The continuation of Verizon’s Droid line bears a striking resemblance to the new Moto X, at least on paper. Even so, the Droid Maxx and Moto X couldn’t feel more different.
Motorola’s press conference for the Moto X was filled with confusion, as everyone in the room had heard a lot of the information already. It seemed as if the presentation was an extended version of the Droid event that had happened just weeks before. Motorola’s X8 computing system, Active Notifications, and a 10MP “clear pixel” camera all sounded very familiar. As it turns out, a lot of what rests under the glass and carbon fiber of the Droid line is very similar to the Moto X.
If you pick the two phones up and use them side-by-side, however, there are some pretty significant differences. For Verizon Wireless customers, choosing between the Moto X and one of the Droid phones, specifically the Droid Maxx in this case, is going to boil down to personal comfort in a few key areas.
Despite packing a huge 3500mAh battery, the Droid Maxx is not a thick phone. In fact, the flat design of the Droid Maxx makes the Moto X the thicker device in the middle by almost 2mm (though the X slims down quite a bit at the sides thanks to that curved back and stepped battery). Stacked on top of one another, you can see how each phone is thinner at points, but one doesn’t really feel thicker than the other when you hold them and use them. The 5-inch 720p display on the Maxx is a bit larger than the X, and combined with that flat slab design it’s slightly more challenging to reach the whole phone with just one hand, but overall the Maxx is a huge improvement over its predecessor, the Razr Maxx HD.
Where you will most notice a difference in using these two phones is the weight, as the Droid Maxx is more than 30 grams heavier than the Moto X.
Verizon has loaded the Droid Maxx with the usual bloat, complete with a new line of chirps, laser blasts, and robotic voices to compliment Verizon’s exclusive branding. Verizon’s apps, along with the Amazon app suite, are all over the home screens and app drawer when you first start using the phone. They are fairly easy to remove or disable, if you decide you have no need for those apps.
Motorola has included the same suite of apps and features that are available with the Moto X, including the Motorola Assist tools and the built in X8 based features that remain unique and unable to be replicated. Motorola has included two new apps with the Droid Maxx, Ingress, and Droid Zap. Ingress is Google’s augmented reality game, and the Droid phones are the first to have the game pre-loaded. If you play the game, when you sign in with a new Droid you get a huge list of weapons and accessories to use in game.
Droid Zap is an all new app, but not really a new idea. It’s a file sharing service, designed to be made easy by allowing you to just swipe two fingers on the screen to throw or catch a file. There’s some useful tools, like the ability to secure the file in case it is intercepted “accidentally” but ultimately it’s a new way to shoot small files between phones. Droid Zap can be installed on any phone, but the feature is integrated in the Droid line so you can summon the fling or catch gesture anywhere.
Motorola’s Rings Widget, which was unfortunately not included with the Moto X, is now Droid themed and likely only for these phones. The same features are there, allowing you to flick the individual rings for quick access to features and settings. This update allows for quick access to wireless display and Droid Zap under the clock, and while those probably aren’t the first choices for most people it’s a great addition to the widget.
Ultimately, the differences between the Moto X and the Droid Maxx are all about perspective. One one hand, the Droid Maxx could be seen as the Moto X+. It has a larger screen, a bigger battery, and comes pre-loaded with a lot of things that you may never have found to use on your own. The Droid Maxx is more than capable of delivering a great experience. On the other hand, the Moto X has a greater pixel density and is significantly better designed for single hand use. Text looks a little better on the One, and the smaller size display means it consumes less power. The “24 hour battery” on the X is more than enough to get most people through a whole day of use.
Choosing between these two phones, unless you’re an Android power user who can’t stand carrier bloatware, will ultimately come down to whether or not battery life is the most important thing to your day to day use.
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