Droid Ultra, Mini and Droid Maxx vs the competition: how do they stack up?

by: Joe HindyJuly 26, 2013

Motorola Droid

Even though everyone is excited about the new Nexus 7 and all the other announcements made on Wednesday, Verizon and Motorola did have some awesome announcements of their own earlier this week. This included the official announcement of a new family of Motorola Droid phones. The announcement brought three brand new Droid phones to our eyeballs – the Droid Ultra, the Droid Maxx, and the Droid Mini. It’s the first complete family of phones released this year and the only one where they will be all released at the same time. We really like that out of Motorola.

As these things go, people are left to wonder how these phones stack up against the competition. That’s a good question and one we’re going to try to answer for you here today. One thing that will make this process so much more simple is all three Motorola Droid devices this year have completely identical specs. The only difference is the Motorola Droid Mini has a 4.3-inch screen and the Motorola Droid Maxx has a battery that can last for 48 hours. Otherwise, everything else is the same. For the complete specs, check out Chris Smith’s article about the announcement and specs. Also, if you want to see what the X8 computing system is all about, David Gonzales has you covered.

For this comparison we’ll be pinning the new Droids up against Verizon’s best and brightest. These include the HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy S4, the HTC Droid DNA, the Apple iPhone 5 to represent iOS, and the Nokia Lumia 928 to represent Windows Phone 8. We’ll be comparing the screen, battery, hardware specs, and price. Below the comparison, we’ll explain why we didn’t compare the software.

Lastly, before we get started, there may be people out there who think it’s unfair that we’re comparing the whole Droid family against single devices. This is the advantage an OEM gets when they release the whole family at once instead of one every four months until they’re all released. Let’s get started!

HTC One vs Motorola Droid

Droid vs the HTC One

Our first comparison will be a phone that Verizon doesn’t even have yet. Sorry, Verizon fans! The HTC One has been a fairly popular device for HTC. It sports some of the latest specs, a gorgeous display, and great build quality. So let’s get started.

  • Screen – The Motorola Droid family all sport 720p screens. The HTC One has a 1080p screen. It’s nearly unanimous that 1080p is better than 720p. Winner: HTC One.
  • Battery – The HTC One battery isn’t all that great, but the Motorola Droid family all have an “always-on” attitude. So we imagine that the battery between the One, the Ultra, and the Mini would be about the same. The Maxx reportedly lasts for 48 hours. Winner: Droid family.
  • Specs – The Motorola Droid family has the X8 Computing System whereas the HTC One sports a 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600. The Snapdragon 600 is a proven performer and the HTC One does well with it. However, we imagine the Droid family probably won’t be lagging all that much either. Unless you’re a gamer who needs the best benchmarks, we can’t imagine anyone being disappointed with either phone’s performance. It’s a tie.
  • Price – We imagine that the HTC One, when released, will sport around the same price tag as the Galaxy S4, which is $199. This is right on pace with the Droid family average. The Mini being $99 is cheaper, the Maxx being $299 is more expensive and the Droid Ultra being $199, which is even. This is also a tie.

We know you don’t want to hear this and we’re sorry. However, this and the HTC One is a tie on paper. With similar performance and price, the HTC One wins the screen and the Droid family wins the battery with the Droid Maxx. So if you want something with a sharp, crisp screen, the HTC One is likely your choice. If you want awesome battery, the Maxx may be your device.

galaxy s4 vs optimus g pro aa s4 performance

Droid vs the Samsung Galaxy S4

Next up is the Samsung Galaxy S4. This is the highest selling Android phone so far this year with the last reported number being around 20 million units sold. It’s vastly popular, but how does it stack up against the Droid family?

  • Screen – Much like the HTC One, the Galaxy S4 has a 1080p screen. Experts agree that 1080p is better than 720p. 
  • Battery – While reports are that the Galaxy S4 is better than the HTC One, they both still fail in comparison to the Droid Maxx. Droid wins.
  • Specs – The specs for the Samsung Galaxy S4 is more or less the same as the HTC One. Same processor, same RAM, same GPU. However, we have heard people complain that Touchwiz actually lags the phone. Also, Samsung loses because their Mini is not very good. Winner: Droid.
  • Price – Exactly the same as the HTC One. It’s a tie!

Even though the Galaxy S4 has pretty much the same specs as the HTC One, the Droid actually wins this one. This is because of the lag issues caused by Samsung’s software. Flagship phones really shouldn’t be lagging much anymore. At least not often enough to be noticeable. Droid wins.

Sense 5

Droid vs the HTC Droid DNA

This shouldn’t take too long. Let’s begin!

  • Screen – Unless we missed something, 1080p on the Droid DNA still beats the 720p on the Droid family.
  • Battery – The Droid Maxx has a 3,500mAh battery. To save some time, that beats everything on the list. Droid wins.
  • Specs – The HTC Droid DNA has the best specs from last year. While last year’s specs are pretty impressive, the Droid family specs are still better. Droid wins.
  • Price – HTC Droid DNA is only $49.99 with a two-year contract. Winner here is HTC Droid DNA.

