPhone supports Adobe Flash (though we couldn’t actually get this working properly), superb email support, and of course you can access thousands of apps from the MarketPlace.
Making calls threw up no particular causes for concern and indeed we found a mid-call run under the tap did nothing to disturb our conversation. Likewise, battery life was averagely decent, with a couple of days of typical use being what you’ll get.
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.