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Quick Review: Motorola DROID MAXX

droid maxx review

Sorry for the wait, but here is our look at the DROID MAXX. After having already reviewed the DROID ULTRA, you should be able to get a general sense of what to expect if you plan on purchasing this device. The only differences between the MAXX and the ULTRA are the battery, bit of thickness that comes with it, and a matte finish over the ULTRA’s glossy exterior. The ULTRA features a 2,130mAh battery and is 7.2mm thin, while the MAXX sports a beefy 3,500mAh battery and measures in at 8.5mm. Other than that, the phones’ processors, display, camera, software and everything else are identical.

Again, for a deeper look at this phone’s software features and everything else besides overall feel and battery, check out our ULTRA review and Moto X review.

Let’s break it down and see if the MAXX will get you through a day’s hard work. 

The Good

Hardware

Much like it’s brother, the MAXX features a healthy list of specifications for a 2013 carrier flagship device. I say carrier flagship, because you won’t be seeing Motorola touting this device as their main baby. Sure, it’s a good device, but you have so much hype surrounding the Moto X that you are more likely to push more of your marketing dollars into an already-winning phone. Just like the RAZR MAXX HD, the DROID MAXX will be marketed heavily by Verizon, given that the MAXX HD was a general success for Big Red.

Beyond just the battery, the phone sports good specs, including a 5″ 720 OLED display, a dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor clocked at 1.7GHz, 2GB of RAM, the Motorola X8 Computing System built in relation with Qualcomm, a 10MP back-facing camera, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, 32GB of internal storage and the ever-listening power of Touchless Control. In comparison to the Galaxy S4 or the LG G2, it may seem ill-equipped, but it holds its own and I never experienced any type of lag or slowed performance. Plus, to help keep that battery life long, it’s clear why Moto would go for the 720p display and less-powerful processor. While it would be nice to have the added performance and 1080p display, for us to say they are necessities yet would be an exaggeration. Although, that’s not to say we don’t like our 3GB of RAM and quad-core processors – we most certainly do.

Battery 

The main reason, and pretty much the only reason we are here right now – the battery. The DROID MAXX is the exact same phone as the DROID ULTRA, but features a massive 3,500mAh battery that is capable of providing up to 48 hours of talk time , according to Motorola and Verizon. From my time with it, I was pretty much blown away at how I couldn’t kill this phone’s battery like other phones. After days of playing Candy Crush and watching YouTube videos in HD, the battery always lasted about a day and a half. Of course I didn’t stay on the phone with anyone for 48 hours, but this device lasted longer than any other phone I have used.

MAXX Battery 2MAXX Battery

Software features

We have probably talked about this a few times, but the light additions of UI and software tweaks that Moto adds in on top of stock Android is quite nice. For example, neither Kellen or myself can live without Active Display. This feature needs to just find its way to every Android phone out there. To get a sense for what all Motorola added in, check out this video of Kellen demoing these features on the Moto X. All of the same exact features are found on the MAXX.

YouTube Preview Image

Design

If you are torn between the ULTRA and MAXX, one other bonus for the MAXX is its design finish. Rather than using the fingerprint-magnet-of-an-epoxy-topcoat that was used on the ULTRA, Motorola went with a soft-touch, matte kevlar finish on the back of the MAXX. It feels much more premium than the ULTRA, similar to what you found on last year’s RAZR HD models.

Wireless Charging

Another subtle difference from ULTRA to MAXX that I had yet to mention is wireless charging. If you go with the MAXX, you can buy a variety of wireless chargers, set your phone onto one, and never worry about plugging into a microUSB cable again.

The Not-so-Good

Camera

Much like the DROID ULTRA and Moto X, the camera leaves quite a bit to be desired. In certain situations, where the time calls for a good macro shot, the camera performs quite well. Anything over 5ft. for some reason, the camera takes you right back to old smartphones with no more than 5MP sensors. I don’t know what it will take for Motorola to step up their camera game, but they need to do something soon before I lose all hope completely. Do not buy this phone in hopes of taking crazy awesome smartphone photos to put on your Instagram. And I would know, since that’s all I ever do with my phone’s camera.

MAXX pictureMAXX picture

MAXX pictureMAXX picture

Capacitive navigation buttons

We here at DL are hoping that these could be the last Motorola phones (ULTRA and MAXX) to come from the old pipeline that the company had before Google bought them. Being that we are approaching 2014, we need to start seeing some type of unification between devices, especially when they are coming from the same OEM. The Moto X comes with on-screen keys, and both the MAXX and ULTRA would have been so much more beautiful without those nasty-looking capacitive navigation buttons along the bottom of the device. The bezels would be much smaller, allowing for a more enjoyable user experience. With the way Android has evolved over the years, the need for these keys has become very obsolete.

Price

We have talked a lot about the pricing of Motorola’s new lineup of phones. With specs (on paper at least) that do not match up to other flagships in the industry, one could easily argue that phones like the DROID MAXX are overpriced, especially at its premium $299 price point. And when you compare that to the recently announced Galaxy Note 3, which is also priced at $299 yet has a 1080p display, included S Pen, 3GB RAM, Snapdragon 800, and camera that records in 4K, you should’t feel bad about questioning Verizon and Motorola’s pricing.

Gallery

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DROID MAXXDROID MAXXDROID MAXXDROID MAXX

Verdict

Once again, this review was short for the simple reason that the DROID MAXX is the exact same phone as the DROID ULTRA, but with a larger battery and different exterior finish. For a more in-depth look at the software features and everything else this device offers, please see our ULTRA review right here.

