Interface and Functionality

The Motorola DROID MAXX, Ultra and Mini, as well as the Moto X, are running pretty close to stock Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, including the lock screen, 5 desktop home screens, app drawer, and widget selection. This means that there are no themes, such as what you get with HTC Sense, but you can always install a 3rd-party launcher or theme app if you desire.

Also cloned from the Moto X are some features that are exclusive to Motorola.

Touchless Control:

This is combined with Google Now and is actively awaiting your command. You start off by training it to recognize your voice. After that, all you have to say is “OK, Google Now” and then a command. So saying, “OK, Google Now. What’s the current weather?” the phone will launch Google Now and will show what your current weather is. You can also ask it to place phone calls, check appointments, look up contacts, and get turn-by-turn directions. Even though it is fun to use, you still have to interact some with your hand once Google Now is active. One thing that isn’t clear is how much battery is used for it to always keep the mic listening to hear your voice to launch Google Now. So if you want to save some battery life, you might just want to keep this feature turned off.

Motorola Assist:

Who wants to be distracted while driving, in a meeting, or while sleeping at night? With the Motorola Assist app activated, it knows when you are driving, thanks to GPS updates, and will automatically read incoming text messages, and can auto-reply to them as well. While the Resume Music feature will connect to your car’s Bluetooth for playing music. For meetings that are in your calendar, Motorola Assist will automatically place the phone on silent mode and auto-reply to messages. Lastly, when you specify what time you sleep at night, the phone will also enter into a silent mode.

Droid Zap:

The Motorola Droid Zap is pretty much their version of Samsung’s S Beam. You can use it to share photos and videos with several near-by people at once by swiping up on the screen with two fingers, and the people that want to receive it then swipe down with two fingers. Only the newest Motorola phones can send picture with Droid Zap, but any Android phone can install the Droid Zap app to download and view the images or videos you send.

Motorola Migrate:

This is designed to help you transfer your data (photos, videos, volume and screen settings, call and text history, and contacts) from your old phone to the new DROID Ultra. First you download the Motorola Migrate app from the Play Store on your old phone. Both devices are connected to your PC, so the transfer is from device-to-device and does not use any data air-time.

Wireless Display:

As long as you have a compatible Miracast Wireless enabled display, you can use the phone’s Wireless Display feature to stream what you’re doing on the phone to the big screen. Naturally, the hardest part about this feature is actually having a compatible display to use, but if you do, it should be useful in viewing photos, watching videos, playing games, or surfing the web.

Organizer and Tools

There is really nothing out of the ordinary here. We have the stock Android Calendar, which you will remember is integrated with the Touchless Control and Motorola Assist apps. There’s also the basic calculator, clock, alarm, and stopwatch and countdown timer.


Combined with a 5” display, the stock Android on-screen keyboard works remarkably well, as it is responsive and has good word prediction. Even in portrait mode, you can easily enter words just with just the use of one thumb, though landscape does require both hands.

We are also presented with the stock Android apps for E-Mail and GMail, both of which have the same look and feel as the Moto X.

Processor and Memory

All of the new Motorola DROIDs and the Moto X are using the company’s own designed processor, the Motorola X8 (you can read more details about it here).

The key to the X8 is that it is technically an 8-core SoC, which has a 1.7 GHz dual-core application processor, a 400MHz quad-core GPU, a natural language processor core, and a contextual computing core. The latter of which is used for voice recognition of Touchless Controls and the behind-the-scenes working of Motorola Assist.

In daily use, the DROID MAXX with its X8 processor and 2GB of RAM is plenty quick in its boot-up time, and also loading and running apps, multitasking, and playing games. As you can see from the benchmarks below, it is no slouch, and even holds up well to other quad-core devices.

Quadrant Standard AnTuTu GFXBench Vellamo
(HTML5 / Metal)
Motorola DROID MAXX 8754 21351 5968 / 53 2454 / 768
Samsung Galaxy S4 12078 24701 4437 / 39 fps 1702 / 704
HTC One 12481 23308 3551 / 31 fps 2395 / 781
Google Nexus 4 4757 16749 4917 1375 / 600

As we mentioned earlier, the DROID MAXX comes with 32GB of internal memory, instead of only 16GB that is included with the DROID Ultra. This is then divided into the Android OS, Apps, etc, which leaves you with about 21GB of usable space out of the box. While we appreciate that the DROID MAXX has twice the storage of the DROID Ultra, it would have been nice if the devices included a microSD memory card slot for user-expandable storage.

