Republic Wireless & the Motorola Defy XT: A six-month review

In march of this year, I finally was dragged kicking and screaming into the smartphone world. As a person who has worked his entire adult life in the computer and networking field, you’d think it would have happened much sooner. The main reason it didn’t is that I’m a tight-wad. I didn’t mind shelling out some cash for a smartphone, but I didn’t want to pay money every month on a data plan. At the time, I was using a “dumb phone” and getting service for $30 a month from Straight Talk.

So in March I moved over to the $19/month unlimited-everything-with-some-caveats plan offered by Republic Wireless. I didn’t specifically choose the Motorola Defy XT. You might say it chose me – it was the only phone offered by Republic Wireless. At the time I purchased it, I did an unboxing video and did some basic camera tests. Since I’ve used it for a while, I now am ready to do a more detailed review.

The Bad Stuff

  • Outdated OS
    The phone is using Android 2.3, and there’s no indication that there will be an update.
  • Limited internal storage.
    You won’t be able to install many apps until you run out of internal space. Many apps can be moved to the SD card, but some cannot. I’ve moved all of those that allow me to, and I still am pretty much maxed out.
  • Sluggish
    I haven’t found the speed hurting my productivity with the phone, but it is clearly not very speedy. When dialing a phone number, I can press three digits before any of them appear on the screen.
  • WiFi quality suffers at times
    Some WiFi calls are fine. Other ones have quality problems or a noticeable delay that causes people to interrupt each other.
  • No MMS messaging
    You cannot send or receive text messages with this phone that contain photos or video. If somebody tries to send you such a message, it will not be delivered, and they will not get a message to let them know that you’d didn’t receive it.

The Good Stuff

    • Inexpensive
      $19 a month is a hard price to beat.
    • WiFi Calling
      At my home, I do not have cell coverage from any of the major networks. With WiFi calling, I can make and receive calls on my mobile phone for the first time



In spite of a not-so-great phone, I’m pleased with Republic Wireless. The plan is cost-effective, and the WiFi calling just makes sense. Why pay to send a call through a cell tower when you have a WiFi connection? For somebody who was accustomed to a “dumb phone”, this phone was an upgrade. Not only that, but I pay less per month than I used to. However, if you want state-of-the-art and don’t mind spending more money on a plan, go someplace else. Or, you can just wait a few months. Republic Wireless has just announced that they will be offering the Moto X, a much better phone, later this year.