Motorola Defy

The back of the Moto Defy

The Motorola Defy is an excellent phone for those who need the three pillars of ruggedisation: drop-proofing, water-resistance and a wide operating temperature range.


  • Tough Gorilla Glass Victus screen
  • Sensible pricing
  • Solid general performance
  • Long battery life
  • Great rugged credibility


  • Poor camera
  • Maximum screen brightness could be higher
  • Weak gaming performance


  • UKRRP: £279
  • USAunavailable
  • EuropeRRP: €279
  • Canadaunavailable
  • Australiaunavailable

Key Features

  • Gorilla Glass VictusThis phone has Corning’s top Gorilla Glass, usually only seen in far more expensive handsets.

  • MIL spec ruggedisationThe Defy has been tested to withstand a number of military-grade toughness criteria, including drop and temperature tests.

  • Raised screen borderThe outer part of the phone’s casing raises just above the screen in order to avoid accidental display damage.


The Motorola Defy range has been around for almost as long as Android itself. Former Trusted Reviews deputy editor Ed Chester reviewed a phone with exactly the same name a decade ago.

In fact, in terms of ‘pros’ and ‘cons’, the 2021 Motorola Defy is fairly similar. It’s tough, water-resistant and the battery life is pretty good. But the camera is among the weakest we’ve seen in a £279 4G phone in 2021.

There are a bunch of criticisms in this review, but you should take them in the context they’re intended. The Motorola Defy is one of only a few handsets made for ‘rugged’ use, and I’d rather use such a device than an affordable phone with a cumbersome rugged case attached.

Evaluating the Motorola Defy in the correct framing, the main area I’d like to have seen improved is screen brightness. It isn’t super-clear out on bright-but-cloudy days, which may become annoying on work sites or hikes.

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The Motorola Defy costs £279 or 279 Euros, which is a pretty good price for a rugged phone.

On the non-rugged side of the market, you could pick up a Motorola Moto G 5G Plus for this sort of money. Of the two I’d opt for the 5G phone, but that’s because I don’t really need a toughened Android.

The Defy is much better-specced than the Cat S42 H+, and it has more up-to-date software than the more expensive Cleyver XSmart 64. It offers better toughness credentials in some areas, too.

The Moto Defy is actually produced by the same company that makes Cat and Land Rover phones, Bullitt. And it may be the best buy of the lot for many, assuming you don’t need the thermal imaging camera of the £540 CAT S62 Pro.

This is an eminently sensible and well-price rugged phone, if the level of toughness it offers is essential, rather than just a ‘nice to have’.

Back of the Moto Defy rugged phone

Design and Screen

  • A tough phone that still feels like a relatively normal Android
  • Wide operating temperature of -25 to +55ºC
  • Gorilla Glass Victus screen protection

Let’s start with the areas that make the Motorola Defy a tough phone. First up is Gorilla Glass Victus, used to cover the screen.

This is a high-end toughened glass typically only used in the world’s most expensive phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. While it isn’t scratch- or shatter-proof, Corning claims it’s twice as scratch-resistant as the previous Gorilla Glass 6. It has also been drop-tested to 2m in height – the glass itself.

The Moto Defy’s glass isn’t only radically better than the Moto G-series phones of a similar price, which don

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