back to article Motorola Defy Mini rugged Android smartphone

Reg Hardware Mobile Week The original Motorola Defy from 2010 was aimed at a niche that no-one else knew was there – rugged cool. The thinking was that rugged phones that were hard to damage were a great idea, but that chunky rubber casings and hard-to-press buttons tended to put people off. Motorola Defy Mini rugged …


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  1. dotdavid

    Low-end Androids

    I've been wary of low-end Androids since seeing my wife's Wildfire in day-to-day operation - slow and laggy, even with CyanogenMod 7, even when typing into the default SMS app with the default keyboard.

    Since then I've only been recommending friends and family go for 1GHz+ CPUs, but I hear these new Snapdragons are actually quite performant. Is this the case?

    I realise that you're not gonna be playing the latest 3D games, but if it can hold its' own with lag-free Angry Birds, Facebook, SMS and Email these handsets (Defy Mini, HTC Explorer, Wildfire S) look more attractive.

    1. Tech Hippy

      Re: Low-end Androids

      Don't be fooled - it will still be a Motorola. Updates will be horrifically, and I mean HORRIFICALLY, delayed with the user forced to rely on forum speculation because of a complete lack of update information from Motorola themselves.

      Bitter ex Atrix owner here...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Low-end Androids

        Spot on. And lots of unremovable (without resorting to hackery) apps that slow the thing down.

        Nice hardware, terrible OS implementation.

        Ex defy owner here.

      2. Z80

        Re: Re: Low-end Androids

        Plenty of update information from Motorola here:

        Let's see...Defy Mini... "Will remain on Android 2.3."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Low-end Androids

      Only windows phone can run fast on cheap hardware. look for the new lumia 710 or 610

      1. M Gale

        Re: Re: Low-end Androids

        Uhm, £300 is not "cheap".

        Neither is £160, but it's still almost half the price of your "cheap" Microsoft phone. Probably runs more smoothly too.

    3. Z80

      Re: Low-end Androids

      I find that word "performant" a bit annoyant.

  2. Dave 126 Silver badge

    New niche

    How about a tough compact Android phone that is good at calls and texts, and good at supplying a 3G>WiFi hotspot for when you have a laptop or tablet to hand?

    To put it another way, take Motorola's Atrix dock: If you have this dock near at hand, say in your car or briefcase, why does the phone itself need such a large screen?

    Does anyone know if a phone's CPU power impacts at all on its ability at supplying a 3G hotspot?

    That said, this appears to have roughly the same dimensions as my dumbphone Samsung 5620 'Monte'. It's not smart, but battery lasts a couple of days, I have dropped it dozens of times without breaking it and it slips into pockets without discomfort. It can do some smart things like iplayer, maps and GPS, albeit in a fiddly manner- but fine to get me out of a jam. This new Moto would appear to offer the same 'plus' points. Tempted though I am by a Galaxy S2 or whatever, I'm just too clumsy!

    1. Ian McNee

      Re: New niche - just be a good phone?

      That's what I got the original Defy for and I'm still very happy with it: it does all the useful stuff with a handful of apps, has a good battery life and is not totalled by pocket fluff, being used in the rain or the occasional knock. And as it's not trying to be a games console or wide-screen telly or fashion-victim tablet it's quite compact.

      One thing that does gall me is seeing Motorola subsequently bring out the Defy+ and now this Defy Mini both with Gingerbread while the Defy is stuck with Eclair (2.1) - yes I know there is CyanogenMod for the Defy but we ought not to have to resort to that. There are good enough reasons (such as the security enhancements in Gingerbread over predecessors) to expect that Motorola should pull their finger out and provide this kind of support in the form of official updates.

      1. Z80

        Re: Re: New niche - just be a good phone?

        My Defy got an official 2.2 update. I believe you can only do it through the PC software - it won't appear if you check for updates on the phone.

        I had my first "Requires 2.3+" moment the other day when I wanted to try that Sprinkle game reviewed by El Reg recently. Until there's something I really need to do with it that requires higher than 2.2, I'm not sure I can be bothered with all the dicking around required to get there.

  3. jef_

    I've got the original one

    Smaller and tougher (theoretically) than the iPhone that I had before it. I've got a 32GB card in it. It can be a wifi hotspot. It was rubbish though before I put Cyanogen Mod 7 on it. The major negatives are slight lagginess (everyone has different tolerances, and mine are fairly low I think so it can't be that bad...) and Google Maps freezes sometimes. I could probably fix that, just not got round to it.

