Verizon HTC One vs Motorola Droid Maxx: I still prefer the One

Verizon HTC One vs Motorola Droid Maxx: I still prefer the One

Summary: While Verizon customers would be well served by either the HTC One or Motorola Droid Maxx, each device offers distinct advantages. After comparing them side-by-side - hardware and software - my choice is clear.

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  • Verizon HTC One retail package

    I have now been using an HTC One for over five months, and I see that Verizon customers finally can pick up the device. I also have spent over 10 days with the Motorola Droid Maxx. Verizon customers can choose either device and be satisfied.

    However, after comparing the two handsets side-by-side -- both hardware and software -- my choice remains with the HTC One. Here's why.

    Hardware

    Nearly all reviewers have written about the fantastic design and build of the HTC One and I have yet to find another phone to match its hardware. The metal body with curved back, front facing stereo speakers, tight design with no creaks or movement, inclusion of an IR port right in the power button, a solid camera that takes excellent low light photos, and a gorgeous 1080p Super LCD display that is very viewable in sunlight make the HTC One tough to resist.

    The IR port is a great feature for travelers since you can now use your HTC One in hotels to control your viewing experience without using a nasty hotel remote control. Combined with the Roku app and WiFi I don't even have to worry about finding my remotes at home.

    The Droid Maxx is also well constructed with a soft Kevlar back, excellent glass display that curves down at the edges into the sides, vivid AMOLED 720p display, whopping 3500 mAh battery, Qi wireless charging, and the ability to listen for your command at all times.

    Even though the HTC One is an elegant piece of hardware, almost like jewelry, if I was just making a selection based on hardware I would go for the Droid Maxx because of the long battery life, wireless charging, and use of the AMOLED display for active notifications. However, the One is more pocketable and still feels better in the hand.

    Software

    Motorola is doing some great things with Android on the new Droids and Moto X, but I still find Sense 5 on the HTC One better meets my needs and fills a vital role for my business Exchange use and media. As you can see in the screenshots in this image gallery, the Exchange client in Sense is tough to beat. With the Exchange client provided by Motorola, I do not have access to all my personal email folders and the UI is not as good as it is on the One. For example, I can easily just swipe my finger across the screen to jump to unread emails or those with attachments on the One while I have to jump through a couple menu items to filter email on the Droid Maxx.

    I know there are not many people who care about making phone calls or managing contacts, but if this is important to you then you should take a close look at the HTC One. HTC has always focused on connecting people, even back in the Windows Mobile days. The dialer supports smart dialing that is now rolling out on the latest version of Android. Beyond that though, we see HTC letting you open up a contact in the Phone app and then swipe from right to left to view recent text messages, emails, and calls you had with that contact with another swipe revealing their social network updates, and a final swipe revealing their recent images. This is an extremely powerful tool for the enterprise customer who wants to know all about the person they are communicating with or meeting with.

    Motorola's new software enhancements with Google Now voice control and Assist perform much better than 3rd party options you can install on the HTC One. That said, I work in an office and commute where voice control isn't a desired functionality.

    The HTC One is my choice

    The HTC One is priced $100 less than the Droid Maxx. If you need a phone out in the field and don't want to strap a Mophie on the HTC One, the you should look at the Droid Maxx. If you need a rich Exchange and phone experience with a very pocketable and elegantly designed device then look at the HTC One.

    Over on PhoneDog, the HTC One continues to be ranked #1 in both the People's Choice and Expert's Choice rankings. It has been my choice for nearly six months and it continues to be my top smartphone available today.

    Related ZDNet coverage

  • HTC includes wired earbuds

  • T-Mobile and Verizon Ones are the same

Topics: Mobility, HTC, Smartphones, Verizon

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20 comments
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  • Battery?

    Isn't the HTC One the one without removable battery. If so, that would be deal breaker for me.
    sgtm8@...
    • yes

      its non removable built in unlike the note 2...
      ITGuy000
    • Not really relevant

      When you have a 2 day battery life on idle standby and a 10 hour battery life on heavy use, having a removable battery isn't really that important. AND in the rare case that runs out it's easy enough to plug in an external battery.
      SeanBlader
      • Because in your world time is no factor & you're alway near a plug

        If you believe in mfg-stated battery times, you'll believe erasing their crapware will cause your phone to catch a virus, overheat and blow your face off in an explosion. When your power pack dies, you're left looking for an outlet and even more time charging it than a smaller phone bat. There's no beating putting in a fully charged backup bat while you charge your other one. Find any set of professional-use walkie talkies & you'll find banks of extra bats charging, ready to be switched out with drained bats. Your solution would be to keep your mobile phone non-mobile as you charged your power pack. Greed & dismisiveness of customer flexibility motivates access to expandable storage & removable battery.
        regbs
    • You can't remove the battery from either phone

      Both phones have non removable batteries, but the Maxx battery has about 4x as much usable battery life. If battery is important, go with the Maxx. If you only need to get through a day, and have car and wall chargers at your disposal, the go with whichever you like more.
      chrisl7072
      • Have owned both phones and Droid Maxx clear winner for me

        Totally agree re battery and have first hand experience. After 4 months with the HTC One developer edition draining down to under 30% remaining battery before noon, I am very impressed that my new Droid Maxx reaches that level after 25 hours of use without any extra charging. Given that, the "ok Google now" and much better camera shots, no question for me that the Droid Maxx is bar far the clear winner. The HTC One only wins on looks.
        Robert Schertzer
    • Neither the HTC One nor droid maxx have removable batteries.