As for whether the MAXX should be your next phone, I could easily see myself recommending it to anyone that doesn’t mind a large device or the $299 price tag. Sure, it has capacitive buttons instead of on-screen and its in-hand feel is somewhat over the top, but the device performs quite well, will easily last you all day long with heavy usage and blends just the right amount of stock Android with custom UI tweaks done by Motorola.

If you are a current DROID RAZR MAXX owner, it’s a no brainer.

  • George Fayad

    I guess i’m a bit stumped as to why moto/vzw decided to go back to capacitive nav buttons, after the previous HD line didn’t have them. Seems like a silly, backwards move.

    • socarwolverine

      To provide more differentation against the X most likely. I dunno, I don’t mind either way. But it is nice that in every case you get the full 5″ display on the Maxx whereas you only get the full 4.7″ on the MotoX during movies and it’s about 4.3″ any other time.

      • chris420o

        this screen realestate is the most overblown nonsense out of people…when u need full screen(like vids n games) u get it…u really care about seeing .3 more of your wallpaper

        • socarwolverine

          No, what is overblown nonsense is this belief that people cannot have a differing opinon on something. Nobody has to justify their preference to you or anyone else so why are you getting your panties in a wad.

    • Charlie R.

      I came from an on-screen button phone (Maxx HD) to the Maxx with capacitive buttons, and I haven’t minded a bit. I thought it would bother me, but it hasn’t at all. In fact, I really like having the extra screen real estate. I think this on-screen vs capacitive gets really overblown.

      • George Fayad

        It’s very much a “look” thing for me, i’ll admit that. I like the look of the device more when it is asleep with on screen buttons.

        • Charlie R.

          I can totally agree with that.

    • chris420o

      completly agree..phone would look a lot more attractive if it did

  • MK17

    Thanks for the review. After seeing the MotoX and MAXX I think I’m going to wait out for the Nexus 5 as it will have on screen nav buttons and looks like it will have a wireless charging more like the Palm. (Note- I’m in a situation where I could move to any carrier and LTE coverage isn’t a huge concern so carrier bias is not really existent)

    • ROB

      I agree..waiting on the Nexus 5 and will go with the AT&T prepaid for $60…it has the same LTE coverage as VZW in dallas and costs a third less. If the Nexus doesnt have a decent battery I may have to go with the Note 3 or suck it up and stay with VZW. I am tired of the battery not lasting on my current phone and that is the top of the list for me.

  • mikesuds

    Can anyone keep all these Droids straight? I have no idea which phone is which or even which ones are the new and which are old. The names and style of each phone are nearly damn identical. What’s the point?

    • Sporttster

      It is ridiculous. I have pages bookmarked for the Droid Razr, Droid Razr Maxx, Droid Razr Maxx HD and now the Droid Maxx. I’ve confused them a few times already thinking I’m on one and realizing wait, this is the Razr Maxx I’m on, not the Maxx.

  • JOHN

    I upgraded from DROID RAZR MAXX to DROID MAXX. My top likes:

    1) The battery life is even more amazing, and the primary reason I purchased this phone. I’m on the go from 6am to 11pm and don’t want to have to ration voice or data usage ever.
    2) The NFC based contactless payment system is also very cool. Seems more secure and reliable than a magstripe credit card, and increasingly accepted at merchants.
    3) The new notification system took me a while to get used to – as I originally preferred the single blinking LED on the phone. But the new notification system actually puts icons on the screen when it is partially awake. If you pull the phone out of a pocket to check the time, it automatically lights just the clock pixels and any notifications without pressing any buttons. If you have the phone upside down on the desk, and turn it over – same thing.

    The only two flaws I have found so far are:
    1) If you enable Motorola’s Touchless Control, (aka OK Google Now) and have paired with bluetooth carkit – the phone’s notification system stops working after you leave the car. As in… incoming text messaging beeps and vibrates the phone, then you go for a ride in your car, leave the car, and text messaging no longer alerts with a beep or vibration until you reboot the phone. Took me a week to enable/disable various stock apps to find the culprit.
    2) If you use a wireless charger (the Nokia DT-900 is what I use) – the phone will make a loud funky sound when you place it on the charging pad. There is no settings option to disable that, unless you put the phone into silent mode first (at which point you would not hear the phone ring while it’s charging). So if you go to charge the phone late at night, you risk waking people up. The standard USB charger does not have this issue.

    I would have purchased the Moto X phone, but I was afraid the X battery life was going to be borderline (X:2200 vs MAXX:3500 mAh) The reality is, I could probably get by with the X battery as the energy efficiency is really good on this Moto platform (even with wifi, bluetooth, gps, and sync on all the time)

  • gf1fanatic

    The Maxx is the best Android phone out there! Feels great in the hand. Says well built quality all over. Loud speaker. 32 gb storage. Wireless charging is amazing, you will wonder how you ever lived without it. Fast and very buttery smooth. Not to mention the incredible battery. I’m a photo nut, so always carry at least a small real camera (Panasonic GX1), so the phone camera is no big deal, but the Maxx camera is more than adequate. This is the first Android phone I’ve actually loved. Much more for your money than the Moto X.

    • Sporttster

      Problem with wireless charging is alot of folks use cases, as I do. There goes the convenience out the window. Not going to go caseless. Protects the phone better….

      • ace

        I have a ballistic case on my DNA and I can charge wireless just fine with the case on. Nokia wireless charger.

  • Michael Werling

    The reason behind pricing:
    Moto X: 16gb. 1 day of battery=$200

    Add twice the storage for $50 and twice the battery for $50 and they will throw in a bigger screen and wireless charging for free!

