Motorola Defy+: well hard Android refresh

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The ‘ruggedised’ Defy+ builds on last year’s Defy model with a faster processor and a longer-lasting battery. Can it compete with new hardman rivals?

Last year, Motorola proved you could have a phone with both brain and brawn. Until the launch of the Defy, there were plenty of delicate smartphones and a few rugged phones with few features.

The original Defy had it all: water resistance, protection against dust, scratches and being dropped, together with Android functions absent from budget hardman phones such as the Samsung Solid Immerse.

The Defy+ is an intriguing prospect. At first glance it looks the same as the original and that’s no bad thing – the Defy styling is decent enough. The frontis just screen and Android virtual buttons while there’s a volume rocker on one side and headphone and microUSB sockets on other edges, complete with stoppers and seals to protect the phone from dust and water. Simple but effective.

The curved edges fit the hand comfortably and while the phone looks small next to the latest big-screen rivals, it’s a respectable size at 3.7 inches.

The back is matte black and the frame and edges have a silky sheen. It looks good. The display features Gorilla Glass so you should be able to avoid scratches and dents.

All a MotoBlur

The general specification is the same as before and the dimensions and weight are identical.

The battery is more powerful – in our tests it managed well over a day before showing signs of tiredness. Above all, there’s a faster processor that is 25 per cent quicker than the original Defy.

The Defy+ comes with version 2.3.4, Gingerbread installed and the MotoBlur software has been updated with a new look.

MotoBlur is Motorola’s aggregation software that cleverly collects your social networking updates, tweets and more.When it first launched it was ahead of the curve but it hasn’t quite kept up.

This is not the phone’s finest hour. You have to sign into a MotoBlur account before you can do anything else, even before connecting to Wi-Fi. So you can’t get your phone going if your SIM card is out of credit or if you’re in a signal blackspot, for instance.

When we tried logging into an existing account, MotoBlur said there was no account by that name in existence. However, when we tried to create a new account with the same email address, a message appeared saying that the address had already been used.

Full article in Mobile News issue 506 (January 30, 2012).

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