Motorola Defy review

Social networking shares centre stage with a rugged build and clever music features

motorola defy
The definitive Motorola Defy review

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Motorola Defy review: Contacts and calling

A key feature of the Defy is its MotoBlur social networking capabilities. You can set up a whole variety of accounts from a single Social Networking link in the main apps list.

You'll notice that, in fact, these links include mobile email and corporate synchronisation for Microsoft Exchange server users.

Motorola defy

Sign in to Twitter and Facebook, though, and you can populate the contact book from them. You have to manually link contacts from each of the two and this can be a real pain if you've lots of friends, but once done you can send messages in both apps from the contact list.

You can choose either Twitter or Facebook to be the main source of pictures for your contacts.

There are a couple of ways to view data from both these sources via widgets. The Messages widget enables you to see info from any services you are signed in to or just a subset of them.

Motorola defy

Meanwhile the Social Networking widget brings together updates, photos, new friend requests and more in a widget that takes up the main bulk of a Home screen and offers one message at a time with the facility to scroll to see more.

On screen this widget is called 'Happenings'; a sucky name if ever we heard one.

We found Happenings a bit slow and jerky to refresh while scrolling through the widget. A quick tap on a message calls up a full screen version of it and you can compose a quick reply from here as well as scroll around in a less jerky way to see more messages.

Motorola defy

If you tap a contact's name, you're taken straight to their contact entry and from there you can see info about them, skip between social media services that they are on, and send messages including email, if that's set up.

While the integration is good, this pair of widgets feels clunky and look unrefined. We hate that unread messages aren't marked as such. We aren't too pleased with being told we've got 85 unread Twitter and Facebook messages after we've paged through them all.

Finally, you've got the Contact Quick Tasks widget. This lets you put a contact onto a Home screen and access a range of services related to them.

You can make this widget large or small depending on how many services you want to use and, with the widget set up, a quick tap takes you to the relevant area. This is nice, but to make the most of it you have to dedicate an awful lot of Home screen space to one contact.

Motorola defy

With all this social networking going on Motorola hasn't forgotten about good old voice calls. The Motorola Defy includes Moto's Crystal Talk Plus. This is meant to filter out background noise and amplify your voice.

Well, maybe, but people we spoke to could still hear our radio in the background indoors and ambient sound outdoors, and they said we sounded a little fuzzy too. Still, we had no trouble maintaining a strong signal when out and about.

Motorola defy

Oh, and why, we'd like to know, given all the social networking integration, is there no smart dialling feature on the phone dialler. We don't always want to pop into contacts to find the people we want to call.