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Two weeks ago, we posted our review of the Moto X. We raved about its features, build quality, design, mostly stock Android, and customizable exterior. It’s probably safe to say that it’s our favorite phone of the moment, just for the overall package that it delivers, even with a set of specs that most would look at on paper and second-guess. So when I got my hands on the DROID ULTRA early last week, a phone that sports almost identical specs to the Moto X, I expected to go in and receive a similar experience. And sure enough, you do get a similar experience in terms of software, but the hardware design is so drastically different that I’m struggling to fall in love here. Let’s talk about it.

*Note – The review is going to seem shorter than most, but that’s because the software experience here is almost identical to what you’d see on the Moto X. So if you haven’t read our Moto X review, I strongly suggest that you do. We’ll reference it a lot rather than re-writing everything again here.

The Good


Performance on the DROID ULTRA is as snappy and fluid as you’ll find on any phone. With Motorola’s X8 Mobile Computing System (combination of a Snapdragon S4 Pro, two low-power cores, and a quad-core GPU), you’ll cruise through games with maxed out frame rates and jump between apps or tasks without a stutter. There has been a mostly negative response to Motorola’s decision to go with a dual-core processor over the competition’s choice of quad-core beasts, but trust me when I say that you won’t ever be able to tell in any situation that I can think of with the ULTRA.

I’ve now gone through a Moto X and ULTRA, and never once have I said, “Man, I wish they would have gone Snapdragon 600 or 800.” The chipset setup here really does give you all the performance you could ask for. Is it going to win every single benchmark war? No. But then again, it’ll probably win most of the gaming or GPU tests, thanks to the 720p display.

Active Display, Touchless Control, and Quick Capture

droid ultra active display

If you haven’t yet, go watch our video tour of Active Display, Touchless Control, and Quick Capture Camera on the Moto X. All of these three features act the exact same way on the DROID ULTRA.

Active Display, as you know, is our favorite feature by a long shot on any phone of the last couple of years. It eliminates the need for a notification light by putting real information on your screen without killing your battery life. It’s also smart enough to know when you pull your phone out of your pocket, pick it up off a desk, or flip it over after being face down. Active Display gives you information before you have even asked your phone (by pressing a button) to provide it. Simple, yet groundbreaking stuff, if you ask us.

Touchless Control uses one of Motorola’s natural language, low-power processors in the X8 system to be ready for your  voice commands at all times. This feature allows you to wake your phone and then have it complete tasks by saying “OK, Google Now” followed by your command. It works well, especially since Motorola uses your own voice to train it to not activate for anyone else. It’s incredibly clever, and should only get better over time as Google updates its search powers and Motorola fine tunes the service in future updates.

Motorola claims that no other company could do either of these with current processor and display combos without needing double or 3x the battery life. We aren’t sure how we can prove that point, but we know that both of these features work mostly flawlessly and we’re still seeing full-day battery life.

droid ultra touchless control

Last, and we’ll get to this later in camera, but Motorola is making picture taking even faster with the ULTRA, just like it did on the Moto X. Using a quick double-wrist twist, you can launch your camera and then snap a picture in 2 seconds (according to Moto). Tough to tell if it’s that fast, but it certainly beats having to press an unlock switch, find a camera icon, and then worry about pressing a shutter button. Again, more coming.

Battery Life

Battery life on the DROID ULTRA was similar to what I saw on the Moto X, if not a little better (though I don’t know how that’s possible). On average, I’d say I was getting anywhere from 14-18 hours before I had to start worrying about finding a charger. On a light use day, we’re talking no WiFi, but no calls or much handling, I was easily pushing 24 hours of life. On a typical day that involves a few calls, no WiFi, lots of Gmail, Instagram, Scorecenter, some YouTube, and other apps, I was never worried. I don’t know that I had one of those days where I really hammered on the ULTRA, but I just never felt like I needed to to prove that the battery life was stellar.

droid ultra battery lifedroid ultra battery lifedroid ultra battery life

The reason I said that I can’t figure out how the ULTRA has better battery life than the Moto X is because it has a slightly smaller battery than the X (2130mAh vs. 2200mAh) and a bigger display (5-inch vs. 4.7-inch). Here is the spec comparison to prove it. Typically, when you see a bigger display and lesser capacity in a battery, you would get worried. But again, in over a week with the ULTRA, I’d say I have yet to worry about running out of juice in a 14-18 hour period.

Mostly Stock Android


Once Google bought Motorola, the new executive team decided to ditch the old MotoBlur skin that most of the consumer industry despised and replaced it with mostly stock Android. On the DROID ULTRA, like the Moto X, you get that same experience along with a couple of tweaks here and there not seen on the X. For one, you get an add-on feature called DROID Zap that shares photos from your ULTRA to any other Android device with a 2-finger swipe. We have a video demo of it below. The Zap feature is not game-changing, but I could see where it has its uses, assuming you can talk everyone into installing the receiver Zap application.

Motorola also tossed in things like notification counters on icons (pictured above) and changed the color of an icon or two. The rest, is stock Android with add-ons done by Motorola. You’ll find Moto Assist, the previously mentioned suite of awesome stuff (Touchless Control, Quick Capture, and Active Display), and a 3-circle clock widget called the Command Center (pictured above).

The ULTRA runs Android 4.2.2 and will likely see updates to the newest versions of Android on a regular basis, likely pretty close to when Google releases them. Motorola claims that there is a firewall between them and Google, but they committed last year to providing timely updates.


Somewhere in the Middle


ultra macro small

Full resolution

The 5-inch 720p AMOLED display on the ULTRA is neither great nor bad – it really does fit somewhere in the middle. Its competitors are using 1080p displays at 5-inches, but Motorola has decided that your naked eye can’t tell the different between 720p and 1080p, plus the jump from one to the other isn’t worth the battery drain. So they’ve gone 720p, with a pixel density somewhere just under 300ppi.

The panel used by Motorola in the ULTRA (and the Moto X) displays slightly warmer than I think most would like to see. In the pictures below, you can see how cool both the HTC One (LCD) and Galaxy S4 (Super AMOLED) are when sitting next to the Moto X and ULTRA. Now, without them sitting right next to each other like this, I can’t say that I’ve found myself complaining about the reddish-yellowish tint that the others do not show, but it’s there. For display purists, even though this is an RGB panel, you’ll probably notice it right away, especially when viewing whites.

droid ultra displaydroid ultra display

The viewing angles, though, are great on the ULTRA. Take a look at the shot to the right to see how much cleaner both Motorola devices look at a semi-steep angle when compared to the other two flagships on the market. Now, the ULTRA does sit at a slight angle thanks to its rear hump, so it’s not 100% accurate in that picture. However, the Moto X sits mostly flat and provides the same clarity as this angle.

With all that said, I did spend some time doing a simple test of watching YouTube videos on both the Galaxy S4 and ULTRA. The results give the Galaxy S4 an immense lead in terms of video quality. If you want to see the difference in pixel density, look no further than the Chrome logo in this screenshot.

Again, the display isn’t bad, and is for the most part very sharp. I definitely think the decision to push out to 720p on a 5-inch display wasn’t the best Motorola has made, though. It looks great in terms of clarity on the Moto X at 4.7-inches, but that extra .3 inches coupled with capacitive touch buttons gives you a full 5-inch experience that feels a bit blown up.


droid ultra camera

Cameras, cameras – such a pain point in smartphone reviews. Sooooo, the 10MP RBGC sensor in the DROID ULTRA is identical to that found in the Moto X. And since it also uses the exact same camera software, you get similar results in pictures. At times, it’s a rockstar. This camera is capable of taking some really sharp macro shots. Look at the little green terrarium picture below. Not bad, right?

