Verizon Droid Maxx hands on: Moto X's software features, but better hardware

Verizon's Droid Maxx brings all the great Moto X software functions to a more compelling piece of hardware with amazing battery life.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
Droid Maxx hands on: Moto X software features, better hardware

I received a Verizon Droid Maxx to test out yesterday and after just a few hours of use I think this Droid may have me reactivating my Verizon account soon. It has all of the cool software features of the Moto X, but it's a better piece of hardware.

Moto X features in the Droid Maxx

A lot has been written of the slick software features in the Moto X so I was pleased to see them also appearing in the Droid Maxx. You will find the following in the Maxx:

  • Active Notifications: Notifications for most apps can be selected to appear on the display when it is off. You can then swipe up to jump right to the application. Sleep mode is also managed in the Active Notifications settings.
  • Motorola Connect: You can use your Google account to connect to your phone from a computer. This is a great way to stay connected via text messaging while your phone is put away.
  • Touchless Control: The "OK Google Now" functionality from the Moto X is fully supported on the Droid Maxx.
  • Launch camera with a twist: The ability to launch the camera by twisting the phone with your wrist twice is provided on the Droid Maxx.
  • Motorola Assist: The Assist utility lets you manage what actions take place while driving, in meetings, and while sleeping at night. It is a smart utility that I will be using daily.

You will also find an additional feature called Droid Zap that lets you easily share photos and videos wirelessly to anyone in the area with the Droid Zap application loaded on their Android phone. The recipient, or sender for that matter, do not have to be using a Droid.

Why is the Droid Maxx hardware better than the Moto X?

I am getting used to the Moto X hardware a bit more, but still find the device to have a mid-range feel and some fit-and-finish issues (sloppy buttons and raised SIM door). The Droid Maxx definitely has a more premium feel with solid fit and finish. The glass display extends all the way to the edges and curves down into the sides; the Kevlar soft touch back feels great in your hand; the buttons are solid with ridges to help you manipulate them; and the SIM card is ingeniously hidden under the volume rocker switch.

In terms of hardware specifications, the Droid Maxx beats the Moto X in the following ways:

  • Wireless charging: Nokia has spoiled me with wireless charging and I now have Qi devices in my home office, bedroom, and work office so the convenience of just setting my phone down to charge is a bonus.
  • Battery: The Droid Maxx has a 3,500 mAh battery, the Moto X battery is 2,200 mAh.

The two Motorola smartphones have the same custom Motorola X8 processor, same display resolution, 2GB of RAM, 10 megapixel camera, and same version of the operating system. The Droid Maxx weighs in at a hefty 5.86 ounces while the Moto X is just 4.59 ounces. I have large hands and, if the battery is as great as advertised, the additional weight is worth it to me.

The Droid Maxx is assembled in China, whereas the Moto X -- assembled in the US -- offers AT&T customers the ability to customize the casing colors. The Droid Maxx looks to be an amazing business phone while the Moto X may be more fashionable and pocketable for the masses.

As I wrote last month when the Droids were announced, I never really considered picking up a Droid device. After just a day, though, I am already thinking the Droid Maxx may become my prime Android device.

I performed the initial full charge and am now seeing how long I can go between charges. With a reported 48 hour usable battery life, if this thing can go a day or two with my extreme 4:15 am to 11:00 pm time period then I may not be able to resist. No other phone can really go for this long without some kind of charge or limit in what I use it for.

As I work on my full review of the Droid Maxx, please let me know if there is anything specific you want me to check out.

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