Motorola Defy evaluation: Nonetheless searching 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 a protracted 11 years, Lenovo has teamed up with the British firm that’s accountable for the CAT and Land Rover smartphones. To be able to revive that historical past, we should ask ourselves, “Does the machine deliver 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 evaluation.


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


  • Impractical one-handed use
  • Restricted digicam efficiency
  • Massive and heavy
  • Thick bezels across the display
  • 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 attraction 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 have been within the novelty, and it is not a coincidence that the one two individuals who confirmed any semblance of curiosity have been the editors who had the first-generation mannequin (myself included).

Anyway, in contrast to the primary era which shared many of the specs with the Moto Milestone (actually the flagship amongst Android 2.0 handsets), the brand new Defy has way 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 isn’t messing round / © NextPit

To distinguish the mannequin from the G9 Play, the Bullitt group has strengthened the whole 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 just isn’t anticipated to see worldwide availability since it’s offered by the Bullitt group. We are able to solely hope that Motorola will announce the Defy in your house nation outdoors of its common markets. 

Display screen and end: HD LCD and Gorilla Victus

For many who keep in mind the unique Defy, the dimensions of the brand new mannequin is likely one of the very first issues that catches the attention. Whereas the unique Defy had a 3.7-inch display (and the approximate dimension of the iPhone 4), the brand new smartphone stands out with its beneficiant 6.5-inch display 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 offer a safer grip.

What I favored:

  • End ensures a superb 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 huge
  • Thick bezels across the display

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 fee.
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 during which it adopted the right 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 is bolstered with Victus Gorilla Glass for added scratch resistance / © NextPit

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

For sure, the reinforcement of the smartphone has elevated significantly, therefore doing the identical to the dimensions 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 palms. As well as, the place of the buttons leaves the amount 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 unsuitable with Defy’s display, which affords good visibility beneath most conditions. The Gorilla Victus glass can be welcome, though the one draw back is probably the thick bezels across the display, which can be justified by the bolstered safety. The resistance “therapy” helps with the machine’s grip, however however, it will increase the amount and weight of the already giant Moto G9 Play.

How can we check the sturdiness of a tool?

What I favored:

  • 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 frightening!)

The spotlight of the Defy is indisputably all of the Bullitt/Motorola endurance options. In a market the place many smartphones are already waterproof, even some with a foldable display, simply what sort of world can we stay in? 
The Defy’s key differentiators can be the presence of the Gorilla Glass Victus display 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 gives an concept of the machine’s efficiency:

Apart from persevering with to perform usually, the machine confirmed no harm to the display 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 attraction or strap), plus tiny nicks at affect factors, that are disguised due to the opaque end of the case.

I wasn’t in a position to check the claims of its resistance to excessive temperatures and speedy temperature adjustments, however in accordance with 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 provided with a Snapdragon 662 processor, 4 GB of RAM. Though the Snapdragon 662 SoC is not any efficiency champion, it’s nonetheless adequate for on a regular basis duties.

What I favored:

What I disliked:

  • Outdated processor
  • The occasional lag in every day use

NextPit Motorola Defy side
The fitting 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 not less than two conditions when the Chrome browser confirmed non permanent crashes for no obvious cause. Furthermore, the mannequin just isn’t 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 units just like the Edge 20 that’s geared up with the Snapdragon 778G line. Within the latter case, there’s a efficiency distinction of just about 7 instances within the 3DMark check and twice in total processing:


 Motorola DefySamsung Galaxy A51Xiaomi Redmi Notice 10Motorola Edge 20
3DMark Wild Life3708534822.492
3DMark Wild Life stress check376 ~ 379596 ~ 856482 ~ 4832.461 ~ 2.494
GeekBench 5 (single / multi)314 / 1.354348 / 1.265527 / 1.653768 / 2.776
PassMark RAM13.12612.82918.645
PassMark Storage34.30934.82938634

At the least the Defy confirmed no indicators of overheating, displaying steady efficiency within the 3DMark stress check (albeit low) and within the examined video games like Name of Responsibility Cell or Free Fireplace. Simply do not take into consideration enjoying on the highest high quality graphics to make sure a steady body fee

TL:DR: The price-performance ratio just isn’t the energy 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 digicam

The Defy’s digicam configuration adopts the well-known wide-angle/macro/depth recipe that may be very common 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 actual world?

