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Motorola Defy overview: Nonetheless on the lookout for a distinct segment

The Motorola Defy marks the return of a reputation that was one of many pioneers amongst rugged, waterproof, and dustproof Android smartphones in 2010. After an extended 11 years, Lenovo has teamed up with the British firm that’s accountable for the CAT and Land Rover smartphones. So as to revive that historical past, we should ask ourselves, “Does the machine carry one thing that stands out in a market that has integrated requirements like IP68?” That is what we attempt to discover out on this Motorola Defy overview.


  • Good battery life
  • Further button for fast shortcuts
  • Good grip
  • No cowl wanted
  • Gorilla Glass Victus display screen


  • Impractical one-handed use
  • Restricted digital camera efficiency
  • Giant and heavy
  • Thick bezels across the display screen
  • Android 10 (in September 2021!) and a pair of years of safety patches
  • No detachable battery

Motorola Defy (2021): Straight to the purpose

To announce the brand new Defy line, Motorola appears to enchantment to nostalgia, however the launch could not have had the anticipated impact. Even among the many editorial employees of NextPit, there have been only a few amongst us who had been within the novelty, and it is not a coincidence that the one two individuals who confirmed any semblance of curiosity had been the editors who had the first-generation mannequin (myself included).

Anyway, not like the primary technology which shared many of the specs with the Moto Milestone (actually the flagship amongst Android 2.0 handsets), the brand new Defy has much more humble origins. The 2021 mannequin (with the mannequin identifier XT2083-9) shares nearly all of the {hardware} specs with the Moto G9 Play (XT-2083).

NextPit Motorola Defy water proof
Defy exhibits it is not messing round / © NextPit

To distinguish the mannequin from the G9 Play, the Bullitt group has strengthened all the exterior of the machine, adopting Gorilla Glass Victus for the show and a double coat on the plastic housing. This has given the machine not solely IP68 certification but in addition MIL-SPEC 810H certification for temperature and vibration variations.

Sadly, the mannequin is just not anticipated to see worldwide availability since it’s offered by the Bullitt group. We will solely hope that Motorola will announce the Defy in your house nation outdoors of its common markets. 

Display and end: HD LCD and Gorilla Victus

For many who keep in mind the unique Defy, the scale of the brand new mannequin is among the very first issues that catches the attention. Whereas the unique Defy had a 3.7-inch display screen (and the approximate dimension of the iPhone 4), the brand new smartphone stands out with its beneficiant 6.5-inch display screen that has been inherited from the Moto G9 Play. One other attribute from the unique – it options barely rubberized end on the perimeters and rear to supply a safer grip.

What I appreciated:

  • End ensures a very good grip with out leaving any fingerprints or stains
  • Gorilla Glass Victus, resistance certifications
  • Permits you to use straps, charms, and chains

What I disliked:

  • Heavy and enormous
  • Thick bezels across the display screen

The show comes with modest specs, sporting a decision rely of 720 x 1600 pixels (270 DPI) and an LCD panel with a 60 Hz refresh price.
The show is protected with Gorilla Glass Victus, which is extra resistant in opposition to falls and scratches, making it the perfect candidate for the Defy.

Nonetheless on the subject about sturdiness, Bullitt has strengthened the chassis of the machine, leaving behind curves on the perimeters of Motorola through which it adopted the proper angles. The plastic materials has been coated with a barely rubbery end, which can assist it keep away from selecting up fingerprints, whereas the slight texture on the again helps present a safe grip when holding the machine.

NextPit Motorola Defy front camera
The HD LCD display screen is strengthened with Victus Gorilla Glass for added scratch resistance / © NextPit

To extend the safety degree of the display screen, the perimeters of the Defy have a slight aid in relation to the part, which ought to scale back the prospect of injury within the falls. In contrast to the unique Defy, the brand new mannequin doesn’t have covers for the USB-C or headphone ports, and brings an extra gap that permits you to use keychains, straps, charms, or different equipment with the smartphone (a strap accompanied the overview unit).

For sure, the reinforcement of the smartphone has elevated significantly, therefore doing the identical to the scale and weight of the Defy in relation to the already giant Moto G9 Play, tipping the scales at 232 grams. That is near double of what the Defy weighed in 2010 at 118 grams. The dimensions virtually requires you to make use of it with two arms. As well as, the place of the buttons leaves the quantity controls and the programmable button out of attain for many who are used to holding the cellphone by the underside.

