|Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD Smartphone|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Phones | Handheld|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Monday, 14 January 2013|
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DROID RAZR MAXX HD Conclusion
IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested, which may differ from future versions of the same product. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.
The performance of the DROID RAZR MAXX HD is state of the art for its class. The 1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4-Plus MSM8960 SoC is all the processor that's needed to support the current software offerings. The upgrade from the dual-core 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 that was in the last generation is a significant leap forward for performance. Likewise the 1GB of RAM and 32GB of system memory are more than enough to support most user's needs. The 4.7" AMOLED 720p screen on the new HD models is also a worthwhile improvement, and it's supported by a capable GPU, the Qualcomm Adreno 225. It's definitely better than the 4.0" Apple iPhone 5 screen (1136x640), by comparison. The camera is a bit weaker than the other elements, but the speakerphone is excellent. Jelly Bean is a capable mobile OS, and all the elements work smoothly together to provide a positive user experience.
Battery life is the absolute top headliner in the performance category, though. The main reason I selected this phone, and paid the extra money relative to the base RAZR HD model, was for the extended battery life. This is potentially a 2-3 day battery, depending on your usage pattern. I don't know anyone who uses this phone that doesn't get at least a full day's use out of it. No matter how much screen time they put in, the RAZR MAXX HD always outlasts them. The overall life of the battery is also going to be extended, since you won't need to charge it as often. Modern lithium ion polymer batteries have a lifecycle that is defined by how many times the battery can be charged, before its capacity starts dropping.
Between the Gorilla Glass on the front, full Kevlar on the back, and nano coatings on the electronics to keep them dry, Motorola went the extra mile to make the DROID RAZR MAXX HD as durable as a conventional smartphone can be. Normal wear and tear won't dull or scratch the screen and the thin lip around it offers some additional protection, in case you drop the phone onto a hard surface. I really dislike phone cases. They ruin the tactile experience for me, and make carrying the phone less comfortable and convenient. I'm a guy - I have pockets, not a purse, and I want something that will slip easily into and out of whatever pocket I choose. So, I'm very happy that this phone has durability and ruggedness built right into its smooth and sleek exterior. I'm going to lump "subjective feel" into this section, because it's intimately related. The RAZR MAXX HD feels good in my medium-sized hands; it's solid and substantial in a way that's hard to describe but easy to understand. The Kevlar has a unique feel to it, that's both hard and soft at the same time, and the rounded edges on the back amplify this effect since you're never gripping a hard edge.
In terms of functionality, the DROID RAZR MAXX is near the top of the Android pile. It's as fast as the software requires, offers a large 4.7" HD Super AMOLED screen with 720p resolution, and has 32GB of built-in storage space. Two things that would put it over the top are: a replaceable battery, and a better main camera. The first wish is going to be difficult and probably counterproductive, since the packaging required to make the battery replaceable would undoubtedly make the phone bigger, or the battery capacity smaller. Neither of those things is desirable. A better camera should be relatively easy to do, next time around. Maybe there's a possibility of improvements on this model via a software upgrade, which would be even better. The continuing improvement of Android, and the inclusion of Google Now in Jelly Bean, makes for a highly functional package. Motorola kept the add-ons to a minimum with these phones, but there are a few: Chrome for Android, Smart Actions, Circles Widget, Android Beam, Backup Assistant+, Visual Voice mail, Viewdini, VZ Navigator, wireless DLNA streaming. Some of these features come from the wireless carrier that currently has a lock on distribution of the RAZR HD family, Verizon Wireless.
As of mid-January 2013, the Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD smartphone, model MOTXT926M, is only available from Verizon Wireless, with contract activation. They do participate with some channel partners such as Newegg, where I got mine. At the moment, prices are cheaper through some of those partners, compared to buying direct from Verizon. At the reduced pricing of $199.99, I'm quite happy with the value equation.
+ Battery life is outstanding
- Battery is not user replaceable
Final Score: 9.35 out of 10.
COMMENT QUESTION: If not the Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD, what smartphone do you want most?