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Droid Maxx review

The Droid Maxx is the flagship of the latest Droid trio

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Our Verdict

Good battery and decent performance, but display and camera are lacking

For

  • Huge battery
  • Grippy Kevlar backing
  • Motorola UI is close to stock Android
  • Clever hands-free features
  • Touchless Control

Against

  • Weak camera
  • Only on Verizon
  • No microSD
  • Display not as sharp as competition

The Motorola Droid Maxx heads the trio of Verizon's most recent Droids, in a sense. It has the largest battery capacity of the three - the other two being the Droid Ultra and Droid Mini - so it gives it a huge edge over the Ultra and the Mini.

If you're a Verizon customer considering the Droid Maxx, there's really only one reason you're doing so - the 3,500mAh battery.

Droid Maxx review

Like the Droid RAZR Maxx before it, the Droid Maxx will take a lot of abuse before you can kill off its battery. Motorola promises up to 48 hours of battery life with mixed use, and it gets pretty close in real life.

And like last year, we continue to wonder why Motorola makes two near-identical phones where battery and size is the only real differentiator. We can't imagine why anyone would refuse killer battery life to shave off just a few millimeters from a device's overall thickness.

Droid Maxx review

We liked the Droid Ultra, so that's not really the problem. But we're going to give you a spoiler alert: the Droid Maxx is so much better for one reason - killer battery life. It's what we've always wanted in a smartphone.

You may think it's odd, but it's true: the one piece of technology that has failed to advance quickly as chipsets and processors and displays have is battery technology. We have displays with pixel densities that are sharper than our eyes can ever discern, and processing power that was unimaginable in smartphones just five years ago. Why do batteries still suck?

At the moment, there's no replacement for displacement, so to speak, and so longer battery life means bigger batteries. For the Droid Maxx, we don't mind the mostly negligible thickness if it means we aren't constantly hunting for power outlets at the nearest cafes.

Design

If it weren't for the Kevlar pattern at the bottom of the face of the phone, the Droid Maxx would look almost exactly like the Droid Ultra. The shape, button placement, display and everything else is the same at the front of it.

Droid Maxx review

Once you flip the phone over to see its backside, however, you'll see the immediate difference. Instead of a glossy back, the Maxx has a soft-touch carbon-fiber-like pattern on the back. At the top is the 10MP camera, flash and speaker - just like the Ultra - and beneath it are Droid, Motorola and Verizon branding.

Around the edges, you'll find a power and volume rocker on the right, 3.5mm headset jack up top and a micro-USB port at the bottom.

The face of the device has a 5-inch display. Above it are the proximity and ambient light sensors along with the earpiece, and just below it are the back, home and app changer buttons along with a tiny hole for the microphone.

The device itself isn't very flashy or gaudy, which is nice, and we actually prefer the thickness of it over the very thin Droid Ultra. Your own experience may vary, but it makes the Maxx feel whole, if that makes sense, rather than lacking. And you also know that added heft means added battery life.

Droid Maxx review

The Droid Maxx measures 5.41 x 2.8 x 0.33 inches, and weighs 5.89 ounces. It's not as thin and light as some other smartphones out there, but considering the benefit of battery life, it's not a bad tradeoff.

The 5-inch display has a 1280 x 720 resolution, which is only a slight disappointment. When compared to the HTC One or LG G2, it's clear that the Droid Maxx isn't nearly as sharp, but in day to day use it's not a terrible ordeal.

Inside, there is a Motorola X8 chipset, which has a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1,700MHz processor and 2GB RAM, along with 32GB of onboard memory storage. It also has 4G LTE connectivity with Verizon's network, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and NFC.

The camera is a 10MP "Clear Pixel" camera, like the one in the Moto X, but we'll get in depth with that later in our camera section.

Droid Maxx review

The Droid Maxx's key feature is its 3,500mAh battery, which should provide up to 48 hours of mixed usage (i.e. phone calls, messaging, music streaming, etc.).

When it comes to specs, there is nothing lacking about the Maxx. It's loaded with just about everything you'd expect from a high-end Android smartphone these days. But unlike other Android handsets, this one has juice for days.