Motorola has launched the Motorola Razr Maxx in the UK. It resembles its predecessor, the Razr, runs on Android and promises extended battery life – hence the. It’s available to purchase SIM-free for around £400. Read more smartphone reviews.

Motorola Razr Maxx: Design

It's almost impossible to tell the Razr Maxx apart from the previous model. They share an identical shape, with distinctive clipped corners, and size of 69 x 131mm.  

Identical, that is, until you turn the phone over and realise the Razr Maxx doesn't have the crazily thin 7.1mm profile of the Razr. It's been expanded to 10.6mm at its thickest point to accomodate the larger battery.

Since the Razr Maxx is fatter than the Razr, it's unsurprisingly heavier, too. But it's certainly no wrist-breaker at 144g. 

We really like the look and feel of the woven Kevlar found on the rear, and if you want a tough phone then you'll be pleased to hear the Razr Maxx has Corning Gorilla Glass and a water-repellent coating.

Power and volume buttons are found on the right-hand edge while exposed ports reside on the top side. The Micro-SIM card and microSD card slots are hidden underneath a plastic flap on the left hand side.

Motorola Razr Maxx: Build quality

The Razr Maxx is as solid as a rock. It feels stiff and well-made in the hand. 

Buttons and ports are tactile and the Kevlar rear lets the phone stand out from the competition. We didn't set about finding exactly how bullet proof it may be.

Motorola Razr Maxx: Hardware

The Razr Maxx is equipped with the same complement of hardware as the Razr – namely a 1.2GHz Texas Instruments dual-core processor and 1GB RAM. This is respectable even while handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S III and HTC One X boast quad-core chips.

We didn't find the dual-core processor to struggle with tasks during general use. The Motorola Razr Maxx also performed well in the Geekbench 2 test, managing an average of 1084 points, a higher score than Sony’s flagship Xperia S, for instance, which scored 922 points. 

At 16GB, storage is generous compared to most Google phones, so there's internal space enough for some apps, music and films. If that’s not enough, a microSDHC card accepts cards up to 32GB in capacity.

The 4.3in Super AMOLED Advanced screen takes a qHD resolution: that’s 540 x 960 pixels. The screen is bright, vivid and reasonably sharp with a high pixel density of 256ppi, higher than that of the Samsung Galaxy S II. The large size lends itself well to tasks like web browsing, gaming and watching video. 

The Razr Maxx has standard 11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 plus the rarer inclusion of a Micro HDMI port – handy if you want to play games or watch a film rented from the Play Store on a bigger screen.

Alternatively you could try this wirelessly by making use of the digital living network alliance (DLNA) certification.


Motorola Razr Maxx: Camera

In keeping with the other hardware the Razr Maxx boasts an 8Mp rear camera with LED flash and a 1.3MP front facing camera.

The camera app, accessible via the lock screen, is simple to use with a range of easily accessible effects and settings. Results from the rear camera were consistently good with detailed and natural-looking photos. The rear camera is able to shoot video content in full-HD 1920 x 1080 size. 

The front-facing camera produced an excellent, if slightly oversaturated, picture for video chats or taking self-portraits.

Motorola Razr Maxx: Software

Software is the area where the Razr Maxx is more out of touch. It runs Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread, although Motorola has confirmed an update to 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich will arrive next month. Even if it keeps this promise, the Maxx will still be behind the curve now that 4.1 (Jelly Bean) is on the scene.

The user interface runs perfectly well on the Razr Maxx with smooth animations and a decent lock screen. But set against the slowly expanding roster of phones running Android 4.0, it just looks so dated.

There are plenty of pre-loaded apps on the Razr Maxx including the usual gang of Google services plus Amazon Kindle, Quickoffice and GoToMeeting. We got excited by the inclusion of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit – only to discover it was a trial version.

Motorola also included its own apps, some of which are extremely good. We particularly like Smart Actions which automatically adjust settings based on user defined parameters. For example, it can turn certain functions off when the battery drops below a certain level or automatically switch silent mode off and on between certain hours of the day.

Motocast is found within a number of apps. This allows media content, such as music, video or documents to be streamed from a home computer no matter where you are (as long as the machine is turned on).

Motorola Razr Maxx: Battery life

One of the selling points of the Razr Maxx is the battery life, since it’s fitted with a whopping 12.2Wh battery, around twice the capacity of most smartphones. 

