Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX

This is the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX on Verizon. Looks a lot like the Motorola Droid RAZR on Verizon, doesn't it? Because it is. You can sum up the MAXX in a single sentence: It's a Motorola DROID RAZR, with a bigger battery. Period, end of story. The software's the same. The hardware's nearly identical. It just has a larger-capacity battery, making the phone slightly thicker.

That can't be the whole review, can it? Well, it most certainly can. Or it could be. But it's not.

The Good

It's still big, it's still fast, and it's still got a lot of great software enhancements from Motorola. And now it has a bigger-capacity battery, that makes the phone feel better, too.

The Bad

It's still got Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread. We've decided we don't like the display after all. And although the the battery's bigger, you still can't swap it out for a fresh one.


This is the Droid RAZR with a bigger batter. And it's what Motorola and Verizon should have released in November, plain and simple.

Inside this review

More info

The hands-on, versus the Droid RAZR, and other hardware stuff

Motorola Droid RAZR MAXXMotorola Droid RAZR MAXX

By now you've probably read our full Motorola Droid RAZR review. If not, go do it now. We'll wait.

The takeaway is that it was a fast, thin phone (perhaps a tad too thin), with one major concern -- the 1780 mAh battery that couldn't be removed. As we've seen time and time again, 4G LTE data chews through a battery. It might not be an issue for everybody, and obviously devices like the iPhone have shown you can get away without removable batteries. But in the abstract, we want to be able to swap in a fresh battery.

Motorola Droid RAZR MAXXMotorola Droid RAZR MAXX

So the Droid RAZR MAXX takes care of this by not adding a removable battery, but by nearly doubling the capacity to 3300 mAh. That's definitely a respectable number. But what's really worth shouting from the rooftops is that Motorola did it without grossly distorting the design of the phone. Whereas smartphones usually end up looking like Quasimodo when they strap on a high-capacity extended battery, the MAXX is still manages to come in at 8.99 mm at its thinnest. (The phone's just a bit thicker up by the camera, just like the original Droid RAZR.)

In other words, nearly the same phone, with nearly twice the battery life. Bazinga.

Here's our hands-on with the Droid RAZR MAXX at CES.

Youtube link for mobile viewing

So, yeah. It's the same phone, with a bigger battery. No, really. Same Motorola model number (XT912) and FCC ID (IHDP56ME1) and everything.

Here it is next to the original Droid RAZR. It's almost tough to tell which is which.

Motorola Droid RAZR and RAZR MAXX

Two real questions, then, two answer about the Droid RAZR MAXX: How does it feel, and how did the battery do.

Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX

It's still a big, slightly awkward phone. It's still wide (about 2.71 inches) and tall (more than 5 inches). That hasn't changed from the original Droid RAZR. At all. They're exactly the same dimensions. But the extra 1.9 mm of thickness actually makes it feel better in the hand -- the MAXX loses a bit of its lanky feel. Hands-down, it's an improvement across the board. Looks better, feels better, and you get a big-ass battery in the process.

So, how does it perform? Exactly like the original Droid RAZR. With a higher-capacity battery. That's it. No more, no less. Oh, you'll get some great usage out of this phone, no doubt. But remember it's because there's more gas in the tank, not because you've suddenly got some magical runs-all-day engine.

Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX

That picture you see above? That's more than two days of relative un-use -- the phone just sitting around. Now something was pinging it a little more than it should have been, because other standby tests we've done have fared much better. As in, it can sit around even longer, get picked up and still be ready to go. Craziness.

In our use, we got through a tough day with relative ease -- leaving Wifi turned off and with an occasionally spotty LTE signal. Having a 3300 mAh battery will do that. At least it damed well better do it. But what we were really wanting to test was standby time. The Droid RAZR did OK when left unplugged overnight. That has as much to do with good coding as anything else. But combine that with the monster battery on the MAXX, and we're not going to freak out if we wake up and realize we forgot to charge overnight. The phone will need to have some charge, in it, of course, but the point is it's not leaking itself to death while you sleep.

Plus, the MAXX has Motorola's sweet Smart Actions feature -- a preloaded app that lets you tweak all sorts of settings and set triggers -- so you can eke out that much more usage time.

Again, none of this is surprising. Larger-capacity battery equals longer usage time. Period.

Wait -- something is different! (Only, not really)

Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX

So here's the thing: We're not digging the display on the MAXX. We're definitely noticing the PenTile makeup again, which gives things a bit of a checkered look. And that we're bothered by it on the MAXX is a little odd, since we (erm, me, in particular) were perfectly OK with the qHD display (540x960) on the original Droid RAZR. And because save for the battery battery nothing else has changed, that leaves us thinking a couple things.

  1. Recent phones with 720p displays have ruined us for lower resolutions. That's possible, we suppose.
  2. We gave the original Droid RAZR a pass when we reviewed it in November. Entirely possibly as well.
  3. A combination of the two. This is probably the likely culprit.

Anyhoo -- the technology behind the MAXX's display hasn't changed. You've got 4.3 inches of Super AMOLED with a PenTile matrix. If you hated it before, you'll hate it now. If you thought it was OK before -- well, you might hate it now. Be sure to give it a go in stores before you buy.

Droid RAZR MAXX specs

The software

Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX

Hasn't. Changed. One. Bit. Still running Android 2.3.5. Still full of preloaded applications. And it's still awaiting an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

The cameras

Also unchanged. You've got an 1.3-megapixel shooter out front, and an 8MP shooter 'round back.

Front-facing camera test

Youtube link for mobile viewing

Rear-facing camera test

Youtube link for mobile viewing

The wrap-up

If we'd bought a Motorola Droid RAZR, we'd be pretty unhappy right about now. Sure, the price dropped $100 to $199. And that's all well and good. But the Droid RAZR MAXX is a better phone, released just a couple months after the original DROID RAZR, with a better battery and better feel because of it. And that's pretty damn inexcusable. 

At no point in the design process did anyone stop and say "Are we only making the RAZR thing for the sake of it being thin?" We're pretty sure someone did. And they were probably shot down. The Droid RAZR was "thinnest" for the sake of being "thinnest." (Never mind that only part of the phone was "thinnest.") The Droid RAZR MAXX is what it should have been. 

The MAXX is an above-average smartphone by just about anyone's definition. We'd probably prefer a removable battery, but the larger capacity on the MAXX lessens that pain. It wouldn't surprise us in the least to see it phase out the original Droid RAZR altogether. That's good news for new buyers, but it's gotta leave a bad taste in the mouths of the early adopters.


Reader comments

Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX Review


Yep, I'm not going back to Moto until they give up PenTile. I had an Droid X2 and have a Photon 4G, and you can see the issues.

Motorola pimps out their phones by flooding the market with them... its ridiculous. They focus on new devices rather than improving the old ones and quality control. I have a Bionic and absolutely hate the thing as it can't seem to keep 1X/EVDO/LTE connections.

I didn't like the screen on the original RAZR and didn't like the fact that you couldn't remove the battery. It still has the same problem, but the other problem is somewhat ameliorated. Nice looking phone though.

I still don't understand why people would patronize a company that releases the same phone 2 months later with a larger battery that you cannot replace. Moto, get your S*** together and your head out of your Butt and become the great AMERICAN company we all know you can be and build stuff that works. These razr's are just awkward any way you look at them. If people buy this phone, they are gonna be sorry. No Moto stuff for me until they put something out that actually makes sense! Get that there?

The Maxx is awesome! Battery lasts for 3days...easy to hold. Great screen, super crisp images, very smooth and fast... Never freezes..... Never lags. It has an attractive look to it.... Solid quality build to it too.
If you have any negatives to say about it without using g it for a week or so, your just a snob! Ive had it for 2weeks now.... Not a single flaw!! It runs perfect! It's worth the extra price!
Nice job Moto!

