Motorola Defy Mini and MotoLuxe impressions: Not good enough for America?

MotoLuxe and Defy Mini and Droid Razr

Motorola has been relatively quiet since Google announced its takeover intentions, but in 2012, it’s been downright silent. The newly-Googly manufacturer announced a couple of new devices like the Droid 4 and Droid Razr Maxx around the time of CES in January and at this week’s Mobile World Congress, it had a booth with almost nothing new to show. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as Motorola’s recent products are hardly outdated and generally pretty good, but compared to the bevvy of new devices at booths like Samsung and ZTE, Motorola’s offerings are a bit sparse. 

I did find two new devices, the MotoLuxe and Defy Mini, hiding around the edges of the booth, and they’re not too bad. Unfortunately, because they aren’t top-tier devices, reps told me that there’s little to no chance that they’ll ever come to North America.

Defy Mini

Motorola Defy Mini

The Defy Mini is somewhat light on processing power, but makes up for it by taking a punch with grace. There were several demo stations showing that it could handle being pummeled with sand on the beach, getting hit with coins in your pocket, or being rained on. And these were no ordinary storms. Using a spinner, you could pour whip actual sand, coins, and water on test devices at your leisure. It was the kind of demo I’d love to see in a Verizon or AT&T store.

Motorola Defy Mini - Beach Proof
Motorola Defy Mini - Pocket Proof
Motorola Defy Mini - Splash Proof

Aside from its durability, the Defy is a small, weak little phone, but for the budget-conscious person who’s rough on their phones, it would be better than no smartphone at all. It comes with a 3.2-inch Gorilla Glass screen (480×320), Android 2.3, 3MP rear camera, VGA front camera, 600MHz processor, and 512MB of RAM. It’s basically a Droid 1 in a new shell, for all intensive purposes. Still, it ran fast enough to get basic tasks done.


I wouldn’t throw a wad of pennies at the MotoLuxe, or shoot it with a Super Soaker, but it had its own strange little appeal as well. With a supercharged 800MHz processor, 4-inch screen (480×854 pixels), 8MP camera, and 1 full gigabyte of internal storage (rest of specs equal to Defy), it kicks things up a notch for low-budget devices. The white MotoLuxe had a particularly nice design as well, with some HTC Incredible curves to it and a nice big green light on the front that glows when you get messages or other notifications. 

motorola motoluxe and defy mini impressions not good enough for america

The Luxe also has a couple new widgets that Motorola would be wise to port to its top-tier devices. In a quirky looking grid, they show you the friends you are in contact with the most and the apps you use the most throughout the life of the device. 

Not for everyone, but maybe for someone

These devices are not designed with me, or likely you, in mind. Still, when compared to some of the other low-budget Android phones on the market, they do get the job done. If you tend to be the kind of person who loved Nextel phones a long while ago, the durable Defy Mini may be a good pick for you, much like the MotoLuxe might satisfy those hankering for a tinge of style for almost nothing (with a two-year contract).


OnePlus's 5G phone should arrive in May 2019, may cost up to $850

OnePlus will be among the first companies to put the new Snapdragon 855 processor into a phone, and will also release a separate and more expensive 5G phone in 2019 with the help of U.K. network EE.

These are the best action cameras money can buy

Action cameras are great tools for capturing videos of your everyday activities, whether it's a birthday party or the steepest slope you've ever descended on your snowboard. These are the best money can buy.

Santa Claus is coming to town. Get ready with these Christmas apps

Like it or not, Christmas comes but once a year. Thankfully, we've got a list of the best Christmas apps to help get you into the holiday spirit, just in case you want to call Santa or become a Christmas elf.

On a budget? We found the best affordable smartphones you can buy

Here are the best cheap phones for anyone working with a tight budget, whether you're a fan of stock Android or marathon battery life. Find out what you can get for under $500 or far, far less as we round up the best budget smartphones.

19 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great stocking stuffer ideas), we've rounded up 19 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth…

Xiaomi’s Gamepad 2.0 turns the Black Shark into a mini Switch

Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi has introduced the Gamepad 2.0 for its Black Shark gaming phone that launched earlier this year. The new gamepad is similar to the Switch Joy-Con, with one piece attaching to each side of the phone.
Product Review

The Black Shark gaming phone takes a big bite out of your free time, but the software sinks it

The world is being treated to an ever-increasing number of high-powered gaming phones. With so many great options already out, is there room for another? The Black Shark thinks so. But is it any good? We find out.

Google makes it easy to donate to charity straight through the Play Store

As we head into the holiday season, Google announced a new feature on Google Play that makes it a little easier to donate to charity. Through the new page, you'll be able to choose from a range of charities to donate to.

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.

The Galaxy S10 may be announced before MWC, sell for up to $1,750

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.

The LG V40 ThinQ, G7 ThinQ, and Watch W7 are discounted for the holidays

LG announced a series of deals for the holiday season where you can buy the company's two flagship phones, the V40 ThinQ and G7 ThinQ, as well as its latest smartwatch, for between $150 and $200 off, depending on the device.

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.

Midrange phones can’t do A.I., but MediaTek’s P90 chip aims to change that

MediaTek has announced the Helio P90 mobile processor, which it says will bring the best A.I. features we see on high-end smartphones, to the mid-range. We spoke to the company about the chip.

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.