    Ya, $300 o.c. is a lot for a phone and the MAXX doesn’t compare at all to the specs on the Note 3, but many people don’t want a phone that big or a phone with that software (not saying S Pen compatibility isn’t great, but the DROID/X software is a doozy of its own)

  • Kelvin Tso

    Upgraded from the Bionic, love the Maxx. Feels faster than my mom’s S4, and stock android is just cleaner and faster.

  • Anthony Calabro

    part of me wonders if the Google had their hands in the X8 idea maybe they shared with Motorola that having dedicated cores is more efficient and faster then just throwing a quad or an octacore at an android based device.

    • socarwolverine

      Interesting theory, though it’d be weird for them do it then through a quad in the next Nexus.

  • Kanaga Deepan N

    I wonder why every great reviewers in this planet forget the wireless charging which is only in MAXX and NOT in Ultra??? All they say reg the differences as 1 mm thickness, big battery, double storage and matt finish…

  • UncagedChipmunk

    I know you touched based on the other two differences between the Ultra and MAXX but maybe a slight oversight stating in your introduction and then again in your conclusion that battery and form factor being the only things between the two that are not the same. Excluding both wireless charging and double the storage space. Again, I know you touched base on those other two but would have thought you would have included them in your verdict.

  • Adam Medina

    Need to see screen on time on battery stats.

  • kmorgan

    OK I have a major problem & wonder if anyone could help me out. My Droid razor HD decided to die & not come back on. I’ve had it plugged into charger for almost 2 hours & still nothing. I figured if I took battery out & put it back in that would help but I can’t seem to figure out how to take back off. Can anyone help. I’m without my phone til I can get it to come back on & I really love my Droid :(

    • DJ SPY

      Press the volume down key + the power button at the same time for about 20 servings. That simulates a battery pull.

  • AHoL2206

    coming from the GNex i was pretty torn between this and the moto x, i went to an ATT store JUST to feel out the moto x a week before it hit big red. honestly, it just didnt feel like an upgrade over my GNex….same form factor, same screen (basically). so i went and get a MAXX, and so far i really like it. with my GNex i carried 3 batteries around with me!!! so nice to not have to worry about it. the phone is a little heavy, but i like it – makes it feel more premium than the plastic samsung devices. fingers crossed for timely upgrades or an unlocked bootloader!!! ha

    • JasonWhite

      I’m looking to upgrade from the GNex and the Maxx is my biggest choice right now. My question is – everyone keeps complaining about the camera but I haven’t really seen anyone compare it. How is the Maxx camera COMPARED to the GNex camera? It may not be the best camera out there – but if it’s better than my GNex then I’m good to go.

      What have you found?

      • AHoL2206

        honestly, its not that bad. I remember when i got the GNex that was the gripe ONLY 5MP. don’t get me wrong, its not the BEST, but its more than sufficient. distance shots dont look as crisp on the screen for some reason, but in the gallery they look fine….

        • JasonWhite

          Good to know!!! Thanks! I’ll be checking it out in-store sometime this weekend!

  • H S3

    To all you that have the new Maxx, what do you really think of the camera? This review and many others say its not good. I have the S3 and would love the longer battery life and better radios of the Maxx. Love to hear more input on the camera. Thanks

    • James_75

      It’s about the same as my S4.

      • Kelvin Tso

        I think the S4 camera looks better because of it’s screen, the images are probably the same when viewed on the computer.

  • Alexander Garcia

    Excellent review Sir Tim. I am so torn between the Maxx and the X… but leaning more towards the Maxx for its bigger display and battery life and internal storage.

  • schlanz

    “Only differences” also includes twice the memory and wireless charging. Just sayin.

    • M3D1T8R

      Maxx has twice the RAM as the X? Wow, that’s a huge difference! Oh by “memory” you meant storage. Probably shouldn’t use the term “memory” then.

      And I agree with the review, capacitive are nasty looking. A bit strong language maybe but they do make the face not look as sleek. I don’t care about the other arguments for/against on-screen, but the “black slab” look I do miss from my G.Nex vs my current DNA.

      • neo1738

        Tomato Tomahto…see what I did there?! Personally I like capacitive buttons. Again might be the minority but I think this is much more of a personal preference than anything.

      • schlanz

        Memory and storage are virtually synonymous hence “memory cards”. I’ll remember to keep things strictly technical from now on, so thanks for your sarcastic asshat response.

        • M3D1T8R

          You’re welcome!

      • Zorque

        Except that it’s flash memory so he’s technically correct and you’re an idiot.

        It even works on the same principle as RAM (that as soon as it loses power it will drop everything stored in it), the only difference between RAM and flash memory is the capacitors flash memory uses to keep a charge. Thanks though, you really impressed everyone with your knowledge!

  • Nathaniel Newman

    I’ve owned MORE Motorola phones than anyone known to man. The OG Droid, Droid 2, Droid 3, Droid 4, Droid X, Droid X2, Bionic, Razr Maxx, Razr Maxx HD. Now I own a Samsung Galaxy S4 and a Casio Commando 4G. Sorry Motorola too long without any improvements! So Bye!

    Oh to those that say the S4 can’t have a 48 hour battery. I have 2 OEM 2,600 mAh batteries and an external Samsung charger. I ALWAYS have a fresh battery. No waiting to charge a phone up! Sweet!

    • Godzilla

      Totally agree with you.

    • barrmy

      because needing to carry an extra battery vs just your phone in your pocket is so much easier…you’re just accepting the deficiency of the s4′s battery

      (i moved from a OG -> Bionic -> Razr Maxx HD -> S4, and i’m always running out of battery on the S4 so i go back to my Maxx on long trips)

  • Joshua Hernandez

    I think Motorola should just stick to making phones like the Moto X and drop the DROID line. The DROID line is less appealing with each release.

