Motorola Defy (2021) review: still a rugged smartphone?

Motorola just launched the second edition of Motorola Defy this year. Just like its predecessor, this Defy is also focused on rugged design. Moreover, they target a specific type of user that requires to carry a smartphone in hazardous situations regularly.

This smartphone is top-notch if it comes to testing the durability of hardware to the long-lasting battery life. Motorola Defy gives a pleasant experience about software due to the user-friendly Motorola skin on top of this Android device.

Motorola Defy is quite expensive than other smartphones, but it offers away more than others. Defy gives you a mix of user-friendly experiences and the trait of durability in it. It’s a fortune package for users who require this kind of phone for their use. It might look like a waste of big bucks at a glance, but this smartphone makes every penny count.

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Motorola Defy Specifications

    • Technology: 2G, 3G, 4G
    • Screen size (inches): 6.50
    • Touchscreen: Yes
    • Resolution: 720×1600 pixels
    • Protection type: Gorilla Glass
    • Aspect ratio: 20:9
    • Processor: Octa-core
    • Processor Make: Qualcomm Snapdragon 662
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • Internal Storage: 64 GB
    • Expandable Storage: Yes
    • Expandable Storage Type: microSD
    • Rear Camera: 48-megapixel (f/1.8) + 2-megapixel + 2-megapixel
    • No. Of Rear Cameras: 3
    • Rear Autofocus: Yes
    • Rear Flash: Yes
    • Front Camera: 8-megapixel
    • No. Of Front Cameras: 1
    • Front Autofocus: Yes
    • Operating System: Android 10
    • Wi-Fi: Yes
    • GPS: Yes
    • Bluetooth: Yes, v 5.00
    • NFC: Yes
    • USB Type-C: Yes
    • Headphones: 3.5 mm
    • Number of SIMs: 2
    • Fingerprint Sensor: Yes
    • Compass/ Magnetometer: Yes
    • Proximity Sensor: Yes
    • Accelerometer: Yes
    • Ambient Light Sensor: Yes
    • Gyroscope: Yes

What’s Inside The Box Of Motorola Defy

The Motorola Defy ships in a somewhat fairly standard cardboard box. You get a USB Type-A to Type-C cable that plugs into the 20W MOTOROLA MC-202 charger. That one uses Quick Charge 3.0 and is rated for 5V@3A, 10V@2A, and [email protected] output.

You also get an incredibly thick and sturdy lanyard in the box. It has a soft, yet grippy texture to it – great for grabbing with gloves on, and is slightly elastic. Its weakest point is probably thin, but you are meant to hook onto the dedicated lanyard hole on the Motorola Defy, but even that looks like it can last a good while.

Design And Display

Motorola Defy

Just like its 2010 predecessor, rugged is the name of the game with the Motorola Defy 2021 edition. It’s almost fully wrapped up in a durable package of plastic that has a rubbery feel to it and is covered with a 3D texture. That texture provides a better grip to prevent it from slipping away from your hands or any other surface for that matter.

Together, the back and frame of the phone feel like a whole case has been integrated. Besides its durable structure, the casing also protrudes a bit around the camera module as well as the screen. This brings even more peace of mind in case of any drop scenarios.

Adding further to the durability resume of the Defy is the IP68 water and dust resistance rating. Supposedly, the device is also MIL-SPEC 810H compliant (which is a military-grade standard) and can withstand a drop to concrete from up to 1.8 m. There’s also another safety measure in the form of a special lanyard hole in the bottom right corner of the phone’s frame.

When it comes to looks, the Motorola Defy is not the prettiest mobile device out there. The screen is surrounded by bezels for days, especially that Thanos-size chin at the bottom. Thankfully, the notch has a teardrop design, which is one of the more elegant solutions out there. Despite its somewhat rough appearance, however, my humble opinion is that the new Defy is one of the better-looking rugged phones out there.

All of the buttons are positioned on the right side. There are three of them – power, volume, and a programmable one. The power button is covered in the same grip texture as the rest of the phone, while the other two are painted in silver. All three have a satisfying click and are easily distinguishable from each other just by touch, which could help if you wear work gloves.

Port-wise, there is a 3.5 mm audio jack at the top and a USB-C port at the bottom.


Well, here we go… This is probably one of the weakest aspects of the Motorola Defy but let me start with the pros. There is a decently sized 6.5-inch display made with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus — one of the most durable glass displays on the market.

The panel is a 720p LCD, which unsurprisingly has quite bad viewing angles and dims when looked at from an aside. The Defy’s peak brightness does nothing to help with that issue either — we managed to get a maximum of 354 nits. Keep that in mind if you are planning on using the phone a lot in harsh sunlight.

Color accuracy is as mediocre as it can get, with an average delta E of 4.1.


The camera setup here seems like it could be the same as on the Moto G50 with a 48MP main, a macro, and a depth sensor, while the selfie snapper on the front has 8MP.

The main camera takes decent-looking shots with a good amount of sharpness, provided that there’s enough light. HDR also seems to be doing an okay job at balancing shadows and highlights even in some more challenging situations.

All in all, the camera system is a fitting one for this type of device. It’s good enough for some quick practical snapshots and will seldom leave you disappointed if you give it enough light to work with. Video is not the strong suit here, but it could serve some basic purposes as well.

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Battery Life

Apart from its ruggedness, the Motorola Defy 2021 has another powerful aspect — its battery performance. Yes, it is undoubtedly slow to charge up to 100%, as you would expect with just a 20W fast charging and a chunky 5000mAh to fill up.

The device is clearly not intended for power users, though, so most buyers will probably have one heavyweight of a champion when it comes to battery life.

Motorola Defy Pros

  • Grade A battery life
  • Durability and build quality
  • Mostly smooth software experience
  • Sufficiently powerful chipset

Motorola Defy Cons

  • Unsatisfactory screen: poor color accuracy and maximum brightness
  • Video and sound recording quality are very poor
  • Bad haptics and sluggish typing experience
  • Photos do the job, but are still below average

Worth It?

Motorola Defy is specifically designed to target users that require a durable and long-lasting smartphone for their lifestyle. Here, Defy would be perfect for you as it gives you a rugged design as mentioned above. Moreover, it gives you a user-friendly interface to enhance your productivity. It wouldn’t be ideal for most smartphone users, but there are users that require a smartphone like this to carry around. Defy could come in handy if you lie in this category.

Huzaifa Aslam

Huzaifa Aslam is an entrepreneur, freelancer, and writer with high potential. He loves to write detailed reviews about the latest technologies.

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