Ease of Learning: 4 / 5
Ease of Use: 4 / 5
Enjoyment: 4 / 5
Design: 3.5 / 5
Value for Money: 3 / 5
One of the favourite smartphones of 2011 on FoS was the Motorola RAZR, which, in fact, made took top spot on our South African Guide to Smartphone Shopping this Xmas 2011. Seven months after it was released in South Africa, Motorola has launched the upgrade, the Motorola RAZR MAXX. Officially available from the first week in July, there seemed to be much less of a fuss made about its release, compared to any other flagship smartphone this year. The RAZR MAXX, however, isn’t an entirely new design, hence the rather quiet release, and the obvious questions that arise are then: “What was upgraded?”, and “Is it worth upgrading your current RAZR?”
To start off, the RAZR MAXX was launched with the latest version of Android currently available for most Motorola smartphones in South Africa, that being Android 2.3.6. That in itself is the biggest disappointment, since the Android 4.0 ICS MotoBlur UI is already available in Asia, Europe and North America. The good news in this regard is that Motorola has announced that they have begun the upgrade process in South Africa, with the roll-out being pushed to a select group of users at a time. Motorola’s MotoBlur UI has long been one of the more powerful and user accepted variants of Google’s Android, which includes WebTop for its docking stations. Motorola International has also announced that it began work on Android 4.1 (Jellybean), which, if we go according to the current timeline, will be available in Q1 next year.
In terms of all other software available on the RAZR MAXX, there is no difference to what you’ll find and have available on the RAZR.
Turn our attention to hardware specifications and there are some changes here, but not as much as you may first think. At first glance, you’ll notice that the dimensions of the RAZR MAXX are different. The RAZR MAXX now has dimensions of 130.7×68.9x9mm compared to the original 130.7×68.9×7.1mm. So why the sudden need for the extra 1.9mm in thickness?
The biggest, and arguably the only notable upgrade on the MAXX is that it now packs a 3300mAh battery (versus 1780mAh). This extra power now doubles the stand-by and talk-time to 607 and 18 hours respectively. A few of you will be thinking that these are all just a bunch of numbers made up by companies to advertise their product. I ran 2 types of battery tests with the Motorola RAZR MAXX to confirm whether the upgrade is worth releasing a new phone. The first test I conducted involved me using the phone as I would any other (including my own). Half way through this first test it seemed as if I would run short of time to yield any results. The battery eventually faded out and reached the 15% recharge notification, a full week after the last charge. The second test included playing games, listening to music (connected to speakers) and using it as a Wi-Fi tether to other devices, and basically any other power consuming tasks. The RAZR MAXX yielded great results again, lasting the entire day, deep into the night.
The Motorola RAZR MAXX was designed for power users, and those who struggle to run a single charge on their smartphones during the course of a normal work day. At a recommended retail price of R6500, and the current price tag of the RAZR now at R5000, there is quite a huge R1500 price gap. With an enhanced battery, and the resulting change in thickness, all other aspects of the MAXX match the original. With ICS on the way, I would suspect that there will be varied battery life stats, and would provide greater motivation for the upgraded battery. What I can’t understand, though, is why the RAZR MAXX, having the same specifications as the RAZR, is that much more expensive. If you consider that most extended batteries available for all other devices are under R1000, it makes things even trickier for Motorola, especially with its integrated, non-removable battery.
Another discussion point is that fact that the other OEMs have released new flagship devices since the release of the RAZR, most of which have improved specs (apart from the battery). All things considered, this is still a top 10 device. It will be worth taking another look at the device running ICS, while waiting for Motorola’s next big feature smartphone.
You can find the full specifications comparisons between the two RAZR smartphones here.