Unlike the Motorola i1, the Defy ships with Android 2.1. Though it's not the latest 2.2 update, version 2.1 is still quite good. You get up to seven home screens as we mentioned, live wallpaper, speech-to-text abilities, voice control, the ability to use more than one Gmail account, and more. There's also a universal in-box feature that houses all of your messages and correspondence in a single list. We're also fans of the universal address book, as it syncs with your social network account to bring in your friends' contact information.
You get the usual phone features on here as well. They include voice dialing, a speakerphone, text and multimedia messaging, conference calling, visual voice mail, and a vibrate mode. The phone book is limited only by the available memory, and each entry has room for multiple numbers, e-mail addresses, and so forth. For connectivity, you have Bluetooth with A2DP support, Wi-Fi, 3G, and GPS with TeleNav support. The Motorola Defy is also only one of a few Android smartphones to have Wi-Fi calling. Just as it sounds, this feature lets you make calls over Wi-Fi, thus bypassing cellular airwaves so calls won't eat up your minutes.
Google users will be happy with the Defy, as it offers compatibility with every Google app imaginable. They include Gmail, Google Maps, Navigation, Places, YouTube, Latitude, and Google Talk. But if you're not happy with Gmail, you can easily add your own POP3/IMAP server, and the Defy is compatible with Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync as well.
Other apps that come with the phone are Quickoffice, Social Networking, YouTube, a Motorola Phone Portal, Media Share, Family Room, Blockbuster, Audio Postcard, and DLNA. That last app lets you share media files with any other DLNA-compatible device in the house, which includes many television sets. Of course, you also get the usual apps for instant messaging and news feeds. In addition to getting apps from the Android Market, you can also download them from a T-Mobile AppPack store.
The Motorola Defy has a decent 5-megapixel camera, but we wished the photo quality were a little better. Images were sharp enough, but we would've liked the colors to be brighter. Indoor shots looked rather muted, though the LED flash improved them a little. There's also a video recorder and a music player.
We tested the Motorola Defy in San Francisco using T-Mobile. Call quality was excellent. We were impressed by how clear our callers sounded. There was little background noise, and voice quality was good.
On their end, callers said we sounded very good as well. There was a slight echo effect in speakerphone mode, but it wasn't distracting. They also reported very little static and good natural voice quality.
We experienced good 3G speeds in San Francisco. We loaded the CNET mobile page in just 9 seconds, and YouTube videos didn't take long to load. The Defy's 800MHz processor served us well for the most part--launching apps felt quick, and we didn't suffer much lag in between app switches.
The Motorola Defy has a 1,540 mAh lithium ion battery and has a rated battery life of 8 hours of talk time and 18 days' standby time. Our tests reveal a talk time of 8 hours and 18 minutes.