TL:DR: Regardless of the modest specs, there’s nothing improper with Defy’s display screen, which affords good visibility below most conditions. The Gorilla Victus glass can be welcome, though the one draw back is probably the thick bezels across the display screen, which can be justified by the strengthened safety. The resistance “remedy” helps with the machine’s grip, however then again, it will increase the quantity and weight of the already giant Moto G9 Play.

How will we take a look at the sturdiness of a tool?

What I appreciated:

  • Water and dirt resistant (IP68)
  • Drop resistant (MIL-SPEC 810H)
  • Scratch resistant (Gorilla Glass Victus)

What I disliked:

  • Nothing (however testing out the drop resistance is horrifying!)

The spotlight of the Defy is unquestionably all of the Bullitt/Motorola endurance options. In a market the place many smartphones are already waterproof, even some with a foldable display screen, simply what sort of world will we reside in? 
The Defy’s key differentiators can be the presence of the Gorilla Glass Victus display screen that’s usually discovered solely on flagships, and the MIL-SPEC 810H certification for “excessive survival, vibration, and drop testing.”

Motorola Defy water 30min
No mother, I am unable to reply that proper now / © NextPit

As anticipated, the Defy quietly withstood an immersion in water for half-hour, albeit at a depth of simply 30cm. To check claims of its drop resistance, in the meantime, we dropped the machine from round 1 to 1.7 metres. Spoiler alert: This video offers an thought of the machine’s efficiency:

Aside from persevering with to perform usually, the machine confirmed no injury to the display screen or casing. Just a few scuffs from the ground marked the sq. facet (the one that features the opening the place you slip in a appeal or strap), plus tiny nicks at affect factors, that are disguised because of the opaque end of the case.

I wasn’t capable of take a look at the claims of its resistance to excessive temperatures and speedy temperature modifications, however based on the producer, the Defy is able to working in a variety between -25 and 55 levels Celsius. No level in asking one to make use of it in a chilly room…

Underperforming older rivals

The Defy (2021) is supplied with a Snapdragon 662 processor, 4 GB of RAM. Though the Snapdragon 662 SoC isn’t any efficiency champion, it’s nonetheless ample for on a regular basis duties.

What I appreciated:

What I disliked:

  • Outdated processor
  • The occasional lag in each day use

NextPit Motorola Defy side
The appropriate button may be configured to launch apps and even to activate the flashlight, open notifications, and so on / © NextPit

Nonetheless, the 11 nm processor already exhibits indicators of age throughout use. There have been a minimum of two conditions when the Chrome browser confirmed short-term crashes for no obvious motive. Furthermore, the mannequin is just not solely behind smartphones just like the Galaxy A51 which has comparable {hardware} to the strong Galaxy XCover Professional, but in addition of the brand new crop of mid-range gadgets just like the Edge 20 that’s outfitted with the Snapdragon 778G line. Within the latter case, there’s a efficiency distinction of just about 7 instances within the 3DMark take a look at and twice in general processing:


  Motorola Defy Samsung Galaxy A51 Xiaomi Redmi Word 10 Motorola Edge 20
3DMark Wild Life 370 853 482 2.492
3DMark Wild Life stress take a look at 376 ~ 379 596 ~ 856 482 ~ 483 2.461 ~ 2.494
GeekBench 5 (single / multi) 314 / 1.354 348 / 1.265 527 / 1.653 768 / 2.776
PassMark RAM 13.126 12.829 18.645
PassMark Storage 34.309 34.829 38634

A minimum of the Defy confirmed no indicators of overheating, exhibiting secure efficiency within the 3DMark stress take a look at (albeit low) and within the examined video games like Name of Responsibility Cell or Free Hearth. Simply do not take into consideration taking part in on the highest high quality graphics to make sure a secure body price

TL:DR: The fee-performance ratio is just not the power of the brand new Motorola Defy, inheriting configurations from a mannequin that was already uncompetitive with different mid-range smartphones in 2020, the Defy lags behind its direct rival, the Galaxy XCover Professional, which has been in the marketplace for already 20 months.

