I upgraded my contract last week and got a Motorola Defy (known in SA as the MB525). I upgraded for the contract, rather than for the phone, as I'd heard about Motorola's locked bootloader and ancient versions of Android. I figured I could sell it and buy a Samsung Galaxy SII (SGS2). However, after barely a day, I was totally converted!
- Small and lightweight! Not as thin as a SGS2, but just as light. Fits beautifully in the hand and feels great.
- Very crisp and sharp screen that's totally readable under sunlight. Practically, it looks about as sharp as the Retina display (very high pixel density). It is highly sensitive to touch - sometimes a hover over the screen will trigger a touch, kinda like the SGS2.
- Fast! Yea, the specs might say otherwise, but this phone feels fast. Not SGS2 fast (although faster in areas that count: unlocking the screen and ending a call), but fast enough that I don't wish it was faster. Has a good dose of RAM too.
- Looks great and has quality build! From the front, it looks like a miniature Galaxy Tab P1000 with the screen taking up almost all the space. The back is rubbery, and is one of the easiest covers to take off, despite being...
- Waterproof! And dust and scratch proof. Although I have seen one slightly scratched. You can start recording a video and then dunk the phone into the pool for underwater photography...
- FM stereo radio with RDS, always a welcome addition.
- Decent camera with flash. You'll still want to lug your dedicated camera around, but it's fine for normal use (twitpic/flickr/facebook).
- Motorola's Data manager tells you how much data you used, and which apps used the most. Also lets you schedule downloads for when you're on Wifi. This should be standard on Android.
- Adjustable timeout on the screen lock, which means you don't keep having to enter the pattern/pin everytime you unlock the screen. Another feature that should be standard on Android.
- Resizable Motorola widgets. I think they look great (and use them), although they are not to everyone's taste. I like the launcher too with it's jump-to-any-screen springboard that pops up, and haven't felt the need to install any third party ones.
- "In pocket" detector that locks your phone simply by you pocketing it. Nice touch.
- Cheap - this phone is "mid-range" (although practically, it feels high-end), and is available on cheap contracts (or around R3500 cash, possibly less).
- Saved the best for last: by far the best battery life I've ever had in an Android phone! Will go 2 days with moderate use with HSDPA and Wifi on all the time (and WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Google Talk, and Tweetdeck running continuously). Motorola's Battery Manager is great too, which will extend the battery life even more. This is the first Android phone I've had that does not need a battery saver app.
- Due to thin bezel, it's easy to trigger the bottom buttons by accident, although it's been rare for me.
- The earpiece is a hole in the front glass. This means fluff gets caught in it as it has no grille over it. The only obvious flaw in an otherwise perfect device.
- Android 2.1. That's what the phone came with. Thankfully I could upgrade to Android 2.2.2, but that did require a Windows PC (which is not something that's readily available in my house). Upgrade went fine though, but I fear this is the last update we will ever see for this device as they now have a Defy+ (same phone, faster CPU, Android 2.3). Despite the locked bootloader though, there are custom ROMs, so there may be a future in this phone yet. Plus Google recently bought Motorola so maybe we'll get some action over here. In the meanwhile though, this phone's firmware feels highly tuned so I have no desire whatsoever to try any custom ROMs. Motorola went into the guts of Android to optimise this firmware, and it shows.
Did you notice how short the "bad" and "ugly" sections were? Yea, that kinda sums it up. If you consider the lightness, great screen, highly tuned software, and best of all, that fantastic battery life, this is one of the best smartphones you can get. If you are budget-conscious and/or battery life is high on your priority list, then get this phone.
I got it on MTN Anytime 100 with 75Mb data per month (promotion) for a seriously great price of R129 per month.