The Motorola Defy+ is an upgraded edition of last year’s tough phone, keeping it fresh by boosting the processor to 1GHz and landing with a newer version of Android, now 2.3. We caught up with the new phone at a recent showcase for Carphone Warehouse.

We knew that the exterior of the phone was going to be very much the same as before, but we didn’t know that Motorola had been tweaking their user interface.

Motoblur has attracted some criticism, some of which you can read in our review of the original Motorola Defy if you are interested. With each iteration of device (from the original Motorola Dext) we’ve seen Motorola modify their interface slightly, making it lighter, faster and less intrusive.

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The same is true of this latest iteration of device from the Google-owned company. In literal terms Motorola has lightened things like the Contacts, swapping the black background for white: it now looks less oppressive and seems easier to read than previously. 

But it isn’t just about changing the wallpaper, they’ve also added in innovative extras. In your Contacts you can easily make groups, in the apps menu you can group apps and get an icon to take you directly to Android Market. Simple things, but could be very popular as they are so easy to use.

On the homepage too, the slightly clunky fixed shortcuts at the bottom of the page (formerly calling, apps menu and contacts) are now customisable, with the demo unit we saw offering calling, camera, Kindle and the apps menu. It isn’t unique, but it’s certainly welcome. 

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There are new widgets, or more refined widgets, although we didn’t have the chance to explore all of these. A Moto Agent did tell us, however, that the updated user interface would soon be rolling out to the Motorola Atrix too.

Elsewhere the colour scheme has changed slightly for the body of the phone, although we couldn’t tell the difference ourselves. It is still a solid-feeling phone in the hand, with IP67 certification, Gorilla Glass to resist scratches and port covers to keep it clean.

The 3.7-inch display is nice and vibrant and the added power from the new processor is welcomed, although we didn’t really have the chance to put it through its paces in our brief play.

All in all, the Motorola Defy+ looks like a reasonable upgrade to the original handset. The added power will help keep up with modern demands and we still like the chunky looks.

But will it be able to tough it out against the Samsung Galaxy Xcover? We think it probably will.

We will be getting a review model in shortly to give it a proper challenge, so stay tuned.