Droid Razr Maxx: An Android smartphone for big talkers
Motorola's latest smartphone bulks up on battery life and business featuresFollow @MobileGalen
Thanks to the proliferation -- and relative similarity -- of Android smartphones on the market, finding the right model to suit your needs is no easy task. But for those looking to bulk up on battery life, enter Motorola Mobility's Droid Razr Maxx.
Released over the weekend, the Droid Razr Maxx is a beefier Droid Razr. Twenty-five percent thicker (0.35 inches vs. 0.28 inches) and 13 percent heavier (4.5 oz. vs. 5.1 oz.), Droid Razr Maxx nearly doubles the battery capacity of the Droid Razr, offering 3300mAh versus the 1780mAh of its slimmer cousin.
[ See all of InfoWorld's smartphone deathmatch comparisons and personalize the scores to your needs. | Compare the security and management capabilities of iOS, Windows Phone, Android, and more in InfoWorld's Mobile Management Deep Dive PDF report. ]
Despite this relative bulk, the Droid Razr Maxx is just 0.2 oz. heavier and slightly thinner (by 0.02 inches) than Apple's iPhone 4S. The case's large size (2.71 by 5.15 inches), necessary to accommodate its 4.3-inch AMOLED screen, makes the Droid Razr Maxx look heavier than it actually is, thanks to its lightweight Kevlar backing.
In the end, the Droid Razr Maxx offers a big battery boost -- and business-ready features -- without stretching the stitching in your shirt pocket that much more than other mainstream smartphones do. In fact, despite its large screen, it can actually find a home in most shirt pockets, unlike the gargantuan Samsung Galaxy Nexus. All in a form factor that is comfortable to hold.
Droid Razr Maxx specs and network
Most of the rest of the Droid Razr Maxx's specs are the same as the Droid Razr and are comparable to most current Android devices: 1.2GHz dual-core ARM-based CPU, 8-megapixel camera (with LED flash and 1080p video capture), MiniHDMI port, MicroUSB port, and 32GB of nonremovable flash memory.
A nice addition is the included two-USB-port power block, which allows you to charge the smartphone and your Bluetooth headset or iPod at the same time. Moreover, the block is small enough not to interfere with adjacent plugs, as some charging blocks do.
The Droid Razr Maxx is available for the Verizon Wireless network and costs $300 under a two-year contract, or $649 if you're not eligible for a new or renewal contract. It supports Verizon Wireless's LTE 4G network in addition to Verzion's 3G network, a current trend among the latest devices.
Hands-on with the Droid Razr Maxx
That 4G support is a good reason to consider the Razr Maxx. 4G radios take more power than 3G-only ones, at least with current-generation chips, so the Droid Razr Maxx's extra battery capacity will come in handy. Many users of the original Droid Razr, which remains available, have complained about its battery charge not lasting a full day on 4G. In my tests, the Razr Maxx easily lasted a full day with moderately heavy use.
The Droid Razr Maxx does come with some usability concerns. First is the set of four standard Android buttons near the bottom of the case. They light up occasionally, but mostly remain dark, making it difficult to know which button you are pressing. This becomes second-nature with use, but given how much Android depends on these buttons, their obscured display seems an oversight.
Also, I found the touchscreen occasionally unresponsive or noticeably delayed. I could detect no pattern to these slowdowns and pauses; it occurred even after a reboot with no apps other than Settings running. Fortunately, it was just occasional.