But outside of close-ups of plants, it was so hit and miss with this camera just like it was on the Moto X. The clear pixel addition to the sensor was supposed to help the camera in low-light and to erase motion blur, but my low-light shots always look like overprocessed blurred messes. Take for example the kitty picture below – could have been the cutest napping cat picture on Earth, but instead it’s an oil-painted, noisy disaster. I also feel at times like this camera really drops down any bright color or vibrance and often times leaves photos that look, well, dead instead of alive.

Here are a handful of sample shots taken in a variety of situations. Again, you’ll see that some are quite good while others you’d wish Motorola had given us something better.

droid ultra cameradroid ultra cameradroid ultra cameradroid ultra camera

droid ultra cameradroid ultra cameradroid ultra cameradroid ultra camera

Full resolutions:  1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

In terms of camera features and software, the ULTRA’s camera also sits somewhere in the middle. Motorola tried to dummy-proof the camera experience, and for the most part has done a good job of that. For example, you have Quick Capture Camera which allows you to launch and shoot photos in a couple of seconds. You can also tap anywhere on the screen to snap photos, rather than having to worry about a shutter button. But if you were looking for any advanced or manual setting like aperture, shutter priority, or white balance, you won’t find them. The settings in the camera are as follows:  HDR auto toggle, flash, tap-to-focus, slow-motion video, panorama, location tagging, shutter sound, and Quick Capture toggle. That’s it.

So just like we said with the Moto X, we feel as if the camera on the ULTRA can greatly be improved by Motorola with some software tweaks, assuming they are working on them.

Screenshot_2013-08-21-13-52-29 Screenshot_2013-08-21-13-52-38 Screenshot_2013-08-21-13-52-43

The Not-so-Good


I’ll be perfectly honest here in saying that I’m not at all a fan of the design of the DROID ULTRA. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad – it just means that it doesn’t fit my needs or style. If you like a futuristic, robotic design in phones, you’ll probably be right at home here. Motorola used a 2 layer kevlar with a special epoxy topcoat to give it strength and that glossy exterior. If you look at certain angles on the backside, it actually looks a bit 3Dish, which is kind of cool. But for me, that’s where the cool ends.

ultra fingerprints

We complain about fingerprints on glossy-backed devices from time to time, but the ULTRA takes the crown as the absolute worst. I’ve already admitted that I’m not the biggest fan of the design, and this problem is probably reason no. 1. As I’ve written this review, and taken pictures of the device along the way, I’ve had to wipe the phone down at least a half dozen times after holding it for only a few seconds at a time. It’s such a mess. Now, I’m a pretty anal smartphone user, meaning I like to keep my phones extra clean, but with the ULTRA I just found myself giving up after a while as it was a battle no human could win.

I’m also not a fan of the size. After using a Moto X and Galaxy S4 before it, the ULTRA feels like it was made for the hands of a transformer. It feels far bigger and boxier than it should, doesn’t sit comfortably in hand, and I hate to say it, but the ULTRA comes off a bit slimy thanks to that glossy backside. You’ll see red, white, and black versions of the phone at launch, with the black probably being the prettiest of all. If you want to see the atrocity that is the red version, go look at our original hands-on gallery of the phone.

droid ultra buttons

Last, I cannot stand the capacitive navigation buttons that Motorola chose for its DROID line, when the Moto X went with the Google experience of using on-screen navigation buttons. They add bulk to the chin and make accessing Google now awkward at times (good luck accessing it at all from the lock screen). I know that there is a group of users who prefer capacitive buttons as they don’t eat up screen real estate, but I’m not one of them. On-screen buttons feel so natural to me after using every Nexus phone from the last two years, along with a couple of Motorola’s offerings.

I know that all sounds harsh, but when you go from a minimally designed Moto X that was crafted with great care to a glossy, overblown, robotic slab, there is no holding back.

Price and Specs

The DROID ULTRA is now available on Verizon for $199 on 2-year contract or $599 at full retail. Those aren’t crazy prices for a flagship smartphone, but like the Moto X, it’s tough to swallow that pill knowing that phones like the HTC One and Galaxy S4 (at least on paper) 1-up the ULTRA in every category. Both of those phones have 1080p displays and next-gen quad-core processors, while the ULTRA is running a dual-core processor and 720p display. While I told you not to worry about any of that spec talk with this phone because it runs just fine, it still needs to be pointed out. If you had two perfectly cooked artisan burgers sitting next to each other, but one used an aged cheese and hormone-free ground sirloin, while the other went with store bought cheddar and ground chuck, yet were price-matched, which would you go with? Sure, they will both satisfy, but the value seems better in the hormone-free burger. Hungry now?


droid ultra bootloader

Verizon hates smartphone freedom – they always have. So since the DROID ULTRA is running on their network, with their exclusive “DROID” brand, this is not a phone for hackers and tinkerers. The bootloader is locked and there isn’t even much hope of it getting unlocked. We’ve seen exactly one set of Motorola phones cracked open over the last three or four years, so if you buy this phone (or the MAXX), don’t go in with the “Oh, it’ll get unlocked eventually” mantra. We’ll likely it see it rooted (hopefully), but that could be it. If you want to tinker, leave Verizon and go buy a Nexus.

Bloatware Count!

We counted 18 pre-installed bloatware apps. Thanks, Verizon!


Other Notes:

  • Calls and Speaker:  Call quality is good, didn’t notice any issues. The speaker on the back is also exceptionally loud, but that has been the case with Motorola phones for some time.
  • Wife Test:  The phone definitely failed the wife test. She thought it was too big and not quite as pretty as the Moto X. Yes, she wants a Moto X.
  • Freebies:  You get an instant invite to Ingress along with some special perks. You also get a free 6-month months of Google Play All Access service.


droid ultra reviewdroid ultra reviewdroid ultra reviewdroid ultra review

droid ultra reviewdroid ultra reviewdroid ultra reviewdroid ultra review




vs. Moto X


DROID Zap Feature


The Verdict

In the end, I’d rate the DROID ULTRA at somewhere in the “good” range. It’s not great, it’s not terrible, and it probably wouldn’t make my top 5 list of phones. As I mentioned in the intro, I went into this review expecting a similar software experience to the Moto X and got that. My worries were in the hardware, which only worsened as I spent an extended period of time with it. And don’t take that to mean that this phone feels cheap or won’t last a 2-year contract. The ULTRA is certainly a well built piece of technology. It’s just that I prefer to go without the high-gloss coating, capacitive buttons, kevlar designs, and extra-large hardware footprint that isn’t pleasant to hold in hand.

In terms of software, the DROID ULTRA is on par with Motorola’s non-DROID flagship and is refreshing when compared to phones like the Galaxy S4 or HTC One. I just don’t think it comes anywhere close to the any of those phones in terms of design.

Decent phone, just not for me.

  • john barns

    he said the ultra has a duel core processors that works really fast that was funny. the ultra and the maxx has 8 processors. if u gon do a review learn about the product first.

  • Don Goncalves

    Hoping to see a review (at least an update) re: the Maxx. Thanks!

