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Motorola Defy otorola's Defy seems broadly similar at first glance to the Huawei Ideos, but on closer inspection the differences are numerous. It runs Android 2.1 on an 800MHz processor and has a 3.7in Gorilla Glass display that packs in 480x854 pixels.

The display is brighter than average and manages the clever trick of taking up almost the whole of the device's area; few smartphones have bezels as slim. We also liked the rubberised rear, which prevents the Defy getting scratched or being easily knocked off the edge of a table.

TOUGH LOVE

The non-slip casing extends to the sides, and as a result the protective covers for the headphone jack and charger port stick out somewhat and aren't easily pushed back into place. Even so, if you're after a trim smartphone that's built like a tank, the Defy is a real contender. It's even achieved IP67 certification, indicating that a few seconds dunked somewhere unpleasant won't kill its electronics.

Another success in the design is the lockable backplate. A plastic slider allows you to release the battery cover when required; there's then room to insert a fingernail to remove the backplate and get at the battery or change the SIM card. So many phones make it impossibly hard to perform this simple but common task.

ENTRY POINT

Another thoughtful inclusion is the Swype text entry app. Compared to normal typing, this system lets you quickly pick up speed when composing messages and performing searches. When we first tried out the Defy we thought its interface was rather clunky and its cramped software keyboard a trial to use. We soon discovered that was because its default setting was expecting us to use Swype. The trick is to glide your finger from character to character rather than stabbing at each one in turn. Though you have to discipline yourself to do things differently, once you're accustomed to the scheme it makes text entry much faster. It's also clever enough to learn as it goes, making light work of accurate input.

Unified messaging, and streamlining all those social networks you feel duty-bound to keep informed of your every thought, has become an important area for handset makers and mobile operators, so it's no surprise to find Motorola having another go at its Motoblur idea here. Rather than competing with the social network updates within the 'Eclair' 2.1 version of Android, this proprietary social user interface now adds the ability to

The verdict

Price (SIM-free) £279 inc VAT Further information www.motorola, com/defy store and easily retrieve details of those precious contacts you maintain on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and so on. It's a useful implementation of the 'cloud' idea that manufacturers are all talking about.

OPEN ACCESS

Surfing the web on the Defy is a painless process. You can directly type in the web addresses you want to visit, rather than being hobbled by an operator's portal, and when you get to your chosen website you can scroll and page-flit with ease. Support for pinch-to-zoom and a relatively responsive touchscreen help, though we noticed a fair amount of lag when we tried to navigate having already got a handful of apps on the go.

With 3G, A2DP Bluetooth and Wi-Fi onboard, the Defy is all set for connecting to the internet almost anywhere, and you could certainly do worse than use it for streaming audio. A Connected Music Player lets you do just this, while the excellent DNLA app we liked so much on the Motorola Droid/Milestone also makes an appearance. This lets you push music, photos and video around your wireless home network and enjoy those tracks you've bought on the Defy on, say, your home hi-fi system.

PICTURE IMPERFECT

The camera isn't quite as good as its 5-megapixel billing suggests. You get an LED flash and the option of tagging

Coffee in hand, rushing to the bea..

11:35 AM

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11:35 AM

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Market Navigation Browser* YouTube nn (Hi pictures with location data, but actually taking pictures is rather an awkward business. You need to go into the onscreen menu, as there's no hardware button to take snapshots on the outside of the handset. Nor were the shots we took anything to be proud of. Video capture is limited to VGA resolution, though viewing on the Defy is rewarding thanks to the crisp, detailed screen.

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