Motorola DEFY XT review
Fri, 05 Oct 2012 2:56p.m.
By Dan Satherley
The latest phone from Google-owned Motorola, the Defy XT, is a good choice if you're going to be using it outdoors a lot, or in situations where things could get messy.
Promoted as being "night-out proof", "pocket-proof" and "beach-proof", the Defy XT comes with a scratch-resistant display (which seems to work) and claims to be dust- and water-resistant (not something I wanted to test).
Each of its slots – for headphones and the micro USB lead – are kept secure with little rubbery plugs, keeping out dust and fluff. The one over the micro USB slot is fine, swivelling nicely out of the way when you need to charge your phone or transfer some files over USB, but the one in the headphone port doesn't. Instead you have to bend it awkwardly up along the headphone plug, and I can't see it lasting more than a few weeks of heavy use before it fails.
The phone is easy to grip with its rubber backing, thin profile and light weight (115g). Having the power switch at the top edge of the phone instead of at the bottom of the phone's front face also means there room for a longer screen (9.4cm, 480x854 pixels).
VIDEO AND IMAGES
Videos look fine, but can be a little tricky to get going – unlike my bottom-of-the-range LG which barely earns the 'smart' tag, there's no app called 'Video Player' which you can just open and have your videos appear. For the first week of using the Defy XT I instead navigated to 'File Browser' and manually located the videos.
Later I discovered you can also access them through the camera by navigating the photo album, then flicking through the thumbnails – not exactly intuitive, especially since the filenames aren't shown so you have to recognise the clip you want via the thumbnail.
And only after that did I find the far more useful 'MediaSee' app, which nicely separates your photos, videos and music, and is a breeze to use – next time I'll read the instruction manual first!
The camera itself is pretty good – 5 megapixels – but doesn't take the photo until about a second or two after you've pressed the button, as it auto-focuses, which is a pain. It's not a problem my aforementioned $200 phone has, so I'm not sure why a phone that costs three times as much can't take a photo when the button is pressed, or focus beforehand. Is that really too much to ask?
It also has a front-facing camera, for the few people who might do video chatting or like to use their phone as a mirror.
LONG BATTERY LIFE
The best thing about the Defy XT is its battery life. A single charge lasted me four days easy, with moderate use of 3G, audio and video.
By default, the Defy XT turns its wireless connections off if they haven't been used for 15 minutes during the night, extending its life. It's easy to change it so it's always connected or saves battery during the daytime too through the 'Battery Manager' app. Motorola claims it has up to 20 days of standby time – I didn't have time to test that, but it sounds a little exaggerated.
The Defy XT makes it easy to quickly turn Wi-Fi on and off without navigating through a deep menu tree, as well as Bluetooth, roaming and airplane mode, which is great if you just want to log onto something quickly and get off again to save battery, instead of leaving it all turned on.
It's also easy to set up different 'themes' which make different apps appear on your homepage depending where you are – at home or work, generally.
SNAPPY AND RESPONSIVE
It's 1Ghz processer makes running apps a breeze. It's highly responsive, and rarely pauses or lags. For the first time since getting a smartphone, I found myself picking up the phone to check in Twitter and Gmail through the work day, where previously I wouldn't have bothered.
This speed still doesn't make the Facebook app any easier to use, however – I'm beginning to doubt anything ever will!
I used the phone to record interviews for work over the last couple of weeks, and have to say the audio quality of the recordings was abysmal. There didn't seem to be any way to up the quality either.
The button to save a recording also happens to be right next to the button which cancels a recording – with no back up. Yes, I learned this the hard way.
So if I had to use the Defy XT for work I'd have to invest in a separate audio recorder, which is a shame. Music and video loaded onto the phone were fine – it's just set to record at such low quality. I have a four-year-old iPod Nano which records sound 10 times better.
STRANGE CLOCK ANOMALY
I also found it strange that when Daylight Saving kicked in, one of the phone's display clocks went forward an hour, and the one attached to the weather module didn't, leading to the ludicrous situation where the phone could sometimes be displaying two different times, an hour apart. There doesn't appear to be any way to fix it, either – only one of the clocks appears to able to be edited under Settings.
That aside, I found the Defy XT a good, competent phone that I'd be happy to own. It doesn't have any major flaws, just plenty of niggles as I've described above.
Calling and texting worked perfectly fine – it didn't have T9 predictive text which threw me at first, until I discovered the useful 'Swype' input option.
Taking out the supplied Telecom SIM card and chucking in my 2degrees one didn't cause any problems – it kept all my contacts and settings, and ran just as well.
If you buy the handset alone it's $599, but there are Telecom plans available which knock it down to as low as $99.
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22/02/2013 12:43:50 p.m.
Im gonna get mine for 240 with unlimited talk text and web. For a month with straight talk
27/01/2013 7:04:36 a.m.
Well @LILLY you can get the battery saver app it works great ,but i have noidea if it would kast for four days.
27/12/2012 4:36:46 a.m.
I got my brand new motorola DEFY XT last week. the bettery doesn't last long at all, I have to recharge it in one or two days. If anyone knows what at kind of bettery settings would make it last for four days,please let me know, thanks!
22/10/2012 2:32:57 p.m.
.Not real happy with phone
5/10/2012 4:25:32 p.m.
i have one of these phones and have had it since march 2012 i find that you have to be careful of the apps you down load as it will cause your ph to freeze and i find its a great phone as i have a 2yr old son and my friends partner has the same ph and he is a mechanic and having different profiles for the phone is great as you have 1 for hm 1 for work and 1 for weekend and the indicator light is great means i can have my phone on silent and not have to check my phone all the time but you said yours cost $599 where as mine cost $400 at dick smith but all in all its a great phone and i have mine on the skinny net work and it works great
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