  • Teo

    Does the Ultra or the Maxx have wifi 802.11ac. That is a deal breaker for me. I have seen them listed with and without it.

    • dizel123

      Will you really notice if they don’t? You sound like another guy who wants the latest/greatest specs to make up for other…shortcomings

  • not impressed with the review

    Google now opens just fine with capacitive buttons…why the would it affect them. And the phone is thinner than any other on the market. How is the capacitive bttuns going to change that? Also when your writing reviews about consumer products try and keep it objective instead of vomiting your personal opinion all over the review.

    • Avery Dejuan Herron

      Thank you you should log in you’ll get down votes for speaking the truth but dammit speak it as I do!

  • Avery Dejuan Herron

    Buy no phone with onscreen buttons! soft keys with one hard in the middle dammit! Not three soft keys, or three hard keys, its two soft and one hard in the middle!

  • blackdaug

    Has anybody used the mobile hotspot on these yet? Somewhere where it was the only data connection?

  • Jason

    You said “anal” and “glossy backside” in the same section of the article. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to get back to my important corporate office job.

  • jhlinka

    I’ve been looking for accessories for the ultra/maxx online because I didn’t wanna waste money on overpriced verizon crap, but I have yet to find ANYTHING! I know these phones appear to be unpopular on this site, but what’s the deal??

    • Bryan

      If you are an accessory maker, are you going to focus on the phone that is only on one carrier or on the phone that is going to be an all major carriers?

      The Moto X is essentially the same phone as the new Droids (different form factor) on all carriers (including Verizon) so I would expect it to get more accessory love.

  • DoomPenguin

    I’ll take the burger with extra hormones. If the cow isn’t getting enough naturally, I say we add more hormones with the powers of SCIENCE!

    • rabidhunter

      Why go with the exta hormones, why not get the genetically engineered burger instead? Me, I’m holding off on that until they can make genetically engineered bacon.

  • crashinghero

    Kellex, you’ve got four phones on your desk sitting next to each other for a picture. Why not go to Settings->About Phone->Status so we can compare signal strength in dBm? I’m on a Galaxy S3 which gets terrible reception where I live, and I want to see how the Moto/HTC devices stack up to the S4. I’m on the fence between the Maxx and the One on Verizon (the Maxx is only $200 on Wirefly), and it’s basically coming down to which phone gets better reception.

    I know reviewers always say there are too many variables to report on signal quality, but if all reviewers did it we’d get at least a general sense, since it’s not like we’re only going to read one review. Include whatever caveats you’d like, but please let us know the signal strength (in dBm, not “bars”) for your reviews.

    • kixofmyg0t

      Well mine currently has 4 bars, which translates to -76dBm 1X and -89dBm 4G according to the mobile network strength settings.

  • speraider430

    The wife test is probably the best indicator of actual phone sales assuming all distribution channels are equal.

    Does anyone know if these Verizon exclusive droid phones are almost done?

    • Steve B

      I wish the Droid line would just die already.

      • aDROIDfreeworld


        • Steve B

          Best username ever.

  • ams165

    any of the new moto or droid phones have IR Blasters like the S4 and HTC One?????

    • CoreRooted


  • dizel123

    You’re nuts! The red Ultra is the most beautiful phone ever designed.

    • Steve B

      You need to get your head checked.

      • dizel123

        Yes, I do need to get my head checked, but that has nothing to do with the red Ultra being stunning

  • Kizaru Hiruko

    I got my hands on the Droid Ultra (in red) today and, I have to say, it has a similar in-hand feel to the Droid RAZR HD. Personally, I prefer the Moto X to the Droid Ultra, especially considering the Ultra’s hyper-slick back casing. The Droid Maxx felt better as the back of it has a matte coating.

    Also, Kellen, thanks for making me hungry. I’m headed to Five Guys now.

  • KB

    What makes you say this phone will get updates close to their release? The Verizon folks are the worst at approving updates.

    • rabidhunter

      Near stock Android. Plus components like Voice Command being on Play Store so they can be updated quickly. Plus more Google control. Plus Xoom pad updated to 4.1.2 recently.

      • KB

        Near stock Android? Because Verizon did so well worth updating the GNex?

        • rabidhunter

          Sorry for your bad experience with the GNex, I’ve heard both good and bad about that phone. I remember reading that the phone was a boondogle to get through in the first place, just because Google wanted an open platform. Verizon doesn’t like that, I hate that about Verizon honestly. So I think that fight between leaving it open made Verizon say, “No update for you!” which is bad practice, I’ll admit. But at least it could be easily rooted, ROMed, and updated without VZW.
          As far as the new DROID’s go, they and Verizon are now sweetharts going steady. Motorola is backed by Google, so I am hoping that will give Google more push for openness and can flex their muscle a little more.
          But it does look like the Ultra and the Maxx get updates right out the box. Hopefully that is a positive trend. Again, I’m sorry that you had a bad experience with your GNex. I’m not defending Verizon here at all, to me, living in a rural area Verizon is a necessary evil. I was forced into a shot-gun marriage with VZW.

          • KB

            I’ve actually loved my VZW GNex! ROM’d/Rooted I get updates from the awesome support community shortly after they are released. I’m just questioning Verizon’s ability to push updates quickly.

  • Mark Mann

    i wonder if we’ll get a pull of the “command center?”

    • James_75

      FYI, it won’t work with Nova Launcher (or any 3rd party launcher).. kind of sucks.

      • Mark Mann

        the original 3 circles widget only works with motolauncher, so i didn’t think it would work with any other launcher, i’m fine with that, i just like the look of that widget

        • James_75

          Um, that’s what I said…

      • chris420o

        u know i was hoping since moto is apparently using mostly stock android it would work on stock launcher and other lauchers…i love that widget i want ittt on nova!

  • mcdonsco

    I do wish it had a 1080p display…I have the Maxx and I can tell in that what widgets in what sizes I can fit on the screen are more similar to a 4.3 screen than a 5…but otherwise, love it.

    • James_75

      Install Nova Launcher and change the grid layout and resize your widgets.. Done!

      • mcdonsco

        Don’t care for launchers unfortunately

  • “If you want to tinker, leave Verizon and go buy a Nexus.”

    I’m not so sure that’s the only option. Now that I have unlocked and rooted my DNA, the thing is so amazing that I hardly ever want to take my hands/eyes off it. The only thing that bugs me is battery life, which is not quite as long as it was when I was just running Sense 4. Seriously though, if you’re on Verizon and you want to be able to tinker on a good phone, the DNA is the best bet right now (or the HTC One now that Verizon FINALLY got it).

    • shane

      Note 2

    • chris420o

      my droid razr hd is unlocked and i have a 4.2.2 rom running quite nice…i mean its 90% there still has bugs but im sure they will slowly get resloved as they have been…and onscreen buttons!

      • I mean I got the DNA for free sooo 🙂

      • I love my 1080p screen though. Really makes custom icon packs live up to their full potential 🙂

  • Ryan Cota

    Kellex, Quick question, for the Droid Ultra and the Moto X, have you tried turning off the Auto HDR? Just curious, heard in another review that turning it off, really improved the photo quality. Just wondering if you have experienced the same thing by doing this, or what your take on this is. Its pretty clear they need to fine tune the camera software, but just wondering if they setting truly helped.

    • James_75

      I prefer the HDR images over the non HDR ones on my Maxx. The non HDR’s seem more washed out to me.

  • Matt C.

    Does this have USB Charge Only and USB Mass Storage modes?

  • RoadsterHD1

    Are you kidding me the S4 and One are just as big as the Ultra…. What design differences are you looking at?

    • MikeSaver

      You can’t tell that the S4 and One look 10x more sleek than an ugly black rectangle?

      • RoadsterHD1

        See I hate the round look. It reminds me of a kids toy.

        • Spider210

          We must be thinking of 2 different round ‘toy’s

      • James_75

        Not with that big ass home button on the S4 and the awkward layout of the One….

      • rabidhunter

        I think that the DROID phones have a certain cool factor. I prefer the industrial look of the DROID phones over the curvy SG S4. I also prefer Kevlar over normal plastic. That’s just me, having been in the Marines, I have a certian appreciation for Kevlar. I’m not saying that the SG S4 is a horrible device, it just doesn’t fit my needs or budget (which is why I ordered the DROID Mini). The gloss back? Taken care of, I got a clear case for mine and a pink otter box for my bride, problem solved. It’s just what suits my needs. No hate to other devices.

  • MikeSaver

    If the Maxx looked like the Moto X i would buy the Maxx. But the DROID phones are just big ugly rectangles, if they fixed that they might sell more of these.

    Your wife test is actually probably the most important one

  • leftiphone4droid

    The glossy back is not as bad as what people make it seem. I have the Ultra and I compare The feel and the glossy back to that of a tpu Case..

  • Stevedub40

    This is just really sad. The reason this site came about and for many the reason we started coming here was for the DROID brand. It seems like since the OG DROID, there has been nothing ground-breaking or even impressive to speak of. I don’t know, maybe its just me but I don’t think the DROID brand will every recovery its lost glory. Maybe once VoLTE is the standard we can change to Nexus-Life?

    • Defenestratus

      The original droid was special because it brought android to the masses. Verizon insists on this stupid “robot” crap marketing that is so juvenile that it makes me feel like they’re better suited to selling toys than phones.

      The original droid represented something OTHER than the iphone. The droids since represent something other than good. The only decent phone after the OG, in my opinion was the Droid X.

    • M3D1T8R

      While I personally don’t care about the “Droid” marketing brand, my current [Droid] DNA is surprisingly great. Only big negative for me is the 16gb limitation. The battery could be bigger, but honestly has not been a problem in the month or so I’ve had it. Coming from the G.Nex, where I sometimes had to go through three batteries in a normal day of use, maybe I’m easily impressed, but it’s been downright decent.

      I previously had the Incredible, also coincidentally Droid branded. That was a fantastic phone. My wife still uses it, 3 years, 4 months since I got it at release, for games and music. The charger input broke after two years so we have to switch out batteries from a way charge we, but it still works. It is rooted running CM7.

      Now that Motorola has the exclusive on Droid branded phones, we won’t be seeing any more great HTC “Droids”. My dream of a DNA+ based on the Butterfly S crushed. Hopefully we will still get some great future HTC phones on Verizon, just not Droid branded. And meanwhile, hopefully next years Moto Droids will fix the couple shortcomings of this years’ models, and provide a worthwhile upgrade from the DNA.

    • chris420o

      I agree…i love the DROID brand…to me it reminds of the moment were iphone had to step over bc their was a new big dog in town…something different and open and unique that i knew would get better with time…android has gotten better with time but verizon destroyed the very essence of what made the DROID great…bc of their nonsense and greed they ruined the thing that made them…and unfotunately the DROID phones by locking them and pushing too many releases…my dad still has a droid x and its still chugging but motos custom ui and persistence to relase 100 phones ruined their quality…now i have no idea what to make of these ultra phones…the droid razr hd and maxx hd were a step in the right direction yet they took a step back with these in terms of design…i mean the moto x is leaps n bounds the best designed android phone right now…i just hate the screen and price

  • knalis

    So here is a question is the six months free for the all access music is that only for new people who never had it before or is it for everyone even if they subscribed to it

    • King Lo

      It’s for everyone.

      • knalis

        So how would you get it I been trying to get it since yesterday unless you have to cancel your subscription first

        • James_75

          Verizon told me I had to contact Google to get it.. that’s tomorrows adventure..:(

        • King Lo

          Haven’t seen the card yet, but try going to Google play and Clicking redeem on the left side.

          • knalis

            I was told from Google as soon as you sign in through the phone it prompts you to opt in the free promo and no you do not have to cancel your current subscription

    • Jordan Webb

      Mine hasn’t shown up yet. Music app still says next month is my billing date.

  • cougar618

    There’s a lot of Ultra hate, and I think there are a few things people are overlooking/forgetting.
    1) How often do you look at the back of your phone?
    2) Soft touch is pretty awesome.. until your greasy fingers accidentally touches the phone. Good Luck getting that to come out.
    3) I’ll admit that 16 GB might be useless to SOME people (of which 11 (!) is available) but many people won’t need all that storage.
    4) I think this review shows that buying the Maxx because of battery life is silly, Anything over 24h is pretty silly, seeing the average person sleeps at least 4 hours a day..
    5) Finally on screen vs cap: does it really matter that much?

    • heckmanjudith

      ♥♥♥♥♥♥ what Arthur
      implied I’m blown away that some people able to get paid $6065 in a few weeks
      on the internet. did you look at this page
      http://www.Jℴℬs34.cℴℳ ♥♥♥♥♥.

  • motosucks

    18 bloat apps. I think you can stop saying it has almost no bloat.

    • M3D1T8R

      But at least the actual OS is nearly stock Android, not like terrible Touchwiz bloat or less bad Sense bloat. That is far more important than some bloat aps, most of which can be disabled, if it’s like my DNA.

  • tyguy829

    +1 for the burger analogy LOL

  • TLufsey

    I don’t know if it was in the ultra or not, but I’m curious about the feature on the X, the dual LTE antenna or whatever the feature is, does it work, or is it a gimmick?

    • tomn1ce

      I think is in the Moto X, I haven’t seen anyone mention the MIMO antenna on the new Droids….

      • TLufsey

        Have you seen anymore mention if the x gets better signal because of it?

  • brkshr

    I thought battery life would be better than that! My N4 is usually at 50% on 2 hours screen & about 8 – 9 hours battery

    • Bryan

      But your N4 is not on Verizon’s 4G network with a CDMA and LTE radio. Can’t compare unless you compare an X on your same carrier.

      • LionStone

        Well here’s my stock DNA w/ over an hour call time and almost 3 hrs screen time…with a smaller battery than the Ultra

        • LionStone

          Oops, here it is 🙂

  • dr.sheldon.cooper

    This is probably one of the worst reviews I have ever read. The phone gets finger prints? Oh no that must mean its the worst phone ever! I mean how about a serious review?

    • Godzilla

      Are you an idiot? You are referring to one section of his review. Go read another website dumbasss

  • Godzilla

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    I hope software can improve moto’s camera.

    • Godzilla


  • Jeremy Martin

    I love reviews but the majority goes with whatever conclusion the reviewer gives and hardly ever makes up their own mind.


    Then its all:

    • Godzilla

      I waxed my Black 2014 Forester today and it has a real nice gloss going. Do I want that on my phone? NO.

      • Jeremy Martin

        it is an example…all I’m saying is go try out the phone. I am reading the comments from people who have not even held the device yet but are ready to burn it with fire over trivial things.

