Motorola Droid Maxx Review
As the smartphone market solidifies and mobile technology becomes more standard, the inclusion of favorable features becomes more commonplace, allowing customers to feel more confident to branch out into a wider-array of brands. That’s the situation that I feel we are in right now, in regards to the smartphone market and of the Motorola Droid. The latest Droid model is the perfect example of this change in product manufacturing. Instead of copying popular brands, the Droid Maxx was designed with specific enhancements, ones that customers may feel are lacking in other models, and Motorola went after these customers with sizable improvements to its hardware and software.
Although many of these upgrades may seem simple, or you would think common, it’s hard to find other phones that embrace certain features. Features like a high-quality, extremely large-screen, an incredible battery life, easy to use apps and other enticing features that the Droid Maxx offers over the competition, aren’t so easy to come by when coupled together.
The Droid Maxx is the current leader in Motorola’s Droid lineup, coming in at $299 it has a higher price point, but customers may come to peace with the initial investment, after trying the phone for themselves. On the features side the Droid Maxx offers a few specs that customer should be interested in right away, this includes the amazing battery-life the phone offers, and the 32GB of internal memory. That’s speaking of course of the internal workings of the phone, the outward appearance is of a compact and slim design, one that extenuates a well-built smartphone that was manufactured for everyday use, and for feature-hungry consumers.
If you ever had the chance to examine the Droid Ultra, then the changes that Motorola has made with the Droid Maxx are instantly recognizable. Standing at 5.4 inches tall and 2.8 inches wide the phone is only .34 inches thick. That being said the phone is incredibly lightweight at only 5.9 ounces.
The design of the phone is not only aesthetically pleasing but structurally sound as well. The back surface is coated in a Kevlar fiber, offering a smooth yet comfortable grip when holding the phone in one hand, even on the hottest of New York’s August days. The screen takes up almost the entirety of the front face, but I want to point out that it’s coated in a matte finish, which is perfect for resisting the standard smudges and smears that most cell phones are accustomed to getting. This also of course helps protect the phone against scratches and although other phones and third-party manufacturers may offer ways to prevent scratches, the matte finish is also quite helpful in keeping the phone from being slippery when handled with greasy fingers, sweaty palms, or rainy days. An important factor to consider when upgrading to a phone of this size.
Finishing out the structural design of the phone, the headphone jack is located in the standard upper-right corner, the micro USB charging cable is located in the center bottom and the only physical buttons on the phone are the power and volume rockers that are located on the right side. A very nice, yet very subtle, design can be found on the volume rockers and the power button. These buttons are etched with grooves, so that you can easily feel them even when you’re not looking. Again this also helps when you’re on the go or after extended use with the phone. A very simple upgrade, but one that I noticed and appreciated.
Now moving on to more internal design choices. The front facing 2-megapixel camera is located at the top-center on the frontal plate. This of course isn’t the only camera on the phone, located on the back top-center is where you will find the Droid Maxx’s 10 megapixel main camera and LED flash. If you didn’t get a chance to sample the Droid Ultra then you should know that the speaker system on both the Droid Ultra and the Droid Maxx , is actually one of the best that you can find in smartphones. Whether I was watching movies, taking a call, or streaming videos, the speaker system on the Droid Maxx offered me nothing to complain about.
I think what will make the Droid Maxx the most compelling in the showroom though, are some the company’s most basic choices. The first thing that you will notice is the incredibly large and incredibly bright display that the Droid Maxx offers.
The device features a large 5-inch HD OLED screen with a 720p resolution (1280 x 720) pixels. If you are a math wiz, then you should realize that although the screen is HD, since it’s larger, it doesn’t offer a higher pixel density than other phones. Now whether or not this is gonna make a difference in your purchasing the device, will depend on your exact eye for these details. Honestly I would wager that the majority of customers that hold the phone would not notice the substantial difference when comparing the screen to other devices. In the end the device is still running in 720p and the native resolution is still HD quality on an impressive OLED screen.
Partly what makes the screen so wonderful looking, is that the phone offers incredibly vibrant colors as well as rich black tones, that coincide with a wonderfully high contrast. Even though I know the pixel density on other phones may be higher, I found watching movies, viewing pictures, and reading eBooks on this phone to be much more enjoyable than on some the other devices that I have. Pixel density and screen resolution is something that you have to see and compare for yourself, I will say that if you’re coming from a smaller-screen phone, like an iPhone for example, you may find that a larger, brighter screen is something that you may have been missing out on for quite some time. It may be time to consider trying one out.
