Not the most careful person out there? Keep dropping your things? If you answered yes to both the questions but also fall under the Android smartphone fan club, then the Motorola DEFY MINI might be your answer. At just $250, you get a rugged phone that looks like it can take the occasional fall. Read on to see if it’s worth your money.

The Motorola DEFY MINI much like most of the other rugged smartphones out there isn’t built to win any beauty pageants. It’s a slab of plastic that isn’t going to give you the urge to pick it up the moment you see it. However, since its purpose to withstand the daily wear and tear and come out unscathed, we are pleased that it is one solid slab of plastic. For instance, the back cover felt almost like it was glued together as it took some effort to pry it open. This will definitely be good protection against water and dust we say.

Measuring in at 109 x 58.5 x 12.55 mm, we feel the Motorola DEFY MINI is a little thick. It tips the scales at 107 grams, the expected weight for a phone of this size. However, thanks to these dimensions, single-handed use is not a problem. On the upper right hand side sits a notification light which we think is a neat feature. On the left side of the phone you will find the microUSB port which is protected by a cover. We found this to be very hard to open and if that wasn’t bad enough, putting it back in place tightly was a task of its own. Meanwhile on the top you will find the power button and the standard audio jack. The audio jack has a cover too, but this time it feels so fragile. Finally on the right side are the camera shutter button and volume rocker.


On the front of the Motorola DEFY MINI sits a 3.2 inch TFT LCD screen. With a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels, it churns out a pixel density of 180 ppi. A respectable number for a phone in its price range. Moving on to the performance of the screen, the screen was able to give a good color reproduction as well some very good viewing angles. However, as the low pixel density suggests, reading small text is going to be tough. When taken outdoors, it’s hard to make out what is on the screen.

We are not impressed at the fact that Motorola has only given the Motorola DEFY MINI a 600MHz single core processor. They have thrown in 512MB of RAM to smoothen things out and we were relieved to find that these two just about made the cut as they were able to handle basic applications easily. Forget about a live wallpaper or using too many widgets at any one time. You will see the dark side of the CPU when you browse Google Play store for instance as the lag becomes very apparent. Playing games like Temple Run without hitting the tree is also out of the question.


The version of Android running on this phone is Android v2.3.6 Gingerbread and the user interface that it runs on is the MotoSwitch UI. The user interface is pretty standard in terms of graphics and rightly so given the processing speeds. There are some new features to play with though as the Motorola DEFY MINI now sports two new handy widgets. One of them does the task of aggregating shortcuts to your most frequently used apps and the second one does this for your contacts. Another nifty feature would be the ability to go straight to the camera from the lock screen and also the ability to toggle vibration between on and off from the lock screen.

Moving on to the keyboards that are available on the Motorola DEFY MINI, the on-screen keyboard was quite tough to use and we found ourselves having to tilt the phone a little so we can get our texts out. The phone also offers the Swype feature. We found the app Dashboard a good fit for this phone as this app comes with a chronometer, pedometer and a counter to keep track of how much calories you have burnt. So you can bring it along with your jogs and if you drop it, it will still be ok.

We were not surprised to see the phone coming with just a 3.2 MP fixed-focus camera given that it’s under the affordable phone category. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find the camera performing better than our expectations. The photos taken outdoors with the Motorola DEFY MINI’s camera had the right exposure and it dealt with colour balance accurately. Forget about getting fine details from this camera and you will do just fine. VGA video recording means you should forget about shooting videos.

Internet browsing on the Motorola DEFY MINI is done using the stock browser and we found normal pages to load smoothly. Support for Adobe Flash makes it all the more attractive. You need to use the zoom feature quite often given the low pixel density, but we are glad that the pinch to zoom feature works fine. In terms of connectivity options, the Motorola DEFY MINI has support for 3G radio, Wi-Fi with support for DLNA, Bluetooth 2.1 and also FM radio with RDS. The GPS was pretty slow to start but once it’s up and running, it will get you there.

As always, we expect a phone that is affordable to give us a good call quality. Motorola DEFY MINI did not disappoint in the beginning as it had nice sounding earpiece. We could make out everything our friend on the other end was trying to tell us. Sadly though, they didn’t seem too pleased with what they got on the other end. Motorola DEFY MINI is packing a 1650mAh battery to give it all the juice it needs and it really does deliver.


Pros and Cons
The Motorola DEFY MINI is a rugged phone that is resistant to both dust and water. Its solid build quality as well as being small and compact at the same time was really good.

The CPU onboard the phone was a downer. The plastic cover on the standard audio jack was too flimsy, not what you expect for a phone that should take your daily wear and tear.

The $250 price tag for a smartphone off contract seems affordable; however Motorola DEFY MINI does not have the specs to impress. So looking elsewhere might be a better idea.


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