    • MaxxLoverr

      Nonsense. While the Moto X will likely outsell the DROIDs, the many comments here are testament that there are also many people, including me, for whom nothing is more important than battery life. I’ve had other Android phones and it’s a royal pain to carry spare batteries and a charger everywhere you go. And there’s nothing worse than having your smartphone die when you’re on a conference call or WebEx, or when you’re using the GPS to race to a critical business meeting. I don’t need the world’s fastest processor or the best camera. I need a smartphone that can keep up with me. Long Live the DROID MAXX (and it does!)

  • JoeInMO

    I went to the Verizon store today to compare the Droid Maxx, HTC One, Galaxy S4, and LG G2. If you took bits and pieces of the three and combined them you’d have a great device. I currently use a Galaxy Nexus and I’m tired of the poor battery life and want a bigger and brighter screen (I tested all at full brightness). Here’s what I found… your results might vary:
    Droid Maxx… I like the feel of it and the back texture, but the screen is not very good. My GN was actually clearer and brighter. The screen was the worst, but the theme was easy to work with. The speaker volume was good.
    HTC One… The screen was brighter and clearer, but I really didn’t like the bottom button arrangement. The HTC theme was difficult for me to work with, but I guess I could adjust most of it. The speaker volume was great.
    Galaxy S4… Cheap feel and I could actually bend the phone (simulating sitting down with it in my back pocket). The screen was not quite as good as the HTC One but much better than the Droid Maxx. The speaker volume was fairly low.
    LG G2… they were just putting this on display and we were all amazed at how bright and beautiful the screen is. The back buttons were odd to start with, but I think I could get used to them. It doesn’t feel much better than a Galaxy S4 but it’s a little thicker and feels better to hold. I tried to bend it and it seems fine. The two things I didn’t like were the vibrator is so low you can’t hardly tell it works and the speaker is not very loud at all.

    So I want the screen of the G2, the battery and texture of the Maxx, the volume of the One, and the vibrator of my GN. I guess I just expect too much.

    • Shaun Chaudoin

      The One has a better speaker? No way! The Maxx blasts a hell of a lot more sound out than the One!

      • DainLaguna

        Yeah but louder doesn’t always equal better. And its blasting in the wrong direction

      • JoeInMO

        All I can say is that the On.e had much higher volume than the Maxx they had on display. It seemed that the Maxx has the speaker on the back which is a distinct disadvantage. I don’t know how much variation there is from phone to phone within each model, but there was a clear difference between the phones they had on display. HTC is pretty proud of the sound on the One and it seemed to be justified to me. I wish the LG G2 had a louder speaker.

    • James_75

      You can’t see the S4 screen very well when you look at the phone through polarized sunglasses. The Maxx doesn’t have that problem. The Maxx also gets much brighter than my S4. Fonts are smaller on the S4 but that’s about the only resolution difference I can see.

  • AndrewInCali

    Picked one up the day it came out to replace my two year old GNex. I could hardly wait to replace the GNex (bad radio, terrible battery). I had to plug the Gnex in at work, in the car, at home and carry an extra battery if I was going out and planned to take any pictures.

    With the Droid Maxx I have yet to go under 40% at the end of the day. I only need to plug it in at night. I even stowed my car charger away – don’t use it anymore.

    The Maxx is a speedy phone, nice features, with a fantastic battery and a nice display – most of us don’t carry around multiple phones to notice slight color differences or resolution differences you need a magnifying glass to see.

    If you are looking to upgrade, I would highly recommend the Maxx. No regrets here.

    I’m happy with the built in camera/app, but to get better results I use Camera360 – the HDR filter (there are many built in filters) has about 4 levels and really brings out the colors.

    • David

      Could you upload some pictures take with the 360 app? im really looking forward to see how the pics on this phone looks like with this app

  • Patrick Craig

    The only reason I haven’t picked one up yet is because I am waiting for a permanent root method to use tethering. I refuse to a) give up my unlimited data for a shared plan with tethering or b) pay an extra 30 bucks a month to tether. Jcase is close so hopefully we will get permanent root in the near future. Once this is possible it will be time to let go of my Gnex and pick up a Droid Maxx.

    • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

      This! I bought it when it came out, loved it, but I can’t live without having tethering and root.

  • carluverdrm2004

    If this phone had on-screen buttons, this decision would be easier…. Or if the Moto X had the MAXX battery. My G-Nex needs replacing very soon. Has any Moto X owner had any better time with the battery than Kellen?

    • Logan Greenwood

      I came from a gnex to the maxx and was worried about the capacitive buttons as well. Let me start by saying they are capacitive not physical (looking at you gs3/4 note 2/3) if there was a physical button it would have been a immediate deal breaker. The buttons are aligned the same as the gnex a big plus. Also legacy apps with out the menu button can be remapped to a long press on the recents button so no black bar issue. The only downfall is the buttons do not rotate in landscape mode and that took a few days to get used to. The buttons are illuminated any time the screen is on as well which is a big plus vs. the gs3′s ive played with in the past. All said a rarely miss the on screen buttons, do I wish they were there…. yes, but for the battery life it was well worth the small sacrifice of having buttons that don’t rotate in landscape.

      • schlanz

        Honestly, I can’t believe how big a deal people make these capacitive buttons out to be.

        About the galaxy phones, the capacitive buttons backlight can be adjusted in the settings, always on, always off, and two time out settings.

        • carluverdrm2004

          I just love that Google feel of nothing but screen, is all. :D

        • http://www.unappreciatedscholars.com/ Steven Shreve

          The one gripe I have about the Maxx so far is that I wish I could turn off the lights in the capacitive buttons. The buttons themselves don’t bother me, but the lights do sometimes when I’m using the phone in a dark room.

    • Allstar

      Moto X has had great battery for me. Easily a full that with medium use.

      • carluverdrm2004

        Yeah? I’m seriously considering buying one off contract so I don’t lose my unlimited data on verizon. You think it’d be worth the full price?

        • Allstar

          I would vote yes! runs smoother than any android phone i’ve ever used. good battery life. some killer features (active notifications, touchless control) even the camera shake is useful. and super comfortable to hold with slim bezel.

          • carluverdrm2004

            The features(and the x8 processor stuff) won me over as soon as I saw all the coverage on Active Display and Touchless Control. And the camera isn’t awful? I’ve heard such mixed reviews…. I know it would probably be an upgrade from my G-Nex camera either way. ;)

  • Daniel Russell

    I absolutely love this phone. Got it about a week ago and the battery life is great. I’m a heavy user streaming play music, pandora, tune in radio for ~7 hours on 4G (still have my unlimited data) every work day. I check twitter a lot and still can’t kill the battery in a day. I’ll probably end at 30% every day after about 17 hours of usage. My poor bionic just could never do that. Active notifications are great and I love the voice controls. It’s smooth and doesn’t lag. Personally, I don’t care that it doesn’t have on screen buttons as it gives me more screen and less accidental home button pushes.

    The price is a little much especially after seeing an upgrade fee from Verizon (screw you Verizon), but not having to worry about my phone dying during the day is worth it.

  • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

    “The DROID MAXX is the exact same phone as the DROID ULTRA”

    Not really. The Droid MAXX has 32GB of storage over 16GB, a soft touch back vs glossy back, and wireless charging.

    • M3D1T8R

      Troll go away.

      • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

        I must be missing something since I have 4 downvotes, but I don’t see how I’m trolling. The differences between the DROID ULTRA and DROID MAXX are the extra 16GB of storage, soft touch kevlar vs glossy, and wireless charging…

  • Tyson

    I am seeing Android OS in either first or second, depending on how much screen time I have right now. Android OS is eating a ton of my battery life. I am at 50% after 10.5 hours right now. 3 hours of that is Screen time, 1 hour of Candy Crush, and Android OS has used as much battery as Candy Crush. It says it has had a CPU time of 1 hour today, and that is normal for my phone so far. What am I missing? I easily kill the battery after a full day of crushing it.

    • Stevennnnnnnnn

      I did a lot of research on this and there is no simple answer. What worked for me was to download wakelock detector from the play store and diagnose your issue. It’s really easy to figure out and I fixed my issues within a few days of tweaking. Things that helped me were:

      1. Disable location services
      2. Disable Google now
      3. Remove unnecessary sync

      I also had to stop turning on wifi in public places as that kept my phone awake. Another reason to keep unlimited data.

    • DJ SPY

      Return your phone. This is a known issue with some devices. Over on the Motorola forums a person said that a Verizon rep broke down and told him “we got a defective batch” mine was great fit the first 3 days. 5½hours of screen on time at 50% then I decided to clear the cache from recovery and all went to help after that. Even a factory data reset couldn’t bring my phone back. I returned if even though I had to eat there $35 restocking fee. Plus it’s not compatible with the square card reader yet. I learned my lesson to never be an early adopter. I’ll check in to see where things are in months. If they fixed the issues then I’ll buy it again.

  • T4rd

    Cmon now.. How are you going to do battery tests and show screen shots workout screen-on times or at least mentioning them? Noob…

  • Kit Chau

    Verizon is showing $649 now off contract. FYI. On contract price is still $299.

    • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

      It’s been $649 for a while, I think it was only $699 for the first couple days

      • Kit Chau

        I’ve been checking on and off. I think when the Note 3 was announced, the price changed. Makes sense.

    • Stevennnnnnnnn

      The extra $50 was worth it – just couldn’t stand my old droid charge any longer!

    • http://www.unappreciatedscholars.com/ Steven Shreve

      I bought mine on 8/27 for $649. Glad to see the price has stayed at that point. Tons of people are whining about specs at such a high price, but this phone has been totally worth it for me, and I’m not sorry for saying that.

  • prestone1

    I’ve had the phone for a week now. My gripes:
    1. 3.5 mm jack on the top. I thought kellex was being a wuss when I heard him complaining about it. Having a gnex for the past two years I hadn’t thought about it much. It sucks.
    2. Would have preferred on screen buttons.
    That’s it really. This thing is extremely smooth. A lot of hating on the camera but I have taken some good shots as well as seen others. You just have to know how to use a camera unlike most others.

  • 2Berad

    I love my MAXX I’m hopeful that root is almost here just for the fact of removing some verizon and amazon crap, I do not think I will load a custom ROM on my MAXX Moto and goog got this software close to perfect. My android ownership goes like this OG droid, Droid x, Gnex and now Droid MAXX. I have enjoyed all my android phones and I would rank them in this order. 1st place Droid maxx best phone ever. 2nd is Gnex I would still use this phone if it had better battery, the curved glass was awesome. OG droid and the droid x. Every time I pickup my Gnex I miss the form factor over my Droid MAXX:(

  • http://meatcastle.com/ Youre My Boy Bloo

    Never knew Tim had a Great Dane!

  • NIGHTSCOUT

    When I finally held one, The thing I was surprised about, is how thin it is. It’s a MAXX, but it’s as thin as a galaxy S3!

    • Stevennnnnnnnn

      And small like the Galaxy S4. Sure the Note 3 might have better battery life, but not everyone wants such a big phone.