        • Vince SantaCruz

          I agree completely. As i was watching people in the Verizon store today it was mostly favorable comments about the phone.

        • MacNificent

          It’s ugly. Thats why. That’s why no one wants to try it out

          • Jeremy Martin

            Who is “no one”? Kellex apparently wanted to try it.

          • Mark Mann

            i would take an ugly fantastic phone over a hot crap phone…put a cavalier engine in a corvette, it doesn’t make me want a corvette…now, take that car,and put it up against a corvette engine in a cavalier, it makes me want the cavalier over the corvette…there is too much emphasis put on the looks and name of the phone, and not enough emphasis put on the internals of the phone and the user experience

          • Opposite for me. Why would I want something I hated looking at and holding, over performance that I’d rarely utilize what the phone has to offer? I usually do the typical messaging, facebook, instagram, Google+, etc. – nothing which is really CPU intensive.

          • MacNificent

            i hear all that you’re typing. but one is a Lincoln Mark VIII and one is lincoln continental. they both have have Mark VIII engines in them. so i don’t really get your response as far as the emphasis is concerned. You will be able to get parking spots everywhere with a Continental.. (this is going too far)
            Buy what you like!!! And I hope it rides nicely for you.

      • ToddAwesome


        • Godzilla

          Because I drive a SUV?

          • flosserelli

            No. Because you drive a Subaru.

          • Godzilla

            Dude my car is awesome.

          • JoshGroff

            Without a doubt.

          • Droidzilla

            Subaru for life. Just upgraded the fuel system on mine and am about to switch over to E85. The uninformed may think me a hippie because I have a Subaru running an alternative fuel, but I won’t even notice them in my rearview as I fly passed. There are some really nice Foresters out there, too. Guy I worked with has one that’s significantly faster than his Porsche Cayenne V8 TT (neither are stock).

          • Guest

            Says the child with a Family Guy avatar. Don’t stop riding the short bus.

          • Futbolrunner

            Right, so what does that make Prius drivers? Dont knock it if you dont know. “Hippie’s” don’t drive over 300 hp (from the factory) cars.

        • Guest

          What do you drive? A Hyundai?

        • Futbolrunner

          A hippie would be a granola bar loving tree huggin Toyota Prius owner.

    • Jordan Webb

      Alternative explanation: people find a reviewer with similar taste in phones and follow/comment on their reviews more frequently.

      • Jeremy Martin

        I can understand that point but only to gain some info about it from a source you trust. My point is though to be some sort of sheep who spews hate for a device without even looking at it is just ignorant. At least go out and view the device, hold it, play around with the device to make up your own mind. Hating something because someone gives their opinion without you (you = person who read the review) checking into it displays a very weak mind that is easily manipulated.

  • beaumac

    Great review. You covered all the questions I have. Sounds like a good phone but not enough of a leap to part me with 200 bucks and my gnex.

    • Sharrief Ibn Kamal Shabazz

      Well they got me, i parted with $760 for the Maxx (keeping my Gnex for 4.4+ sexiness)

      Glad I don’t have that glossy back, and sitting at 91% battery at 3:30PM (PT) after an hour of screen on time and 9 hours off charger is worth it. So is being able to talk to my phone when in the car. I had to choose between this and the HTC One. Before I was skeptical, but now I don’t regret a second of it 🙂

      • DJ SPY

        I ordered through the phone so I have to wait to get it shipped. Enjoy your Maxx. Looking forward to mine!

  • aDROIDfreeworld

    Yes, I’d like to order the VERIZON DROID RAZR MAXX ULTRA HD TRANSFORMER with EXTRA bloat on the side please!!

    • DJ SPY

      These “jokes” are getting pretty old.

    • kixofmyg0t

      That might have been funny if its product name was longer than 2 words.

      DROID Ultra. That’s it. Its not even a RAZR.

  • Abby

    Love the wife test! Please keep doing that!

    • flosserelli

      For what reason? So you can tell her what phone to buy? Or do you ask for her approval before buying a new phone? My girlfriend decides what phone she wants for herself, and I decide on a phone for myself. I don’t influence her decision and she doesn’t influence mine. That way, if she is unhappy with her choice, she can’t blame me (and vice-versa).

      • Man

        It’s so we can flag the phone as a feminine phone that no man should be using.

        • flosserelli

          Ah ok. That didn’t even occur to me, but you have a good point.

          • Real Man

            Of course, a real man can still be manly with a glittery pink phone.

          • blootz

            put on a dress, go to work, and let’s see how manly you will feel then. just like all those gay guys with pink shirts, really gay.

      • King Lo

        It provides a viewpoint removed from knowledge of specs and general nerddom. A layman’s opinion if you will.
        It could be the grandpa test. or the Mom test. either way it’s a fresh perspective.

        • googlyeyedfrog

          so essentially, a Ron test in other words

  • Vince SantaCruz

    I saw the phone in person today at a Verizon store. There were a lot of people hovering around the red version. It certainly did not feel bulky or heavy to me and actually there are other phones out that are just as glossy that no one seems to be complaining about. Although I will be purchasing the Maxx I think the Ultra is a good phone.

  • John

    Good review, K. Very thorough. Thx

  • crazed_z06

    Not sure this is a fair review. This is essentially the same phone as the Moto X in a different shell. Why the rave reviews for the Moto X and the meh review for the DROID? Just because of the build materials on the outside?

    • Godzilla

      why not? The feel of a phone in hand is a big deal, so are the materials. That glossy back is horrible.

    • jose

      My guess would be:

      – Build design
      – Capacative keys
      – Bloat (although the Verizon X will have the same bloat)

    • For me it really came down to the design. ULTRA has the same software experience (mostly), but the design is just a major turn-off.

      • crazed_z06

        Fair enough.. I have the Note 2 and I love pretty much everything about it, EXCEPT for the slippery back. It’s always slipping out of my hand. Definitely prefer backs with some texture.

        • Matthew Merrick

          That slippery back killed my note 2 🙁 fell out hand onto concrete, broke the Display bad. Samsungs just have no grip to them at all. Luckily it was still under warranty. Had a case on ever since

          • SUNupe

            My wife bought her Galaxy S3 last December. She didn’t have the phone a day when it slipped out of her hand and only sustained a nick on the corner. She’s been rocking a case ever since…

      • mikesly

        Will Droid Life be doing a DROID MAXX review? Really looking to see it 😀

      • Mark Mann

        i could see picking one phone over the other based solely on looks or “name”…providing the internals and other notable aspects of the user experience are the same…that makes sense…but what doesn’t make sense to me is people that say the phone is “ugly” or the name is “stupid” so they’re not going to buy the phone, they’re going to buy less of a phone just because of that

      • MichaelFranz

        you’ll be more impressed with the maxx. i went to the store ands held both. you can feel a quality build and thinness of the ultra. but the maxx feel better in hand even for the same size just that extra thickness plus a matte back really makes it a night and day difference..

      • kevintufts

        This comment makes more sense. In the review you called it the “hardware”, hardware should refer to the processor, RAM, etc.

      • Jared Muskovitz

        I got a Maxx today and I love it. I have a Google Music Subscription. Any idea how to get the free six months or is it auto-credited?

    • schlanz

      As if cases don’t exist.. don’t understand case hate.

      Also think this is kind of unfair. I can understand not being in love with the glossy back but that can be easily remedied with a case… just seems like a disparate review compared to the Moto X like you said. Too much based on personal taste for a “feel” which can be wildly different from person to person.

