Is bigger better? The Motorola Droid Maxx packs a big battery and more memory into yet another phone with roughly the same features as the Moto X, which we love. But although the Maxx has more storage and better battery life than the X, it loses some of the friendly, human qualities which make the X so appealing.
In general, the Droid Maxx is extremely similar to the Motorola Droid Ultra, but with a bigger battery. Go read my Motorola Droid Ultra review for a rundown of the basic features. I’ll focus on the differences between the phones here.
The first big difference, of course, is the design. The Droid Maxx, with its five-inch screen, is noticeably wider than the Moto X at 5.41 by 2.8 by .33 inches (HWD) and 5.9 ounces. The difference between 2.57 and 2.8 inches wide is a big deal; while the X is comfortable to use in one hand, it’s harder for your thumb to reach across the Maxx.
Motorola gets things spot-on with the Kevlar casing on this phone, though. Why don’t the other Droids feel like this? The Maxx’s back is soft-touch, patterned black Kevlar which actually feels like Kevlar, not the ugly, greasy stuff used on the Droid Mini and Droid Ultra. It’s even nicer, and the phone feels more solid than the polycarbonate Moto X—not to mention the flimsy plastic Samsung Galaxy S4.
You’ll have to buy a Maxx if you’re at all worried about storage space, as the Droid/X line don’t have memory card slots. The Maxx comes with 25.48GB available of 32GB total storage (25.48GB available) to the Droids’ 11-or-so of 16GB. The real frustration here is that a 32GB Moto X exists, but it’s an AT&T exclusive.
Call Quality and Battery Life
The Droid Maxx’s voice quality is similar to the other Droids. The earpiece is loud and a bit trebly, but it doesn’t distort. Call audio wobbled a bit, but that seemed like a network problem rather than a handset issue, as speed tests also showed the Verizon Wireless network was pretty congested near our offices. There’s a pleasant amount of sidetone in the earpiece and the speakerphone is very powerful.
Transmissions through the mic in a noisy area sounded robotic; Motorola’s CrystalTalk noise cancellation killed the noise, but at the cost of rich voice tone. Transmissions through the speakerphone were very clear, although there was very little background noise cancellation.
The Droid Maxx’s 3,500mAh battery is the largest built-in battery in a one-handed smartphone available today. It’s significantly more capacious than the Moto X’s 2,200mAh battery. But the giant battery didn’t translate into a gigantic increase in talk time, with talk time rising only from 14 hours, 15 minutes to 19 hours, 56 minutes when tested in the same location.
I don’t want to minimize the advantage of the bigger battery, but I had expected more from such a capacious power cell. That said, the Droid Maxx should last for two days of moderate use without a problem, and it’s the only smartphone I can say that about.
Verizon has made things very confusing by carrying the $99 Droid Mini, the $199 Droid Ultra and Moto X, and the $299 Droid Maxx. The Moto X is still the best; it’s made from the nicest body material, has the slimmest set of bloatware, and does away with the horrible death-robot Droid branding.
Both the Mini and the Maxx have their advantages. The Maxx has more memory and a bigger battery, and the Mini is even tighter and easier to hold than the Moto X. But in my mind, neither quite hits the sweet spot that the X does; the Mini slips up with its fingerprint-magnet body and misanthropic Droid branding, and the Maxx loses the X’s hand-friendliness with its 2.8-inch width.
Our general Editor’s Choice for smartphones is still the Samsung Galaxy S 4, for being more things to more people. It’s no wider than the Droid Maxx, but it’s slimmer and lighter, with a better screen, better camera, and removable memory. While the Droid Maxx is a good smartphone, it’s not quite as good as it could be.
|Phone Capability / Network||GSM, CDMA, UMTS, LTE|
|Screen Resolution||1280-by-720 pixels|
|Dimensions||5.4 by 2.8 by .34" (HWD) inches|
|Video Camera Resolution||1080P|
|Battery Life (As Tested)||19|
|Available Integrated Storage||25.48 GB|
|Processor Speed||1.73 MHz|
|Service Provider||Verizon Wireless|
|Total Integrated Storage||32 GB|
|High-Speed Data||EDGE, UMTS, EVDO Rev A, LTE, HSPA+ 42|
|Screen Type||Super AMOLED HD|
|Operating System as Tested||Android 4.2.2|
|Camera Resolution||10MP main camera|
|2MP front camera|
|Screen Pixels Per Inch||294 ppi|
|Bands||800, 900, 1800, 1900, 2100, 700|
|Form Factor||Candy Bar|
|Screen Size||5 inches|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc