Motorola Defy vs. HTC Desire – Review

by Jerry D on December 24, 2010

The Motorola Defy can’t quite mix it with the leading smartphones, but it can thoroughly beat up older, less fancy phones like the HTC Desire. Now we love the ol’ Desire and hate to see it get a thumping. But that’s progress for you…


The spec sheet of the ruggedised Defy lists 3G/HSDPA (7.2Mbps), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR/A2DP as the core connectivity options. As for the classic Desire, HTC specified 3G/HSDPA (7.2Mbps), Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR and A2DP and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi as standard. (1-0)

See other big phone fights featuring the Motorola Defy:

Size & Weight:

Modern design favours light and slim handsets and the Defy doesn’t disappoint. It’s the slimmer of the two phones with a depth of 11.9mm. The Desire is wider (but not much), measuring 60.0mm to the Defy’s 59.0mm. Measure the weight of the duo and the Defy weighs 118g, while the HTC Desire is 135g. (2-0)



First, let’s take a closer look at the Defy, which packs a 5.0 Megapixel camera (2592 x 1944 pixels) with extras that include: autofocus, an LED flash, geotagging, digital zoom and video capture functionality.

The Desire also comes equipped with a 5.0 MP camera along with auto-focus, LED flash, face detection, smile detection, geo-tagging and video recording. Nothing in it, so no points in this round for either phone. (2-0)

Here’s how the raw technology of the cameras compare*.

1.0MP – 1280 x 960 pixels
2.0MP – 1600 x 1200 pixels
3.1MP – 2048 x 1536 pixels
5.0MP – 2592 x 1944 pixels
8.0MP – 3264 x 2448 pixels
10.0MP – 3872 x 2592 pixels
12.0MP – 4290 x 2800 pixels
16.0MP – 4920 x 3264 pixels

*These are typical resolutions. Actual resolutions may vary


Display size is key and the Defy features a 3.7-inch (480 x 854) touch-sensitive LCD screen. The resulting pixel density of this handset is 264.865 pixels per inch.

The touch-sensitive AMOLED screen on the Desire has the same 3.7-inch dimensions. In this battle, it suffers from a slightly lower screen resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. With 384,000 pixels onscreen, the pixel density is 252.162 pixels per inch. (3-0)



In terms of usability and performance, the Defy uses a 800MHz TI OMAP3610 chip, while the Desire uses a Snapdragon (QSD8250) processor, rated at 1GHz. (3-1)


Motorola’s handset is based on Android 2.1 (Eclair) with MotoBlur, while HTC’s phone uses the same OS but includes HTC’s Sense UI. (3-1)

Downloadable apps


While the Defy only boasts 2GB of memory as standard, the Desire comes with a better 4GB capacity. The Defy also includes a microSD card slot to ramp up the total to 32GB. The Desire’s overall capacity can be increased to 32GB via its microSD memory card slot. (3-2)

Battery life:

Juiced up overnight, Motorola’s spec sheet lists 6.5 hours of talktime for its phone, compared to 6.7 hours for the HTC Desire. As for standby time, the phones can last for 237 hours and 360 hours respectively. (3-2)

Note: The Standby time specification is an industry standard that is only intended to allow comparison of different mobile phones under the same circumstances. Power consumption in a standby state is strongly dependent on factors including: network, settings, location, movement, signal strength and cell traffic.


See other big phone fights featuring the HTC Desire:


The Defy also includes: GPS/A-GPS, a built-in FM radio, digital compass, DLNA content sharing and a screen made out of toughened ‘Gorilla Glass’. The Desire, meanwhile, features a screen accelerometer, digital compass, GPS/A-GPS and an FM radio. (4-2)

The Motorola Defy wins!

motorola defy Motorola Defy vs. HTC Desire   Review The Defy emerges as the winner of this fight with a decent score (4-2). It’s hardly a convincing win, however, and the original HTC Desire only loses out in terms of build and display quality.

But Motorola can still wave the flag for its rugged, ‘life-proofing’ extras. The Defy is not only dust-proof, but it’s also water and scratch resistant. Whether this is actually an important feature is up to you… But it stands a better of chance of working if you accidentally drop it down the toilet.

See if the Motorola Defy makes our top 10 best smartphones list.

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