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Motorola Defy Mini XT320 review

Barry de la Rosa
20 May 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
155
inc VAT

The lack of Android 4.0 is a shame, but the front-facing camera, LED flash and long battery life are more than you'd get on other budget handsets, and the Mini's rugged build is also a bonus

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Specifications

Android 2.3, 3.2in 320x480 display

The Motorola DEFY and Motorola Defy+ were both award-winners, and the Motorola Defy Mini follows in their footsteps. It's dust-proof and water resistant, with a Corning Gorilla Glass screen, and has the same "life-proof" tagline as its forebears. On this budget version, though, the screen is a smaller 3.2in version with a 320x480 resolution, and it has a 600MHz rather than 1GHz processor. It also runs Android 2.3 and won't be receiving an update to Android 4.0 - but neither will the previous Defy models.

Motorola Defy Mini XT320

Despite its name, the Motorola Defy Mini is not actually that much smaller than the Defy+, with just 2mm shaved off its length and a millimetre from its girth. At 107g it's also lighter. The phone's smaller screen does seem to use less power than the Defy+'s, which helps explain the Mini's incredible 11h 40m battery life in our video playback test. This is comparable to the iPhone, and should mean that with careful use of power-hungry features such as 3G data and Wi-Fi, you should be able to go a couple of days without charging.

Motorola Defy Mini XT320

It's a shame to see a new phone launched without Android 4.0, and even more disappointing to find out that it won't receive an upgrade. Android 2.3 is still a good operating system, and Motorola has added some useful utilities such as a File Manager, Battery Manager and a copy of QuickOffice Lite that lets you view office documents - you'll have to upgrade to the full version to edit files, however.

There are also some apps that duplicate Android's functionality, such as the Music+ app. Its interface isn't a huge improvement on Android's own Music app, but it adds tabs that integrate SoundHound music recognition, TuneWiki lyrics look-up and ShoutCast internet radio. In our tests, we found that music playback was often interrupted by the phone trying to access these services over our data connection. We'd have much preferred to have Google's new Play Music app installed.

In other respects, the Defy Mini has lost some of the features found on previous Motorola handsets. There's no social aggregation any more, apart from a homescreen widget that displays the people you contact most often, and there's no way to merge duplicate contacts. Some features of Android 4.0 have been grafted in, such as the ability to launch the camera app directly from the lock screen.

We found the Defy Mini's operating system snappy and easy to navigate. There's only 165MB of app storage, so you won't be able to install that many apps in the first place, although you can extend this by moving apps to a microSDHC card.

Motorola Defy Mini XT320

Unlike many budget phones, the Defy Mini has an LED flash to go with its 3-megapixel camera, and it also has a VGA front-facing camera that can be used for Skype calls - in our tests, it worked but produced an extremely blocky image at the other end. The main camera takes fairly clean snaps, although closer inspection reveals plenty of smudging, the result of heavy noise reduction. An LED flash helps with night shots. Video is poor, however, with the small resolution being the main problem.

Although we missed the larger screen of its predecessors, the Motorola Defy Mini was fun to use and is excellent value at just £155 SIM-free. You can also pick it up on contract for as little as £21 per month on an 18-month contract. The problem is that you can also find the Motorola Defy+ for the same price on contract, so you should only choose the Mini if you're going the SIM-free route or need the extra battery life and front-facing camera. It's still an excellent-value handset, though, and wins our Budget Buy award.

Details

Price£155
Rating****
AwardBudget Buy

Hardware

Main display size3.2in
Native resolution320x480
CCD effective megapixels3-megapixel
FlashLED
Video recording format3GP, MP4
ConnectivityBluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB
GPSyes
Internal memory120MB
Memory card supportmicroSDHC
Memory card included0MB
Operating frequenciesGSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 850/900/1900/2100
Wireless dataEDGE, HSDPA
Size109x59x13mm
Weight107g

Features

Operating systemAndroid 2.3
Microsoft Office compatibilityWord/Excel/PowerPoint/PDF viewers
Email clientPOP3/IMAP/Exchange
Audio format supportAAC, AAC+, eAAC+, MP3, WMA, AMR, WAV, MID, OGG
Video playback formatsMPEG4, H.263, H.264
FM Radioyes
Web BrowserWebkit
Accessoriesheadset, data cable, charger
Talk time9 hours
Standby time15 days

Buying Information

SIM-free price£155
Price on contract£21-per-month, 18-month contract
SIM-free supplierwww.amazon.co.uk
Contract/prepay supplierwww.buymobilephones.net
Detailswww.motorola.com

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