Design and Ergonomics
The Droid RAZR gets a big win for esthetics and a minor loss for ergonomics. We wish it were as comfortable to hold as it is good looking. Even if you don't like the looks, you've got to admit it's a striking phone. The curved Kevlar back with that distinctive pattern (fingerprint resistant), the uber-thin gunmetal sides and tapered ends make for good looks. The front is dominated by the 4.3" display though the bezel is a tad big. The four front capacitive buttons are backlit, but are close to the bottom edge and are thus a little too easy to accidentally trigger when handling the phone. We actually like the MAXX's thicker casing because it's easier to hold and the camera hump on the back is less pronounced.
The two ports, micro USB and micro HDMI, are up top on the only thick edge (if you can call 10mm thick). They're exposed for ease of use and it looks cool in a techno sort of way. The power button is on the right and works easily, but it's prone to accidental presses like Samsung Galaxy S II phones. The volume buttons are below the power button, and are too small and low to easily operate. A door on the lower left hides the LTE micro SIM card and included 16 gig microSD card. The headphone jack is up top and the speaker fires from the rear.
Horsepower and Performance
Pinch zooming is fluid, apps launch quickly and Adobe Flash Player 11 is fairly smooth with fairly responsive controls (Flash isn't slickly fast and smooth on Android in general). The phone has 1 gig of RAM (standard for Motorola Webtop phones) and 16 gigs of internal storage complimented by a 16 gig microSD card. The phone runs Android OS 2.3.6 with Motoblur (though Motorola has toned down Motoblur and no longer refers to it by name since it wasn't well-received in its first year).
Video playback of the MPEG4 variety up to 1080p is very good using the phone and an HD TV via the micro HDMI output that mirrors the display's contents. The phone is compatible with Motorola's Webtop accessories like the Lapdock 100, and that means it can be a poor man's laptop of sorts. Webtop is an application on the phone that runs a stripped down version of Linux with a file manager, the Firefox web browser and Android apps when connected to a compatible Moto accessory.
Verizon and Motorola bundle Verizon Video (streaming video for a daily/monthly fee), VideoSurf, Slacker, NFL Mobile and Netflix. Motorola's MotoCast is a very cool app that's basically a rebranded version of ZumoCast. You can use it to connect to your Windows or Mac computer and copy or stream content from your computer's hard drive. That means you can access your iTunes library (non-DRM content only), stored videos and documents anywhere you can get a 3G/4G or WiFi connection on the phone. The bad news is that the phone won't mount as a a generic mass storage device for those who prefer simple file copies from any computer to the phone.
As noted, the RAZR MAXX is unbeatable for LTE battery life. It's like having an extended battery permanently installed, and the phone had no trouble lasting through the day with heavy use that included push email, calls, GPS navigation and streaming video from Netflix for an hour. The only drawback? When that ample 3300 mAh battery is depleted, you'll need a charger because you can't swap in a spare battery.
It's sexy, it's unique and nearly bulletproof thanks to Gorilla Glass on the front and Kevlar on the back. Voice quality is excellent, download speeds on LTE rock and the phone has supreme battery life. The Super AMOLED display is very colorful with deep blacks, though it's not the highest resolution display on the block. The Droid RAZR MAXX works with Motorola's myriad accessories including the Lapdock, giving it an element of versatility. But it's a handful, and one-handed operation is a strain even with larger hands.
Price: $299 with a 2 year contract, $649 without contract
Websites: www.verizonwireless.com, www.motorola.com