Motorola Defy Android smartphone

Motorola Defy review: Motorola's latest smartphone is the first Android handset to be dust, water and scratch resistant

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Motorola Defy
  • Motorola Defy
  • Motorola Defy
  • Motorola Defy


  • Dust, water and scratch resistant
  • Lightweight and attractive design
  • Swype text-entry


  • Text is a little small
  • Display feels sticky
  • Touch-sensitive menu keys

Bottom Line

Motorola deserves plenty of credit for producing an Android smartphone that's rugged but still has an attractive design. The Motorola Defy may not be the fastest Android smartphone on the market, but we recommend it for active users; it is also excellent value for money.

Would you buy this?

Motorola Defy: Software

The Motorola Defy runs the 2.1 (Èclair) version of Google's Android operating system. Motorola has stated the Defy will be upgraded to 2.2 (Froyo) early in 2011, and the company has incorporated a number of Froyo features into the current software. The Defy comes with a lite version of Adobe Flash, and also has the ability to act as a wireless hotspot, two features normally reserved to Android smartphones running Froyo.

The Defy also comes with the latest version of Motorola's MotoBlur service. Motoblur is a widget-based interface that combines multiple social networking and communications accounts (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LastFM, e-mail, Picasa, Photobucket and Yahoo Mail). You'll need to create a MotoBlur account to use the service, but it's free and all content and data is pushed live to the handset. Motoblur also provides excellent security features including the ability to automatically wipe the handset when it is lost or stolen, and the automatic back up of content over-the-air.

Motorola Defy review

The Motorola Defy comes with Motoblur, a widget-based interface with a big emphasis on social networking. The Motoblur service also offers enhanced security features such as remote wipe.

We like the idea of Motoblur, but the execution of the service on previous smartphones was far from perfect. Thankfully, some of the flaws we encountered with the early version of MotoBlur have been corrected. You can now choose to only display contacts with phone numbers (rather than lumping them together with all your Facebook and Twitter contacts in the address book), and home screen widgets can be resized, which we found very handy. The widgets we found enticing included "happenings", which lets you can see at a glance updates from all connected social-networking services, and airplane mode, Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi quick toggles. We also liked the sticky note widget, which allows you to save a quick post-it style note on the home screen.

The Motorola Defy also features Swype text entry with the on-screen keyboard. Swype allows you to slide your fingers over the letters you want to type in a single motion, letting the software work out the word you're trying to write. Though it sounds awkward, Swype is very easy to pick up and surprisingly accurate. As with most on-screen keyboards, the software will learn as you type and add words you use regularly to its database.

The Motorola Defy is not as fast or smooth to use as more expensive competitors like the HTC Desire HD; while we wouldn't describe the Defy as slow, swiping through home screens and using multitouch gestures tends to have a 'sticky' feel. The large display is reasonably good for Web browsing, and multitouch means you can pinch in and out to zoom. Pages load and render quickly, though the browser is not as responsive on Flash-heavy pages.

The Motorola Defy has a few handy applications preloaded, including Quickoffice, Media Share (for playing video and music through a DLNA-compatible television) and task, battery and data managers. Its media player is a notch above most other Android phones — the "connected music player" automatically finds album art and lyrics from the Internet for any tracks in your library, while a "song identification" feature, similar to the app Shazam, is also included.

Motorola Defy review

The Motorola Defy comes with Swype text entry, allowing you to slide your fingers over the letters you want to type in a single motion, and letting the software work out the word you're trying to write.

The Motorola Defy has a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and a single LED flash, which also doubles as a video recorder. We loved the fact you can use the volume keys as zoom buttons, and the ability to swipe through scene and effect settings is a nice touch, though we missed having a physical camera button.

The Motorola has 2GB of internal memory, along with a microSD card slot for extra storage. Motorola includes a 2GB microSD card in the sales package. Battery life is about standard for an Android smartphone; it will need a charge every night with constant use, but light users may be able to go almost two days without a recharge.

The Motorola Defy is available exclusively through Telstra in Australia for three months from 30 November and is rated as a BlueTick phone, meaning it provides superior coverage in regional and rural areas of Australia. It can be purchased for $0 on Telstra's $49 cap, which provides $400 worth of calls and text and 1GB of data per month.

