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Up close with the Droid Maxx 2

Verizon brings a really great mid-range phone to the US

It's been a busy season for phone announcements, and now Motorola has finally brought its mid-range Moto X Play stateside as a Verizon-exclusive device called the Droid Maxx 2. Announced at an event today, the phone is almost a dead-ringer for the Play, which was released in Europe, Latin America, and Canada this summer. That's mostly a good thing — we really liked the Play when we got our hands on one of the European models earlier this year.

One of the few differences, though, is that the Droid Maxx 2 isn't running a version of Android that's as nearly-stock as the Moto X Play does. Instead, The Maxx 2 is full of pre-installed apps from Verizon. But outside the app drawer the experience still looks pretty clean, and only the most rabid fans of stock Android will be disappointed with this take on 5.1.1 Lollipop.

Most everything else on the phone echoes what we saw on the Play. You'll get 48 hours of battery life and a colorful 1080p screen. It has the same great 21-megapixel camera that, while it can't totally measure up with the iPhones and the Galaxies of the world, is really capable. The phone feels fast, too, thanks to the combination of the Snapdragon 615 processor and a capable — if not overwhelming — 2GB of RAM. Verizon is only selling units with 16GB of storage though, a capacity I quickly filled while aimlessly shooting at the event. You'll have to buy a microSD card to make the phone more usable.

The Droid Maxx 2 is built really well, with metal trim that gives it a rock-solid feel no matter which way you hold it. The grippy, scaled back also helps you hold onto it really easily, which is good because it doesn't have the same "shatterproof" screen that the Droid Turbo 2 boasts. The back plate is swappable, too, and while that leaves it feeling a little cheaper than an iPhone or the Nexus 6P, the Droid Maxx 2 definitely feels more expensive than the Nexus 5X.

But it's not, and the Droid Maxx 2 is relatively cheap. Verizon is offering it on a two-year payment plan for $16 per month, which winds up being $384. That should make it pretty decent competition for the OnePluses of the world — as long as you're a Verizon customer, that is.

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