Here in just a few months it will have been two years from when Motorola introduced their Razr MAXX. That length of time is significant for a few reasons. First, most of you know that a lot of people run on two year contracts for their phones so a lot of the original Razr MAXX owners will be on the market for replacements here at the start of the year. Two years is also important because it wasn’t long before the original MAXX was introduced that Google purchased the company for a whopping 13 Billion dollars. In that time as well things have changed in the phone market. Sure the iPhone is still around but who would have thought that Blackberry would still be around and that the phones that were once so powerful and huge are now considered slow and normal in size. What a perfect time for Motorola to introduce its third MAXX phone. This time the they dropped the Razr name all together and just went with the Droid MAXX and its smaller battered brother is called the Droid Ultra. I’ve been using the MAXX for a while now and today I’m going to tell you a little about my experience.

Product Name: Motorola Droid MAXX

Review Sample Provided by: Verizon

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

 

image 6

 

Specifications

CPU

Motorola X8 Mobile Computing System, which is comprised of a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4Pro family processor (1.7GHz Dual-Core Krait CPU, 400 MHz quad-core Adreno 320 GPU), a natural language processor and a contextual computing processor.

Memory

2GB DDR RAM

Storage

32GB

Display

HD 720p (720x1280 pixels) Super AMOLED

OS

Android™ 4.2.2 Jelly Bean

Size

71.2mm (x) x 137.5mm (y) x 8.5mm (z)

Display Size

5 in.

Weight

167g

Front Facing Camera

2MP

Rear Facing Camera

10MP CLEAR PIXEL (RGBC) – Quick Capture – LED flash – 1080p HD video (30 fps) – 4X digital zoom – Slow motion video – Burst mode – Auto HDR – Panorama – Tap to focus

Battery Size

3500 mAh, 48 hours of mixed usage

Wireless Charging

Yes with Qi

Wifi

802.11 b/g/n

Bluetooth

Bluetooth Class 2 Version 4.0 LE+EDR

GPS

eCompass/Standalone GPS/aGPS (assisted)/AGPS (autonomous)/sGPS (simultaneous)

Networks

WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100, CDMA 800/1900, GSM 850/900/1800/1900, LTE Band 04/13, HSDPA 42.2 Mbps (Category 14), HSUPA 5.76 Mbps, CDMA EV-DO Release A, GPRS Class 12

Other Features

Accelerometer

Ambient Light Sensor

Barometer

Gyroscope

Magnetometer

Near Field Communication (NFC)

Proximity sensor

 

 


Packaging

Phone packaging doesn’t change all that much from phone to phone but even with that in mind Motorola did make the MAXX stand out a little with its “droid” branding all over the box. Once you slide off the slip cover and open everything up you are greeted with the phone itself right up on top in its own tray. Under the phone, you have all of your accessories. First you get a USB charging cable as well as a wall charger like you do on any phone made in the past few years. There aren’t any headphones included but you do get a whole stack of documentation, exciting right? Most of it is safety and warranty information as well as a small guide to getting to know your phone. What did stand out though was the copy of the Ingress beta that is bundled along with it all though, this is something a little new. It looks like the official copy of the game is out now but I do love the idea of them bundling in a game or a few apps for you to install if you want rather than forcing them on you. Hopefully we see more of that in the future.

image 13

image 14

image 15

image 16

 


Design

When I first got the MAXX in my hands It was hard to not see the resemblance to the original MAXX. The carbon fiber styling behind a rubber finish is exactly what they went with before and I am completely in love with this finish. It’s not as eye catching as the Nexus 4 for example with its glass back but this finish appeals to the geek in me with the carbon fiber weave and the rubber grippy finish lets you enjoy the phone without fear of breaking a glass back.

image 1

image 17

The MAXX isn’t exactly thin if you compare it to some phones on the market but it’s not thick either. The high capacity batteries do mean they had to add to its thickness. They did try to make it feel a little thinner with a slight radius on the back edges but this did have a bit of a side effect for me. The power connection the bottom only has a small bit of plastic on the top part in the picture below. When I use the phone my pinky naturally goes there to hold the phone from the bottom and it can get a little uncomfortable, it’s not sharp but it is thin enough to make it noticeable. I did have a few other people hold the phone and this didn’t seem to be an issue for any of them, so it is very dependent on your hand size. In this photo you can also see that the corners of the phone are darker where there is more rubber to help protect with drops.

image 12

On the side we have what is becoming more and more standard on most Android phones, you have your power/lock screen button and the up and down volume buttons. This is all of the physical buttons on the phone, everything else is on screen.

image 2

Speaking of on screen buttons, the bottom three are built into the screen but unlike the Nexus 4 and some other phones they are not in the software, they are always at the bottom of the screen. You have a back button on the left, home in the middle, and the app drawer on the right.

image 4

Back around on the back the 10MP camera is centered on the top of the phone with one LED flash and the speaker on the right. For branding on the phone you will only find the Motorola logo here as well as the Droid logo.

image 18

The 2PM front facing camera is tucked in right next to the earpiece up above the MAXX’s screen.

image 5

Speaking of the screen the Super AMOLED runs in HD at 720p aka 720x1280, I would have liked to of seen full 1080p in a phone of this caliber though. As you can see in the photos below, the screen looks great in most situations but it did get a little washed out in the high light photography and if you look at it from a high viewing angle it fades a little as well, not that I would ever want to try to use a phone at that angle. If anything that should help keep others from looking at what you are doing.

image 3

image 9

image 10

image 12

 


Performance

Along with putting the phone to use day to day, I also put it through our standard benchmark suite. To start things off I ran it through both the normal and Extreme Ice Storm benchmarks to see how it performed. As you can see from the results below, the MAXX dominated the other phones that we have run through that same benchmark. For the first time, 3DMark even recommended that we bump the benchmark up to the Extreme Ice Storm because it performed so well. Even in the Extreme benchmark nothing came close though.