So it’s actually a tie here. Both devices have two victories here. However, since price is really just a one-time problem, we really give the win to the Droid family. Like the S4, it’s not a huge win and comes at the hand of a technicality, but it’s still a win!

iPhone 5

Droid vs the iPhone 5

Yes, we know it’s unfair to pit a phone that’s coming out very soon to a device that came out last year. However, until the iPhone 5S comes out, this is the only iOS device competing with the Droid family on Verizon. So let’s get started!

  • Screen – Who’s ready for the surprise of the day? The Droid family’s 720p display actually has a lesser pixel density than the Retina display on the iPhone 5. So the iPhone 5 comes away with a win.
  • Battery – Droid Maxx battery wins again. Hands down.
  • Specs – Motorola X8 computing system beats the tar out of the iPhone 5’s 1.3GHz dual-core.
  • Price – The iPhone 5, despite being a year old, still goes for $199. Considering it’s age, we have to give this to the Droid family. $200 for a phone that’s already a year old is kind of hard to justify.

This is the biggest victory for the Droid family yet. The iPhone 5 only won one category an that’s the screen resolution. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough for them to win.

nokia lumia 928

Droid vs the Nokia Lumia 928

It just wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t toss in Verizon’s best Windows Phone 8 offering in here. It may do better than one might think.

  • Screen – The Nokia Lumia 928 actually has the sharper screen. Not by much, though. Less than 30ppi, which most people probably won’t even notice. Even so, Nokia wins.
  • Battery – The Nokia Lumia 928 actually has the better battery. Just kidding, it’s the Maxx again. Droid family wins again.
  • Specs – Last year’s best dual core against this year’s best dual core. No contest, Droid family wins.
  • Price – The Nokia Lumia 928 costs $99.99 with a 2-year contract on Verizon. That’s the same as the Droid Mini as the Droid Maxx and Droid Ultra both cost more. Since the Droid Mini is about the same size as the Nokia Lumia 928, we’ll call it a draw.

So after it’s been compared, the Lumia only loses by a single category. So not too bad of a showing. If you like WP8 and own a Nokia Lumia 928, you should be proud that it competed this well.

Why not a software comparison?

Software comparisons are very difficult to do. Most of what people like and dislike about software are based on opinion. There are exceptions, like Touchwiz causing lag problems. However, what people like about iOS, WP8, and the various kinds of Android are things that other people may not like about them. So if you want to know which one is the best in terms of software, our recommendation is to watch review videos and go into the store to play with them. You’ll know which one feels right for you.


At the end of the day, the Droid family is facing stiffer competition than one might expect. We knew they would go even, or at least really close to even, with the big flagships on Verizon. However, it’s still a pretty decent comparison between the Droid family and the current iOS and WP8 offerings.

On paper, the Droid family stacks up pretty much evenly with the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. A little better against one, a little worse than the other, but more or less evenly. The Droid family does beat out iOS and WP8, but not by the wide margin that people would expect. Do remember that this is just a comparison on paper. Once these devices come out, we’ll be able to compare them more accurately.

Of course, we want to hear from you. Is the Droid X8 computing system worth investing in? Have these phones made you potentially change your mind about which flagship you’ll get? As always, if you want to talk about it, leave us a comment!

  • Misti curia

    Not matter how big the battery is removable is always better… So against the gs4 I would say it’s a tie. Although the stock Maxx battery is better than stock s4 you can get much larger capacity s4 batteries

    • KDC

      yea but those larger batteries adds extra bulk to your phone not many people want that kind of bulk where when they pick up their phone and it feels like a brick.but i agree i have a s3 and s4 and bought numerous larger batteries for both of them they come and handy being able to swap batteries.

      • Misti curia

        I’m just saying its an option and should be included in the comparison.

    • RER

      This is ridiculous. Removable is always better? That’s nuts…I will take a battery that runs all day long with heavy use and no threat to crap out over a weak, removable battery. That’s a no brainer.

  • Blowntoaster

    what a crappy comparison…the S4 losing to a Droid on specs. seriously? How much is Motorola paying you ? the S4 mini is not very good… On what planet? so it doesn’t have a 720p screen, it is still good. and the battery thing. the S4 is removable, so it’s not such a clear win for the Droid. Disappointing article this is…

    • Misti curia


    • LiterofCola

      X8 processor vs. a dual core processor? The S4’s battery vs. the Maxx’s battery? Those sound like superior specs to me.

      • Mike Palmer

        S4 is a superior phone spec wise in every way, except battery maybe.

        • KDC

          yea spec wise but when it comes to actual performance the droids have them beat.I watched the droids video.I didn’t see a ounce of lag but watching the s4 videos on YouTube even the reviewer were saying that thing was laggy.Maybe when Samsung improve on touch wiz that will change but i see stock android winning hands down.

          • Mike Palmer

            The S4 had already seen 2 updates and lag on it is non existent, so I’m not quite sure what you or the OP is talking about…. I guess the believe hear say.

          • KDC

            Either way it shouldn’t take 2 updates for lag to be non-existent if the s4 is running the snapdragon 600 it should be lag free out of the box. Their should be no lag whatsoever so that tells you something if a dual core processor phone has no lag compared to a quad-core so specs have nothing to do with actual performance.I give my money on stock android.Out of the box the droids lag was non-existent.

