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Motorola Defy Overview

The Motorola Defy is one of the prime contributors to the natural erosion of face-to-face social interaction. We can thank the synchronization and digital social networking powerhouse MOTOBLUR for that, which outfits the Defy with endless social networking capabilities and Internet-related operations. Motorola’s Defy is also a rugged little bugger, flaunting a scratch-proof touch screen and water resistant body. The phone also excels in the voice quality department, sporting two microphones, and it has a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash. We think the Motorola Defy will be a hot seller, based on its bountiful features and reasonable $100/2yr contract price point. But you’ll have to be the judge.

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Motorola Defy Design

The Motorola Defy is all screen—a 3.7-inch capacitive, scratch proof screen, that is. The phone’s screen has a WVGA resolution, which was very crisp, offering excellent web and gallery browsing, and video playback. How scratch proof is the Defy’s Corning Gorilla Glass Display? We took the end of a paper clip, pressed it on the screen as hard as we could, and proceeded to grind it as hard as we could, only to find a flawlessly smooth screen with not even a nick. The Motorola Defy’s touch screen is also very sensitive to touch, and overall proved to be one of the better displays in this price range.

Stylistically, the Motorola Defy is an unconventional little device, featuring exposed bolts and rubberized seals shrouding the USB port and 3.5mm audio jack. The back panel must be locked in place via a switch that seals it to the body of the phone, acting as a gasket. Underneath this safety hatch we find the battery, SIM card, and 2GB MicroSD card in a slot that holds up to 32GB cards. This strange black and white two-tone design exists for a reason, and that’s to ward off light splashes of water or other liquids. Whoops, I accidentally spilled my gin and tonic on my Defy! Motorola thinks of everything, don’t they?

Like any other Android phone, the Motorola Defy incorporates the classic Menu, Home, Back, and Search buttons at the bottom of the LCD screen, and the phone has a small volume control switch on the right side. The 5-megapixel camera and LED flash are mounted on the back of the camera with protective clear filters, and the only other noteworthy trait about the Motorola Defy is that the thing is one of the smallest Android phones on the market, next to Sony Ericsson’s Minis.

Motorola Defy Software and Interface

Before we leap into the MOTOBLUR experience, let’s look at what’s under the hood. The phone has an 800MHz OMAP 3610 processor with 512MB of RAM. It’s not the quickest device on the market, but we had no major speed complaints. The phone also has an accelerometer, which came in handy for advanced gameplay. At times the phone would be a touch stubborn and lag, but it was minor, and nothing to pitch a fit about. The Motorola Defy has 7 home screens, all of which are fully customizable with Motorola, Family Room and Android widgets, Shortcuts, Folders, and Wallpapers. Up top was our familiar status bar with recent updates, and we could control WiFi, network, Bluetooth, and GPS settings with a specified widget.

Now MOTOBLUR is the reason we feel many people in public places will be scorned by surrounding technophobes. Think of all of your Facebook. MySpace, Twitter, Google, and email contacts as being tossed haphazardly into a giant grab bag, mixed together in no particular order, making it nearly impossible to find the contact you’re looking for. MOTOBLUR comes along with full synchronization of all email accounts, including corporate Exchange, so there is only one inbox to deal with. All contacts from any of the aforementioned accounts are also piled into a mega list, allowing you to browse alphabetically. Widgets allowed us to pick our favorite contacts in order to display the most pertinent feeds, and there was even a Family room, which contained a family calendar, update box, and quick contacts that the Defy automatically selects and assembles as family member contacts.

The Motorola Defy also gave us Blast, which batch sent emails out to any of our preferred contact lists, including Family Room contacts. The bottom line is that we could browse and interact with multiple contacts on numerous different levels, littering our home screens with social feeds and networking widgets. Internet browsing was good, though we are dealing with Android 2.1, which means no in-browser Flash action like YouTube videos. We have to pop out of the browser to play them. One of our favorite aspects of the Motorola Defy was Sound Hound song identification, which worked like Shazam, only we could hum or sing a song into the phone with surprisingly accurate search results.

The Motorola Defy uses the Android keyboard with Swype technology, speeding up the typing process, as long as we knew what the heck we were doing. Contacts could be browsed in a list, and we had two additional pages that highlighted Contact interaction History and Status updates. In other news, the Motorola Defy offered Wi-Fi calling, DLNA for wireless connectivity with other devices, Bluetooth 2.1, and GPS with Google Maps. Google applications include Calendar, Mail, Quick/Voice Search box, YouTube, News and Weather, and Navigation. The Motorola Defy is just as equipped as any of the larger Android powerhouses, and it’s all about the MOTOBLUR experience.

Motorola Defy Call Quality/Battery Life

Since the Motorola Defy has two microphones—one for voice pickup and the other for filtering out background sounds—we got some high quality audio action when it came to placing calls. With music at full blast, we heard no complaints of any major background noise from our test call recipients on the other end. Sound is also crisp and clear, though in absolute silence we sometimes detected a slight crackling—very rare and slight, but it was there.

For battery life, Motorola claims 6.8 hours of talk time and 9.9 days of standby time, though we found the numbers to be a bit less than that. Still, the Motorola Defy exhibited a decent battery endurance—we’d put it up there with some of the better battery performers. Though it’s always difficult to measure battery performance on a phone because there are multiple ways to use it. With light internet browsing, camera usage, some calling, and gaming, the Motorola Defy is at 2/3 battery level after leaving it overnight. That’s 24 hours, including standby time, so that should give you an idea of this phone’s longevity.

Motorola Defy Image/Video Quality

The Motorola Defy joins many phones in its price range with a mid-level image performance. The phone has a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash. The short of it is that the Motorola Defy struggles in low light unless the flash/video light is deployed, and images lack fine detail. It’s a classic 5-megapixel phone performance that we’ve seen time and again. The Motorola Defy does not have 720p video, but relies on 640×480 standard-definition video recorded at 26-30fps, meaning motion can be affected depending on the shooting environment.

The Motorola Defy’s Camera interface was easy to use and offered digital filters, Scene modes, three Flash modes, and instant share with various social networking and photo sites like Picassa. Beware—if you’re a Solarize digital filter fan, the Defy’s claimed Solarize filter is nothing but a boosted exposure, and nothing close to a Solarize effect. Overall, the Motorola Defy’s camera is good, but we’ve seen better.

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