Motorola Defy+

/ Updated: 5 March 2012 3:07 pm GMT

The Motorola Defy+ is the Motorola Defy , but with a quarter more oomph under its ruggedised hood.

Like its older sibling, the Defy+ is designed to withstand some grit and grime -- Moto claims it's water and dust resistant, and proofed against scratches. So if you're always breaking or maiming your phone, then keep reading.

The Defy+ is available from £13 a month on a two-year contract, or around £225 SIM-free -- putting it in the mid range of devices with a truckload of other Gingerbread-packing Androids .

I got hands-on with the Defy+ at Motorola's booth at Mobile World Congress. Read on for my first impressions.

Build quality

The Defy+ looks and feels very resilient, with a row of what look like mini rivets bolting its sides down. Ports are capped or plugged with rubber to keep water or unwanted particles at bay, and the 3.7-inch screen has been toughed up with Gorilla Glass so it shouldn't scratch easily.

Tellingly, Motorola makes no mention of how much rough treatment the Defy+ can take, talking only about it shrugging off "a sudden rain shower or an afternoon on the beach" -- conditions that, frankly, I'd hope most phones would weather.

Motorola Defy+ back
This rugged beast of a phone is tough enough to endure -- in Motorola's words -- a "sudden rain shower". Grr.

There is a JCB special edition that's apparently targeted at engineers and builders, but that version of the Defy+ comes with a toughened plastic sleeve -- suggesting there are limits to the native device's raw brawn.

I reckon it's safe to assume that building sites with hefty machinery and long drops onto hard surfaces are probably a bridge too far for the Defy+. But we'll be sure to test this theory when we get the device in for a full review -- assuming Motorola lets us pick one up in a JCB bucket.

Processor

The main difference between the Defy+ and the original Defy is its beefier 1GHz chip versus the Defy's 800MHz.

The Defy+ is also a lot nipper than the diminutive Defy Mini, which has a mere 600MHz, but it does have a smaller screen so its chip has less to shift around.

The extra speed on the Defy+ is definitely a welcome boost as mobile chips have beefed up considerably since the original Defy's 2010 launch. But even with this extra oomph, the Defy+ doesn't feel that responsive because -- as with the Defy Mini -- its toughened glass gets in the way of smooth operation.

The Defy+ may be technically capable of shifting pixels around at a decent rate but it doesn't always feel like that because you're too busy thumping the screen to get it to register your fingers.

Software

The Defy+ runs Google's Android operating system, but it's the Gingerbread flavour of the OS, rather than the latest version, Ice Cream Sandwich .

I'm not sure whether it will get an update to ICS. In my view, there seems little point in adding more OS flourishes to a device that already suffers from being unresponsive because it's been double-bagged with Gorilla Glass.

The Defy+ runs Motorola's Motoblur user interface -- a kludgy Android overlay that won few fans and has since been toned down by Motorola.

It does at least have access to Android Market, putting plenty of apps on tap.

Hardware

The 3.7-inch capacitive touchscreen display has a middling resolution of 480x854 pixels. Colours are clear but not especially bright or vibrant.

The snapper on the Defy+ is 5 megapixels, which is a step up from the Defy Mini's 3. I didn't have a chance to assess image quality but we'll be sure to get snapping when we receive the Defy+ for a full review.

There's 2GB of internal storage and this can be expanded up to 32GB via the microSD card slot.

The 3.5mm headphone jack can also be sealed with a rubber cap when not in use, to keep the elements at bay.

Motorola Defy+ side
You can slip a rubber sheath in the socket, should you not want to get sand in your headphone hole.

Also on board is GPS connectivity and a 1,700 mAh battery that Motorola reckons is good for 7.1 hours of talk time, or 16 days on standby.

Outlook

The Defy+ isn't going to be everyone's cup of builders' tea. But if your middle name is butterfingers and you're tired of reading texts through a cracked screen, the Defy+ has a tough-nut exterior that may bring you peace of mind.

Speed demons should move along though, as the Defy+ won't be nippy enough to keep you happy.

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Motorola Defy+

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