Product Notes: Motorola Droid Maxx

The Motorola Droid Maxx features one of the largest built in batteries available to date, resulting in notably longer battery life. While slightly thinner than its predecessor, the Motorola Droid RAZR Maxx HD, the Droid Maxx drops the RAZR naming convention. As with prior generations of the Droid lineup, the Maxx is only available at Verizon. Featuring a 5" HD display, Motorola's new X8 processor, and 2GB of RAM, the Maxx delivers phenomenal battery life while maintaining high end specs.

Hardware

Released in July 2013, the Droid Maxx is built with battery life in mind. The 5.0" 720 HD AMOLED display is by no means the best found on today's smart phones, but there is good reason for the compromise. Since the display is typically the largest source of battery drain, Motorola opted for a display that minimizes the impact on battery life. The CPU, a Motorola X8 chip, is an 8-core processor featuring four graphics processors, a dual-core 1.7GHz CPU, and two low-power specialty processors. At its core, the X8 is comprised of a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, which can be considered an out of date processor (in terms of 2014 standards). What really sets the X8 apart from other mobile CPUs is the specialty cores: an always-on contextual computing processor and a natural language processor.
 
The Maxx only comes in one variant, featuring 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, with no external storage options. The exterior of the device has a Kevlar back, as found on other Droid products (including the Droid Mini and Droid Ultra) and a Gorilla Glass 3 display, which results in a durable and water resistant product. 

Operating system

The Droid Maxx originally shipped with Android 4.2.2 (JellyBean), though Motorola announced on November 1, 2013 that Android 4.4 (Kit Kat) was coming soon, and delivered on that promise on January 13, 2014. Unlike older Motorola devices, the skin on the Maxx is relatively unobtrusive. Motorola has moved to a cleaner Android experience, and shifted its focus to features that enrich the user experience, as demonstrated by Active Notifications, Touchless Control, and Moto Assist. In lieu of a notification light, Motorola takes advantage of the AMOLED display's ability to power individual pixels, resulting in more informative notifications. When the device receives a new notification, the icon for the app is displayed on the screen, which can be tapped to display additional information. When there are no new notifications, the time is displayed with a lock. Touchless controls provide a global voice-activated search by speaking the phrase "OK Google Now", even when the device is asleep. This feature can be used to initiate calls, get directions, perform Google searches, and access any other features built into Google Now, Google's personal assistant service. This feature uses additional specialty cores loaded into the X8 processor. Moto Assist modifies settings on the Maxx when driving, in a meeting, or sleeping. The Maxx determines the state of the device by checking the GPS, calendar, and time (respectively). None of the new user interface features would be effective without the matched hardware that Motorola built into the Maxx.

Compatibility at Penn

The Motorola Droid Maxx functions as expected with AirPennNet, ISC Exchange, and other University services. As of February 2014, the Maxx is one of ISC's top recommendations for those looking for an Android smartphone.

Information Systems & Computing (ISC) offers a variety of device evaluation units. Local Support Providers can request to evaluate mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, eReaders, and Chromebooks by contacting the Provider Desk.

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Date Posted: February 3, 2014 Tags: Android, Smartphone

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