Fundamental smartphone digital camera

The Defy’s digital camera configuration adopts the well-known wide-angle/macro/depth recipe that may be very fashionable amongst entry-level smartphones. And the 48-, 2- and 2-megapixel resolutions, respectively, do not go away a lot room for any optimism. However how does the Defy fare in the true world?

What I appreciated:

What I disliked:

  • Not a really versatile digital camera configuration
  • Macro digital camera is just about ineffective
  • Blurry photos on the primary digital camera

NextPit Motorola Defy camera
The triple digital camera configuration does not excite anybody, similar to the unique Defy / © NextPit

The Defy of 2010 wasn’t precisely provide prime digital camera efficiency, and it is not any totally different in 2021 both, which is most probably attributed as one other Moto G9 Play affect.
The primary digital camera photographs aren’t as sharp when reviewed at their authentic dimension, with a bent to melt or barely blur the picture.
A minimum of the colour copy appears pure, avoiding exaggerations in coloration saturation that some producers use in processing.

As what would usually occur with high-resolution sensors, every pixel is the results of combining 4 factors of the sensor, producing a 12-megapixel (4000 x 3000 pixels) picture.


Principal digital camera (12 MP)

Principal digital camera (12 MP)

Principal digital camera (12 MP)

Defy consists of just one macro digital camera as an additional lens, apart from the depth sensor. The two-megapixel decision of the macro sensor leads to images with out sufficient definition for prints, however it is perhaps sufficient for sharing on immediate messaging apps or social networks.

The Evening Imaginative and prescient night time mode requires the usage of a tripod or very regular arms to work effectively. The sensor captures 4 seconds of photos earlier than processing the recorded picture. Personally, I discovered the consequence to be a bit too gentle, however the characteristic a minimum of manages to point out objects that will be hidden within the shadows if it had been disabled. With or with out Evening Imaginative and prescient, nevertheless, the low gentle images make the primary digital camera’s limitations when it comes to sharpness much more noticeable.


Principal digital camera (night time mode on)

Principal digital camera (night time mode off)

Macro (2 MP)

As for selfies, the outcomes with the entrance digital camera had been higher than I anticipated, with a natural-looking consequence even when the mannequin does not cooperate, and particularly with out the exaggerated post-processing discovered on some gadgets, as with the Moto G30. The portrait mode additionally labored effectively, with a slight blur across the ear and masks straps.


Selfie (8 MP, commonplace mode)

Selfie (portrait mode)

TL:DR: The digital camera configuration that was inherited from a base mannequin exhibits off its limitations on the Defy, with the extra 2-megapixel sensors mainly serving to make up the numbers on the rear. Principal digital camera photographs are completely usable for sharing on social networks, however not a lot for prints or enlargements. Selfies, then again, turned out higher than anticipated, with sharp images and no synthetic pores and skin smoothing.

Massive battery, however solely 20W charging velocity

The battery and charging system is one key space the place Bullitt may have differentiated the Defy from the Moto G9. The smartphone has retained the 5,000 mAh battery and a most charging energy of 20 Watts.

What I appreciated:

  • Good battery life
  • Charger is included (20 W)

What I disliked:

  • Charging not as quick as I’d have appreciated;
  • Battery is just not detachable for this sort of smartphone
  • No wi-fi charging help

With average use, the Defy simply lasted greater than two days of autonomy, which isn’t stunning in a tool with HD decision, intermediate processor and beneficiant battery capability.
As a reference, the machine recorded 18h13min within the PCMark Battery Life take a look at, which simulates a steady processing battery between 80 and 20% load of the machine.

When it comes time to cost, nevertheless, it exhibits the age of the design. A full recharge takes about two hours. 5 minutes within the socket with the 20 W TurboPower charger was sufficient for 4 to five p.c cost, 20 minutes yielded 20 to 23 p.c capability, and one hour left the battery with about 63 p.c cost.

NextPit Motorola Defy usb
Along with the USB-C port, the underside consists of the speaker (with muffled playback) and gap to slip in a strap / © NextPit

A element that will not matter to most individuals, is the truth that the battery is just not detachable, one thing that its direct competitor, the Samsung Galaxy XCover affords. This is perhaps a focal point for corporations which might be on the lookout for a smartphone for his or her on-site groups.