      Droid maxx wins by far as can get through a full day in personal real world testing without recharging.
      Robert Schertzer
  • i still like my note 2 on verizon still

    I had the note 2 for about 10 months and its personally my favorite device next to nexus 7 that i use all the time. I still like touchwiz over blinkfeed and my battery life is incredible as i just went to a couple of concerts recently and i started both show with 82% battery and with video recording for both shows it only drained my battery to 65% percent and thats about 45 mins to 1 hr of recording. Even though the one is better looking then my note 2. Also my camera on my note 2 for photography is just as good as the one so I'm very content as i feel the note 3 will be way better successor next month on Verizon so i think if anyone should wait for a phone, they should wait for the note 3 IMHO..And multitasking is great on it as i can open two apps at once and mainly the battery and camera are my top stock features of the phone in general
    ITGuy000
  • DNA

    STILL prefer my DNA. But would like to see VZW step up and offer a DNA/Butterfly2 in addition to the HTC One Max.
    rfarrah@...
  • HTC one vs Droid Maxx.

    For the battery, and the camera, I would probably choose the Maxx, but for elegant appearance, and comfort in the hand, the HTC One is hard to beat, who thought that a 4mp camera was adequate?
    rphunter1242
  • Droid Maxx

    Thank you for a fair article for a change. I personally chose the Droid Maxx. It does everything I it need to do and has the massive battery. The new connect feature is outstanding, allow you to see who is calling or texting from your desktop and be able to respond. it is getting to the point where all the phones are basically the same it is a matter choice and preference.
    V338
  • Cost

    Matt,

    What store/provider did you buy yours from??
    You mentioned it was $100 less that the Maxx. I've seen an unlocked version for $650. Is there a cheaper price??
    Rufine
    • Correction

      I see you got it at Verizon... What model and how much did you pay for it. Can you also get it at T-mobile??
      Rufine
    • Cost

      I think he was talking about a new contract or upgrade price. The HTC One is $199 with a new contract, the Maxx is $299 (both are the verizon prices). I don't know about unlocked versions...
      chrisl7072
  • some of author's comments make no sense

    The HTC One as a remote comment makes no sense. The HTC One IR has to be programmed by the original remote! So he would have to touch the hotel remote buttons to program his One as the remote. Clearly he has not done this task or he would not make a ridiculous comment like that. Second ridiculous comment is about how he can from the dialer go check someone he wants to know about's social media status. It doesn't just miraculously find peoples facebook, twitter, etc. You have to know all that stuff and have already put those into the contacts properties, so he could not use those to learn more about someone he doesn't know before a meeting.
    lukester01
    • Some of your comments make no sense

      For most devices, you do not have to use the original remote, that's only necessary if you have to manually set up the device. As for the social media stuff, the author did gloss over that a bit. I'm sure it's nice to have, but I certainly wouldn't have used a business example to make that point.
      chrisl7072
  • Droid Maxx has good battery but that is about it.

    I am using the One and the Maxx right now. The Maxx has zero features in Contacts or Calendar and a very bare bones text messaging app. For someone that wants to have their Twitter, Facebook, Exchange and LinkeIn contacts merged together the One does it, the Maxx does not. The One has a much more robust Calendar and Texting app. The comment that Matt made about Exchange is odd. I have Exchange loaded on both and I can access all of my folders and content on both devices. Could you be more specific how Exchange works better on the One. I actually prefer the email app on the Maxx because you can swipe to delete and select all. I also like the black background. I don't know which one I will end up keeping. The One has a much better Car Navigation app than the Maxx. The Griffin car dock is a piece of junk. Motorola used to make the best accessories. Now they are farming them out and the qulity is really poor.
    tgeek32
  • Comparison story without pics of both phones????

    Why would you have a comparison story and only have pictures of the phone you supposedly like? GREAT journalism . . . NOT!
    dhorne@...
  • Battery IS the MOST important thing

    Bottom line is if your phone's battery is dead, all the bells and whistles don't matter. If you have to carry a spare charger with you because you won't make it make it through the day on a full charge, then you phone is garbage. For that reason, the Droid Maxx is the better phone. People get souped up about how their phone looks, but not about real world stuff like whether or not the phone gets good reception or does the battry last all day. The Maxx does all of those things and more. When your HTC one gets locked down in an Otterbox case, the beauty factor is done. It reminds me of iphone junkies. First argument is how better the phone looks than other phones. But their phones are locked down in a Supermax phone case, so all you can see is the screen. My phone works great, only has minimal protection AND has a battery that cango a few days before it needs recharging. At the end of the day it's all about preference, but this review is garbage. It's one guys preference based on nonscense. My advice to anyone considereing these two phones is to first go look at the Motorola maxx, since this reviewer decided it wasn't importantant enough to post a picture of it. Then ask questions about each phone.
    Darren Meyers
  • everything i need

    I like the droid maxx because it's big and ugly lol. It does everything I need it to do and for a very long time. Just me but I also prefer a more stock android look. The active display is the best feature I feel on the maxx.
    maxx40000