Droid Razr Maxx HD Review

Motorola used to be known for its infamous “MotoBlur,” which was their own Android replacement UI which was strangely focused on social networking. Eventually they made the UI less intrusive, but there was still lag. Then came the fateful day on May 22, 2012 when Google announced their deal to acquire of Motorola Mobility, Motorola’s cell phone division, had closed. This sent a feeling of warmth throughout the Android community knowing that Google would finally be able to design their own phones, et al Apple. While the old Motorola designs and plans were already “in the tubes” you can definitely tell that Google has had an influence on their newly acquired company, with it’s dedication to pushing out updates faster and scaling back Blur and making it much more useful all in all.

Today we will be taking a look at the Droid Razr Maxx HD variant from Verizon. The phone is what some consider to be one of Verizon Wireless’ flagship phones. It bares the DROID moniker along with the distinctive design that goes along with it. At first glance the phone looks rather large, black, and militaristic. Lets dive a little deeper.

The Hardware: A lot of phones these days feel like they are too easy to break. Made of all plastic (looking at you Samsung) and begging to break from a single drop. This phone is the exact opposite of that. Like I stated earlier it feels militaristic. It is black, wrapped in kevlar, and has 3 sharp distinctive buttons on the side. The front panel is all glass with a large bezel on the bottom. It boasts a Motorola logo on the earpiece and underneath the logo is a neat feature that hasn’t been done until now, a notification LED. On the bottom bezel is the large emblazoned Verizon logo. On the right hand side of the device you have 3 buttons, a power button and the volume rocker, on the left hand side you have a micro USB charging port along with an ever-so-handy micro-HDMI out port. The back side of the phone is wrapped in sleek-looking kevlar that adds to the boldness, along with the 8MP camera, LED flash, and speaker grill. The top of the phone carries the standard 3.5mm headphone jack, and the bottom has nothing to be seen. On the inside of the device all components are splash-coated (water resistant) as well.

The Cameras: The main camera is definitely the least impressive part of this device. While it packs 8MP the images it produces are slightly subpar. They seem dark and almost unfocused with a tad discoloration. A lot of other reviews out there have made the camera out to be completely horrendous, and while the camera is subpar I wouldn’t even call the picture quality bad, just “not great.” The Razr HD also packs a 1.3MP front facing camera for taking pictures of oneself, and video chatting.

The Software: The Razr HD and Maxx HD, both shipped with Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich. While ICS is over a year old and is still a fantastic OS, it pales in comparison to the my Galaxy Nexus running Jelly Bean 4.1. Don’t fret though, The Razr HD has Jelly Bean on the way, promised to drop before the end of the year. Verizon also said they were getting out of the App business by next year. This in return (hopefully) will help reduce the bloat that’s installed  on Android handsets. The rumor is Jelly Bean is to be released on December 17th. (Cross your fingers)

The Display: The phone has a 1280 x 720 pixel Super AMOLED screen with a 312 PPI (Pixels Per Inch) display. With the subpixels laid out in a Pentile format the display is what some consider to be oversaturated, with a blueish tint. In everyday usage a regular person wouldn’t know a difference but when compared to other photos zoomed in you can see a slight difference. In the smartphone world “pentile” holds a certain stigma due to the fact you can usually see the difference between other phones and pentile ones, but on this device one would not see a difference unless looking VERY closely at the unit, and to even see the pentile layout I had to hold the phone practically up to my eye. While I have no qualms with the display itself I do not like how hard it is to sometimes see the screen itself in sunlight. It seems as if the screen is too far away from the glass that houses it.

The Battery: Packing a 3,300mAh battery, one of the largest batteries available in a smartphone, beating the Galaxy Note II by 200mAh. The Razr Maxx HD hands down best feature is the battery. Most smartphones are judged by if they can make it through a days usage. I have been able to use this phone pretty consistently for 30+ hours of use and end with still 15%+ battery life before charging. Depending on your signal strength and/or wifi use you can easily make it through a day with very heavy usage and end up with battery life to give. I have spent over an hour playing one of my favorite games, Jetpack Joyride, and only lost 5% battery life. If this is the direction smartphones are headed, this is a direction I like.

Sneak Peak: A while ago someone found a Jelly Bean leak for the Droid Razr HD, and Maxx HD floating around on Motorola’s servers and was able to download it before it was taken down. They subsequently uploaded it to multiple forums and gave instructions on how to install it. Being a member of The Noisecast and loving my (already great) Maxx HD. I decided to install it for you fine folks who are reading this. The update is by no means the final build that will be released by Verizon but I can tell you it is much smoother than ICS, buttery smooth even. The update also seems to have made the camera better as well. If you are daring enough and want to try the leak for yourself here is the link to learn how to root and install JB.

Closing: As was said earlier some smartphones have 1 thing that makes them stand out. The Droid RAZR Maxx HD has its one as well, it’s massive battery. Although Motorola put the focus on the battery, they did not compromise as much as one would imagine. The design, in my opinion, is top notch. It feels solid, not cheap, and built like a tank. Ice Cream Sandwich is showing its age but with Jelly Bean on the way I have no qualms with waiting for the update. The Display, while being pentile, is crisp and colorful. It seems to be a little to far from the glass protecting it, causing glare issues in bright sunlight, though. The camera are sub par but I will take that compromise. Overall if you want a phone that will last a long time, battery-wise and design-wise, the Droid Razr Maxx HD is the phone for you.

Source: Rooting Tutorial (RootzWiki)

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