Motorola gets big points for giving the Maxx a back surface coated in Kevlar fiber similar to the previous generation of Droid handsets. The only physical buttons on the Maxx are located on the phone's right edge, a power key and a thin volume bar. Both are contoured and cross-hatched for easy manipulation by feel alone.
Above the screen is a 2-megapixel front camera and below it sit three capacitive buttons for basic Android control. Around back are the Droid Maxx's 10-megapixel main camera and LED flash. There is a big speaker here, too, which pumps out a huge amount of volume. Just as I found out on the Droid Ultra, this speaker serves up bigger audio than the HTC One and its hyped Boom Sound technology. At 5.4 inches tall by 2.8 inches wide, the Maxx is just as tall and as wide as the Ultra, but also a bit thicker.
The Droid Maxx boasts the same exact big, bright 5-inch HD OLED screen as the Droid Ultra. Its 720p resolution (1,280x720 pixels) doesn't pack the same pixel density as the HTC One (4.7-inch, 1080p LCD) or Samsung Galaxy S4 (5-inch, 1080p OLED), its primary competition. That said, the Maxx's high-contrast display has lusciously saturated colors and impressively dark black levels.
Detail in photos, Web sites, or documents with lots of text wasn't any less sharp to my eyes on the Maxx than the same content viewed on phones with full 1080pscreens. For instance, the Maxx's 720p display didn't negatively affect my serious mobile Netflix-streaming habit.
Hub of mechanism
For internal electronics, Motorola has made a very unconventional move with its 2013 smartphone lineup. Instead of engaging in the brutal processor arms race like practically every other handset maker, the company decided to sidestep the issue completely. All the new Droids, including the Droid Maxx, are powered by a proprietary processing solution Motorola calls the X8 Mobile Computing System.
You will find the same collection of cores and specialized processors in the new Motorola flagship, the Moto X. To be blunt, the X8 is a dual-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU and doesn't have the raw horsepower of true quad-core processors, which drive the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 (Snapdragon 600).
While talking about hardware is a healthy 2GB allotment of RAM. Also, unlike the Droid Ultra, which has only 16GB of internal memory, the Droid Maxx comes with 32GB to play with. That said, there's no SD card slot for increasing storage. You unlock the Maxx by sliding a padlock icon outside of a virtual ring on the phone's screen.
As an Android device, the Maxx comes preloaded with all the major Google apps and services. Of course you can delve into the vast Google Play online store for more to download. Unfortunately, because this is a Verizon-branded Droid device, the carrier couldn't resist filling the Max with un-removable bloat ware. Highlights include NFL Mobile, VZ Navigator, Verizon Mobile Security, and Verizon Tones, to list a few.
The Droid Maxx also makes use of the X8 computing platform, like the Droid Ultra and Moto X, to perform nifty voice control tricks. Motorola calls the capability Touch less Control, and as its name implies, speaking a magic phrase will cause the Maxx to drop what it is doing and await your vocal commands.
Motorola's X8 platform may not have the sheer horsepower to stand up to full-blown quad-core processors toe-to-toe. It does have plenty of oomph, though, and I observed that on the Droid Maxx firsthand. The phone was very responsive, opening applications without hesitation. Navigating through settings menus and home screen was also silky-smooth.
The Motorola Droid Maxx delivers astonishingly long battery life, a big, colorful screen, and a durable, attractive design. The phone performs inventive tricks such as responding to voice commands, giving screen-based notifications, and quick-launching the camera, which takes pleasing pictures.
The Motorola Droid Maxx is expensive.