  • Boss As Hell

    Helping my wife out with this phone then going back to my GNex just pisses me off. Very nice phone.

    • ddub

      Man… I feel your pain

  • mule0331

    Ive only ever seen over 30 hours a couple times on mine. Ive killed the battery in 12 hours with moderate use. Not sure if theres an app thats eating something, but seems like my Maxx HD got a little better life.

  • R Kunkel

    The design team needs to make these Moto Droid phones look more appealing. I don’t mind the capacitive buttons but the kevlar look is getting old and that chin is hideous. Other than that, the UI is good and the screen is gorgeous even if it isn’t 1080p.

    • evltwn

      I think the RAZR MAXX HD was the best looking Droid Motorola has made. I don’t like the chin on this phone at all.

      • Paul Hansen

        I actually don’t mind the chin as it causes me to not accidentally hit the capacitive keys as often like i used to on my GS4. Plus i think it’ll provide better protection against drops as historically my phones tend to slip out of my hand bottom down when they impact the ground. It’s not the most attractive thing in the world but there might have been some engineering there when they stuck it there.

        • evltwn

          With on-screen navigation you don’t have to worry about accidentally hitting any buttons. Also the on-screen buttons disappear when watching a video or movie. So the argument some make about more screen realestate with capacitive buttons doesn’t hold water imo.

          • Paul Hansen

            except for the part where i used to hit them on accident all the time on my maxx hd but sure. if you say so. and not all apps hide the soft keys while the apps are running while most video apps do… so… your opinion might want to be re-evaluated. i’d prefer to use my full screen when i’m gaming or really doing ANYTHING except watching video. hell even the browser has more space and i use that more than anything (as i’m sure most users do). I’ve had devices with and without the soft keys (nexus 7, nexus 7 2013, droid razr hd, google nexus all with soft keys) and i hated the real estate you lose (again, not movies). So um, i guess your soft keys argument not losing real estate holds no merit…. imo.

          • LiterofCola

            Yeah but when I want to show off my wallpaper or homescreen it’s still plagued by that black bar.

      • Charlie R.

        The Verizon logo on the Maxx HD was horrible, and ruined the look of that phone. I love the totally clean front of the Maxx, with no logos of any kind on the front. Also, the extra screen space garnered from the capacitive keys does make a HUGE difference. Watching a YouTube video (or a locally stored video) is such a small percentage of what I use my phone for. The other numerous uses are greatly improved by not having on-screen keys take up space, IMO.

    • Stevennnnnnnnn

      I’ve been wondering this, and wonder if perhaps the reason we have the on screen navigation is related to the battery size. They didn’t make the phone that much thicker, so perhaps they needed the extra space at the bottom to make it all possible engineering-wise. Just a speculation.

    • schlanz

      I personally think the Maxx is one of the best designed Android devices made, capacitive buttons be damned. I even prefer it to the One. The kevlar on the Maxx is darker and more subtle than previous droids where the two tone scheme was more contrasting.

    • Liderc

      Yeah they are totally out of touch with what people are interested in. The physical design is awful and the Kevlar looks like something from the ’90s for some reason.

      If they could get a nice design going and improve the camera, they’d have a killer phone.

      • LiterofCola

        Considering most of the people on here are praising the phone’s aesthetics and battery life, I wouldn’t say they’re too far off to what people want. I get compliments everyday from coworkers who own Samsung and Apple devices.

      • socarwolverine

        The Razr line has been one of the best selling lines of phones for them. Other than your taste, they seem to be pretty in touch with what people are interested in. The Razr line has arguably been the main reason Motorola has been revitalized.

  • breadable

    So Tim, which do you prefer weighing price and design: Moto X or the Droid Maxx?

    • http://www.droid-life.com/ Tim-o-tato

      Price and design? My money is on the Moto X pretty much everyday of the week between these two phones. The MAXX’s battery is sweet, but other than that, it’s all about the X.

      • Stnkycheezman

        I wanted the x all the way but Newegg had the maxx for a couple days last week for 179 which I jumped on and haven’t looked back. It’s at 250 vs 299 now.

  • droidrazredge

    @Tim-o-tato Great Review! you were spot on and wrote some good thorough comparisons. I can now make some recommendations based on your writeup. One thing you said “The only differences between the MAXX and the ULTRA are the battery, bitof thickness that comes with it, and a matte finish over the ULTRA’s glossy exterior.” I thought the other difference was that the Droid Ultra Maxx, like the Min, both have wireless charging but the Droid Ultra does not?

  • Charlie R.

    Great review Tim. I have to say, this device is really, really great.

    I came from a Razr Maxx HD, and the difference is night and day. The phone feels great in hand, the screen is big and beautiful (a huge step up from even the Maxx HD), and the software is totally lag-free. The battery is also fantastic. I get way better battery life than even my old Maxx HD. Some may not like the capacitive buttons, but I personally really enjoy the extra screen real estate. I don’t really care for Touch Wiz or LG’s skin, so the Note 3 and G2 were a no go for me anyway. Even if I was looking at those two phones, or the One, I would still highly recommend this phone.

    • Neil Fujiwara

      How does the radio perform and do you miss not having a micro SD. I am coming from a Droid Razr Maxx. I noticed that my phone is lagging sometimes.

      • LiterofCola

        Great signal, but sometimes I wish the phone earpiece could be louder during a call. Abnd I have to admit, I do miss having the MicroSD slot so I could download a ton of movies onto the device itself for whenever I fly…but having said that, haven’t run into any storage issues.

        • Anon

          My real issue is the new docks.

