The Motorola Defy represents the resurrection of an 11-year-old ruggedised cellphone sub-brand. 2010’s unique Defy used to be notable for its strangely hard external, and this 2021 reboot remains true to that heritage.

Having partnered with British tough-phone specialist Bullitt Workforce, the brand new Motorola Defy wraps entry-level smartphone elements in a military-spec (MIL-STD–810G) casing. With a 720p LCD show, a Snapdragon 662 CPU, a 48Mp major digicam, and a 5000mAh battery, that is extra of a blunt software than a pointy software.

Any such specification may appear slightly dear at £279/$279, however authentic smartphone toughness doesn’t come affordable.

I will be evaluating the Motorola Defy with some non-rugged choices at more than a few issues for context, however they’re now not actually the contest right here. For a definite form of individual running or enjoying in excessive bodily environments, the Motorola Defy supplies a extremely out there model of ruggedness.

Design & Construct

  • 10.9mm
  • 232g
  • Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) casing

Whilst 2015’s Moto X Pressure and 2017’s Moto Z2 Pressure tried to include toughness into what have been, on the time, fashionable smartphone designs, the Motorola Defy makes no such concessions. It is a cellphone that appears as hard because it claims to be, with now not such a lot as a nod to the curvy-screened hole-punch camera-bearing brigade.

At 169.8 x 78.2mm, the Defy’s footprint is taller and wider than even supersized flagship telephones just like the Sony Xperia 1 III, and at 232g it’s even heavier than the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely. It’s approach thicker than some other common cellphone you’re more likely to come throughout at 10.9mm.

And sure, that latter dimension pertains to the frame quite than the digicam module, which has in reality been recessed rather for higher coverage. If there’s one design characteristic that we’d like to look carried over to extra mainstream telephones, it might effectively be that.

Motorola Defy thermoplastic polyurethane

The actual coverage comes from a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) outer casing, which is a subject matter that mainly fills the space between rubbers and plastics. It’s sturdy, versatile, and completely now not horny to have a look at in any respect.

Motorola and Bullitt Workforce has actually leaned into this rugged aesthetic, with pronounced rubberised ridges that assist grip. They’ve additionally integrated a heavy-duty lanyard, with corresponding integrated nook mounting, for added drop prevention. It may also be wiped clean with cleaning soap or sanitiser.

Different noteworthy exterior parts come with a three.5mm headphone jack at the height edge, and an old-fashioned however dependable rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. There’s additionally a programmable button at the top-right edge, which may also be set to a walkie-talkie-like ‘push to speak’ serve as the use of Motorola’s Mototalk app.

Rugged options

  • MIL-STD–810G qualified
  • Drop-proof to one.8m
  • IP68

The Motorola Defy actually can rise up to a clattering. Even though it’s mentioned to be drop-proof as much as 1.8m, I used to be inspired to drop the telephone from 1.2m as a part of my trying out procedure. That is meant to copy a drop from a motorbike, however it’s additionally more or less the peak most of the people will hang their cellphone at when strolling about.

Motorola Defy lanyard

I did what used to be have been advised (albeit with an almighty involuntary wince) onto a concrete slab. Positive sufficient, the telephone emerged in complete running order, with just a gentle scuff at the load-bearing nook to turn for it.

I needn’t have nervous, for the reason that the Motorola Defy has attained a US navy MIL-STD–810G specification. This comes to being put via a sequence of torture checks that comes to publicity to thermal shocks, low and high temperature extremes, tumble and vibration checks, in addition to salt mist prerequisites.

It’s now not simply the out of doors of the telephone that’s hard both. Motorola and Bullitt have grew to become their aim to the telephone’s modest internals as effectively, with a structurally strengthened published circuit board (PCB) lending progressed pressure.

It most likely doesn’t want announcing given all the above, however the Defy could also be IP68 qualified. It’s absolutely mud, sand and water-resistant as much as 1.5m for 35mins. No longer an ordinary spec for a smartphone this present day, however for sure unusual in a sub-£500 instrument.