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I bought my Defy 18 days ago and last night the screen cracked. Yes, that's right, the unbreakable phone has broken. The kicker is, It cracked while charging. I plugged it in, set in on my bookshelf where it charged for several hours. Upon retrieving the phone, there was a large crack across the bottom of the screen. I called my carrier who referred me to Motorola. There, I got the run around. I was told that the company would not cover a cracked screen, but that I could send the phone in for an evaluation to determine if it had physical damage. I asked what counted as physical damage and was told (among others) a cracked screen. What, I asked, was the point of sending it in? *sigh* When I explained that I had only owned the phone for 18 days, I was flat out told that it did not matter. Cracked screen = no repair. So, there you go. My carrier tells me that this is a Motorola problem and Motorola refuses to take responsibily for their faulty product.



I'm just wondering when Motorolla are going to come into the 21st century and be compatable with Mac. This is my 4th motorolla in 10 years and still no Mac???



I was considering the Defy, but thanks to the comment by Liz regarding poor warranty support it is now off my list. Thank you Liz for sharing.



I have enough trouble dealing with Telstra. Why would I want to add to the experience!! Thanks for the heads up.



I had a similar problem to Liz (mine lasted 12 days, also on charge at the time).

I had the same runaround with Telstra and Motorola. After making a formal complaint with Telstra I was able to evenly split the cost of repairs between myself and Telstra, I figured paying half was much better than paying the whole thing.

I'm currently waiting to see how much it will cost.

It's worth noting that Telstra staff have been quite good about the whole thing once you get on to the right people, but Motorola just will not take responsibility for their own product.



thanks for your posts . I WAS about to contact telstra & order my new phone . Im not impressed by motorola's response to several people having the same issue - this seems like a MANUFACTURERS defect . Maybe you should all contact the communications ombudsman , they are fantastic at advising and fixing these type of matters

Paul White


I have to agree with some of the comments above I had my defy for 3 weeks and every body was complaining that they could not hear me, I ttok the phone back to Telstra at Hornsby and they told me it had dust in the microphone and told me to go to a phone repair shop in the same shopping centre,who in turn said it would have to go back to motorola and if I was lucy,I would get it back in a week or two ,that was 3 weeks ago and have since rang them and they said it could be another month as they are witing for parts.
So how is that for the so called unbreakable phone,also I am appalled at Telstra`s after sales service farming me off to some phone repair company and not even offering me a loan phone to run my business.
I am under contract with this phone for two years otherwise I would be finding another carrier anybody would be better than this mob.



dont put up with that Paul, if you are on a plan, DEMAND a replacement phone. Customers have got to stop being bound by these ridiculous claims. GO TO THE OMBUDSMAN - it worked for me... Tip when ringing Telstra, and asked which department ALWAYS say complaints, you get answered by someone in Australia, and I think this is the only department that can make decisions!!!!!



Love the phone BUT... sometimes it turns itself off...another time it went to silent by itself....and the best of all....of no accord it decides to call people, not just once in an afternoon,many times.Bought the phone outright and what help from the Telstra dealer....two thirds of three quarters of stuff all.Please someone get it right.



If anyone has had an issue with their screen cracking please post here, as we are taking Motorola to court in a class action, due to them not accepting responsibility for this issue which is becoming a major problem.



My brother bought a DEFY due to it apparently being a dust proof, 'unbreakable' etc phone. Less than a month after buying it (Hel$tra plan) he was playing a game on it, put the phone on the lounge and whamo, a large crack appeared on the screen. The phone has not been dropped or abused. As has been previously mentioned, apparently broken screens are not covered under warranty even if they spontaneously break with no help from the user.

I would recommend to everyone as I have to him, follow this up with the TIO as it is completely unacceptable for this not to be replaced free of charge. If Hel$tra decide to sell a phone, they are responsible for all risks involved with manufacturer's defects... if they have an issue with that than they should take it with Motorola.