          Motorola let Griffin build the new bedside and car docks instead of doing OEM ones; these are what Verizon is selling. They are pathetic. Unlike the advertising, the docks will not “fit all but the bulkiest cases”. My bedside (PowerDock) dock won’t put my MAXX into Droid Dream mode even though the box advertised this too. I’ve not heard good things about the car dock either.

          I’m likely to return both, and probably find a wireless-charging bedside dock; I hear the Tylt Vu is good. Moto’s OEM docks from previous phones are great. The new Droid MAXX is an awesome phone, but Moto really dropped the ball on the accessories.

          • Adrian

            Totally agree, and frustrated with the car dock. The past 2 docks from moto were excellent, now we are stuck with great phone mediocre docks…almost makes me want the maxx hd again

      • Charlie R.

        I have had just as good if not better signal quality than my Maxx HD, so no complaints in that department. In a way, I do miss the microSD slot, but not as much as I thought I would. The only think I used it for before was storing pictures and video that I took. I uploaded everything that I wanted to Google + and that took care of my problem. I can access my pictures from anywhere, without using up storage space.

  • Shane Redman

    Just got it yesterday and put it through an intense stress test right out of the box with the 43% batter it came with….took me almost 5 hours to kill the battery. Considering everything I was doing, I’d say it’s well worth it. A phone without battery is just a fancy reflective paperweight.

    • 2Berad

      I could not agree more, I loved my Gnex but the battery was so bad it pissed me off hourly. The MAXX battery life is awesome to put it lightly.

  • MrBigFeathers

    I just sent my Maxx back to Verizon. It was a nice device but for the price I think I will go with the Note 3. I need something with the battery life so it was between the Maxx and the Note. The only things I didn’t like were the camera, the high SAR rating (probably doesn’t matter but I like devices that don’t get up to the legal limit), and I didn’t like how the bottom of the phone came to a point almost. It kind of felt like it would dig into my pinky while holding it. So, now it’s just between the Note 3 or possibly the Moto X. I only need a max of 4 hour screen time per day. I’ll have to see if the Note 3 is too big.

    • M3D1T8R

      DNA gets up to 4hrs screen time for me, despite its “small” 2020mAh battery. Great high end phone, available a lot cheaper than all these new ones.

  • T S

    i’m torn between this and the moto x.

    • Stevennnnnnnnn

      It all comes down to battery life.

    • Ryan O’Neill

      It comes down to size, for me. I prefer the size of the Moto X over a larger 5″ phone. You might be the opposite though.

      • T S

        if i could have the battery life of the MAXX with the style and screen size of the Moto X. .i’d be pretty damn happy.

  • drudometkin

    Seems like a solid device. I still have my Bionic, which still works fine but is getting old.

    • Thomas J Greer

      Came from bionic. Loved it. Maxx destroys it. LOL. You’ll love it.

      • Anon

        Me too. Loved my Bionic, but the only place the Bionic wins is in the bedside and car docks. The MAXX hammers the Bionic in every other way.

    • mso1

      I came from the bionic too. I haven’t looked back. I don’t miss the lag and terrible battery life following the JB update. Love the Maxx. Plus Google Now works great.

  • Fozzybare

    you didnt even post a screen shot of your screen on times! you know that is the important part!

    • http://www.droid-life.com/ Tim-o-tato

      Great, already wiped it. When I saw it before I wiped it, the screen on time was nearly 8 hours when it was at 3% left. That’s a lot of Candy Crush!

      • Fozzybare

        daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn. 8 hours seems nice. i squeezed 6.5-7 hours of screen on time out of my Note 2 and i get 4-5 on my Moto X.

        • DJ SPY

          You get 4-5 on the Moto X? That’s impressive. The review here didn’t show that high. Do you use a lot of Wi-Fi or is that all LTE?

          • Fozzybare

            part of the day i have to have it on airplane mode because my work is a bunch of jerks and won’t let me use the wifi…i dont get signal in here but to be honest i rarely use it at work. i try to stick to lte as much as possible but i tend to get 3g only in my basement sometimes so i have to switch to wifi a lot of the time. the past few nights when i plugged it in i was at 3.5-4.5 hours of screen on time with about 20% or so left. if i don’t play dots i can get a lot more time out of it lol.

  • Ken Bosse

    it really is to bad the camera sucks

    • Shane Redman

      People said the GNex camera sucked, but I explained in another comment how my friends with iPhones said my pictures came out better than theirs. Yes, I still agree the maxx cam is not awesome, but I think it tends to be in the eye of the user.

      • Greyhame

        …I’m an android guy and all, but the only way the GNex’s camera is better than that other option, is Photosphere. For me I will agree that this is actually enough to make it better overall (Photosphere is just that awesome!), but it’s definitely a limited use case.

      • Tyler

        Clearly you’ve never seen a low-light or poorly lit room picture from the gnex. In ideal conditions like outside it is adequate.

        Edit: Maybe they couldn’t tell because their screen was too small. :)

        • Shane Redman

          Clearly I have seeing as how most of the time we were out in the DC nightlife ;-)

          • Futbolrunner

            DC!!

          • Shane Redman

            I’m from RVA myself, but I live up here now! WOOOOOOO lol

  • JamesU513

    Good job Tim, nice review. Sent it to my dad who is going to get one of these. I have the Moto X.

  • Mahercs

    “If you are a current DROID RAZR MAXX owner, it’s a no brainer.” That would be me. Still have the original Razr Maxx (non-HD) and it’s not holding its charge very well any more. Saw the new Maxx in store last week and when I compared it to the X, I just fell in love with the Maxx. It’s not much larger than mine, so now I need to find a better price somewhere.

    • clobberedchina

      My Razr Maxx is still doing pretty durn good.

