You can twist the phone to quickly launch the camera, the display pulsates to let you know when you have a new notification, and you can command the phone from across the room by saying the magic words, “Ok Google Now”.
If you’re getting deja vu, it’s because these are all features we’ve already seen on both the Droid Ultra (and to some extent, the Moto X). There’s not much to say about the Droid Maxx that hasn’t already been said about the Droid Ultra: They share the same processor, screen size, and camera, making them hard to tell apart at first glance. The two phones are so similar that I’m going to focus this review on the few differences between the two handsets and point you to my review of the Droid Ultra if you want know how well all the other aspects perform.
The Droid Maxx looks nearly identical to the Droid Ultra, but it’s a bit thicker and features a nice-feeling kevlar back. The kevlar helps make the Droid Maxx appear more rugged, and it feels a bit better in the hand than the Droid Ultra. The Maxx lacks the visual flair of other high-end phones like the HTC One or iPhone 5s, but its overall build quality is a step up from last year’s boxy Droid Razr Maxx HD. It’s unassuming and uninspired, but at least you won’t have to worry about the phone falling apart in your pocket or shattering into smithereens the first time you drop it.
While it’s not the most aesthetically impressive phone out there, the Droid Maxx is worth considering for its battery life alone. The 3500mAh battery and can go several days on a single charge. In our lab tests we scored the Droid Maxx at 13 hours and 28 minutes of continuous HD video playback, beating out both the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S4 by a solid 5 hours. It’s currently the longest-lasting smartphone we’ve ever reviewed and hopefully other phone makers sit up and pay attention–all your fancy phone features don’t mean much if your phone dies after just a few short hours of use.
Aside from its exceptional battery life, the Droid Maxx is about as average as you can get for an Android phone. It looks similar to the Droid Ultra and most of its marquee software features are available on other Motorola devices like the Moto X. At $300 with a new 2-year contract on Verizon, the phone is the most expensive of the Droid line and hard to recommend to anyone but the most battery hungry consumers. If you hate that you can’t go more than a day without charging your phone then the Droid Maxx should suit your needs just fine. For everyone else, the Moto X also offers impressive battery life in a form-factor that’s much more aesthetically pleasing for significantly less money.