What I favored:

What I disliked:

  • Not a really versatile digicam configuration
  • Macro digicam is just about ineffective
  • Blurry pictures on the primary digicam

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

The Defy of 2010 wasn’t precisely supply prime digicam efficiency, and it is not any completely different in 2021 both, which is almost definitely attributed as one other Moto G9 Play affect.
The principle digicam pictures aren’t as sharp when reviewed at their unique dimension, with a bent to melt or barely blur the picture.
At the least the colour copy appears pure, avoiding exaggerations in shade 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.


Foremost digicam (12 MP)

Foremost digicam (12 MP)

Foremost digicam (12 MP)

Defy contains just one macro digicam as an additional lens, in addition to the depth sensor. The two-megapixel decision of the macro sensor leads to pictures with out sufficient definition for prints, but it surely is likely to be sufficient for sharing on instantaneous messaging apps or social networks.

The Night time Imaginative and prescient evening mode requires using a tripod or very regular palms to work effectively. The sensor captures 4 seconds of pictures earlier than processing the recorded photograph. Personally, I discovered the outcome to be a bit too mild, however the characteristic not less than manages to indicate objects that may be hidden within the shadows if it have been disabled. With or with out Night time Imaginative and prescient, nevertheless, the low mild pictures make the primary digicam’s limitations by way of sharpness much more noticeable.


Foremost digicam (evening mode on)

Foremost digicam (evening mode off)

Macro (2 MP)

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


Selfie (8 MP, normal mode)

Selfie (portrait mode)

TL:DR: The digicam 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. Foremost digicam pictures are completely usable for sharing on social networks, however not a lot for prints or enlargements. Selfies, however, turned out higher than anticipated, with sharp pictures and no synthetic pores and skin smoothing.

Huge battery, however solely 20W charging velocity

The battery and charging system is one key space the place Bullitt might 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 favored:

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

What I disliked:

  • Charging not as quick as I’d have favored;
  • Battery just isn’t detachable for one of these smartphone
  • No wi-fi charging help

With reasonable use, the Defy simply lasted greater than two days of autonomy, which isn’t shocking in a tool with HD decision, intermediate processor and beneficiant battery capability.
As a reference, the machine recorded 18h13min within the PCMark Battery Life check, 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 % cost, 20 minutes yielded 20 to 23 % capability, and one hour left the battery with about 63 % cost.

NextPit Motorola Defy usb
Along with the USB-C port, the underside contains 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 just isn’t detachable, one thing that its direct competitor, the Samsung Galaxy XCover affords. This is likely to be a focal point for corporations which are searching 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 might be thought of as a promoting level in its early days, but it surely has since fallen behind by way of charging speeds when in comparison with smartphones from the likes of Oppo, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Vivo, and so on.

Technical specs and different info

I record different factors that will curiosity the NextPit neighborhood, however are usually not price further paragraphs under:

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

Technical specs

 Motorola Defy (2021 / XT2803-9)
ProcessorQualcomm 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
Reminiscence4 / 64 GB
Expandable with micro SD card
Show6.5-inch LCD
720 x 1600 pixels (HD+)
60 Hz
Gorilla Glass Victus
Digital camera48 MP fundamental digicam | f/1.8
2 MP Macro
2 MP depth sensor
8 MP Selfie
Battery5,000 mAh
20W wired charging
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.0 | NFC | WiFi 5 (11ac) | 4G
Dimensions169.8 x 78.2 x 10.9mm
Weight232 grams
Particular OptionsIP68 and MIL-SPEC 810H licensed
Working SystemAndroid 10 (improve to Android 11 introduced)
2 years of safety patches
ColoursBlack and inexperienced
not accessible in america


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 in contrast to the huge fanbase that the Razr or the retro Nokias had. To complicate issues additional, it was launched in a market that already has fascinating choices from Samsung and Bullitt, an organization that developed rugged variations of Motorola/Lenovo units, other than the lately launched Nokia XR20.

Whereas the CAT and Galaxy XCover units are positioned extra for enterprise use, the Defy doesn’t appear to be a perfect 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 contains 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 digicam might have obtained extra consideration from producers, even when it was an ultra-wide-angle lens instead of the superfluous macro digicam.

All in all, the launch announcement appeared to point that the brand new Defy is actually concentrating on most of the people who often lose their units to accidents each day. However on this case, the beneficial retail value 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 unsuitable with the machine, however to attraction to most of the people, it could must have a value that matches its specs. That is one thing that the Defy of 2010 had and which was the rationale that made me purchase it ten years in the past.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here