Product Type: Motorola Smartphone
Newest Review: ... become a bit unresponsive sometimes, such as if you are texting multiple people and constantly switching between the texts it starts to lag... more
In a fast adapting market...
Member Name: pmcds
Advantages: Reliable, sturdy, does what the best can
Disadvantages: Does what the best can, but noticeably slower
As companies compete with each other to produce the best handset and various network providers compete with each other to provide the best monthly tariffs and pay as you go charges, it's easy to get completely lost in what you're doing and make a rash decision based on what everyone else is doing, and forget exactly what you need something for.
A lot of the buzz is about iPhones and Galaxies, with Windows Phones also bucking the mould and providing Apple with strong competition. The iPhone's recent poor results for their version 5 doesn't actually reflect on the model, more on the quality of other options available to the general consumer, often at a much more affordable rate. Motorola has long been a worthy competitor in the market, and I had previously owned a number of their devices. Always happy with the design and layout, and reassured because nothing has ever let me down from them before, my last upgrade (August 2011) was to this little thing, the Motorola Defy. It doesn't transcend the heights of some of the models I've just mentioned, but it does the basics well and enables the more complicated functions of a mobile handset to be performed, albeit sometimes at a somewhat slower rate.
The first thing I noticed was the format of texting. I text a lot, and recently have been tweeting and posting on facebook using my mobile. Being in my thirties and trying to keep up with an ever increasing tech savvy population of teens has come as a slight shock, as it seems like yesterday that my 20s had just started and I was just like a teen but with more knowledge and 'street' savvy. Think again! Every year group of students I see is more tech able than the last, and keeping up with them is nigh on impossible. The touchscreen text element on the Motorola is essentially the same as the iPhone, in that you get a touchable keypad come up whenever you want to type, and this is easy to use with the shift functions as well as symbols, numbers and an automatic smiley face button which, when held down for a second or so, comes up with a range of different smileys. It's the little things that can often count......
Not only is this a far cry and a big step from the previous stylus only touch screen I was used to, but it also seems to contain a whole load more memory. As time progresses, things such as memory cost a lot less and this is why we now seem to have endless memory banks for texts, photos, etc. I find that I don't even have to think about how much memory is being taken up, whereas my previous LG KP501 (pile of rubbish) constantly had me deleting texts and content to enable more space. All this 18 months apart.
Tweeting et al has also made a big difference, and the wonderful world of Twitter certainly has taken the world by storm, along with most other social networking concepts and sites. The Motorola has ease built into it, with you being able to populate a sideways scrolling 'desktop' with apps and shortcuts as if you were on a PC. I find that having my Twitter and Facebook buttons on the front screen as I unlock the screen allows me to access them immediately, and things such as phoning kind of fall by the wayside. You can also easily apply a photo to your background and have this across all four or five of the screens your 'desktop' consists of, as you go through them with a simple swipe of the finger across the screen.
I compare this phone with my old one and there really is no contrast. I remember getting it and having a data package included and marvelling at the speed with which I could access the internet. My LG was slow and my contract charged me each and every time. The relief at being able to access the cricket scores instantaneously with a phone signal was a wonder. But when I compare it to my wife's iPhone 4, there are shortcomings and a clear distinction in quality. She'll be the first to admit she's not the techiest of people, and that I wear the tech trousers at the moment because that has become part of my role as an e-learning coordinator, but even so she's able to do things with her iPhone faster than I can with my defy. That's not to say they can't be done, but it's just that they're often slightly inferior and slower.
The camera is a case in point. Better spec on the iPhone, and a clear gap in quality when it comes to taking photos in poor lighting conditions. The slightly grainy look I sometimes get from the Defy is even more pronounced at night time, despite having a specific mode for the night. When we went to Italy on hols last year, I took umpteen photos during the daytime, beautiful location, etc, and the main disappointment I noticed was the night time shots. The other thing that happens though is that it just can't take the speed you sometimes ask of it. Rapid successions of photos or switching between camera and video camera, while quick and easy to do with one select of an icon, sometimes results in a lag. And as we know, where mobile devices are concerned, a slight lag of a second or two can seem a lifetime.
I find that the fuller the phone gets with photos and apps, etc, then the slower it runs. It's as if we have a laptop that requires all of its spare space to run fast. I often empty a good 100 or so photos from it onto my laptop, and even though it has taken up a tenth or so of the total memory, there are serious speed issues which are eradicated once the photos are off. Of late, the phone has started freezing up a little when a much lower number of photos are on there as well, a sign of a device wearing out but also still somewhat worrying considering the amount of space it tells me is still free.
The android store is rumoured to not rival the Apple store for the apps and functions you can get from there. This is mainly because companies designing these apps recognise Apple as the market leader and so a lot of their focus is on here first and other platforms second. As a result, Apple are able to produce a higher level of app as they've had longer to work with it and develop the way their store works. Downloading on this phone is quite quick, and it's hard not to judge it based on the comparison between the different stores, but this is relevant and so I'd have to say that the Google Play store I currently use just isn't as quick and wide.
Using the apps can also do funny things to the speed of the phone. I find I have to take care to use the 'back' button on the front of the device to ensure things are closed down. If I just use the adjacent 'home' button to take me back to my front page with my Twitter and fb links and my fast key phone calls, then things are still running and it's often instantly noticeable because things are so slow. I've had times when the device has frozen to the point where after a minute or so a dozen things will all happen in rapid succession as I've tried them with the phone not responding.
I still maintain thatcalling on mobile phones is a primary function, even if it's becoming less so as the text and tweet phase dominates. This phone makes it quick and simple to access your phonebook, link to your facebook list, populate your most regular calls and hot list certain numbers to your 'desktop'. It sometimes freezes, but this is part and parcel of the device struggling to keep up with the fastest speeds I need it to go as a multifunctional device. Once a call is made, I find the volume easy to adapt and the call quality very good. It's particularly good at cutting out external noise when on speakerphone, as if there is some sort of way it can recognise people's voices clearly.
Motorola have certainly produced a phone that works very well, on most fronts. The fact that this is only a couple of years old and is already showing it's behind the current leaders, is more a testament to the fast paced developing market rather than a criticism of the phone itself. I signed up to a 24 month contract - the deal was substantially better than most others available to me at the time, and I still have no regrets. It includes calls, texts and data, and I make full use of it. I am however, sorely tempted to acquire a new device to keep up my increasingly hectic mobile life, needing to keep up with others on the go and willing to have the edge on my wife (of course!). I'm due an upgrade in a couple of months, and am edging more towards a leading brand as opposed to Motorola's latest offerings. I know that like this phone I would get a reliable model that wouldn't let me down, but I'd still have the concern that as I push it or really test it, it may not quite be up to others' standards. This is still a good phone, and one I'd rate, but is probably past its best and falling behind. Recommended for what it did at the time of its creation, but it's probably a touch too slow to keep up with today's models.
Summary: Decent but now ageing device from the ever reliable Motorola
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