Droid Maxx First Impressions

I picked up the Droid Maxx today at the Verizon store. The guy there said they only got 2 of them for the whole store in the first shipment. I got there right after opening so I got one thankfully. Total came to $380 something (OUCH!) because of the phone, tax, a silicone case, and the evil $35 upgrade fee.

After getting things set up I am really impressed with it. It really feels like a polished and premium phone experience. It isn't too heavy or thick, but feels a bit big in the hand compared to my previous Galaxy Nexus. The new Motorola features feel very well done and if I had to switch to stock again I would miss them.

Screen: The screen looks great! It is a huge improvement from the Galaxy Nexus and it looks hi res to me. It looks very similar to my iPad 3 with the retina display. The colors are rich and it is easy to read everything. I have seen my friends 1080 screen and I don't see much of a difference. The lower resolution means it runs more smoothly and it uses less battery. Great decision by Moto to go for the 720 screen. As for the size, it is plenty big. I would compare it with the HTC One or GS4.

Power/Speed: I was not really expecting much after hearing that it was just a dual core processor. But after using it for a few hours I am VERY impressed. I move instantly in and out of apps, switch apps quickly, and I can still use the phone just fine even when I am updating lots of apps in the background. My Gnex before this wouldn't do anything else when it was updating apps. I have tried out the GS4 in the Verizon store a bunch and it has a ton of lag. Go in and try out the Droid Maxx/Ultra and see for yourself.

Looks: It has a smallish Verizon logo on the back at the bottom with no logos or other BS on the front at all. This phone is a bit bigger than my Galaxy Nexus before this and takes a bit to get used to. It just feels bigger because there is not much curve in the corners of the device like there is with the Samsung smartphones. It doesn't have that awful design from the previous models where the device isn't an actual rectangle thankfully. I would compare it in size almost exactly to the HTC One.

Feel/Build Quality: The phone feels great in the hand and doesn't feel heavy at all for the size of the battery inside. In fact it feels plenty light. It is definitely lighter than my Galaxy Nexus with the extended battery (~2200 mAh) and much thinner too. The matte finish on the back is very nice and gives it a really quality feel. In the previous Droid Razr series the Kevlar back felt a bit much because it is much thicker. This new thin model has the best feel of any smartphone backing I have tried lately. I guess I am not a fan of the aluminum backing the HTC One has.

Buttons: The biggest downer I had about this phone was the built in buttons as opposed to the on screen ones. On the older apps it shows a bar at the bottom of your screen with the menu icon. It is not as well done as the on screen buttons but it isn't a big deal since the screen is so big. I got over it after a bit. This would be the only negative about the phone so far.

Apps: I have noticed difficulty with a few widgets with this phone. They just don't work or only show part of the data. Weird since it is still Android 4.2 based phone. I'm sure the devs will make them work properly as soon as people get this phone and start bugging them. As for the usual Verizon crapware, there is plenty of it on this phone. Thankfully with the disable app function I was able to kill all the ones I knew I would never use. Once I did that it was almost just like a clean phone, with the exception of a Verizon login and widget I couldn't get rid of.

Active Notifications: This is a really cool feature. I wasn't expecting much here, but I was pleasantly surprised. When it senses movement after a period of time or when you get a notification it fades the pretty looking messages and fades them away after a short period of time. It is very minimalistic so you won't be bombarded with a bunch of text or icons. Because they fade in and out you won't need to worry about screen burn in. You can select what apps are allowed to use the notification system. It really feels like it is a new stock Android feature, not just a Moto specific one.

Motorola Connect: This was a hidden easter egg for me. I didn't hear anything about it until I saw it on the phone. It is a browser extension that allows you to send and receive text messages, view recent calls, and receive notifications all from your browser. I installed the Chrome extension and I was up and running right away. It feels like the MightyText system only it is fully integrated. It is very polished and well done for a first version. It has a very Googleish feel to it, like it was integrated into stock Android.

Droid Zap/Always On Voice: I turned both these off since I don't care at all about either of them. I don't have anything to report here. Sorry...

Battery Life: I have only had the phone for 5 hours, and most of that time it was charging while downloading a ton of music from Rdio. It is definitely a TON better than my Galaxy Nexus that would use a couple percent every time I turned on the screen it seemed. I will update this post once I can get a better feel for the battery after a few days.

$199 Deal: You can get it from wirefly.com for $199 right now if you don't mind waiting a bit. Also be warned there is a 6 month contract with them when you sign up that prevents you from moving the phone to another line, canceling service or pretty much anything else. If you do any of these things they will bill your credit card $400 automatically. I just preferred buying it direct so if I hate the phone after 3 months I can go back to my Gnex and sell it on eBay.

Wrapup: This is a solid phone. I am really impressed. I would give it a solid 9/10 or even higher. This is the best Android experience I have used over the Nexus 4, GS4, HTC One, and Galaxy Nexus. If you have Verizon this or the Droid Ultra is a must buy. If you are not on Verizon then just know that the Motorola X phone will be a great experience. The only downside there is the smaller battery size.

Let me know if you have any questions for me about the device. I will reply in the comments.

** Battery Update **

So far I am 30 hours unplugged and still have 25% battery life left! I downloaded 24 GB's of music over wi-fi, played games for a few hours, and did basic email checking and texting for the rest of the time. I am a lighter user, so I imagine I could get 48 hours out of it if I were trying.

I am really impressed with the battery life. I can't believe they can get so much out of the 3,500 mAh battery when my 2,200 mAh battery on my Gnex would be done in 10-12 hours even with very light usage. The radios must be really efficient on this model.