We can all agree that battery life is a pain-point for mobile phone users. This is something we've heard time and time again and done a fair bit of grumping about ourselves, but we've been yet to see a phone hit the market addressing the modern smartphone users need to charge their phones nightly, until now. The Motorola RAZR MAXX has landed and in tow is a 3300 mAh battery, a qHD 4.3-inch AMOLED display and a dual-core 1GHz processor. What's more, the RAZR MAXX is still something of a skinny binny, measuring in at under 9mm and sporting the same overall aesthetic as the RAZR. Considering it packs a battery akin to a small tablet, off the bat we can see the appeal, but how does it stack against the latest and greatest phones out now?
Motorola RAZR MAXX: Design
The Motorola RAZR MAXX looks like a something of a blunt RAZR. Coupling a slightly thicker chassis with the octagonal aesthetic as found on the RAZR, XOOM 2 and XOOM 2 Media Edition, it's distinctly Motorola.
On the front side is the 4.3-inch display, a front facing camera and LED notification light with 4 capacitive buttons below the screen. A volume rocker and power button are on the right side while to the left is a flap concealing the micro SIM card slot and micro SD card slot. Up top is a 3.5mm headphone jack, micro HDMI port and micro USB port.
This makes the RAZR MAXX an incredibly well connected device, though we're not fans of the overall look. Despite a smart gun metal trimming around the sides and Kevlar backing, the RAZR MAXX is cumbersome, with too much in the way of bezel around the screen and what feels like a surplus of surface area for a 4.3-inch device.
Motorola RAZR MAXX: Screen
On the subject of the screen, the qHD Super AMOLED panel on the Motorola RAZR MAXX doesn’t live up to AMOLED handsets we’ve seen in the past. There is a visible dot-matrix pattern upon close inspection and colours appear to bleed across pixels, reducing visible clarity. It's a shame as with Gorilla Glass protecting the screen, fantastic viewing angles and vibrant colours coupled with deep blacks, the Motorola RAZR MAXX display is otherwise pretty solid.
Motorola RAZR MAXX: User Interface
With no Ice Cream Sandwich on board the RAZR MAXX until the second half of the year, it's already behind the curb in terms of UI, however Motorola have brought some innovations to Gingerbread including optional social networking integration, smart actions and some charming visual flourishes.
With five homescreens to navigate across, swiping left to right activates a 3D transition and a subtle glow across the screen. Each screen can be personalised with widgets and shortcuts and there are four sticky shortcuts at the bottom of the display, set by default to phone, text, camera and apps, though these can be changed.
Motorola have also bundled some great functionality into their RAZR MAXX in terms of apps. MOTOPRINT for example lets you print a range of documents from your phone, MOTOCAST enabling remote access to your Mac or PC files and Smart Actions offering a Locale type trigger system, allowing you to set rules to trigger actions. such as:
Rule: between the hours of 9am - 5pm
Action: switch off mobile data
In our tests all these worked very well, adding a great amount of value to the Motorola RAZR MAXX.
Motorola RAZR MAXX: Camera and multimedia
An 8-megapixel sensor and f/2.4 lens are behind the Motorola RAZR MAXX’s camera which performs well overall. Images aren't as sharp as those of, the Samsung Galaxy S3 as they are softened to counter noise. That said, the reduced noise means better low-light performance which is a plus. The macro functionality on the Motorola RAZR is exceptional. While at 100% things look a little soft, they are certainly good enough to be printed 7x5 or viewed on screen. We'd place it behind the HTC One X and Galaxy S3, but not by too long a stretch.
Full HD Video performance is pretty good but nothing spectacular, with above average overall detail marred by occasional jerky moments and uneven metering.
Unfortunately, when it comes to multimedia the screen lets the handset down all over again, with photos looking far better exported to a PC than on the native screen and movies looking slightly hazy and over contrasted. It isn’t a bad experience per se, but neither does it make the hours you get out of the RAZR MAXX feel premium.
Motorola RAZR MAXX: Connectivity and Storage
As mentioned in the user interface section, the Motorola RAZR MAXX packs some great connected features in terms of software, however the hardware isn't too shabby either. The phone itself offers Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth as well as microSD card support for up to an additional 32GB. There's 8GB of memory on board already making the RAZR MAXX a sizeable storage device. In terms of physical ports, there's a micro HDMI and micro USB port up top.
Web browsing is solid, though Gingerbread's browser is starting to show signs of cracking. That said, operation is smooth, flash content doesn't tend to grind things to a halt and exporting to a TV makes for a handy big screen experience.
Motorola RAZR MAXX: Performance and Battery
With its 1.2GHz OMAP processor and 1GB RAM it’s little wonder the Motorola RAZR MAXX powers through most tasks with applications running smoothly and as mentioned, delivers good overall web-browsing.
No removable battery? No problem. Culminating the review is battery life, the feature that gives the Motorola RAZR MAXX its name and we found we needed to charge ours on average once every two days with moderate use. Light use and you're looking nearer three days..
Motorola RAZR MAXX: Conclusion
The Motorola RAZR MAXX is virtually the same phone as the Motorola RAZR released towards the end of last year, only now it has a fantastic battery and an even more out of date OS. The phone may not look amazing, however delivers solid performance across the board without too much girth. The battery life truly is worth shouting about, lasting at least two days, so if you can handle Gingerbread and excess fascia, we can confidently recommend you snap one up.