Internet and Connectivity

Combining both the X8 processor and Verizon’s 4G LTE data network, the Chrome browser on the Droid MAXX is a breeze to use. Pages load fast and properly rendered, with pinch-to-zoom and scrolling being quite fluid.

When using the app, we were able to get between 15-27 Mbps downloads and 10-15 Mbps uploads depending on the area, time of day, and signal strength. Since the device is Global Roaming ready, it can also be used in other countries with EDGE/GSM (850/900/1800/1900MHz), HSPA/UMTS (850/900/1900/2100MHz), supporting HSDPA 42.2 Mbps (Category 20) and HSUPA 5.76 Mbps speeds.

Other connectivity includes Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4GHz and 5GHz), Bluetooth 4.0 with EDR, and NFC.



1. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

Ridiculous pricing for a mid-range device with a large battery. Price considered, with this HW, the high battery drain as reported by several sites and the bad camera, this is about a 6.5 device - passable for better alternatives.

12. zevooptik

Posts: 3; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

This phone has been in my possession for about two weeks. As a light user, I have been able to get 5 full days and 4 nights on a charge twice. Battery saver is turned on, active display turned on, google now is disabled as is the always on voice command. I also have some syncing turned on(three email accounts). I personally would call bunk on any of the supposed battery drain issues. The camera quality is a step up from the 2nd gen Maxx, which I also owned. The phone feels amazing in hand, certainly better than any LG or Samsung I have held. The phone is extremely fluid. I initially thought ill of Moto for going 720p, now I see the logic. I do not believe hardware is currently there to support 1080p quite yet, maybe with Snapdragon 800.

2. techguyone

Posts: 214; Member since: May 18, 2013

I'd agree with that, it's all well making the 'experience' worthy, but when competitors are pushing substantially better hardware at the same price point, you have to wonder how much of that is justified. I suspect we'll see biggish discounts fairly sharpish. Moto would sell a lot more if it was priced more to the mid range than top end. They shot themselves a bit in the foot after all the hype and build up with such a high price point at the end.

3. o0Exia0o

Posts: 903; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

Sooo.... The Droid Ultra scores 8.7? the Droid Maxx with its bigger battery and longer usage time between charges scores lower that the Droid Ultra? How does that work?

4. roldefol

Posts: 4745; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Not to mention the gaping storage difference. No way would I pay $200 for 16 GB without expansion in this market. I expected the much better equipped Maxx to easily outscore the weak Ultra.

5. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1273; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

PA forgot the yet another difference between Ultra and MAXX which is wireless charging...

6. roldefol

Posts: 4745; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

A nice plus, and one I'm happy to see on more and more Verizon offerings including the upcoming G2. I think it's worth a millimeter or so of thickness to have the option.

7. icofnc

Posts: 5; Member since: May 11, 2009

I've carried the gauntlet of Motos and they "ultra" reliable. I'm testing the S4 and after downloading the new Google keyboard, it is....fair. Resolution isn;t everything. The S4 won't stay on vibrate/silent! This could be both embarrassing and depending on the situation, quite problematic! It is this fault that I'll be returning the S4 today. I would prefer to have an SD slot, but I'll make due w/32G if it means my phone will STAY silent when I set it in that mode!

8. testman22

Posts: 339; Member since: Nov 03, 2009

great phone- but Im just not seeing the 48 hours. Ive turned off active notification and tocuhless controls and im getting about 28 hours tops- Dont get me wrong a solid full day is nice, but I still have to charge it everynight to ensure I have a full day the next day. The weight/size is also a little heavy so it makes 1 hand use awkward. Ive been an android user for 4 years now, but Im thinking of making the jump to iphone :/ I need a great camera and do not want a galaxy so Iphone seems the way to go.

13. zevooptik

Posts: 3; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

I have kept active notifications on, but also never enabled touchless controls or google now. I also make sure GPS stays off. As stated in an earlier comment, I have been twice been able to get five full days and four nights on a single charge with light using. Texting, light calling, and a few games of sudoku a day. Unfortunate your experience is so different, one suggestion I have is to enable battery saver mode.

19. testman22

Posts: 339; Member since: Nov 03, 2009

wow zevooptik that is a huge difference. I do utilize google now- so I'm going to switch it off to see if that helps.

20. lolrus

Posts: 29; Member since: May 18, 2013

I keep GNow on with my tablet but it's too much of a battery drain on the phone. I absolutely love the service but it was just crushing my battery (GS3)

15. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

The funny thing is BGR & Phone Arena said that the older RAZR\'s were awkward for one hand use, but the phones that they praise (S4 & G2) are both bigger & less one hand use friendly than the old RAZR\'s and the MAXX. I have the RAZR Maxx and S4 & have tested the MAXX; the latter feeling the most comfortable in my hand. I call bogusness.

