Connected: Razr Maxx among leading Androids
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The Motorola Droid Razr Maxx from Verizon Wireless is one of the coolest Android phones on the market. It's slim, light, good looking and fun to use. And Motorola touts it as having a great battery life with 21.5 hours of talk time.
On that last point, though, I didn't find the Razr Maxx to live up to its reputation. In fact, over an extended period, it needed to be charged once or twice a day in normal operation. You'd think that a phone with battery saver features and a 3300 mAh lithium ion battery would last forever. (For context, the iPhone 5 uses a 1440 mAh battery, giving it 1,440 million amps sustained per hour or roughly 40 percent of capacity of the one in the Razr Maxx.)
There are various functions in smartphones that chew up power fast, such as playing video, connecting to 4G LTE or Bluetooth devices, or extended periods far away from a cellular station, which requires your phone to work harder to get signals. We were careful to make sure that we had all the big power-consuming features off while making our observations. Yet we never got several days of use between charges.
The phone itself passes the high school test. That's the one where you hand it to your teenage daughter and see her reactions and what her friends say. At only .35 inches thick, the phone is better than simply slim enough to be almost unnoticeable in your pocket; it's also something that causes your friends to take notice.
On most phones, when you slide your finger against a page of icons, the icons slide with your finger as you turn to the next page; but with the Razr Maxx, the resulting page slides forward as if it were hidden behind the page you had previously seen.
Motorola engineers did a great job of tweaking the user experience. They separated the apps into several groupings -- for frequently used apps, Verizon apps, downloaded apps etc. You can also make your own groups, making every day use just a bit easier than the standard paradigm.
In addition, you have an almost-always within sight quick press to get to your key widgets. Ours were Advanced Task Killer, Analog Clock and Sticky Notes. And they put your four most important contacts where you'll gain instant access quickly, so you don't need to find them in your contact list. That's a function that I've seen in many variations on other phones, some done more successfully than others.
The camera performs a bit below average in general use. It often takes multiple touches to get the camera to focus properly on the subject that you've selected. That makes it somewhat more difficult to grab your camera and take a quick picture of something that happens on the spot. However, for posed photos, you won't even notice it.
I love the light weight -- at 5.1 ounces, it's about 20 percent heavier than an iPhone 5. Assuming your Droid Razr Maxx consumes power at the advertised rate, this is quite a feat because battery life is normally directly proportional to battery weight.
Finally, the Razr Maxx has an unusual tactile feel when you touch the screen, reminiscent of the Blackberry Bold touchscreens, only it is more accurate than the Blackberries I have reviewed. The Razr Maxx is priced at $199 from Verizon Wireless (with 2-year plan) or $649 direct from Motorola.
First Published January 6, 2013 12:00 am