      Regardless, the Ultra is a bit of a pointless device imo. The Mini and Maxx both have more to separate themselves from the Moto X and neither of them have that gloss. Personally been using the Maxx for a day now and I think it feels great.. though this is coming from someone who can use a Note 2 one handed. So again, a “feel” is just far too arbitrary to let it influence the overall tone of a review imo.

      • Bryan

        What else would he review but the hardware differences? Those really are the only major differences between the Ultra and X.
        It wasn’t only the glossy back, but the size and shape of the phone as well as capacitive buttons. I think readers on this blog are intelligent enough to know how their opinions match up to Kellen’s and how to make their own decision on it.
        All reviews are subjective short of benchmarks and measurements. It’s our job to figure out which reviewers’ opinions match up with our own and go from there.

        • schlanz

          Just seemed particularly harsh imo. Its virtually the same size as the gs3 and gs4, and those don’t get knocked for being uncomfortably large. Capacitive buttons are actually preferred by some (myself included) and although fans of on screen keys might not like them as much, I hope they can agree its a better layout than the gs3/4 or htc one. The gloss back I agree, its ugly. But nothing a case wouldn’t solve and most people do in fact use cases.
          I just think these complaints are a bit nitpicky, to say the Moto X is “our favorite phone right now” and then these little things take the Ultra from “favorite” status to “just good” is a little extreme.

          • Bryan

            Seems that he isn’t the only one with the same opinion.

            Remember, this is his opinion. It doesn’t mean it’s a harsh review, but it seems that after holding and using a Moto X, more than one person is coming to the same conclusion.

          • schlanz

            I never implied it wasn’t a valid opinion or one that no one else would share. Just that the for their small differences, “favorite” and “just good” are too disparate.

            For example if only the Ultra existed first, was reviewed as a good but not great device, then repackaged into a different and more ergonomic design as the Moto X.. would you scratch your head at it all of a sudden being that reviewers favorite device? Honestly, that doesn’t make any sense for the design to carry that much weight.

            On a side note, I tend to hold my devices across my fingers resting on my pinky and not my palm. Maybe thats why the whole curved body thing never struck me as all that more comfortable.

            Anyway I’m looking forward to the MAXX review. It does feel better and look better than the Ultra and the battery is ridiculous. I just crossed the 2 day threshhold on my first full charge with 5hrs screen on time.

      • MacNificent

        if you’ve owned previous moto phones you would know that they don’t need a case at all. nobody buys an ugly jacket to cover it with a beautiful piece of cloth to make it look nice.

        • James_75

          Nope, many of us buy cases to preserve resale value.

        • schlanz

          I don’t have to have owned them. Since I happen to sell them I end up seeing broken phones of every kind. Including every Moto phone ever released on VZW.

  • prestone1

    For the more patient people….the MAXX is $199 on both amazon and wirefly, although neither have it in stock currently.

  • beejaycee

    I currently have a Nexus and one of my biggest complaints has been how much the phone heats up when in use. Do the new Droids have the same heat issues?

    • Haven’t experienced any heat.

      • Delta_46

        Have you got to play around with the MAXX for an extended period of time? I have an OG Razr Maxx, and my phone gets so hot I can barely hold it after 30 minutes of usage. Not a deal breaker, but something I’ve been wondering about.

        • Jordan Webb

          I haven’t noticed it heating up at all.

        • I updated Google+ through the Play Store yesterday and noticed my og Droid Razr getting EXTREMELY hot today. I found out it was Google+ causing the issue! You might wanna check your battery usage. If Google+ is using up all the battery and your phone is getting extremely hot then you need to revert Google+back to an older version (just go into settings and uninstall updates).

          • Delta_46

            Thanks for the tip, I am definitely going to try this.

        • Christopher Young

          I used my Droid Maxx for hours today, and it didn’t heat up. I also got about seven hours of screen time before it died, and that was just with the charge it had fresh out of the box.

          • Jonathan Reid

            Does it heat up when you use the mobile hotspot feature? My RAZR MAXX gets hot only when using mobile hotspot.

          • Delta_46

            I’ve had mine since it released, so maybe that is the issue. I’m upgrading within a few months anyway.

    • ToddAwesome

      It’s amazing how quickly the phone goes from cool to nuclear, isn’t it?!?!?

  • Capt. Crunch

    The HTC One kills it in the display department

    • Justtyn Hutcheson

      While true, it is also far behind on battery life.

      • Shane Redman

        I say Battery > Display

      • LionStone

        Comparison review?

        • Justtyn Hutcheson

          Anandtech would be best for that, since they set display brightness by lux rather than %, and their test is really brutal.

          • LionStone

            With a quick check I didn’t find anything that said the One’s battery is far behind the Droid Ultra’s…I did find the opposite though:

            Motorola claims that the Droid Ultra’s non-removable 2,130 mAh battery can last through as much as 28 hours of mixed use. The handset didn’t perform nearly that well on the LAPTOP Battery Test, which involves continuous Web surfing over 4G LTE with the display brightness set to 40 percent. The Ultra lasted a disappointing 5 hours and 45 minutes. While that’s better than the 5:25 score turned in by the Verizon Galaxy S4, it’s well short of the smartphone category average of 6:07. The Moto X for Verizon lasted 6:13, while the HTC One for AT&T offered a runtime of 6:45.

          • James_75

            That seems to conflict with the data presented in their chart. The One lasts longer, but just barely (in normal, not battery saver mode). Further, “mixed use” is hardly the “continuous use” the benchmark uses.
            BTW, the IP5 is killing everything in that particular benchmark and raising the average significantly.

            Slide 7 of 8.


          • LionStone

            My post above was misplaced, it was a response to Justtyn H. Anyway, I just don’t see where the One is “far behind” the Ultra in terms of battery life.

          • M3D1T8R

            Your posts are always the best. Thanks for all the useful info!

          • Justtyn Hutcheson

            Thanks! I try.

            As pointed out though, no battery test is conclusive even when it is the same test run on multiple devices. Like any benchmark, it will inevitably favor one device or another, and each one will be slightly different.

            That said, nearly any device will last a full day on a charge with light-moderate usage (email/text/few simple games/couple youtube vids, etc.). Heavier users will need to be pickier, of course because they are harder on their batteries, but in that case they really need to get the device in-hand and use it for a few days to see if it will work for them.

      • Capt. Crunch

        Oh I completely agree, I have a RAZR HD and I’m loving the battery life

    • But a smaller display. Sorry, I want 5 inches.

  • paul_cus

    Those fingerprints….no, just based on the gloss.

  • Jason Kahn

    How was the signal quality, the only reason I would consider this is to get back to Moto’s excellent radios?

    Has anyone had time to play around with the Maxx How’s the battery life?

    • BeejRich

      My Maxx has bee off the charger since around 8:30am EST and with light/moderate usage today with it being 5:45pm, it’s at 70% charged still.

      • Justtyn Hutcheson

        Sooooo, that 48 hour thing really wasn’t just marketing BS. Insane.

        • kixofmyg0t

          Well, if you really hammer on it you can drain it in a day. You can get like 9+ hours of on screen time.

          But for lower use it will easily last a couple days or more.

