Motorola DEFY review: Drag and drop
BLUR-red phonebook with social skills
A smartphone’s phonebook can store a serious amount of information about your contacts. It lets you input numbers for work and home, and you can even create custom labels. There is of course an email field and you can assign a custom ringtone.
There are many info fields that you can assign to each contact, but it still remains perfectly organized. You have all the types listed (numbers, email addresses, etc) and there's a plus sign on the right – clicking it adds another item of that type. Pressing the minus sign under it deletes the unneeded field.
When viewing the contact list, you can swipe right to reveal the History – a list of all recent communications with all contacts. Alternatively, a left swipe displays all recent status updates from all contacts.
This swipe magic is available when viewing individual contacts too – in this case only history and status updates for that contact are displayed.
For this to work, you have to link the contact with their Facebook, Twitter, MOTOBLUR address book or Gmail accounts. This gets done in a second – tap the menu key, Link contact and pick the appropriate account (those are pulled automatically from the services you’re logged on to).
The phonebook shows MOTOBLUR at its best – blurring the distinction between “local” and “online” and putting all the info from all the sources at your fingertips.
Telephony omits smart dialing
The Motorola DEFY had no issues with reception and the in-call sound was loud and clear. The phone has the proprietary CrystalTalk technology: a dual-mic set-up for filtering background noise.
What it doesn’t have is – unfortunately but hardly surprising – Smart dialing. You do get voice commands (including dialing), which aren’t as good though.
The DEFY offers a few advanced features too – a double tap will silence a ringing alarm, while turning the DEFY facedown will only leave the vibration on.
We also ran our traditional loudspeaker test on the Motorola DEFY. The DEFY scored “Average”, meaning you could miss some calls in noisier environments. More info on the test, as well as other results can be found here.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overal score|
|Sony Ericsson Vivaz||64.8||59.8||69.1|
All text-based communicaton on the Motorola DEFY is handled in the Messaging app. It combines a unified inbox, standard text messaging, Gmail, Facebook and Twitter.
The SMS and MMS department is standard Android stuff – threaded messaging is enabled and the message composer has a neat and simple interface.
When viewing a thread, the newest message is placed at the bottom and messages are displayed as speech bubbles, just like on the iPhone. Unlike the dialer, the recipient field in the compose message UI has “smart search” – start entering the name of the contact and suggestions will show up immediately.
The tap-to-compose box starts off with a single line but it will expand to three lines if needed. It won’t expand any more than this. It would have covered the received messages if it did anyway.
A press-and-hold in the tap-to-compose area gives you access to functions such as cut, copy and paste. You are free to paste the copied text across applications like email, notes, chats, etc.
The DEFY lets you preset the number of messages recorded in each thread. Once that number is exceeded the oldest message gets deleted.
Converting an SMS to MMS is logical and easy. When you add multimedia content to the message, it is automatically turned into an MMS. You can just add a photo or an audio file to go with the text or you can choose to go into a full-blown MMS editor, depending on your needs.
Moving onto email, the Gmail app supports batch operations, which allow multiple emails to be archived, labeled or deleted. You can enable push email or schedule automatic updates. There’s an option to sync only over Wi-Fi, which is sure to save you data charges.
The Universal inbox looks and feels exactly the same as the Gmail app. It combines all your email accounts and it can handle multiple POP or IMAP inboxes.
Google Talk handles the Instant Messaging department. The G-Talk network is compatible with a variety of popular clients like Pidgin, Kopete, iChat and Ovi Contacts.
We’ll cover the Facebook and Twitter sections of the Messaging app when we discuss the social networking features of the Motorola DEFY.
Text input is enhanced by Swype. It’s the new way to enter text that relies on you sweeping over the desired keys rather than tapping them one by one. This noticeably improves the typing speed thanks to the Swype algorithm which makes very accurate guesses.