    Crucially though, a good screen at £200 no contract (last July). The resolution on this new one is massive pants. If only there was a decent QWERTY keyboard phone...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I've got the original one

      the google maps thing is a fairly easy fix.

      But it was the last straw for me. It works fine as long as you root it, install cyanogenmod, change memory allocation settings for maps, remove unwanted apps ... in the end I thought, why the hell should I ?

      1. jef_

        Re: Re: I've got the original one

        Baby, life's what you make it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: Re: I've got the original one

          Life yes.

          Phones not so much. After all that, they are disappointingly still a phone.

          But thanks for putting the tune in my head !

  4. h3

    Qualcomm's numbering sucks now.

    (This is armv7 with adreno 200)

    And it has little (Maybe same pinout ?) to do with the earlier MSM7225 (That didn't even have a gpu and was on the original wildfire).

    Dunno why they bother with the cortex A5 (The main useful features it has (compatibility with the original arm abi / 100% armv6 compatibility (including jazelle) are no use whatsoever for Android).

    Guess it must be cartel like behaviour from Qualcomm. Cannot see why this should be any cheaper to make than a 2nd gen snapdragon.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm, is 2.3.6 the current version of Android? My iPhone 3GS is running the latest IOS and that's not even a new phone.

    Lucky Android is free and open, makes it easy to keep up to date...

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      What do you expect?

      Good grief! Android 4 only came out in November. They're releasing this phone 4 months later and you expect it to have the latest software? What do you want, the moon onna stick!

      Sheesh, these demanding customers...

      There ought to be a website of shame. I wonder if people are still releasing Android devices on 2.2? They certainly were doing so absurdly late last year. It really is seriously rubbish. I've never worked out if Google are most at fault, for not providing proper roadmaps and test-builds, or whether it's mostly down to the manufacturers. Certainly the lack of updates is their baby.

      I'm quite tempted to try out Windows mobile with my next phone, as I don't fancy paying the iPhone tax. As they're really taking the piss with the new iPhone 3GS prices.

      1. Ian McNee

        Re: What do you expect? Yes but you're missing the point...

        It is rubbish as you both say - and even so my old Defy with creaking Android 2.1 kicks an iPhone into touch at half the price. As for the joke that is WinMo there's no point dignifying that suggestion with a response!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: What do you expect? Yes but you're missing the point...

          That's just not true though is it.

          The closest I came to buying an iphone was being throughly fed up with the defy. YEs, I still mocked my iphone ownning friends by offering a drop onto the floor from shoulder height, or place in glass of water face off.

          Ultimately I went for a nexus s. Less than half the price of a iphone. Stands up to it pretty well but stomps all over the defy. Other than the tests mentioned above.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "My iPhone 3GS is running the latest IOS and that's not even a new phone."

      Except it's not really though, is it? It's actually running a gimped version of iOS 5.

    3. Ru

      "Lucky Android is free and open"

      The OS is free and open, sure. Look at CyanogenMod for example.

      The problem is not the OS, but the hardware upon which it runs, and any closed source binary blobs required to make that hardward function correctly. Motorola have an unpleasant habit of using signed, ocked bootloaders for example. You can recompile your OS to your heart's content, but it won't be going on locked hardware without the approval of a Moto Veep.

      My own tabletty thing can run all sorts of versions of Android, so long as I'm willing to put up with either the sound, or the 3g radio, or both, not working. Again, not an open source problem, but that of an industry which is pathologically closed, restricted and untrusting.

      But anyway... 1 day battery life? Oh, suddenly I don't care about what might otherwise have been an interesting device. Its just another toy. Next, please.

  6. Arclight

    Exceedingly nice

    The gorilla glass may withstand a bunch of keys, but its no match for Mr Kiplings finest. A scrunched up metal cake case shoved nonchalantly into a pocket put an impressive scratch right across the screen. That said, the dust proof and water resistant case has proved handy, and personally even after a year, I still love it. I just wish it wasn't on bloody t-mobile

  7. Nya


    Anyone know if "water resistant" means it can or can't live with British weather?

    1. OrientalHero

      Re: Question?

      The original Defy and Defy+ on which this Defy mini is based are both described on the Motorola website as "Water and scratch resistant and dustproof". They are both actually IP67 compliant which means can be immersed in water up to 1m for 30 minutes. Lots of videos online showing just that!

      So if the Defy mini is the same level, I think it will survive British weather (which given the current drought doesn't look even close to giving us floods).

      Funnily enough, I bought the Xperia Active which was Sony Ericsson's take on the same rugged niche. Took me a while to find out that was IP67 compliant too.

  8. Tapeador

    No iPlayer (600mhz cpu)

    therefore fail :-(

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