I have had my DEFY since Jan 28th. No problems, easy to use and great reception with Telstra. Like all smartphones batteries dont last that long before a charge. Both my partner and I have this handset and couldnt be happier.Hopefully I wont have to deal with Motorola but then have you ever dealt with Apple ! Grr



I had my DEFY for 3 weeks and my signal strength on my next g network drop to 2 bars and then to emergency calls only and it would drain my battery trying to find a signal and there was nothing wrong with telstras signal. Telstra sent the phone for repair but it is still doing the same thing. not happy jan!



I love my Defy. I dropped it face first on the road while running and not a scratch. The thing is that I have it on a pre-paid sim and it constantly steals my credit and I dont know what to do? I still dont know what the problem is and i cant find it on the internet. one time i had 5 dollars sent 3 texts (one cent each) and ten minutes later it was all gone? can any one explain that? I sure cant...



brought a defy yesterday,was considering a htc desire s, however sales guy convinced me the defy is better for me as in construction and its tough. im a bit concerned now reading these comments. time will tell.



My screen cracked as well. Fell out of pocket onto ground from about 2ft. Very fragile device. Now it goes in and out of service only allowing emergency calls only. I am highly interested in the class action law suit. I live in Houston, TX.



@Casey; I have a HTC Desire S, and since buying it over a month ago, not one single problem. I dropped my phone while running and it bounced three times but all it got was a small, unnoticeable scratch on the side. The only reason it has a huge crack up the side is my own fault. (Bad temper). But honestly, I recommend this beautiful creation to everyone; I have never in my life been happier with a phone. It's perfect.



Bought one for my husband as they are water resistant and dust proof and he is in the earthmoving industry. Now looking at buying a different phone for him as you can't hear anything at all unless you have the call on speaker phone. It's only a few months old too.



Hmmm I should have read this before buying my Defy. My screen has multiple fractures that occured after one crack appeared. Was told by Telstra they wouldn't/couldn't fix it. It is in a drawer - still on a two year plan.



I've had a Defy for over 12 months and have been quite happy with it. I did find that I had to turn off background data to get reasonable battery life, but with that off I get about 3 days per battery (I swap batteries rather than recharge in the phone). No cracks, scratches or any other damage and I have dropped it a few times. My only gripe is not being able to remove Motoblur - I don't use it but it has "features" like a SIM lock that requires a wifi connection to get past - on the few occasions I wanted to change SIM cards this was a right pain. But I would buy another one.



Im a tradie and this phone goes everywhere with me. For all those people who complain about the cracked screen, just hop on ebay and buy a cheap replacement for about $35. The design of the phone with the screws on the outside makes it dead simple to open and replace in 10 mins. Ive broken about 4 screens over 12 months and 2 earpeices. Its alot but its still cheaper than an iPhone which wouldn't have lasted as long.



I have had my phone for nearly two years.I take it out horse riding,dog walking and every night I use it in the cow parlour when milking! I also text and use the kindle ap on it when I am in the bath.It really is tough and I love it.



1st one went back for speaker problems twice in 12 months (fixed problem with a new replacement phone) 2nd one after 3 weeks cracked screen, THEN YET ANOTHER SPEAKER PROBLEM took back to dealer, SORRY SIR YOUR WARRANTY IS NO VALID ANYMORE DUE TO HUMAN DAMAGE. (the cracked screen) SO MUCH FOR THE UNBREAKABLE PHONE.



Just sent my defy back again. The same day it came back from repairs. not bad for a phone that I got for Christmas. At least telstra have given me a loan phone. the phone will suddenly turn itself off, then turn itself back on. It will do this on a regular basis until the charge is all gone. Several days later it starts working without a problem. So lets see if i get the Defy back or something better

Bob B


I have had my defy for about a year and a half,and the phone has a few problems.Like it turns itself off often,the internet is painfully slow to load pages,and sometimes i cannot answer calls because the screen is locked.
I have dropped the phone a few times and it is still in great condition,but is a very buggie device.
Disable data and you have a pretty good battery life.

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Thye complete DEFY package
• • •





It can be used anywhere.
Can't link 3g use to my wifi only tablet-might be me not the phone!
• • •

Best tough phone ever.Two years old and still working perfectly in all weather conditions.




• • •

it was great in the club rooby frooby billabong

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