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Motorola Defy+ review

The Motorola DEFY+ looks like an ordinary smartphone, but it is water and dust resistant, and a tough cookie.

It was a year ago that Motorola launched the DEFY upon us, and its svelte lines that hid a dust and water resistant chassis left us pleasantly surprised. We clearly weren’t the only ones, and the DEFY must have been popular as Motorola has updated it with the new DEFY+.

The Motorola DEFY+ looks indistinguishable from its predecessor, but the innards have been somewhat updated. So, the outer shell remains dust resistant and water resistant, and there is a Gorilla Glass screen which is solid and tough. We couldn’t scratch it with a knife.

The backplate is held securely in place by a sliding lock, and the two slots on the chassis are both protected by hinged covers. A cover for a microUSB slot is not a total rarity, and we had no bother using it.

But the cover for the headphones connector which sits on the top edge of the chassis is a bit more fiddly to deal with. Snap it off, though, and you’ll lose the dust and water resistance IP67 compliance.

The front fascia has four very familiar touch buttons which cater for Android’s Menu, Home, Back and Search functions. There is an on/off switch on the top edge and a volume rocker on the right. Around all the edges tiny screws unite the back and front chassis sections, lending a sort of low key industrial design feel to things.

Motorola has not stinted on the general specifications of this smartphone, which are impressive enough to make it a real contender. Android 2.3 is the operating system, and with a 1GHz processor there is plenty of power to drive things forward.

The internal storage memory of 1GB can be augmented with microSD cards, and the slot is nicely protected under the battery.

We’d usually be annoyed at having to remove the battery to get to a memory card, but in this case, as the DEFY+ is a rugged handset, we appreciate the location as it provides protection for the memory card slot and its electronics. Though of course that doesn’t take away the fact that you need to remove the battery to get to a card.

Motorola provides the DEFY+ with seven home screens and these can be filed with shortcuts and widgets. Widgets are divided into two groupings – downloaded widgets and Motorola widgets.

There’s some duplication across the two sets in terms of function and even some duplication within the Motorola group with two social networking widgets on offer. It might be bit confusing for newcomers to Android and we’d have preferred a more streamlined approach.

One of the plus points of Motorola Android smartphones is the connected music app. This brings together the FM radio, music, video stored locally, YouTube, online services like TuneWiki and SoundHound and in-song lyric finding and display. For music fans this collection is a real winner.

Another useful app is Car Dock which offers a cut down home screen featuring six very large icons that you can use when in vehicle. It links in to music, Google Maps, calling and voice search, and you can add one more shortcut to an app of your choosing. The Calling icon takes you to a six option submenu that supports three favourites as well as the dialpad, recent calls and Bluetooth.

Motorola has done a good job with the DEFY+, bringing what was a top handset of last year up to date without sacrificing any of its star solid features. It isn’t ultra thin or ultra chic, but it is a well made, functional smartphone.

Written by Sandra Vogel