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Hands-on with the Motorola DROID RAZR HD and DROID RAZR MAXX HD - it's like seeing double

News by Andrew Kameka on Wednesday September 05, 2012.

verizon · motorola news · cell phone news · andrew kameka

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Motorola and Verizon have once again announced a new DROID RAZR and a nearly-identical phone with a higher battery capacity. The difference is that this time, the company announced both devices on the same day rather than weeks apart. The DROID RAZR HD and DROID RAZR MAXX HD are practically the same phone, with the exception of two key factors - battery and storage. While the DROID RAZR HD has 16GB of internal storage and a 2,500 mAh battery, the DROID RAZR MAXX HD has 32GB of storage and a 3,300 mAh battery. That's mostly where the differences end.

With the exception of the smaller but still powerful DROID RAZR M, Motorola's latest DROID RAZR phones are otherwise identical. The RAZR HD and RAZR MAXX HD both have a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, an 8 megapixel rear camera with LED flash, a front-facing camera, and a microSD slot that supports up to 32GB of storage. The phones are also reinforced with Corning Gorilla Glass to make for a stronger, scratch-resistant screen, and KEVLAR rear coating that is water-repellent. In addition to protecting the phone from spills and scratches, the KEVLAR fiber provides a smooth finish that feels incredible. This is the best first impression that a Motorola device has made on me since the original DROID RAZR.

Despite a favorable start, the similarity between the phones soon made me question why Motorola and Verizon would bother releasing two phones when they could have just as easily removed the MAXX branding and made that phone the flagship device for the holiday season. However after touching the two briefly, users can sense a slight difference in weight. The RAZR MAXX HD is heavier but not heavy. I really only picked up on the difference when holding both at the same time and noticing that there's a tiny bit more weight carried at the top of the MAXX. The eye can barely even tell that there's additional thickness unless looking closely at the two models or placing them flat on a desk. I could have easily been fooled were it not for the two phones being held and seen side-by-side.

Whether someone opts for the minutely smaller and lighter DROID RAZR HD or the more powerful and longer-lasting DROID RAZR MAXX HD, Verizon and Motorola will deliver a compelling LTE-capable phone. Both phones run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but Motorola plans to upgrade them to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean later. It's rather disappointing that Motorola failed to have Jelly Bean ready by launch, especially considering that the phone will not go on sale until later this year. Motorola actually had a Jelly Bean test rom on site that served as a reminder of how imperative it is that the DROID RAZR HD is updated promptly. While the 4.0 software performed well enough, it's already dated and missing many of the features that makes Android 4.1 such a noticeable improvement over version 4.0. These features and optimizations for speed will make a big difference in overall performance and usability. Motorola is already off to a stellar start with the hardware on the DROID RAZR HD and DROID RAZR MAXX HD, but the software will be the determining factor in how well these phones are received.

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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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