I was at the vzw store on 11/11/11 to get this awesome Razr. I knew the battery might be an issue,but assumed smart actions was the key.I must admit I love this phone, especially Motocast, where I can access my 60+ gigs of itunes off my PC.
I am angry that the MAXX was released a few months later and my phone dropped a $100. I would have bought the MAXX if I had a choice. I am an early adopter and I know the risk...but Damn, this one hurt!

I'm thinking about upgrading from a DROIDX to a RAZR MAXX. Does the screen resolution bother you at all? That's the only thing that really concerns me the most. What I mean it worth putting up with the pen tile display in order to ACTUALLY have all the smart features running on the device since battery life isn't an issue? I'd love to finally even be able to have a running live wallpaper at all times and GPS tracking too.

If you bought a Razr from a third party retailer, chances are you still had time to return the moment the Maxx was unveiled. Never buy direct from the carrier if you can help it, surely that's common sense by now.
Me personally, If I had to get a new phone soon and I wasn't waiting on the D4, I'd buy a Razr and spend the $100 difference on a class 10 SD card and an external charger.

Does anybody know what version blur is on this device??? I love the favorite contacts Widgets on the home screen but my Photon 4G doesn't have that. Or I have not found it. I have looked at all my Widgets and can't find anything like it. Thanks guys. :)

Come on phil, ive compared the razr and gnexus lcd and the razr wins. Once again android central is hellbent on anything nexus.

if you think ac is bad, go over to droid-life and check them out...might as well change the name to nexus-life...every single story save for "oh yeah, the razr and rezound came out today" was about the nexus from the time it was announced til launch...its not as bad anymore, but the readers(commenters) are still trolling the stories about non-nexus phones with nexus comments

You have to be kidding me if you think the razr screen looks better, admit you are just trying to justify your purchase or are you really that deluded that you think the razr screen looks better with its low resolution mess of a checkered pentile display?

That doesn't make any sense, the screen on the Nexus is objectively better. Not to mention the Galaxy Nexus doesn't have an LCD screen. Your phone is still good, the screen just isn't as good as some of the others out there. Also you are the one that mentioned the Nexus I think.

I have a Droid X. Friend has the Razr MAXX. We were comparing phones and wow..we both said, "do you see that blue tinge?" (referring to the MAXX). It's the same blue tinge that we've witnessed on the SGS2 also. Can anyone explain this?

But, if my Droid X isn't right next to the Maxx you can't tell there's a blue tinge at all.

so what was the point of this? we already know its just the Razr but with a bigger battery and as a result of bigger battery its slightly thicker

I bought a Razor Max. Was so looking forward to the 4g. However I have had issues since I bought it. First my AOL mail was received but not sent. Went to Verizon they said they were not reasonable for third party software to contact AOL. AOL said it was the settings on the phone went back to Verizon. They went to a google forum and changed the "pops" Ports.
At that time the mail worked but with delays. I also had issues with AOL mail syncing with Facebook. Since resolved that issue. Now my mail has not updated since 4 pm yesterday. Tried to do it manually but didn't work. Never had any issues with my Droid X. There have been other issues as well. Not being able to keep a 3g signal for one. Droid X never had an issue with the signal. Verizon doesn't even have 4g in our area. To much for me to even write about. I wish I had not sold my Droid X. My advice don't buy a razor max

The Maxx is awesome! Battery lasts for 3days...easy to hold. Great screen, super crisp images, very smooth and fast... Never freezes..... Never lags. It has an attractive look to it.... Solid quality build to it too.
If you have any negatives to say about it without using g it for a week or so, your just a snob! Ive had it for 2weeks now.... Not a single flaw!! It runs perfect! It's worth the extra price!
Nice job Moto!

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