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Motorola DROID MAXX Review


Posted: , by FAUguy




Another feature shared between the new DROIDs and the Moto X is the 10MP Clear Pixel camera. Instead of using a standard RGB sensor, the Clear Pixel sensor uses RGBC, with the C standing for “clear”, which is said to help collect up to 75% more light. This is combined with an f/2.4 aperture lens and 1.4 micron pixel size.

The camera interface is easy to use, minimalistic in its nature with some basic settings and lacking any fancy color effects/modes. Swiping over to the right will pull over a dial on the left that allows some user options for HDR, flash, tap to focus, slow motion video, panorama, geo-tag, shutter tone, and quick capture – which allows you to quickly launch the camera just by flipping it in your hand twice – though we did notice that it sometimes didn’t work all that well. There is also continuous burst shooting, all you have to do is press-and-hold on the screen for it to take one picture after another. One thing missing is a way to change the camera resolution, as it is fixed at 10MP 4320x2432 pixel resolution widescreen.

Camera interface - Motorola DROID MAXX Review
Camera interface - Motorola DROID MAXX Review
Camera interface - Motorola DROID MAXX Review
Camera interface - Motorola DROID MAXX Review

Camera interface

Motorola DROID MAXX Review
Motorola DROID MAXX Review
Motorola DROID MAXX Review

As with most smartphone cameras, you get the best results when there is plenty of light, and this remains the case with the DROID MAXX. Images that we took outside on a sunny day were plenty bright, though some areas were over-exposed, but we did notice that the overall color reproduction of the images was a bit muted, instead of looking life-like and vibrant. Images also had plenty of detail, but when zooming in, we could see that it wasn’t quite as sharp as we would like.

For indoor images with bright light, images continued to look passable, but the ISO was at 640, which did cause for a bit of visible grain. As we moved to lower light, the ISO jumped all the way to 2500, which made the image plenty bright, but colors and details were noticeably blotchy looking. The single LED flash does a good job illuminating the room, but again we have an ISO of 2000 with a lot of grain, and colors have a bit of a green-hue to them.

Videos are recorded at 1080p resolution at 30fps and with a data rate of 17 Mbps, allowing for smooth playback without any jittering effect. Even though videos look good for the most part, we did notice that when going between bright and dark areas, it does take a few seconds for the exposure to readjust, and the focusing can take a couple seconds as well. Sound quality is pretty good, as it’s captured in 2ch stereo with a bit rate of 128 kbps and a 48 kHz sampling rate.


With the Motorola DROID MAXX being almost stock Android as possible, the gallery app is straight forward and easy to use without any unnecessary clutter. All pictures and videos are shown in a thumbnail view, based on their file directory. But there are still some built-in picture adjustments available, such as color effect, borders, and cropping.

When it comes to video playback, again there are no surprises here, as it can play pretty much any file you can though at it, including MPEG4, H.264/263, DivX and Xvid; all of which look nice on the 5” AMOLED display.

Gallery app - Motorola DROID MAXX Review
Motorola DROID MAXX Review
Video playback - Motorola DROID MAXX Review
Motorola DROID MAXX Review

Gallery app


Video playback


The standard Google Play Music app can access your stored music files on the phone, allows for purchasing of songs and albums, and don’t forget about the All Access subscription feature. The small micro-dots next to the camera is where the speaker is located, and even though it may not look like much, it is capable of being quite loud and producing some nice full tones. Still, we’d recommend using a pair of wired earbuds for a better quality music experience.

The standard Google Play Music app - Motorola DROID MAXX Review
The standard Google Play Music app - Motorola DROID MAXX Review
The standard Google Play Music app - Motorola DROID MAXX Review

The standard Google Play Music app

  • Options

posted on 09 Sep 2013, 04:31 4

1. _Bone_ (Posts: 2155; Member since: 29 Oct 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.

posted on 09 Sep 2013, 10:34 3

12. zevooptik (Posts: 3; Member since: 09 Sep 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.

posted on 09 Sep 2013, 06:08 1

2. techguyone (Posts: 208; Member since: 18 May 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.

posted on 09 Sep 2013, 06:12 4

3. o0Exia0o (Posts: 901; Member since: 01 Feb 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?

posted on 09 Sep 2013, 06:41 4

4. roldefol (Posts: 4365; Member since: 28 Jan 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.

posted on 09 Sep 2013, 06:48 4

5. kanagadeepan (Posts: 981; Member since: 24 Jan 2012)

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

posted on 09 Sep 2013, 06:59 1

6. roldefol (Posts: 4365; Member since: 28 Jan 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.

posted on 09 Sep 2013, 07:50 1

7. icofnc (Posts: 5; Member since: 11 May 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!

posted on 09 Sep 2013, 08:25

8. testman22 (Posts: 339; Member since: 03 Nov 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.

posted on 09 Sep 2013, 10:38

13. zevooptik (Posts: 3; Member since: 09 Sep 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.

posted on 09 Sep 2013, 16:15

19. testman22 (Posts: 339; Member since: 03 Nov 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.

posted on 09 Sep 2013, 17:44

20. lolrus (Posts: 29; Member since: 18 May 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)

posted on 09 Sep 2013, 11:06

15. SupermanayrB (Posts: 1026; Member since: 20 Mar 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.

posted on 09 Sep 2013, 11:39 1

17. roldefol (Posts: 4365; Member since: 28 Jan 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).

posted on 09 Sep 2013, 18:03

21. aymnga (Posts: 30; Member since: 19 Aug 2012)

U can buy sony xperia z1 with 20.7 mega pixel camera

posted on 09 Sep 2013, 08:26 2

9. spiral777 (Posts: 6; Member since: 04 Sep 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.

posted on 09 Sep 2013, 22:44

23. theruleslawyer (Posts: 108; Member since: 23 Apr 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.

posted on 09 Sep 2013, 08:34 4

10. jajones82 (Posts: 3; Member since: 14 May 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)

posted on 09 Sep 2013, 09:47 1

11. roldefol (Posts: 4365; Member since: 28 Jan 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.

posted on 09 Sep 2013, 10:51 2

14. g2a5b0e (Posts: 3814; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)

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.

posted on 09 Sep 2013, 11:42

18. roldefol (Posts: 4365; Member since: 28 Jan 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.

posted on 09 Sep 2013, 11:22 1

16. SupermanayrB (Posts: 1026; Member since: 20 Mar 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.

posted on 09 Sep 2013, 18:50

22. Jimstar (Posts: 259; Member since: 24 Oct 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.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 19:16

24. bwhiting (Posts: 188; Member since: 15 Jun 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.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 09:09 1

25. roldefol (Posts: 4365; Member since: 28 Jan 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.

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OS: Android 4.4.4 4.4 4.2.2
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
Display5.0 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (294 ppi) AMOLED
Camera10 megapixels
Motorola X8, Dual-core, 1700 MHz
Size5.41 x 2.80 x 0.33 inches
(137.5 x 71.2 x 8.5 mm)
5.89 oz  (167 g)

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