While there have been a number of excellent Android phones to grace the market in recent months, many of us are still undecided on which one to go for. While each boast their own unique features and selling points, you might just be looking for a ‘down to earth’ phone that can get you through the day and still cater to your smartphone fix. Well, the Motorola Razr Maxx is here to save the day, and despite some shortcomings is still a good phone to pick up.
Build quality & Design
The Razr Maxx builds upon the original Motorola Droid Razr in almost every way. The only major difference is that the ‘Maxx’ stands for the slightly larger battery, which provides some truly excellent performance on a single charge. The Razr Maxx sports the same solid build quality as the Droid Razr, complete with a Gorilla Glass front and a textured back that makes the phone easy to grip and keeps fingerprints at bay. The top of the phone has a slight ‘bump’, which is about the only design difference from the original Razr. The phone measures 5.2 x 2.7 x 0.35 inches, and despite its somewhat large size is comfortable to hold and operate with one hand.
On the top of the phone are ports for headphones, USB connectivity, and mini-HDMI. The right side has a small but easy to press power button as well as volume controls. At the bottom left side is a small panel that hides slots for your SIM card as well as microSD for additional storage space. One thing to notice is that the back battery cannot be removed, so if there are any issues you’re going to have to send the phone straight in to the service center.
While there are certainly more powerful phones on the market at the moment, the Razr Maxx does offer a decent set of specifications for most of your needs.
User Interface and Apps
Although the Razr Maxx looks and feels like a great phone, its software is somewhat prehistoric. Still running Android 2.3, it’s hard to understand why Motorola haven’t pushed a newer version of Android to this handset yet.
Sitting on top of Android is Motorola’s own user interface, which swaps out the standard Android icons for its own jazzier versions. You’ve got five desktops to contend with, and swiping left or right results in a glossy transition across the screen and widgets. It’s all a bit flash really, and the more widgets you have on-screen the slower the transition runs.
In addition to the standard Android apps, Motorola has bundled a few of their own which are worth mentioning. The music player is well organized and even allow you to stream music from DLNA servers, complete with lyrics – just bear in mind that active DLNA connections will start to affect your battery life. There’s also a Social Networking app to combine updates from your various social networks, although opting for the bespoke Twitter and Facebook apps are recommended. Social Location lets you tag interesting venues around you, while MotoPrint lets you connect to compatible printers to print files directly from your phone. You can also setup MotoCast, which allows you to connect to a computer and view or download files straight from your phone. As long as the target computer is switched on and configured properly, you will be able to get to your files without connecting to a PC. It’s not as seamless as other solutions such as Google Docs, but is still a useful feature to have. Lastly, there’s Motorola’s Smart Actions, which lets you define various actions on your phone – for example you can define a smart action to turn off your ringer volume and wifi when you’re heading to bed, or turn off your emails on the weekend. There are an infinite number of things you can do, and implementing these Smart Actions can not only save you time, but also battery life.
Screen and Camera
The screen on the Razr Maxx is certainly bright, but isn’t as crisp as other newer Android phones or the iPhone 4. Even so, it’s large enough for comfortable viewing of documents and web pages and even outdoors it made for comfortable viewing.
The camera however, is a mixed bag. While the 8 megapixel camera produced clear images, at time it produced really muted colors, and the autofocus occasionally took its own time before I was able to snap a photo. Certainly newer phones that have a lag-free shutter will overpower the Razr Maxx, but if you’re patient enough you can pull off some decent photos in good lighting. The phone is capable of 1080p video recording, which is good enough for uploading to YouTube, but certainly doesn’t look like HD video if you want to use the footage for anything else.
Multimedia and Call Quality
Watching videos and listening to music on the Razr Maxx were certainly quite good. The phone did have a bit of difficulty with videos that had a lot of dark colors, but most other videos played back without a hitch. Music also sounded crisp through the phone’s speaker, but only if the phone is face-down, as the speaker is on the back of the device. Still, opting for headphones will give you the best experience, and the various equalizer settings provide any necessary boost to your songs. Call quality was also quite good, with no interference or issues when making or receiving phone calls.
The biggest draw of the Razr Maxx is its battery life. On a full charge, I was able to get through nearly two days of usage, with Wi-fi always on, syncing emails, and playing YouTube clips and music. That’s a really good pull for anyone who needs a phone that will literally be up and running from the time they wake up to the moment they have to head to bed. Even with the larger battery, a full charge took about four hours, which is quite good considering the amount of usage you can squeeze out of a single charge.
The Motorola Razr Maxx doesn’t do anything revolutionary from the Motorola Droid Razr, but what it does do is deliver some much needed uptime thanks to its improved battery. While the older Android OS doesn’t do much for the phone, we can still hope that Motorola releases an updated version soon for this device. If you’re looking for a phone that needs to make it through a rugged day of usage, then this is the one to go for.