Motorola DEFY review: Drag and drop

GSMArena team, 10 December 2010.
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Limited codec support in the video player

The video player itself is as simple and basic as it could possibly be. You can pick a video from the Gallery (with the cool 3D wall and everything) and tap play.

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The video player has much room for improvement

Codec support is limited – DivX wouldn’t work, just XviD. And then only up to WQVGA resolution (400x240). Higher-res videos seem to need more processing power than the DEFY can offer.

As far as the MP4 playback is concerned, Motorola DEFY managed to handle all files we threw at it up to WVGA resolution.

FM Radio only on the headphones

The Motorola DEFY is equipped with an FM radio with RDS. The interface is simple – there’s a tuning dial and you can save as many as 10 stations as favorites. There’s no option to play the radio on the loudspeaker.

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The FM radio app

If you get bored with local radio stations, you can listen to Internet radio too. There are plenty of stations to choose from and in many genres. But you’d better have a solid data plan or a Wi-Fi connection as Internet radio will run up data charges.

Average 5 megapixel snapper

The Motorola DEFY packs a 5 megapixel camera with a maximum resolution of 2592х1944 pixels. There is a LED flash too, but don’t expect miracles in low-light scenes.

The camera UI is perfectly simple – a resolution indicator, a counter with the remaining shots and a virtual shutter. A tap on the screen reveals the Gallery shortcut (with a preview of the last shot taken), Scenes, Effects and Flash keys plus a camcorder switch.

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The camera UI • custom tags and settings

Custom tags are a handy feature to keep photos organized – you can add a tag, say “holiday 2010” and it will remain active between sessions until you delete it (at the end of the holiday). Adding and removing tags is fast and easy. There’s an automatic location tag too.

As for the actual photos produced by the camera, they could have been better. The biggest problem is a prominent tendency to underexpose images. On the other hand, color rendering is flawed – pictures are dull, with notable bluish-green tint. On a positive note, noise levels are tolerable and the amount of resolved detail is decent. The overall quality is average at best.

Here are a few samples to check out.

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Motorola DEFY camera samples

Photo quality comparison

We’ve also added the Motorola DEFY to the database of our Photo Compare Tool. The Tool’s page has a quick how to guide and also what to look for.

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Motorola DEFY in the Photo Compare Tool

VGA video still does the job

The interface of the camcorder is similar to the still camera’s.

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The DEFY in camcorder mode

Video capture is limited to VGA resolution (640x480) at 30 frames per second. Far from impressive on paper, but in reality videos turn quite nice and are a joy to watch.

Check out the VGA@30fps video sample from the Motorola DEFY.

Impressive connectivity

The Motorola DEFY has great connectivity features – quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE fast dual-band 3G with 7.2Mbps downlink speeds and 2Mbps HSPA.

The local connectivity features include Wi-Fi b/g/n (with DLNA support), Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP and a microUSB port. You can connect the DEFY to a computer in several modes – memory card access, charge only (useful, the “memory card access” mode locks up the card, so you can’t use many apps), Windows media sync and “Portal and tools”.

There’s a microSD card of course, and if you need to do bulk data transfers then using this will be faster than over USB.

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The Phone portal app • DLNA support

The Phone portal app however was the most impressive part of the connectivity package. It practically lets you browse the phone’s contents on your desktop browser. You can connect over USB or via Wi-Fi – once you start it, the DEFY will give you an IP address to type in the computer’s browser and you’re good to go.

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The Phone portal apps turns your browser into a PC Suite (seen here running on Chrome 7)

You can even password-protect the connection. From then on, you can browse photos and files (the file browser works only with Internet Explorer though), adjust settings and also manage contacts – including composing and sending messages.

The idea is great – you don’t always need the full functionality of a PC Suite (the Phone portal can do quite a bit) and you can’t always have the PC Suite installed on the computer you’re using.

The web browser does the Flash magic even without Froyo

We’ve established time and again that Android has a good browser. On the Motorola DEFY it’s even better because there’s Flash included.

The user interface of the browser is completely minimalist (it’s the Google way). All you get on the screen is an address bar and a bookmarks shortcut.

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Browsing on the Motorola DEFY • bookmarks

The DEFY supports two zoom methods in the browser: double tap and the multi-touch pinch zooming. Text reflow isn’t available.

If you hit the menu key six new virtual buttons pop up. You can open a new tab, bookmarks, switch tabs, refresh the page, and go forward. The last button reveals even more options (text copying, find on page, etc.).

The bookmark view shows a thumbnail list of the bookmarked pages and you also get a “most visited” list in addition to the history.

The excellent multi-page support is of course still available and the rendering algorithm is basically flawless. Panning and zooming are pleasingly fast.

Similar to the BLUR-red Flipout, DEFY also supports Flash on its Eclair. YouTube worked fine (if a bit slow), but the other video sharing site we tried didn’t do so well. We tried a Flash game though it never made it past the “Loading...” stage.

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The browser is Flash-enabled

At least it let us use sites that have Flash-based navigation.

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