Motorola Defy Android smartphone
Hardy handset for the rough and tumble
Review As the first rugged - well, semi-rugged - Android handset, the Defy's ability to survive mistreatment by careless party-goers is the central pitch of Motorola's advertising campaign but there is rather more to it than that.
Rough diamond? Motorola's Defy
Let's start with the cost. The Defy is available from T-Mobile on contract for twenty quid a month which for a large-screen smartphone is a pretty good deal. Granted T-M's recent idiotic change of its fair use data policy was clownishly mishandled and it deserves a kicking for it but 20 knicker is still only 20 knicker.
Now let's take a look at what you get for your money. A 16 million colours 3.7in 480 x 854 capacitive touchscreen, an 800MHz processor with 512MB of RAM and 2GB of built-in storage, plus a chunky 1540mAh battery and a very handy form factor. At 59 x 107 x 13.4mm and weighing 118g it's one of the smallest and lightest phones around that features a screen above 3.5in.
In the absence of an official IP (International Protection) Code rating, "rugged" here means you can dunk it in up to 1m of water for 5 minutes without harm and that it's scratch proof and dust resistant. The first and last feats are achieved with the help of little rubber plugs that seal up the MicroUSB and 3.5mm audio ports and a very solid and tight-fitting battery cover.
Torx screws adornments provide a touch of machismo
The dunking test in my bath was passed with flying colours and the Gorilla Glass screen showed no ill-effects after being attacked with my car keys. I couldn't find any dust in Manchester in January, but if it keeps out water I'm prepared to believe it will survive being buried in the Kalahari too.
Next page: Hard case
"Motorola says it has plans to upgrade the Defy to 2.2 in the admittedly slightly vague sounding "Q2""
"Has plans" my arse.
Until the device prompts you to download the update it's all wind and piss.
Speaking from bitter experience with Android-powered Motorola devices.
Motorola 'updates' again
I'm afraid it's the same old Motorola story again, ship with an ancient version of the OS and promise an update at some unspecified time in the future which never arrives.
I'm a DEXT owner you see, and that's what they did for us.
It's a nice phone to be sure, but as a Motorola owner I'd say only buy it if you're going to be happy with the OS that'll be on it at purchase because their upgrade promises aren't worth the screen pixels that make them up.
Or make it easy for yourself and buy your Android phone from someone else.
I wouldn't hold my breath..
..for an update. Motorola builds excellent hardware, but they are either uncapable or unwilling to support their devices with software upgrades once they've sold them.
My theory is that they believe people will go and buy a new phone if they don't upgrade. Which is actually true - I will buy a new phone, just not from Motorola. Ever again.
Froyo on the Milestone
Yeah, I got bored of waiting and finally installed Cyanogenmod. There's quite f ew hoops to jump through, though, thanks to Motorola being dicks about the boot partition: but RSD lite 4.9 will allow you to install a vulnerable bootloader, followed by OpenRecovery 1.46 (installed from /sdcard/update.zip), which you then use immediately (as a reboot will cause the device to copy back the original bootloader) to install another zip of the cyanogenmod ROM.
prepared to take Motorola at its word???
The only slight disappointment is the absence of Froyo but I'm prepared to take Motorola at its word that an update will arrive before June 30th...
They've been promising to update the Motorola Milestone to 2.2 for several 'quarters' now. After repeatedly failing to deliver in 2010 they now claim 'early Q1 2011' - which we are already a third of the way through... I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for an update on any Motorola phone. If Motorola can't update the Milestone - which is vanilla Android - what hope does the Defy have with MotoBlur on top?