Earlier this month, Motorola took the wraps off the Droid Razr Maxx, a smartphone with a complete disregard for grammatical convention. This week, the latest Droid arrives in the US, armed with a super-sized battery, a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED screen, Verizon 4G LTE connectivity, an older version of Android, and a $299 price tag (with the requisite 2-year contract). So how good is the Droid Maxx? Let's go to the scorecards.
"Kudos to Motorola for cramming such a big battery inside a handset that measures .35 inches thick," writes the team at Laptop magazine. "Yes, the Droid RAZR was deliciously thin at just .28 inches, but the RAZR Maxx is still slimmer than the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the iPhone 4S (both .37 inches). At 5.1 ounces [0.3 pounds], the Maxx weighs the same as the Galaxy Nexus, but the latter is taller and slightly narrower. What we miss from the original Droid RAZR on the Maxx is the way the back tapers to a small hump at the top, which made the device slightly easier to grip when making calls."
"The Razr Maxx touts a power supply of 3,300mAh, or roughly twice what you get from most high-end handsets in the market today, including its Droid Razr predecessor, which has a 1,780mAh power supply," writes Clint Boulton of eWeek. "This is crucial because the Razr Maxx churns data on Verizon's 4G Long-Term Evolution network. Anyone who has ever tested or owned a 4G LTE Verizon phone, such as the HTC ThunderBolt or Samsung Droid Charge, knows how rapidly those smartphones with 4G radios burn through battery charges. The Razr Maxx... casts aside the rapid-battery-drain concerns and offers a whopping 21.5 hours of talk time and nearly 16 days of standby time."
"As with the Droid RAZR, the Maxx sports an eight megapixel rear shooter and 1.3MP front-facing camera," writes Brad Molen at Engadget. "As mentioned before, the sensors are identical to the previous phone, and as such don't expect to see many different results here. Colors are still muted in direct sunlight, it struggles in low-light situations and indoor images are once again a bit noisy. We were pleased to see only a limited amount of shutter lag, thanks to the phone's continuous autofocus feature. Panorama shots were hit-or-miss, with nearly a half of our images not even merging together without looking blurry or disjointed."
The Razr Maxx runs the Android 2.3.5 operating system, and Jordan Crook of TechCrunch gives the experience a thumbs-up. "Switching between apps, surfing the web, and watching mobile video was all pleasant. I didn’t experience any serious hiccups (other than those freezes), but the usual Android lag still remains," Crook writes. "Luckily, Moto chose to leave Blur out of the equation and laid a rather light, useful overlay onto both the Razr and the Maxx. I say keep ‘em coming like that, Moto."
"The RAZR MAXX’s display has deep colors and high contrast," writes Josh Smith of Gotta Be Mobile. "The colors are brighter than I’ve seen on some phones like the Samsung Stratosphere, but they are not as true to life. While colors are bolder than the HTC Thunderbolt, they’re also less true to reality due to the contrast. That said, watching HD video is a pleasure on this screen and viewing angles are quite wide. One of my favorite things about the Droid RAZR MAXX’s display is that it’s easy to read outdoors, even when the sun is out. The auto brightness setting is smart enough to crank up just the right amount."
The bottom line
"Power users who need to have the longest lifetime possible will have no choice but to pick [the Maxx] – a notion that's just cause for disappointment," writes Molen of Engadget. "At its worst, it's an original RAZR with a $100 extended battery pack attached. At its best, however, the Maxx is proof to every phone manufacturer that it really is possible to make a slender (and absolutely stunning) device that can actually survive more than a full days' worth of heavy use. So what does the Maxx really offer to the rest of the mobile community? A sense of optimism."