If you're a complete and utter klutz and are forever dropping your mobile phone into puddles, drinks and other liquid-filled receptacles, then the Motorola Defy Mini could be the perfect foil for your cack-handed clumsiness.
A cheap-and-cheerful companion to the original Defy+), this diminutive handset is water and dust-proof, and comes with a shock-absorbent casing as well as a scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass screen. All in all, it's one tough little customer.(and its supercharged successor, the
However, beyond the hard-as-nails exterior and bargain basement price -- around £150 SIM-free and unlocked -- the Defy Mini is a bundle of compromises. It's packing an anaemic processor, a 3-megapixel camera and a small 3.2-inch touchscreen -- none of which will endear it to those who crave the very latest tech in their trouser pocket. It's also saddled with , which is no longer the most hip and happening iteration of Google's mobile operating system.
Should I buy the Motorola Defy Mini?
Don't go mistaking the Defy Mini for a possible upgrade to your existing -- and most likely battle-damaged -- Defy. This scaled-down device represents a route into smart phone ownership for younger, less experienced types.
Compared to other low-cost Android models, the Defy Mini doesn't offer any tangible technological benefits -- the 600MHz CPU is distinctly last-generation, and although the 3-megapixel camera takes decent shots, it only shoots video in 480x640-pixel resolution. What makes Motorola's pint-sized challenger appealing is its ability to absorb life's knocks without batting an eyelid.
Long-suffering parents who are sick to death of constantly replacing their child's phone because it got dropped/fell in a puddle/was chewed by the dog (delete as appropriate), will be pleased to learn that the Defy Mini is built to take such trials and tribulations. As such, it's the perfect kid-proof smart phone. And the one thing that won't break is the bank.
Design and build
Like its older and larger siblings, the big draw of the Defy Mini is its ability to withstand more punishment than the average smart phone. Blessed with the power to repel dust and water, this low-cost Android device is perfect for clumsy users and will survive a drop onto the floor better than most.
Such robust protection does come with some caveats. Although the Defy Mini is small, it's surprisingly thick at 12.5mm -- thanks to the chunky nature of the protective casing. Another drawback is that getting the back cover off is like cracking a safe -- no doubt a side-effect of the handset's impressive water-resistant capabilities. Don't expect to have any nails left if you plan on opening the phone regularly.
Finally, there's the annoyance of the plastic covers on the micro-USB and 3.5mm headphone ports. These obviously have to create a completely watertight seal when fitted, but their flimsy nature does little to inspire confidence. I dare say that after a few months, both will be loose and ineffectual.
Motorola has got some things right with the design of the Defy Mini though. The inclusion of a dedicated camera button makes me happier than it probably should do, and the LED notification light in the top-right corner of the screen is welcome. With the latter, you can quickly see if you have an unread message without having to actually activate your screen.
Performance and internal storage
With 1GHz processors becoming commonplace on entry-level Android phones, Motorola's decision to shove a pathetically weak 600MHz CPU inside the Defy Mini is incredibly disappointing. Backed by just 512MB of RAM, this minnow of a chip struggles to cope with even the most basic of tasks. Just moving from one home screen to another is a stutter-packed affair, and rarely does the phone's user interface feel slick or responsive.
When you consider that companies like Huawei are putting 1GHz CPUs into handsets that cost less than £100 such as the Ascend G300, the Defy Mini's lack of technological grunt is unforgiveable.
The phone's internal storage capacity is similarly dire, with only 160MB of user space available for applications and games. Android's built-in ability to store some app data on the microSD card helps that meagre amount go a little further, but you'll still find that it fills up quicker than a newly-opened branch of Primark. The 2GB card that is included with the phone will serve for a short while, but you'll want to upgrade pronto if you plan to flood the device with candid snaps and toe-tapping tunes.
Motorola is really lagging behind when it comes to getting its portfolio onto Android 4.0, so it should come as no surprise whatsoever to discover that the Defy Mini is sporting Gingerbread rather than. To be brutally honest, I doubt the 600MHz CPU could even handle the demands placed upon it by the latest version of Google's OS, so it's probably for the best.