The biggest problem with a smartphone today is just how fragile it is. If you’re splurging on a high-end device and taking it everywhere with you, you’ll need to treat it like a Chinese Ming vase. That means protective cases, screen guards, frequent wipes and persistent carefulness.
Or you could get the Motorola Defy. This new Android-powered phone is supposedly “Life-proof”—water-resistant, rugged and scratch-free, thanks to a covering of Gorilla Glass on its 3.7-inch screen. The phone definitely looks the part. It’s built like a Lenovo ThinkPad—it has a hard-as-nails quality to it, flaps covering the USB and earpiece slots, a solid plastic back and intimidatingly visible screws. In our tests, it withstood drops, flicks and tentative dips in glasses of water with admirable equanimity.
All Android phones these days seem like missing links, filling in tiny little niches and gaps in India’s ever-expanding choice of phones. The Defy is no different—it stands right in between the middle-range Android phones (priced at Rs 11,000-15,000) and the beginning of the high-end smartphones (like the Nokia N8, at Rs 23,000). The phone sports a fast 800 Mhz processor, making it the only phone on which Motorola’s awful “Motoblur” interface is tolerable. We’d still swap it for one of the many launchers available on the Android market (Zeam, for instance) but Android works fast and zippy on this one. The phone has a decent 5 MP camera, though it is missing a physical button to click photos. It has the wonderful Swype input system, which really should be standard on any touch-screen phone from this point onwards.
All Android phones work on the procrastination principle. Some day in the future, it will feel complete. The many quirks of daily Android use apply here as well, especially since the Defy comes with version 2.1, which is now painfully ancient. An update, however, is due in a few months. Battery life is, as always, an issue, but it’s not noticeably bad on the Defy as it is in other Motorola phones. There really aren’t too many glaring flaws with this handset—the hardware is fantastic, and Android eminently usable for most tasks.
At Rs 18,990, the Defy is a good phone for its price. It’s faster than the mid-range phones, looks and feels like an expensive product, is much more capable of running system-hogging apps, and, of course, easier to keep safe from the dangers of daily misuse.