The Verizon Wireless and Motorola partnership continues to grow, with the companies recently unveiling the latest additions to their Droid series of smartphones. Along the lines of what Motorola did with their own Moto X offerings, consumers now have the choice between two new smartphones, the Droid Turbo 2 and the Droid Maxx 2, with the latter being to the former what the Moto X Play is to the Moto X Style (Pure).

In the face of increasing competition, does the Droid Maxx 2 prove to be a compelling option? We find out, as we go hands-on and give you our first look at the Motorola Droid Maxx 2!

Design

Maxx_2

Given their similarities, it’s no surprise that the Droid Maxx 2 features a design language that is practically identical to the Moto X Play, including a metal frame, and curves along the sides and the back. The rubbery material on the back will certainly help with grip, and feels softer to the touch compared to what is available with the Moto X devices. The Motorola dimple returns on the back, this time a part of the metallic bar that also houses the camera unit. Compared to the Moto X Play, the only minor difference to be seen here is basically the addition of the Verizon Wireless and Droid logos on the back.

Motorola Droid Maxx 2 AA

While a key aspect of the Moto X smartphones, and now the Droid Turbo 2 as well, is the availability of customization via Moto Maker, that is unfortunately not the case with the Droid Maxx 2. The back plate is replaceable however, with users having four color options to choose from. Granted, this is nowhere close to the personal touch that Moto Maker enables, but at least you get a modicum of customization.

Display

Maxx_3

The Droid Maxx 2 comes with a 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with  Full HD resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 403 ppi. Quad HD may be the new flagship standard, but 1080p is certainly not going to disappoint, especially with the added benefits to battery life. Sharpness isn’t an issue while reading text, and the color reproduction does look to be accurate, in the short time that we got to spend with the device. It has to be mentioned though that the display doesn’t seem to be very bright, but we will be testing that under differing lighting conditions in the future.

Unlike the Droid Turbo 2, this display isn’t shatterproof, but with its Gorilla Glass 3 cover glass, it should be able to handle minor bumps and keep any scratches at bay.

Performance and hardware

Maxx_10

Under the hood, the Droid Maxx 2 comes with an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, clocked at 1.7 GHz, and backed by the Adreno 405 GPU and 2 GB of RAM. This processing package has proved impressive in the past, allowing for surprisingly good performance despite its mid-range nature and that should continue to be the case here.

Maxx_8

Unlike the Moto X Play, 16 GB of on-board storage is the only option available with the Droid Maxx 2, but any storage concerns you may have should be alleviated with the availability of expandable storage via microSD card, which is likely something you will have to rely on.

Maxx_6

The Droid Maxx 2 may look like it has a stereo speaker setup, but there is only a single speaker to be found here below the display. This will understandably result in a rather unbalanced audio experience, but the speaker does get quite loud, and having even one front-facing speaker should be a better option than any rear or bottom-mounted speakers out there.

Maxx5

One of the biggest selling points of the original Droid Maxx was its large battery, and its successor shines in this aspect as well. The Droid Maxx 2 features a 3,630 mAh battery, that Motorola claims will last up to 48 hours with moderate usage. It’s not a radical claim to make, and if the Moto X Play, which comes with the same battery capacity, is any indication, the battery life should be impressive, something that is quite difficult to find with a current generation mid-range smartphone. Droid Maxx 2 users also get fast-charging, with Motorola’s Turbo Charger.

Camera

Maxx_9

Camera is one area in which Motorola has sought to maintain some consistency across the board, with all their current generation smartphones featuring a 21 MP primary camera and a 5 MP front-facing unit. We will, of course, be putting this camera through its paces, but given the fact that the camera package is identical to what is found with the Moto X smartphones, things should be really good this time around as well.

Software

Maxx_4

On the software side of things, you get a near stock Android experience here, but unfortunately, the Droid Maxx 2 will come with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out of the box. While an update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow is in the works of course, it is certainly disappointing to see a new device not already running the latest version of Android. Some of Motorola’s useful software features, like Moto Display, are available here, but gesture controls are limited to only the twisting gesture to quickly launch the camera application. As is the case with any Motorola smartphone, the software experience is going to be very clean, but be prepared for a bunch of Verizon Wireless apps to be pre-loaded here.

Specifications

 Motorola Droid Maxx 2
Display5.5-inch display
1920 x 1080 resolution, 403ppi
Gorilla Glass 3
Processor1.7GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615
GPUAdreno 405
RAM2GB
Storage16GB
MicroSDUp to 128GB
ConnectivityWi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac
Universal LTE bands
Bluetooth 4.1
NFC
GPS+GLONASS
NetworksXT1565: VZW
GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz)
CDMA (850, 1900 MHz)
4G LTE (2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 13, 20)
SIM cardNano SIM
Water repellentYes
Camera21MP rear camera, f/2.0 aperture
5MP front camera
BatteryNon-removable 3630mAh
SoftwareAndroid 5.1.1 Lollipop
Upgrade to Android 6.0 Marshmallow coming eventually
ColorsBlack with Deep Sea Blue Back
White with Winter White Back
Interchangeable back plates also available
Dimensions148 x 75 x 8.9-10.9mm
169g

Gallery

Pricing and availability

There hasn’t been an official announcement on the full price of the Droid Maxx 2, but the device will be available from Verizon Wireless from tomorrow, priced at $16 a month. Assuming the requirement of a 2-year contractual commitment, this sets the price of the Droid Maxx 2 at $384. Verizon will also let you trade in your current smartphone, which will get you a discount up to $300.

Conclusion

Maxx_1

So, there you have it for this first look at the Droid Maxx 2! The Droid Maxx 2 is essentially a Moto X Play that has been re-branded for its exclusive availability from Verizon Wireless. At first glance, the device has certainly left us impressed, and we cannot wait to put it through its paces, the results of which will be seen in the upcoming comprehensive review.

Comments
Read comments