graph5

Next I ran a few browser based benchmarks that we use. Because they are browser based sometimes you will see different results depending on the browser you use, for example in the past the chrome browser on Android has performed a little low. In Octane v1 the MAXX pulled ahead again with the closest being the Note 2 with its quad core CPU. In SunSpider the lowest result is the best meaning the Note 2 outperformed the MAXX. Lastly in Browsermark 2.0 the MAXX came in third, this is where I expected it to be. The Nexus 7 and 4 performed a little lower here due to chrome but the MAXX did still outperform the Note 2 but the S3 and Z10 bested it.

graph3

graph6

graph1

In my last set of tests I ran through a rendering benchmark in GLBenchmark 2.5.1, the MAXX pulled an FPS of 41 with the Nexus 4 being the only other device to come close with a37 FPS. GLBenchmark also has our battery benchmark. How it works is that same rendering is run through from a full battery all the way until we hit 5% battery charge. Considering the MAXX’s performance I was a little worried that its better capability’s might actually hurt the results of this benchmark. But in the end the MAXX did still out live all of the phones and tablets in our test. This is great considering some of the devices tested have large batteries as well due to their larger size. While testing I did find another interesting result. The first pass I did with this benchmark was accidentally with the wireless and mobile network on, normally I turn these off during the test for consistency. Oddly enough after retesting I noticed that the MAXX actually went an additional 10 minutes with everything turned on, all the while receiving my emails, texts, and facebook notifications. The result in the chart below was the airplane mode result though, for fairness. By the way, over 4 and a half hours while running a 3D rendering in loop is extremely impressive.

graph7

graph2

So outside of the benchmarks, how did the Droid MAXX perform in use? Well as someone who is constantly checking my phone It is very easy for me to kill batteries long before my day is over. To put the MAXX to the test I used it exclusively the weekend of our LAN. Not only do I get far too many calls, texts, and emails that weekend, but the building we use is right at the edge of our rural 4g coverage and it is a metal building. As you can imagine everyone there had issues with battery life with their phones working extra hard connecting between two towers. The end result was me not having to worry about my battery life until late in the second day and even then I only charged to make sure I wouldn’t have to worry about my alarm not going off. Even better for me was the Droid MAXXs wireless charging ability. Here in the office I could just drop the phone on the same wireless charger I use to keep my Nexus 4 charged.

Beyond the battery life there was another feature of the MAXX that I am going to miss when I send it back to Verizon. I have never had a phone with a speaker this loud before. I can admit that my hearing isn’t always the best, but there was never a time that I slept through an alarm or didn’t hear my notification. I can’t say the same for my Nexus 4, I sleep through phone calls and alarms ALL of the time with it. The speaker was so impressive that my wife actually made me turn it down; because it startled her each time I received a notification.

I would love to say that the MAXXs camera performed as well as its battery life, but I will be honest and say that it seemed to be hit and miss. Low light photography suffered but even with good light I felt like sometimes a photo would come out great while other pictures wouldn’t.

How was the UI? Well the Google ownership is starting to show here. The UI was only slightly modified from the stock Android UI and I love that they went that route. You do get a couple widgets from Motorola like an interesting home page weather/time widget that lets you flip the sections over to watch weather and time in multiple areas. As usual the MAXX comes with a list of apps installed that you wouldn’t find on a pure Android experience, some like mobile hotspot are important for your Verizon experience but I could do without the Amazon apps. I will say I found myself putting the IMDB app to use more than expected in situations that I would just normally use google. The last feature that I really liked was the ability to skip the lock screen all together when you check your phone after a notification and have the message right there for you.

 


Overall and Final Verdict

The Droid MAXX is one of those devices that I had such high hopes for when I got it in, that I didn’t think there was any way it could live up to my expectations. Surprisingly, it actually did live up to what I expected. Battery life was great in both benchmarks as well as in real life use. Just as impressive was the performance in the 3DMark benchmark where the MAXX pulled away from the other devices. The 1,7 GHz dual core Snapdragon S4 Pro chip performed well but when put up against some of the quad cores it wasn’t mind blowing, the Adreno 320 GPU and two extra cores slipped in for language processing and contextual computing did make the difference in 3DMark.

My list of complaints about the MAXX are fairly small but each is important to different people individually. For example, if you are looking for a phone with industry leading camera performance, this isn’t going to be the phone for you. It performed well, most of the time. But the inconsistency was frustrating at times. Those of you who want the best screen, the 720p resolution might be a deal breaker. That leads me to my main issue, with the on contract price of $300 right now, you really should expect the MAXX to be a flagship in all of those areas. In the end you are paying a premium for the MAXX due to its extended battery life, and having dealt with a dead battery in the worse situations that $100 might not be a bad deal. But if battery life isn’t a worry for you, you might save the money and go with the Droid Ultra.

Having said all of that, I am completely in love with the phone. Battery life IS an issue for me when traveling and after having the MAXX I don’t know how I will live without it. The design is durable and sharp with its rubbery carbon fiber weave design. On top of it all, they packed in a kick butt speaker that was louder than any other phone I have ever tested. Those two features alone put the MAXX at the top of my wish list, but you will have to consider your needs before picking one up. 

image 7

fv3recomended

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: https://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

Log in to comment

garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #33099 08 Oct 2013 20:32
I'm a little late posting today, been busy with the AMD launches. But todays review is the Droid MAXX. Take a look to see what I thought about it
Plague's Avatar
Plague replied the topic: #33100 08 Oct 2013 22:49
Motorola Droid have always had awesome speakers. my original droid speaker is better then my samsung galaxy nexus speaker.

We have 1212 guests and one member online

supportus