          • Mike Palmer

            I agree it shouldn’t’ had lagged but it did, but it seems Samsung has got it straightened out now. As for why one want a quad core processor over a dual core would be for heavy processing or gaming.

          • Mike Palmer

            And the 1080 screen compared to the 720 is a no brainer, I am a Motorola guy and had been waiting for these phones for a year but now after the specs came out I’m a Lil disappointed!

          • KDC

            I have a s3 and a s4 and i see no difference from 1080 to 720 sometimes when i play videos the s3 looks better then my s4 so when it comes to screen i dont see any difference nor can the human eye.Also i rather have a 720p screen because it saves battery life.The 1080p screen is nice and stuff but i rather have good battery life then the best screen if my screen gone drain the mess out of my battery.

          • Mike Palmer

            1080 will be the norm soon “if it already isn’t” and shouldn’t affect battery life to much but really the main reason for bad battery life is due to manufactors pushing for slimmer phones over bigger batteries.

          • KDC

            I agree with that but Motorola is known for using nothing but the biggest batteries for their phone so i think once they boast better specs on their phones they could atleast put a thorn in samsung but i dont see them taking them down no time soon.

          • Mike Palmer

            I’m also looking forward to the new Nexus phone as it may be a top tier phone.

          • KDC

            If you look at the Gl benchmarks for the Moto X .it had the best gaming benchmarks over the s4 and htc one but its just benchmarks until we get some actual proof we can leave that up to speculation.

          • LiterofCola

            The wife’s S4 shows lag and is up to date.

          • Mike Palmer

            I don’t know your situation or how much is running on that phone or if it’s a manufactors defect but maybe you need to bring it to you carrier to find out what’s wrong :-)

          • RER

            What’s wrong is the Samsung software, it is backing up the device.

          • RER

            You must have the magic S4 then, because it is still laggy as all get out.

        • LiterofCola

          and processor….

        • RER

          Seriously? This is just denial…I have owned the HTC One, GS4 and now the Droid Maxx. The Droid Maxx is EASILY the best of the three and the GS4 is the third best.

          • Mike Palmer

            It may be the best phone to you but the maxx doesn’t have the best specs. But I’m glad Motorola is trying to be competitive again.

      • Misti curia

        X8 is basically a dual core processor just with extra language cores

        • LiterofCola

          language, graphics…..

    • RER

      What an ignorant reply. Who gives a flying you know what about a removable battery? Do you always have a second battery charged up and stored under your hat or something? Having a battery that can deal with a full day of heavy use and then some is a dominating feature.

  • Misti curia

    Also against the droid DNA the DNA has basically the same specs, I mean you Gave the HTC one a tie because the only real difference is on benchmarks so I think the same should be said for the DNA

  • JoseFrαnklιnAlvαrez

    Whhaaats —> Screen – Who’s ready for the surprise of the day? The Droid family’s 720p display actually has a lesser pixel density than the Retina display on the iPhone 5. So the iPhone 5 comes away with a win.” <— Epic Fail!!! Really.. Epic!

    – Since when or in wich book of the Bible a 4" display @ 1136×640 putting out 325.97 ppi is denser than a 4.3" one @ 1280×720 that puts out 341.54 ??? Since wheennn man?

    p.s. google: DPI CALCULATOR for a nice reliable one!

    • Grman Rodriguez

      That’s the problem of comparing one phone to whole family, I bet he meant the Ultra and Maxx, not the mini

      • Atifsh

        Yet he compared s4mini to say s4 lost yet no htc one mini comparison and say that is a tie. Very disappointed post this is.

        • Grman Rodriguez


          • Atifsh

            he specifically compared s4 mini and told galaxy line lost because s4 mini is not good and blaa blaa, yet he ignored One mini.

          • Grman Rodriguez

            No he did not, quote where

          • Atifsh

            So you want me to do all that fur your lazy ass? Do it your self lol
            he did that i can assure you. Read again s4 vs droid

      • Diskus1

        They all beat iPhone on screen size, nuff said!

        • Grman Rodriguez

          That’s kind of personal likings

  • NarutoNamikaze1010

    Besides the Screen and Processor the Droid MAXX loses in the memory department to the Droid Razr MAXX HD 32gb internal and 64gb external SD D:

  • Not Joe Hindy

    So if you buy all three Droid phones you’ll have the same capabilities as the HTC One? Silly and incoherent article.

  • Jarl

    could you please add another comparison and compare the droids with the Butterfly S? :)

    • Guest

      The HTC Butterfly S has no LTE radio so it won’t be coming to the US. No comparison needed.

      • Jarl

        sorry that information is incorrect, the 901S Butterfly S does have LTE

  • Diskus1

    Weight!? Screen size doesnt win over iPhone 5?

  • Droid Maxx HD user

    Any word of Motorola adding a Droid Maxx HD to their new family to address the screen resolution issue? Sure hope so. I have the older Motorola Droid Maxx HD; a great smartphone.