  • PuttsMoBilesiCit

    Bought the phone a day after launch. Off contract may I add. Bought a wireless charger and have yet to ever plug the phone in.

    • LiterofCola

      Plus the X looks tiny in my hand compared to the Maxx. I very much prefer the way the Maxx feels.

    • Marcus Devin

      Which wireless charger are you using?

    • Paul Hansen

      Agree 100%. I don’t like having to lose screen real estate to soft keys personally. I know I’m in the minority but the orientation is stock android as far as their location and function so… I really don’t mind at all. I can try and take a pic at work of my phone next to the Moto X we have on display and people will realize how much smaller that screen really is with the soft keys.

  • Spider210

    did they forget that the maxx has 32 gb of internal storage too!?

    • JamesU513

      “Beyond just the battery, the phone sports good specs, including a 5″ 720 OLED display, a dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor clocked at 1.7GHz, 2GB of RAM, the Motorola X8 Computing System built in relation with Qualcomm, a 10MP back-facing camera, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, 32GB of internal storage and the ever-listening power of Touchless Control. “

  • http://www.unappreciatedscholars.com/ Steven Shreve

    I’ve had the phone for a week and a half and I love it. It’s smooth and responsive and the software is great. I haven’t gotten below 47% battery even with heavy usage.

    • Tyler

      How many hours of screen time do you usually get out of it?

      • Paul Hansen

        I usually get 10-14 depending why the screen is actually on (games vs video that is locally stored (read: not streaming) etc))

      • Matt Larson

        Same for me i get about 10-14 hours. Sooooo nice coming from the Gnex where i would maybe get 1.5

      • http://www.unappreciatedscholars.com/ Steven Shreve

        I keep forgetting to go specifically check how many hours of screen time I’m getting before plugging in, but I did look a few hours prior yesterday and had around 5 hours with 55% battery left. That included a ton of streaming on Google Music and way more actual voice calling than I normally do. I’ll try to remember to check tonight before plugging in.

    • wade_county

      But but…. the verge said it had terrible battery life?!?!?!?
      http://www.theverge.com/2013/8/27/4659876/motorola-droid-ultra-and-droid-maxx-review

      I DON’T UNDERSTAND!?!?!?!?

      • Justin W

        I’ve learned to avoid their reviews… I prefer reading AnandTech’s, Droid-Life’s, and Android Police’s reviews much more.

        • T4rd

          It’s David Pierce. His reviews are way over-critical, he exaggerates, and he pretty much hates anything with SAMOLED displays and that’s made of plastic, which is 90% of the phones on the market. Unfortunately, it seems they give most flagship phone reviews to David and I think he gives the site a bad rep because of this.

          • Justin W

            It doesn’t surprise me that it’s just him though – I’ve seen a couple of decent reviews, but I still have a distaste for their reviews.

        • gambit07

          AnandTech’s reviews are the best around, hands down

          • Justin W

            Easily. Their mini-reviews are larger than anyone else’s “normal” review, and they provide a lot more insight into what’s going on inside the device that could potentially cause issues later. I love reading their reviews when I have the time.

          • gambit07

            Precisely. The thing I appreciate most about their reviews is that they have vast technical knowledge compared to other reviewers, and their conclusions are always based on raw measurable data. A lot of sites will say the phone feels this way, or it seems to be like this, etc etc. Anandtech is the only site where you get real brass tacks information about the device and its components as opposed to the guesstimations etc in a lot of other articles. It gives them the ability to accurately compare devices on a level platform as well.

      • UncagedChipmunk

        To be honest the first day I had it after fully charging it I killed the battery in 10hrs with normal usage but i do use my phones more than the average user and that was with mainly WiFi. But I figured the battery need to be broken in as of writing this I’m @ 12% for 1d 3hrs. Hope it continues to improve.

        • LiterofCola

          Wow dude, yeah sounds like you might have a dud on your hands. It shouldn’t be no where near that bad.

          • UncagedChipmunk

            I took the original one back since the screen fried itself the same day I bought it. So far I’m enjoying the new one minus the force closes get from Google now when I reply to a text. It starts it up then crashes randomly on its own. I don’t even attempt to launch it, it does so on its own when I tap on my conversation.

  • Kevin Lauscher

    wish there was a nexus Maxx or equivlent in next release cycle. I know there won’t but it’d be great.

    • Ken

      that’s what i’ve been hoping for too. maybe next year.

      • michael arazan

        It looks pretty much stock android as is, just from the videos and pictures. I wish they had power users in mind when they designed it. I watch a lot of media in the browser, and play access and pandora a couple hours, plus podcast on my GNex and other reviews say this is not a phone for power users. Especially for the battery
        Think I’ll wait to see if this year’s Nexus comes to verizon or hold on to my gnex for another year till Moto X 2

        • Anon

          Trust me…the MAXX works just great for power users. I have one.

        • jhlinka

          Right there w/ Anon. I have gps running (w/ screen on of course) and all access streaming on my commute (about 2.5 hrs/day), and internet browsing throughout the day and it still only gets to ~25% at the end of the day

        • gujupmp88

          this phone can definitely handle everything I have thrown on it. From pandora and gps nav running at the same time. playing games for an hour. if your gnex can handle what you need to do, this phone will blow it out of the water.

    • Jaocagomez

      Nexus maxx would be the best thing to happen for people like me who cares the most about battery life.

  • http://blog.usedavesvoice.com/ Dave Eric Smith

    I was wondering why it was forgotten… I’ve had the MAXX for 2 weeks and was wondering if I’d have to review it myself. :P

    • Paul Hansen

      I actually did that somewhere in the comments in one of the other threads :P

    • Jim

      maxx 3?