TL:DR: Good battery life might be one of many Defy’s highlights, sporting greater than sufficient juice to final you the entire day. The wired charging system wired is the well-known TurboPower from Motorola, which may very well be thought of as a promoting level in its early days, however it has since fallen behind when it comes to charging speeds when in comparison with smartphones from the likes of Oppo, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Vivo, and so on.

Technical specs and different info

I listing different factors which will curiosity the NextPit neighborhood, however usually are not price extra paragraphs under:

  • The Motorola Defy consists of NFC help and is appropriate with Google Pay for proximity funds
  • After resetting the up to date handset, the working system indicated 20.36 GB of used house
  • The packaging of the overview unit included the 20 W charger, a charging cable, a SIM tray opening instrument, and a strap
  • The software program model in the course of the take a look at was QZD30.57 (June 2021)
  • Bullitt/Motorola guarantees 2 years of safety updates for the machine, which on the time of overview had Android 10 as the present working system model

Technical specs

  Motorola Defy (2021 / XT2803-9)
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 (Jan/2020)
11 nm (Samsung 11LPP)
4x Kryo 260 Gold (Cortex-A73) @ 2.0 GHz
4x Kryo 260 Silver (Cortex-A53) @ 1.8 GHz
Reminiscence 4 / 64 GB
Expandable with micro SD card
Show 6.5-inch LCD
720 x 1600 pixels (HD+)
60 Hz
Gorilla Glass Victus
Digicam 48 MP fundamental digital camera | f/1.8
2 MP Macro
2 MP depth sensor
8 MP Selfie
Battery 5,000 mAh
20W wired charging
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.0 | NFC | WiFi 5 (11ac) | 4G
Dimensions 169.8 x 78.2 x 10.9mm
Weight 232 grams
Particular Options IP68 and MIL-SPEC 810H licensed
Working System Android 10 (improve to Android 11 introduced)
2 years of safety patches
Colours Black and inexperienced
Value €329
not accessible in the US


Backside line: What’s the Motorola Defy’s goal market?

The Motorola Defy 2021 is a curious smartphone, which tries to trip on the nostalgia think about a really small group of individuals, fairly not like the large fanbase that the Razr or the retro Nokias had. To complicate issues additional, it was launched in a market that already has attention-grabbing choices from Samsung and Bullitt, an organization that developed rugged variations of Motorola/Lenovo gadgets, aside from the just lately launched Nokia XR20.

Whereas the CAT and Galaxy XCover gadgets are positioned extra for enterprise use, the Defy doesn’t appear to be an excellent resolution for them, with the promise of solely two years of safety updates, and doesn’t include a detachable battery choice discovered within the XCover (which additionally consists of the choice of charging through Pogo pins). The XCover is even coated (pardon the pun) by Samsung’s 4-year safety replace coverage, making it considerably much like Nokia’s XR20 (which nonetheless affords 3 years of guarantee and three years of system updates).

NextPit Motorola Defy display
The Defy 2021 is even harder than the unique, however specs are much less aggressive in relation to the market / © NextPit

The Defy’s promotional supplies place an emphasis on excessive sports activities, and maybe this positioning explains the strap included within the packaging. Nonetheless, that is the exact same viewers that made GoPro (and DJI) a fortune, leaving the impression that the digital camera may have obtained extra consideration from producers, even when it was an ultra-wide-angle lens rather than the superfluous macro digital camera.

All in all, the launch announcement appeared to point that the brand new Defy is absolutely focusing on most of the people who normally lose their gadgets to accidents every day. However on this case, the really helpful retail worth of €329 in Europe is virtually double that of the Moto G9 Play or G30, which can make it extra advantageous to purchase one of many fashions talked about with a canopy and maybe an insurance coverage coverage in opposition to accidents.

And it is this discrepancy between fundamental specs with a mid-range sticker price ticket that docks factors from the Defy 2021, though it is cheaper than its sturdy rivals from Samsung and Nokia in Europe. There’s nothing improper with the machine, however to enchantment to most of the people, it will have to have a worth that matches its specs. That is one thing that the Defy of 2010 had and which was the explanation that made me purchase it ten years in the past.

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