Plus, the Defy is going additional. I used to be inspired to topic the telephone to repeated spills of 58°C brewed espresso. Moderately than waste just right espresso, I boiled a temperature-controlled kettle to round 60°C and poured a number of prolonged glugs of the recent liquid onto the telephone, each back and front. After a handy guide a rough towelling off, the rather toasty Defy labored completely.

Motorola Defy rugged case

Certainly, working at excessive temperatures is any other of the Defy’s giant claims. Motorola says that it might probably resist a variance of between -25°C (–13°F) and 75°C (167°F) for as much as half-hour, which is easily out of doors customary smartphone parameters.


  • 6.5in, LCD
  • 720p HD+
  • Corning Gorilla Glass Victus

As somebody who’s ever dropped a cellphone earlier than will know, it’s the show that’s the susceptible level. To that finish, the Defy is fronted by way of 0.7mm-thick Corning Gorilla Glass Victus which, just like the digicam module, has been recessed for extra coverage.

Simply to reiterate, there wasn’t such a lot as a scratch at the display screen after I intentionally despatched the Defy for a tumble onto concrete. It is a decidedly high-grade element.

There’s a explanation why I’ve persevered the ruggedised chat into the show phase… There actually isn’t all that a lot to mention for it another way.

You’re having a look at a 6.5in LCD show. That’s in reality relatively giant for a rugged cellphone, however no person’s going to get occupied with a elementary LCD panel when there are £300 telephones with OLED displays available in the market. This one doesn’t get particularly brilliant both, which is a little bit of a bind in a cellphone that’s supposedly supplied for an outdoor existence.

However the actual kicker is a solution of simply 1600×720, aka 720p, aka HD+. I’ve complained about this type of solution in sub-£200 telephones earlier than, so wager what I take into consideration it in a £280 handset. Each the CAT S62 Professional and the Doogee S88 Professional move Complete HD+, so it’s now not a rugged cellphone factor both.

Motorola Defy screen

Including to this low-end vibe is a bog-standard 60Hz refresh charge. Once more, it isn’t unusual to seek out 90- or 120Hz shows in affordable telephones, despite the fact that this isn’t a spec that you just’d essentially go along with strengthened handsets like this.

In all this, I would like to keep in mind that the typical use case situation for the Motorola Defy goes to range a great deal to that of, say, the Poco F3 with its FHD+ 120Hz AMOLED. The Defy is obviously meant for energetic types who want as a way to do the fundamentals in inhospitable environments, so there isn’t more likely to be a large number of Netflix-and-chilling happening right here.

To that finish, the show does its task rather effectively. Whilst movement feels slightly laggy, colors are rather correct, and the loss of pixels isn’t readily obvious when navigating via house displays and menus. Load up a internet web page or open Google Footage, alternatively, and the ones thumbnail pictures and smaller fonts are an actual eyesore.

Specifications & Efficiency

  • Snapdragon 662
  • 4/64GB
  • Restricted to 4G

On the possibility of sounding reductive, it feels suspiciously like Motorola passed Bullitt Workforce the getting old Moto G9 Play and advised it to construct a tank out of it, like some more or less smartphone Robocop.

I say this since the core specifications are equivalent. I’ve talked in regards to the show, and I’ll move on to discuss the digicam and battery, however the Defy’s Snapdragon 662 CPU and 4GB RAM allotment also are precisely the similar.

Unsurprisingly, this ends up in entry-level efficiency around the board. A median Geekbench 5 multi-core ranking of 1401 falls effectively under the in a similar way priced Realme 8 Professional and the OnePlus Nord CE 5G.

It’s a equivalent tale within the GPU stakes, with GFX Bench check rankings that quantity to between 3 and 11 frames consistent with 2d at the back of either one of the ones aforementioned competitors. See all of the rankings under.

Humble processors are a standard incidence within the rugged cellphone sphere, despite the fact that. The aforementioned CAT S62 Professional lays on an excellent older and slower model of this chip within the Snapdragon 660, whilst the Doogee S88 Professional is going with the a lot much less mainstream Mediatek Helio P70.

