As we’ve seen on the Moto X, the DROID Ultra is using a new 10MP Clear Pixel camera. What does this mean? 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 combined with an f/2.4 aperture lens and 1.4 micron pixel size, it should produce pleasing results.

The camera interface is identical to the one of the Moto X, minimalistic in its nature with some basic settings and lack of 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.

Like most smartphone cameras, you get the best results when there is plenty of light, and this remains the case with the DROID Ultra. 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 Ultra 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.

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.



31. najib1312

Posts: 155; Member since: May 08, 2013

It's funny that The Verge only gave this phone and the Droid Maxx a measly 4.7 rating. PA really has to explain its rating system. I don't why Moto opted out to the Samsung way (a.k.a Plastic way). I used to love their solid aluminium/kevlar construction. This shift to plastic is a huge turn off for me.

32. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

Wow! Both this rating & the verge are bogus. I've been using Droids since day one & even though I did like the metal feel of it, my RAZR Maxx is very durable & the new MAXX felt durable as well. At the end of the day it's all about what the consumer prefers, not what some dudes who have phone blogs say about it.

24. RomeoJDR

Posts: 245; Member since: Dec 09, 2011

Ditching the micro SD slot is a huge downgrade from its predecessor. I love the Kevlar as it looks good and truly makes for the most scratch resistant phone out there but thats about it. Subpar screen, subpar processor (considering other top tier phones will now be released with S800), subpar camera and hardly any memory available for people to truly use it as a multimedia device. The first Droid Razr's were phenomenal with the RAZR raising the bar for thinness and the Maxx making a revolutionary change in smartphone battery life. The new line of Razrs just add to Verizon expanding overpriced lineup.

23. bwhiting

Posts: 188; Member since: Jun 15, 2013

I would give this phone either way, I can deal without the extra space. I have google drive so that helps me out when needed. It is reliable and I enjoy the Droid brand that Motorola portrays itself as. The fact that it is stock android means I don't have to deal with too much bloatware and if I don't get the Moto X twice for me and my girlfriend, I can at least get this and give her the Moto X instead.

21. testman22

Posts: 339; Member since: Nov 03, 2009

Any review coming for the Maxx? it has more storage, better battery, no shiny back and wireless charging- seems worthy of a higher score.

20. bigdgt

Posts: 7; Member since: Oct 22, 2011

If there was an sd card slot on the Maxx I would totally get it in a heart beat.

18. najib1312

Posts: 155; Member since: May 08, 2013

I don't see 8.7 in this device. Considering this is a flagship device, I would give it a 7.5/10 at max. Which Dumba** have thought that 9GB is sufficient for a flagship device??

15. avasponge

Posts: 44; Member since: May 03, 2012

The awkward moment when motorola's hero device gets a lower score than its droid

13. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

I'll make a more detailed comment about this review once I see the phone & compare it to my current devices (RAZR Maxx, GS4 & Optimus G Pro).

11. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

It looks like 8.7 is the new safe score. Close enough to a 9 so that the rabid Sony and Motorola fans don't complain about bias too much. And far away enough from the 9 scores to accurately place them as a step below the elite. Good job with the politics Phone arena.

9. greekmanx

Posts: 16; Member since: Oct 06, 2012

it is a nano sim btw

8. greekmanx

Posts: 16; Member since: Oct 06, 2012

Was any research done before conducting this review? The micro sim is under the volume rocker. Also battery concerns their is a low power core just for touchless controls to conserve batter no mention of that. You just say it could hurt battery life. I hate to complain I watch reviews on phone arena alot and this one was bad not well researched at all.

7. softfurryanus

Posts: 232; Member since: Jul 09, 2013

Last time I checked the Android OS was around 2.7 GB, not 4.97 GB. The extra accounts for Motorola's features as well as whatever bloatware, Verizon puts on it.

5. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

Terrible camera. A pity.

4. zachattack

Posts: 621; Member since: Jul 31, 2013

Everyone is all, I CAN'T TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 1080P AND 720p. My ass, 1080p is clearly more beautiful. These droid phones were dead the minute they were announced lets be honest

16. Jimstar

Posts: 259; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

Clearly to you, but your eyes are not mine, and whatever way you use your phone isn't mine either. At the distance I normally hold my phone, I CAN'T tell the difference. They're dead? Why because you and whatever portion of the vocal minority of the phone buying public that frequents this and other similar sites demand 1080p displays? Please...

17. Penywyz

Posts: 255; Member since: Aug 13, 2013

No, what everyone says, is that the AVERAGE human eye cannot really tell the difference in 1080p and 720p when the screen is under 30" or so... And that is correct, go ask an Optometrist if you don't believe me...

2. fouadqr

Posts: 326; Member since: Nov 21, 2012

The display looks bad !!

30. slavytodorov

Posts: 48; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

How do you know it looks bad?! I'm using a Galaxy Note 2 and it has a ppi of 267 which is less than the Droid Ultra. The screen looks perfectly fine to me.

1. belovedson

Posts: 1061; Member since: Nov 30, 2010

no sim or miscrosim? really? what is this sprint

6. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

It's Verizon exclusive. Here's hoping for for an international model with SIM, the MAXX sounds too good not to get.

10. ViBRATOt49

Posts: 17; Member since: Aug 06, 2009

the sim is in the volume rocker. check out droid-life website

12. Brewski

Posts: 739; Member since: Jun 05, 2012

FAUguy, you are mistaken about the Sim card being internal. The volume rocker doubles as the Sim tray which I think is ingenious both because it allows the phone to maintain clean lines and also there is no need for a tool in order to remove. Now if only they would have included a Micro SD slot... Check out the 2:20 mark

14. FAUguy

Posts: 79; Member since: Apr 09, 2008

Yes, we've now found this out, and are updating the review. The SIM card is part of the volume rocker. Thank you.

19. Brewski

Posts: 739; Member since: Jun 05, 2012

I haven't seen it written any where but does anyone know if it's splash proof like last years HD?

22. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

it is. Motorola still uses water repellent nano-coating on their new Droid devices and also on the Moto X.

25. slavytodorov

Posts: 48; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

Why didn't you do a Quadrant or a Vellamo benchmark? It's good for people to know exactly how well this device fairs against the other top-notch phones. I also think you should start doing app load time comparisons between the above mentioned.

26. FAUguy

Posts: 79; Member since: Apr 09, 2008

29. slavytodorov

Posts: 48; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

Well, I'm sorry then. I must say that the Droid Ultra, although being more of a mid-range device, does almost as well, if not better, than the competition of high-end smartphones. Motorola has done a really good job when it comes to performance. What I'm trying to say is that it shoudn't be considered "more of a mid-range device". Once again, sorry for not looking at the other benchmarks. Peace.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

  • Display 5.0 inches
    1280 x 720 pixels
  • Camera 10 MP (Single camera)
    2 MP front
  • Hardware Motorola X8, 2GB RAM
  • Storage 16GB,
  • Battery 2130 mAh
  • OS Android 4.4.4

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless