Even thought the Defender is a King among TIE variants, I'm not very fond of the 3 Solar Panel design.
While slower than other ships of similar size, the clawcraft is an agile little puppy! It can easily out perform a TIE in an atmospheric contest, and its agility and superior firepower & shielding make up for the fact that it is slower than a TIE in space.
Plus, it is one mean looking ship!
"Only a Sith deals in absolutes. Absolutely no exceptions."