17. roldefol

Posts: 4745; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

It's all about the bezel. The OG Razr had an enormous bezel for its size. I tried it when the phone first came out and found it uncomfortable to use compared to my Rezound which is also 4.3". The super-flat back didn't help matters. They improved hand-feel last year with the Razr HD and again this year. The Galaxy S3 and S4 have pretty thin bezels for their size, and the G2 blows everything else away, it's practically all screen (like the Moto X).

21. aymnga

Posts: 30; Member since: Aug 19, 2012

U can buy sony xperia z1 with 20.7 mega pixel camera

9. spiral777

Posts: 12; Member since: Sep 04, 2013

why go with 1080 if you're looking for better battery life? 720 is more than enough so i think they made the right decision.

23. theruleslawyer

Posts: 108; Member since: Apr 23, 2012

I don't really remember the moto X with the same hardware except battery being a standout in battery life. You might be able to make a case that current GPUs are more suited to 720p than 1080p, but that seems to be a performance rather than a battery issue.

10. jajones82

Posts: 3; Member since: May 14, 2012

I own the droid Maxx, and the rating is fairly correct, 8.5-10....However, if the same reviewer is going to give it an 8.5 after giving the lesser model Droid Ultra an 8.7 rating, there may be issues with that. Are these extra features not worthy of a 9.0, or at least 0.2 points higher to make it on par with the Ultra? - Wireless Charging - Mega Battery life - 32gb of storage - soft backing instead of fingerprint magnet (like the Droid Ultra)

11. roldefol

Posts: 4745; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

I suspect that if the Ultra were $150 and the Maxx $200, they would have rated the Maxx higher. I hate that reviewers take price into account so much, especially since Android phones often go on sale or drop in price so quickly. In the long run (a 24 month contract), $100 is peanuts.

14. g2a5b0e unregistered

I completely agree with you & jajones82 on this. It makes no sense that the Ultra has a higher score. At the very least, they should have the same score, but it makes more sense that the Maxx should have been rated higher. Motorola gives you 4 extras for your $100. Apple only gives you more memory for your $100. By this logic, the 32 & 64 GB iPhones should be rated significantly lower than the 16GB. I also agree with your last point. I don't understand why people buy cheap phones on contract. You're paying the same monthly price regardless of what phone you get, so you might as well get the best phone available for the price. If I buy a $200 phone on contract, I end up paying $2400 over the life of the contract as opposed to $2300 over the contract for buying a phone that may not be future proof. The extra 4% is worth having the best available device.

18. roldefol

Posts: 4745; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

And even without contracts, I think the extras of the Maxx are worth the $100 difference. Subsidized pricing screws up the value equation. If you look at paying $500 for a Droid (mini) vs. $600 for the Ultra and $700 for the Maxx, it's a much smaller difference than $100 vs. $200 vs. $300.

16. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

$249 for this phone if it had an SD slot would\'ve been a perfect price point considering the battery. The .2 drop in scoring doesn\'t make sense. Phone arena complained about the Ultra being a fingerprint magnet (which, I don\'t remember fingerprints on the BACK of a phone ever affecting the performance of a device, but yet they whined about it, a lot) but the MAXX is not yet they score it lower because of the price. Either way, to each his own I guess.

22. Jimstar

Posts: 259; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

I consider the price premium over the Ultra, reasonable. $50 for both double the storage and extra battery life, seems about par for the course in my opinion. I just wonder if the Ultra isn't priced a little high. The MotoX makes sense at $199 since they build it here, and with the proprietary SoC add ons. Yet the Ultra isn't made in the US, so why does it start at the same price as the MotoX? Then again, like someone else said subsidized pricing muddies things up a bit.

24. bwhiting

Posts: 188; Member since: Jun 15, 2013

Hmm seems like a worthwhile investment to me in my eyes for a phone for real. Might just get the device and replace my own Razr 16GB with this one instead of getting the Ultra, even with the red color design they have for them.

25. roldefol

Posts: 4745; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Try the two phones, as a Razr owner I have a feeling you'll prefer the Maxx. It's only a bit thicker, but the soft-touch Kevlar has a much better feel. The Ultra is completely moot now that Verizon offers the Moto X for the same price. The real choice is Moto X vs. Maxx.
  • Display 5.0" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 10 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Motorola X8, Dual-core, 1700 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 3500 mAh

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