Now the Droid Maxx did make a specific choice to go with the X8 mobile computing system over a higher processor, which is something that I didn’t really notice from the day-to-day use, I only point it out so people that are interested in the spec readout could look into it and compare for themselves. I say that you should look into it and not simply reject it, because you should really test out the phone and not go so much on the exact specs that are on the box. The processor is extremely efficient and although it may lack the exact horsepower of a quad-core processor, the dual-core CPU is supported by Adreno graphics built on top of a natural language processor that produces amazing results. All of this is helped by the fact that the Droid Maxx contains 2GB of RAM and has 32GB of internal memory. Now that is a lot, but I should say that there is no SD slot to increase the storage, though I have found that 32GB is what most people upgrade their devices to, in most of the cases I’ve witnessed.
Now if you like Motorola’s software in the past you should be happy to know that there haven’t been too many changes to the user interface and software. The Maxx runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, and has enough horsepower that it should be upgradable when the time comes for it to be changed from Google.
Not too many of the user interface widgets and application launching gestures have been changed from the previous Droid, but new features have been added. Droid Zapp and Wireless Display is now just a simple swipe away. For those of you that are not familiar with the two applications, Droid Zapp instantly sends pictures or video to another android phone that is nearby; while the Wireless Display feature will mirror the phone with a compatible HDTV or monitor.
If you already have the Google play store you will be able to easily download all of your favorite apps, and your standard Google apps come preloaded on the device. This means you won’t have to waste anytime downloading and launching into your favorite applications right out of the box.
The only real annoyance factor that I have with Verizon phones is the software you can’t remove. I know all devices have a few “standard” apps that are cemented into your phone but the NFL Mobile and VZ Navigator seem to annoy me more than they should. Honestly Verizon, Verizon Tones shouldn’t even exist at this point.
Now since this phone was made by Motorola (which is owned by Google) you are going to get a few tricks that everyone should enjoy. This includes the active display, a single function that offers alerts for incoming emails, phone calls or text messages. When it came to launching software, browsing the web, or multitasking between text messaging and reading, I didn’t have any complaints with the Droid Maxx.
It’s also important to point out the call quality since this is actually a phone. In the past I’ve had a few Verizon phones that weren’t exactly the best when it came to making phone calls, but I am happy to report that the Droid Maxx offers clear calls, even on speakerphone. I mention speakerphone because a lot of modern phones have awkward speaker placements that can ruin the speakerphone experience when in use. I said before that the speaker output on the Droid Maxx is incredibly clear and even on full volume the people I was speaking with didn’t realize that I was talking to them on speakerphone during my tests.
If you like to take pictures (like I do) I think you will be happy with the Droid Maxx’s camera software and camera ability. Honestly the camera function is what I played with the most, during my time with the device. The 10 megapixel camera takes wonderful pictures both indoor and outdoor, the app launches in an instant so you won’t miss any moments and it’s all incredibly intuitive. I loved holding my finger anywhere on the screen to take a picture, and holding it down allowed me to take as many pictures as my phone could hold, all snapping away in moments. In just a few seconds I had 32 pictures of my annoyed and sleepy cat friend. It’s a wonderful camera built on easy-to-use software.
Now everything that I’ve mentioned above is terrific to have in a phone (not Verizon Tones) but it doesn’t mean anything if your phone is dead, or can’t survive one train-ride. That’s when the 3,500mAh battery comes into play. It’s a remarkable battery to say the least, With almost 17 hours straight of video (internal testing) and about 2 days of standard use (browsing, internet videos, short calls, and a lot of texting) the phone easily out performs many in its class.
In the end the phone runs on Android, has Google features that were needed to upgrade the older Droid models and a battery that leads the ‘charge’. The screen may not appear to be as luxurious on paper, but hold in your hands and you should have a hard time complaining about it. The design is functional and minimal, two perfect aspects when designing modern-day electronics and everything that it does it does in a responsive and ready to go when you are manner.
Honestly the price is the only setback. When you aren’t the ‘top brand’ on the market, customers can expect lower prices, but I would highly recommend you adding the Droid Maxx to your comparison shopping, and don’t just read specs, and look at tables online, if any phone deserves a few minutes in your hand, this is one of them.