          • Justtyn Hutcheson

            Gotcha. I’m going back and forth with my wife. She’s not watching Netflix on her phone anymore (that would require a Maxx, hands down), she’s tethering to her phone. So, I’m really not sure if she still needs a Maxx-type large battery, or if she’ll be okay with any 2013 device (the GS4, One, and X are pretty much the same from what I’ve seen).
            Decisions, decisions. Guess it’ll come down to other factors for her.

      • Jason Kahn

        That’s mighty impressive given it’s a new phone it will probably only get better

      • Godzilla

        I would have expected better. My S4 under light moderate usage since 8am is at 79%

        • James_75

          I call BS. My S4 was consistently in the 30’s by that time under similar usage. My Maxx is at 68% with heavy usage today. Are you running the stock rom?

          • Godzilla

            I have posted multiple screenshots proving this.

          • Jonathan Reid

            Are you gonna answer any of his questions? Or link to the screenshots?

          • James_75

            Do you keep the screen on the lowest brightness setting, wifi, GPS off, and barely use it all day? That would be the only way in hell I could get that kind of battery life out of my S4. I prefer to keep the screen on full brightness as I’m outside a lot so yes that will use more juice.

          • Cole

            Hey James, I was wondering if you could talk a little about why you left your S4 to go with the Maxx. I Ilive in St. Paul and currently have a GNex and am torn between getting the Maxx or S4. My time is running short if I want to upgrade before the changing of the upgrade cycle to 24 months on September 1st.

    • Verizon’s LTE network is pretty bogged down in Portland, but ever since I’ve been using the Moto X and ULTRA over the last, I almost never think or worry about signal. Phones are just solid in that department.

      • Jason Kahn

        Kellex thanks for answering, Manhattan is probably equally if not more bogged down. My GNEX can’t deal with it and it ruins the whole experience.

      • M3D1T8R

        Thanks for this. These are the kinds of details I value most in reviews. If you could add a comparison of actual dBm readings using various devices in the several different locations with strong to weak signals around the Portland area (Moto X, Droid Ultra, Maxx, Mini, S4, One, DNA, G.Nex, S3, etc.), that would be amazing. Maybe Speedtests averaged over 5 tests or some such as well. : )

      • Lucky Armpit

        Same here in the butt-hole of NC (Rocky Mount/Wilson area). 4G LTE was screaming fast when LTE was first lit up around here, but now that all the Sheep around here upgraded to the 5, it’s been quite slow. Disappointing how quickly the LTE network bogged down. I can’t say that I’m surprised much, as that’s the exact same thing that happened once 3G became popular. Was pretty fast until everyone else got a 3G-enabled phone.

    • DCABuckeye

      My Maxx has been off the charger since 6:45 a.m. est under pretty heavy use today. At 7:15 p.m. est, I’m at 62%. I love it. Even though I went into the Verizon store having my mind made up to go with the Maxx as opposed to the One, I played a few minutes with the Ultra. I have to agree that the phone feels “sticky” and is a total smear magnet. But I totally disagree about the display. I absolutely love it and this is a major improvement all around over my GNex. I love the Maxx body and build. Totally solid and absolutely no worry about “gloss.” These phones are, outside of casing, the exact same phones as the X. The battery alone is worth the $100.00 in my book. And I prefer the look of the Maxx to the X. Just my opinion, and it’s my happy, so please don’t send arrows at me for my choice.

  • WCM3

    Kellen, what are your thoughts on the MAXX? Slightly different form factor and crazy battery. Would this make it worth it over the Moto x or One (can you tell I’m on verizon) 🙂

    • Still waiting to get our review unit. But I would pick it over the ULTRA any day. Has a soft-touch back, no gloss, and will last like a week…err 2 days. Overall though, I’d probably go Moto X. I also sit next to a charger all day and don’t need 2 day battery life though. 🙂

      • Justtyn Hutcheson

        Its the design that really pushes me to the X. I’m waiting til I can buy direct from Motorola though. If I’m paying full price to keep unlimited, Verizon won’t see one penny over my monthly sub.

      • WCM3

        Thanks man. I’m assuming you won’t give a full review on that phone once you get it? Maybe just give us your thoughts on battery life since that’s what people would be mainly buying it for?

        I can’t wait to at least play with a moto x. I feel like I would love the form factor. And could always use one of those battery packs on days I’m going to be out all day. Thanks for the review, Kellen!

        • Yeah, we’ll let Tim do the honors there. I’m Moto’d out. 😛

          • Godzilla

            LOL, didnt take long to get moto’d out

          • Mahercs

            It actually makes sense to have the same person review the MAXX. If Tim does it, we get your perspective on 2/3 and his on the one that is most anticipated, where he could have a totally different view. If you do it, it’s apples to apples, etc. Make sense?

  • cobalt27

    Initially I was stuck between the Ultra/Maxx and the Moto X, but after reading reviews of both, I’m definitely going Moto X, whenever Verizon gets the customization options. The Ultra line just seems outdated and old-school in terms of design and experience. Despite having “average” specs, the Moto X seems like a new streamlined experience and the new Motorola.

    • M3D1T8R

      Yeah. I’m already cautiously looking forward to next years X, hoping for a lot more storage, at least as a customization option.

  • a.d.AM

    All aboard the USS Bloatware

    • tomn1ce

      You mean the VZW Bloatware mother ship…. -_-

    • Lucky Armpit

      I don’t understand the surprise or complaints about the bloat. This is what carriers do… especially Verizon… and it’s nothing new. Thankfully we have ICS/JB which allows you to quickly and easily hide the bloat. Once root is (hopefully) released for these phones, install TiBu and remove the bloat permanently. Again, this is nothing new people.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    Should we expect a MAXX review? It definitely looks a lot better than this GLOSS FEST and the Battery…… I plan on picking up the ONE tomorrow…. but in the back of my mind I’m thinking ….hmmmm the Maxx though

  • Godzilla

    Yet again. Me buying my S4 and not waiting for Motorola paid off big time.

    • Pedro

      Per Sarge, or was that your decision?

      • Godzilla

        my decision. I was sick of motorola coming out with sub par stuff and taking forever to do it to boot. I dont care what moto says, I can see a difference between a 720p and 1080p screen.

        • hkklife

          Any word if Moto is still cookin’ up a 1080P “hero” device and/or something larger than 5″ for Q1 2014? Color me extremely unimpressed with this latest batch of Moto hardware.

          • Godzilla

            Their entire timeline and pipeline changed. I retired but I will SOMETIMES give you guys info. I have nothing major to report at this time. Other than the phone you mention was moved up to December as their possible Nexus offering.

            Personally i’ll believe it when i see it.

        • James_75

          Weird, I watched Tron clips on both phones last night (simultaneously) and couldn’t see much of a difference at all… Except the Maxx was brighter at full brightness and it had a more consistent experience at multiple viewing angles.

          • Godzilla

            Well obviously everyone is different

        • JoshGroff

          So, in other words, what you’re saying is “I have special eyes.”

    • aDROIDfreeworld

      so is there really going to be a motorola nexus this year?

      • Godzilla

        STill up in the air

    • tyguy829

      lolol you’re bionic!

      • tomn1ce

        After denying that he’s Bioinic he finally came clean….

    • M3D1T8R

      But those terrible circa 2011 Samsung buttons! How can you handle them? I got rid of my S3 after 7 months I was so sick of them, got a cheap G Nex, for that one reason alone. Now rocking a DNA, loving it, other than storage.

    • Jonathan Reid

      Yet again? So you have two S4’s now?

  • LiterofCola

    Ultra, no. Maxx, f-yeah!

