Motorola Defy Mini rugged Android smartphone

Lifeproof caller gets smaller


Review

The original Motorola Defy from 2010 was aimed at a niche that no-one else knew was there – rugged cool. The thinking was that rugged phones that were hard to damage were a great idea, but that chunky rubber casings and hard-to-press buttons tended to put people off.

Motorola Defy Mini rugged Android smartphone

Downsizing: Motorola Defy Mini

The original Defy looked more or less like a normal phone, but came with Gorilla Glass, a tough but svelte shell and protective grommets for its orifices, as did last year’s Defy+ update. This latest version has all that too, but in a more compact package, and with a few interesting updates.

Its name may give the impression that it’s small but actually, there’s really not that much of a risk of you losing the Defy Mini down the back of the sofa. At 109 x 59 x 13mm it’s still way bigger than Sony Ericsson’s Xperia Mini Pro (90 x 52 x 17mm) for instance, and closer in size to HTC’s Explorer (103 x 57 x 13mm) which it actually shares the same CPU with; – Qualcomm's revamped low-end Snapdragon S1 MSM7225A. So it might seem slow on paper, but this actually a fairly recent chipset.

The case is still tougher than most though, made of rubberised plastic, with the 3.5mm headphone jack neatly sealed by a rubber grommet that slots into the port, and the micro USB slot hidden behind a sturdy cover made of the same stuff as the casing. The back plate is secured with a lock switch which makes it easy to open, though it’s not clear if this in any way helps to seal the casing any tighter than normal.

Motorola Defy Mini rugged Android smartphone

Water resistant, not water proof

Despite some claims on the web that it’s meant to be waterproof, Motorola itself makes no such claim, just that it’s water resistant, and sure enough, the bung hiding the microUSB port doesn’t look like it would withstand being submerged in water for very long, though it will certainly protect against splashes and drips.

But yes, that Gorilla Glass by Corning is pretty tough, at least it stood up to an attack by an irate bunch of keys and some change without a scratch, as well as a couple of drops onto a stone floor from shoulder height. That doesn’t mean you should expect it to survive being thrown from a speeding car or that it will save your life by stopping a bullet – it might be a bit tougher than the average decently put together phone, but not much tougher.

Motorola Defy Mini rugged Android smartphone
Next page: Outdoor activities

Other stories you might like

  • Deepfake attacks can easily trick live facial recognition systems online
    Plus: Next PyTorch release will support Apple GPUs so devs can train neural networks on their own laptops

    In brief Miscreants can easily steal someone else's identity by tricking live facial recognition software using deepfakes, according to a new report.

    Sensity AI, a startup focused on tackling identity fraud, carried out a series of pretend attacks. Engineers scanned the image of someone from an ID card, and mapped their likeness onto another person's face. Sensity then tested whether they could breach live facial recognition systems by tricking them into believing the pretend attacker is a real user.

    So-called "liveness tests" try to authenticate identities in real-time, relying on images or video streams from cameras like face recognition used to unlock mobile phones, for example. Nine out of ten vendors failed Sensity's live deepfake attacks.

    Continue reading
  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading
  • Conti: Russian-backed rulers of Costa Rican hacktocracy?
    Also, Chinese IT admin jailed for deleting database, and the NSA promises no more backdoors

    In brief The notorious Russian-aligned Conti ransomware gang has upped the ante in its attack against Costa Rica, threatening to overthrow the government if it doesn't pay a $20 million ransom. 

    Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves said that the country is effectively at war with the gang, who in April infiltrated the government's computer systems, gaining a foothold in 27 agencies at various government levels. The US State Department has offered a $15 million reward leading to the capture of Conti's leaders, who it said have made more than $150 million from 1,000+ victims.

    Conti claimed this week that it has insiders in the Costa Rican government, the AP reported, warning that "We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency." 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022