And we weren't disappointed with the result, the Razr Maxx lasted us a total of four days use before we needed to charge it. This is twice as long as the competition and a notable achievement, especially when you consider the devices isn't all that chunky. 

NEXT PAGE: Original PCWorld US review >>

If the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx looks familiar, that’s because it is virtually identical to theDroid Razr. The big difference between the Razr Maxx and the Razr is battery life: Motorola claims that the Razr Maxx gets 21 hours of talk time on a charge. One of the weaknesses I found with the original Razr is that battery life drained rapidly over Verizon’s LTE, a common problem among the carrier’s fleet of 4G phones. Are Motorola’s claims true? Does the Droid Maxx’s battery hold up over 4G? While we didn’t finish talk time testing in time for this review (we will update once it is complete), the Razr Maxx’s handled video streaming and gaming over LTE with very little strain on the battery. See also Group test: what's the best Android phone.

(Editor’s Note: The Software, Display and some of the Design sections of this review were taken from the original Droid Razr review as the phones are almost identical).

Design

The Droid Razr Maxx is pretty much identical to the Droid Razr in design however it is slightly thicker and heavier. But really, the difference isn’t too noticeable. The Razr Maxx weighs 5.11 ounces and measures 0.35 inches thick while the Razr weighs 4.48 ounces and measures 0.28-inches thick. The Razr Maxx is still incredibly thin and is on par in slimness with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

The soft-touch back is made out of Kevlar, a material found in high-end speedboats, bulletproof jackets, and bicycle tires. According to Motorola, Kevlar is five times stronger than steel. Using Kevlar on a phone seems a bit, well, weird, but I was surprised with how delicate it felt and how attractive it looked.

The solid feel comes from the Droid Razr’s stainless steel core. It also has splashguard technology, which will protect it if you happen to get caught in the rain or spill something on your phone.

Super AMOLED Display

We’ve knocked other Motorola smartphones, such as the Photon (Sprint) and the Droid Bionic (Verizon) in the past for its PenTile displays. The Droid Razr, however, ships with a 4.3-inch qHD (Quarter High Definition), 960-by-540-pixel Super AMOLED display. According to Motorola, the Super AMOLED technology should solve some of the battery issues associated with LTE phones. This technology has lower current consumption, which helps to conserve battery life.

The Droid Razr’s display has excellent viewing angles and visibility outdoors, two trademarks of Super AMOLED technology. Blacks are very deep and whites are bright, but colors look a bit oversaturated (another trademark of Super AMOLED display technology.

I did a side-by-side comparison of the Droid Razr against the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 4S has a slightly higher resolution at 960-by-640, with a pixel density of 330 pixels per inch (I could not find any pixel density information for the Razr). While I appreciated the extra screen real estate on the Razr, the iPhone 4S’s 3.5-inch display looked sharper, with better color accuracy.

Performance

As I mentioned previously, we haven’t yet lab tested Motorola’s claims that the Droid Maxx can withstand 21 hours of talk time. I did some informal tests over 4G, however and was quite impressed with the Droid Maxx’s battery life. After playing Minecraft for 20 minutes, battery life decreased only 5%. I also ran the State of the Union address on YouTube (which runs for 1:05:13) in HQ (high quality) and battery life only dropped by 20%. I played the game Madden NFL 12 (which comes preloaded on the Razr Maxx) for 10 minutes and the battery didn’t drain at all.

Not only did battery life hold strong in these games, but performance was excellent. The graphics look terrific on the Razr Maxx’s display and gameplay was smooth without any glitches. Overall, this is an excellent gaming phone. The Razr’s 1.2GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4430 processor scored a notable 1040 on the Vellamo mobile benchmarking app for Android (made by Qualcomm).
Call quality was very good over Verizon’s network in San Francisco. I got coverage almost everywhere I went and never experienced any dropped calls. My friends and family sounded loud and clear, with no static or distortion.

Software

The Droid Razr runs Android 2.3.5. It isn’t a pure version of Android, but it isn’t Motorola’s busy (and often annoying) custom overlay/service, MotoBlur. It does retain some of the MotoBlur widgets. The interface is almost identical to that of the Droid Bionic, but with a few tweaks. The widgets are resizable, and you can scroll through them; in the calendar widget, for example, you can scroll through a whole day’s worth of events rather than viewing one event at a time.