    • Averix

      The Maxx removes all the gloss from the back. Put a bumper case on one rather than a full case like I’ve done with all other phones. The back actually looks good. Well, minus the Verizon logo…

  • emoney

    “calling providence credit union”

  • sirmipsalot

    Is Active Display effectively disabled / unusable if you have an Exchange account configured on the phone? That’s the case with lock-screen widgets, for example. The default security policy basically blocks this. It would be unfortunate if this was the case for Active Display as well, though I suspect that it is.

    • Justtyn Hutcheson

      It shows the icons and gives the direct-app-launch option, but no content preview. Of course, to get past the lockscreen you need to enter your PIN/pattern/pw.

  • jose

    Wow this pictures is horrible! After the tree in the middle, everything to the right turns into absolute mush. I noticed a lot of other pics seem very soft on the side. Come on MOTO get with the program!


    • jose

      And it’s pictures like this that make me wish companies would just stick to less megapixels. With a smaller resolution photo, you don’t get a poster-sized version of mushy crap. If it were half the resolution, the picture would look somewhat acceptable. It’s when you view the full-size 4,320 x 2,432 version that you see just how bad it REALLY is.

      I don’t understand why people want more and more megapixels in smart phone cameras. The quality will never compare to a real camera, so let’s just stick with less MPs.

    • Yep, that’s Motorola’s auto focus in practice. It decides where it wants to focus (which is usually right in the middle) and then blurs everything to the edges.

      • jose

        That’s strange. I would expect blur from front to back due to depth of field difference but the trees all appear to be on the same focal plane from left to right. Weird how it’s blurring things to the side.

        Have you seen this on the X too?

    • rabidhunter

      Actually, to me that picture looks kind of pretty and artistic. I like that picture, I mean, I wouldn’t frame it, but it looks good to me.

    • M3D1T8R

      Portland trees looking nice though!

    • Higher_Ground

      wow, that is seriously terrible, almost like a smudge on the lens or something.


    Why the F! would they make a kevlar back glossy???? Where’s the logic? The RAZR and RAZR HD has textured kevlar, why couldn’t they use the same method???

    • The MAXX also has a soft-touch kevlar back, like the RAZR HD. Not sure why they went glossy on the ULTRA. But it was a terrible decision.

      • Sir Grinklestien

        kind of Giddy when I saw that you have my wall still on the moto x and not even using the nox icons 😀 <3

      • Shane Redman

        I feel like Moto gave VZW crap designs on purpose lol

      • Mmm.. Kevlar

        It’s most likely structural design differences probably in order to keep it thin and fit the larger battery in there when compared to last year.

        The Ultra battery is bigger than previous generations so they probably nixed the metal frame in order to fit it and had to make the shell hard to make the phone rigid.

        Since the Maxx is thicker they could probably utilize the metal frame design from last generation, use clever packaging design to utilize the battery+frame for rigidity, which allowed them to wrap the Kevlar around as a skin in its un-laminated cloth-like form.

        • This is probably why because my og Droid Razr flexes way more than it should, its actually kinda scary sometimes seeing it flex of course some people say the gorilla glass is made to flex but I’m sure the microprocessors inside are not!

      • jj

        To me this plays into the theory that the Ultra isn’t actually a phone they plan to sell — it’s a marketing diversion to make the Mini look pocketable and the Maxx look worth-premium-pricing. They spend five extra bucks on the Maxx battery, and pocket an extra $45. Without the Ultra, folks would question the Maxx’s pricing.

        It’s like the “medium” popcorn at the movie theater. It only exists to make the large look like a great deal.

        • rabidhunter

          Maybe some just wanted an ultra thin phone. The DROID Ultra sold out of whatever stock Amazon had. While the amount Amazon had in stock is unknown (could be 1; 100; 1,000) but it’s gone until further notice. The point is that someone obviously wants the Ultra.

      • kixofmyg0t

        The “design team”(aka a bunch of hipsters) said that would sell phones.

        I don’t care for it personally. Maybe if it was in white it would look awesome. I have the maxx anyway.

    • Justtyn Hutcheson

      I’m fairly certain that the ID decisions were made by Verizon, and Motorola is just using their software/hardware to power it. Especially considering how beautiful the Moto X is, these really are just replacements for the Razr HD/Maxx HD. That said, the epoxy coating is likely there so that the internals of the Ultra wouldn’t have to be very sturdy. The Razr worked because it had a stainless steel internal frame for rigidity, but the Ultra has more space taken up by the screen/internals, so that probably wasn’t feasible this time around. So, the extra-hard epoxy body becomes an exoskeleton of sorts. As for the gloss, matte epoxy looks disgusting, and you wouldn’t have been able to see the kevlar.

    • Marcus Schoen

      In all fairness, I still think the Droid HD is a better looking phone. Pretty thin, matte Kevlar and that cool metal band with onscreen buttons.

  • Michael Bassett

    a girl wants the Moto X? Count me in for Droid MAXX then.

    • Tyler Durden

      So she can have it all pretty and pink or purple

    • Jason B

      Girls and gay men also like the Galaxy S and Note series … the bigger the better, so they say.


  • Ryan Ropero

    This is the kind of phone that should be considered low end or entry level Android, because that’s all it is. The specs are just good enough for the everyday user.

    • C-Law

      No, this phone is pointless. The Moto x is all that should exist in this range. The droid mini would be considered low end or entry level, not this

      • Shane Redman


      • Matthew Merrick

        Yes, this range being the mid range. The Maxx, however, is closer to a high end device or flagship than else Moto has released so far this year.

      • TheRobotCow

        I bet Motorola is more than happy to be the exclusive makers of the Droid line.

    • Shane Redman

      it’s specs vs experience though.

      • Ryan Ropero

        I agree. This would be a great experience for a first time user not for some one on there 3rd or 4th Android device.

      • jose

        That’s a BS excuse. Phones like the One and the GS4 are proof that you can have specs AND the experience, at the same price.

        • Shane Redman


        • Justtyn Hutcheson

          From all the reviews though, the experience really isn’t as good. As for the specs, the difference is swapping two application cores for two specialized core, so I’m pretty sure that it’ll be fine two years from now, but only time will tell.
          As for the screen, the S4 and One are really nice, but they also have worse battery life even with larger batteries, so I’m okay with a 720p screen for that reason alone. The higher performance while gaming is icing on the cake. To each their own on that one though.

          • Godzilla

            how many times have i posted screen shots of my 34 hour average battery life here? The S4 battery life is damn impressive for 2600mah

        • GWNewman1

          That’s debatable. I had a GS4 and hated it. Felt cheap and I hated that slippery plastic. I’m a person who hates using cases. I won’t even get into TouchWiz. I had another launcher installed which wasn’t bad, but I don’t like “having” to use third party software just to get my phone to work like I expect it to. As for the One…I’d be ok if I could get the Play version through Verizon. I hate Sense with a passion. My Maxx feels just as fast as the GS4 was, with far better build quality and a clean experience, which is what I want in a phone.

  • Khai

    but how well does it run Ingress?
    (the big seller is, Ingress comes preloaded and these phones can hack a weapon that only this phone can get)

    • Ingress should not be reason enough to buy a phone, at least in my opinion. 😛

      • Khai

        each to their own…..


        I don’t even like the game. Tried it for 2 minutes, and uninstalled. I agree, Ingress should not be on the priorities list.