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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.

The good

The not-so-good

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.

Talk plastic

At 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.

Krish Raghav

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