Like the Bionic, you get the ZumoCast app/service, though here it has been renamed MotoCast. MotoCast lets you access remote files on your PC without having to upload or sync your files. You can access everything from PowerPoint files to your iTunes playlists on your Razr. Even though the Razr has plenty of capacity (1GB of RAM, 16GB of on-board storage, and a preinstalled 16GB MicroSD card), I find it nice to be able to access videos, documents, photos, and other media files without having to download them to the device or upload them to a cloud service.

Motorola is determined to solve the LTE battery life situation. Smart Actions, a new app, lets you set reminders to notify you when you should recharge your phone (for example, when you go to bed). If you forget to plug your phone in, you can set a Smart Action called “Nighttime Battery Saver,” which adjusts your phone’s network and screen settings to make your battery last longer the next day.

Smart Actions aren’t just about saving battery life. You can create different profiles (Work, Home, Workout, and so on) and set rules for each scenario. If you don’t want your phone to ring out loud when you’re at work, you can set a rule called Quiet Location so your phone automatically goes into silent mode during work hours. Overall, Smart Actions is an easy-to-use, clever app. Although you’ll have to spend a bit of time setting up the rules for each profile, once that's done, Smart Actions will make all the adjustments for you.

Camera

The 8-megapixel camera on the Razr Maxx is identical to the original Droid Razr. And unfortunately, image quality isn’t the best. All of my photos seemed to have a bit of a dark cast to them--even photos taken in natural light. Details weren't as sharp as I would have liked, either. The flash tends to blow out colors and details quite a bit, so use it only when absolutely needed.

Accessories and Webtop

Like the Droid Bionic and the Photon, the Droid Razr is compatible with a slew of accessories, such as the LapDock 500 Pro, a laptop-like portal for the phone. The LapDock 500 Pro has a 14-inch display and a front-facing camera. When you connect to the Webtop dock, you can access the full Firefox browser as well as lots of specially made productivity apps. Other accessories include an HD Station, a vehicle navigation dock, and a standard dock.

Bottom Line

The Droid Razr Maxx greatly improves upon what was perhaps the biggest weakness of the Droid Razr: battery life. If you plan on watching a lot of video or doing some heavy duty gaming on your phone, the Razr Maxx is a good match for you. If you’re looking to save money, however, you might opt for the original Razr; it costs $100 less than the Razr Maxx.

PCWorld US Verdict

The Droid Razr Maxx greatly improves upon what was perhaps the biggest weakness of the Droid Razr: battery life. If you plan on watching a lot of video or doing some heavy duty gaming on your phone, the Razr Maxx is a good match for you. If you’re looking to save money, however, you might opt for the original Razr; it costs $100 less than the Razr Maxx.

Motorola Razr Maxx: Specs

  • 1.2GHz Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 dual-core
  • 4.3in (540 x 960) 256ppi Super AMOLED display
  • Google Android 2.3.6 (Gingerbread)
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB flash storage
  • microSDHC card slot
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4
  • GSM 850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz
  • HSPA/WCDMA 850, 900, 1900, 1900MHz
  • Micro-SIM
  • A-GPS
  • 8Mp rear camera with LED flash
  • 1.3Mp front camera (1920 x 1080)
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • Micro-USB
  • Micro HDMI, dual mics
  • 12.2Wh lithium, non-removable battery
  • 69 x 131 x 10.6mm
  • 144g
  • 1.2GHz Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 dual-core
  • 4.3in (540 x 960) 256ppi Super AMOLED display
  • Google Android 2.3.6 (Gingerbread)
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB flash storage
  • microSDHC card slot
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4
  • GSM 850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz
  • HSPA/WCDMA 850, 900, 1900, 1900MHz
  • Micro-SIM
  • A-GPS
  • 8Mp rear camera with LED flash
  • 1.3Mp front camera (1920 x 1080)
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • Micro-USB
  • Micro HDMI, dual mics
  • 12.2Wh lithium, non-removable battery
  • 69 x 131 x 10.6mm
  • 144g

OUR VERDICT

Provided you like the slightly quirky design, the Razr Maxx is an excellent choice for a high performing smartphone. The decent specifications combined with exceptional battery life let it stand it out from the crowd. Software is dated but this situation may improve if Android 4.0 becomes available.

Find the best price