Gaming at the Defy isn’t an entire write-off, however it’s nonetheless one of the most poorest performers you’re more likely to to find for this type of cash. PUBG defaults to Easy/Medium Body Charge, which is sort of the naked minimal environment, and it runs simply adequately at this environment. You’ll get a greater gaming revel in out of the £200 Poco X3 NFC, which says all of it actually.

Whilst basic efficiency is completely advantageous, you will have to be below no phantasm the place the price range has been spent. It could be hard, however like its rugged brothers, the Defy ain’t so good or speedy on its toes.

64GB of inner garage seems to be greater than slightly weedy, too, for the reason that rugged and price range competitors alike have began providing 128GB. You do get a microSDXC card slot, alternatively.

In spite of everything, there’s no 5G connectivity right here. When it comes to {hardware} compromises, that is each the least arduous and the least sudden, as including such community readiness takes up a fair share of an inexpensive cellphone’s {hardware} price range.


  • 48Mp major sensor
  • 2Mp intensity & macro
  • 8Mp selfie digicam

I am not useless positive on each ultimate element used, however the Motorola Defy’s digicam additionally seems to be suspiciously very similar to the Moto G9 Play’s.

It’s led by way of a slightly competent 48Mp huge sensor, whilst calling the 2 back-up sensors ‘bare-bones’ can be a sarcasm. There’s no ultra-wide and no telephoto sensor right here, just a pair of 2Mp sensors masking macro and intensity tasks so do not get too considering the glance of a triple digicam array.

Motorola Defy camera

That 48Mp major digicam isn’t horrible, however you may have anticipated extra for the cash and that pixel rely. I discovered that I used to be in a position to take rather even-toned photographs in just right herbal lights. And even if stepping right into a well-lit cafe at round lunchtime, the shot appeared rather balanced. Simply don’t move pixel peeping, otherwise you’ll discover an international of fuzziness.

Night time photographs are extremely grainy and vague, with Motorola opting to artificially brighten on the expense of readability. Those are the type of low gentle photographs that promise a lot with reputedly on-point thumbnails, simplest to will let you down badly whilst you blow them up on a bigger show.

Nonetheless, in the event you’re the type of one that basically perspectives their photographs again at the instrument you took them on, they’ll glance beautiful just right on that 720p display screen.

Motorola Defy camera test

The remainder of the Motorola Defy’s digicam choices are a write-off. 2Mp macro photographs merely are hardly well worth the effort in our collective Tech Guide revel in, and that’s for sure true right here. Simply getting as shut as you’ll (which continues to be rather shut) with the principle sensor yields a lot richer photographs.

In the meantime, the 8Mp selfie digicam reduces faces to a blurry mush, and the selfie portrait mode eats into edge main points with a peculiar smudged halo impact.

Battery Existence & Charging

  • 5000mAh battery
  • 2-day existence
  • 20W charging

There’s no need being as hard as a tank if you’ll’t get during the day on a unmarried rate. Fortunately, whilst the Motorola Defy’s 5000mAh battery doesn’t hit Moto G9 Energy ranges of splendour, it’s greater than as much as the task.

It’s just right for an extended day of heavy utilization with quite a lot of room to spare, and there’s authentic attainable for a complete two days in the event you’re now not hitting the media too laborious. And if anything else I’ve mentioned up to now has registered, you’ll recognize that you just actually shouldn’t be.

The PCMark battery check yielded a very good ranking of 17 hours 27 mins. To put that during context, the Poco F3 scored 14 hours 24 mins, and the Realme 8 Professional scored 12 hours 51 mins. After all, with a dim 720p show, the Defy used to be all the time more likely to be an influence sipper quite than sucker.

Motorola Defy

Charging is relatively gradual from its 20W charger. We’re now not having a look at disgracefully gradual speeds for the cash, as with the Sony Xperia 10 III’s snail-like 7.5W energy brick. However 0 to 32% in half-hour isn’t in particular spectacular both.

