Motorola Defy + (Defy plus)

Feature set summary for Motorola Defy + review
There are some handy Motorola widgets, but the best thing about the Defy+ is its ‘life-proofing’. Whether you drop it in water, try to scratch it or break it, it’s a survivor.
Motorola Defy + (Defy plus)

Style and handling summary for Motorola Defy + review
This is a rugged handset, which still manages to be reasonably sleek, apart from the odd rubbery cover. The 3.7in display covers the front of the phone, which keeps it a neat size, and the gripping back feels good to hold.

Battery power summary for Motorola Defy + review
A decent battery life – 11 hours with push, GPS and Wi-Fi running. You’ll still want to charge it each night though.

Performance summary for Motorola Defy + review
It’s not the speediest of phones, but it runs well, although the snapper is disappointing, producing grainy images.

User friendliness summary for Motorola Defy + review
The Motorola Defy+ benefits from Android 2.3 Gingerbread with Motorola’s own MOTOBLUR user interface. Setting up social network and email accounts is a breeze and the seven home screens make it easy to access your widgets and apps.

Full Review and Specification for the Motorola Defy+
Mobile phones have it tough – they get thrown into bags and roughed up by keys and other detritus; they get dropped, scraped and generally treated with little respect. If you’ve ever managed to drop a handset in the toilet (!) or drop it from an inconveniently high window, you might want to consider buying the Motorola Defy+ which, its makers claim, is ‘life-proof’.

Long life

The Defy+ is the next generation up from the Motorola Defy, which was launched in 2010. The original had two major issues – it ran on the rather elderly Android 2.1 Froyo operating system, and was dogged by its sluggish performance. The Defy+ has cured both these problems – it now has a 1GHz chip and runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread. It’s not the speediest handset out there, but it has no problems in operation. The battery manages a good 11 hours of use.

The phone sits nicely in the hand – we like the slightly rubberised reverse side, which makes it easy to grip. It also features sturdy looking hex screws, which hint at the phone’s tough nature.

Taking punishment

The Defy+’s USP is the fact that it can withstand a lot of punishment – and it is for this reason that it looks a bit odd. It manages to look both sleek and rugged and is very neat in size – it measures 107x59x13.4mm and its 3.7in screen is covered in Gorilla glass – this stretches almost to the edge of the bezel.

But the phone’s sleek lines are spoilt by the rubber caps over the microUSB port and the 3.5mm audio jack. However, they do help to keep water and dirt out of the ports.

Defying the elements

The Defy+ has IP67 certification, which means it can survive in water at a depth of up to 1m and is completely dust proof. Well, we had to put that to the test…

First off, we tried water torture – we held it under the bathroom tap, put it under water, and even dropped it in a refreshing glass of gin and tonic. Actually after that it ran much better – we know how it feels.

Next we subjected it to some sharp things – our ultra-sharp kitchen knives didn’t even make a tiny scratch on the Defy +’s surface.

Finally, we wanted to see how it managed when we got down and dirty. We tried planting it next to our basil plant (we even watered it). It wiped clean and showed no adverse after-effects.


The operating system is Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which Motorola has overlaid with its own user interface, dubbed MOTOBLUR. It’s nice to look at and doesn't detract from the best parts of the OS. The Motorola widgets are well designed and can be resized – which is more than you can say for the Android widgets. Motorola has wisely left the excellent Android calendar and Gmail integration alone.

What Motorola has introduced is a social networking app, which brings updates from, Facebook and Twitter into a single stream. But while it has good intentions, it’s not well implemented – it has no custom refresh settings for a start.

On the back of the handset is a five-megapixel snapper – it has been inset to avoid lens scratches. The software is user friendly, but the images are faded and grainy, which is a shame. This is not going to replace your own compact camera.

Our conclusion

It’s not often that we really look at the lifetime of handsets, but when you think about how long phone contacts are nowadays, it’s an advantage to have a handset that can survive being dropped or bashed around a bit. There are more powerful handsets on the market, but the Defy+ still runs well, while being able to survive all that life can throw at it (or indeed where you throw it). If you've already managed to destroy a mobile phone, you should take a look at the Motorola Defy+.