The usage of the ones non-rugged contemporaries for comparability as soon as once more, the Poco F3 gets you to 72% in the similar time, whilst the Realme 8 Professional will move all of the approach as much as 82%.


  • Inventory Android 10
  • Moto apps
  • Promise of Android 11 in 2021

The Motorola Defy launches with Android 10, which feels a little bit bizarre when stablemates such because the Moto G50 and Moto G10 are transport with Android 11.

Sure, the Defy additionally ships with a assured improve to Android 11 in Autumn 2021, in addition to two years of safety patches. But it surely’s any other signal that beneath its hard external, the Defy lags effectively at the back of the fashionable mainstream.

Motorola Defy software

At the plus facet, this can be a just about unadulterated tackle Google’s working gadget. It’s the Motorola method to depart effectively by myself, with the exception of a handful of considerate additions stashed away within the Moto app.

Moto Movements are in particular helpful, enabling you to do such things as karate cutting to turn on the flashlight, or double-twisting in addition up the digicam. Another way, this can be a Google-led revel in, with inventory Google apps taking over all of the core purposes, and no unnecessary duplication.

Value & Availability

The Motorola Defy is going on sale in Eu and Latin American markets over the approaching months. It’s indexed as ‘coming quickly’ at the authentic Motorola Rugged website online.

It’s priced at £279/€329, which seems like some huge cash given the Defy’s inner similarity to the £160 Moto G9 Play. Alternatively, it’s in reality relatively affordable for a rugged cellphone.

Our present top-pick inside this specialist class is the CAT S62 Professional (additionally made by way of Bullitt Workforce), and it prices £599 while providing inferior efficiency, albeit with a awesome characteristic set in different places. Our height price choose, the Doogee S88 Professional, prices about the similar because the Defy, however has its personal inner obstacles.

Test our chart of the most productive rugged telephones for all of the choices.

That is the place you actually wish to read about your wishes and priorities. Except you’re spending an excessive amount of time in a bodily difficult atmosphere, the Motorola Defy – or any rugged cellphone for that subject – most likely isn’t for you.

For round £300 you’ll purchase the intense Poco F3 with its a ways awesome show, efficiency, and digicam. Or the OnePlus Nord CE 5G, which provides 5G to the combo. After all, neither of the ones telephones would stroll clear of a tumble down concrete stairs with slightly a scratch to turn for it.

Motorola Defy phone


The Motorola Defy is without doubt one of the maximum approachable rugged telephones we’ve ever used. Its £279 ticket is reassuringly low, but it might probably rise up to extremes of affect, temperature, and immersion that few telephones can fit.

Battery existence could also be exemplary, and Motorola’s gentle tackle Android is particularly welcome in this type of no-nonsense bundle.

Alternatively, critical compromises had been made to hit that mix of worth and ruggedness. The Motorola Defy is undeniably gradual, and its 720p LCD show is a low-res sadness. The digicam gadget, in the meantime, is terribly restricted.

In case you’re any person who needs without equal toughness with the minimal of fuss on the lowest conceivable worth, you’ll battle to do higher than the relaunched Motorola Defy.


Motorola Defy: Specifications

  • Android 10
  • 6.5in, HD+, LCD, 60Hz, flat show
  • Rear-mounted fingerprint sensor
  • Gorilla Glass Victus (entrance)
  • MIL SPEC 810H, IP68, TPU outer casing, strengthened PCB
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 SoC
  • 64GB garage, microSDXC slot
  • 48Mp, f/1.8 major digicam
  • 2Mp, f/2.4 macro digicam
  • 2Mp, f/2.4 intensity digicam
  • As much as 1080p @ 30fps rear video
  • 8Mp, f/2.2 front-facing digicam
  • Mono speaker
  • Twin-SIM
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • 5000mAh battery
  • 20W speedy charging
  • 169.8 x 78.2 x 10.9mm
  • 232g
  • Release colors: Black & Cast Inexperienced