Last week, Motorola and Verizon Wireless finally took the wraps off the DROID Maxx 2, an exclusive device now on the Verizon lineup and the successor to last year's model. It also launched alongside the DROID Turbo 2, a more powerful and much more customizable device for those that require or desire specifications and hardware in the higher-end tier as well as more personalization options.
When it comes to specifications, the DROID Maxx 2 is no slouch. It comes equipped with a 3,630mAh battery which is quite a bit more than most smartphones even in the high-end range, which shows that one of its best features will be the battery life. It also comes equipped with a 5.5-inch 1080p display with 403 ppi, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage with expandable storage via a microSD card up to 128GB. It's also powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 64-bit quad-core processor and the Adreno 405 GPU. Camera wise it has a 21MP rear-facing sensor capable of zero shutter lag for super quick pictures, and on the front it carries a 5MP camera with a wide-angle lens.
There are quite a few strengths here that make this a compelling device to go for if you're a subscriber of Verizon Wireless, or a customer of another carrier thinking about switching over. First and foremost is the battery. 3,630mAh of battery capacity is a massive battery for any smartphone these days compared to most of the competition. That battery also charges up to about 8 hours of use time in just 15 minutes which means you won't have to spend a lot of time waiting around for it. If you get home from work and are going out shortly after, you can plug the phone in right away for a quick charge and get more than enough battery life for the remainder of the evening while you take care of other things before stepping out.
The cameras are another strong point. The rear facing camera is a 21MP sensor with zero shutter lag and dual-LED flash so pictures snap quickly, giving you the best opportunity to shoot multiple images in no time at all. It also has an f/2.0 aperture so low-light photos will be better than plenty of devices. Moving around to the front, the 5MP camera has a wide-angle lens making it perfect for getting everyone in the shot if you're grabbing a selfie or two. Lastly, there's the price. Full retail off contract is set at $384, which means you can pick up the phone for half the cost of a flagship with arguably flagship-like specs, and that's something to be excited about.
The first thing that comes to mind is the customization. While this won't be bad for everyone, there will surely be enough users wishing they had the same level of customization on the DROID Maxx 2 that's available on the DROID Turbo 2. With no option to customize the DROID Maxx 2 through Moto Maker, customers are left with simply choosing from a collection of different colored removable back plates. On the flipside of this, there is at least some level of personalization, which is nice to see. The other big thing here is that there is no ShatterShield display, and that means it technically won't hold up as well as the DROID Turbo 2 during drops. The way around this is to simply be more careful and try to avoid dropping the phone entirely, but as Motorola even state themselves to promote the ShatterShield, accidents happen, and it's that unpredictable variable that may have some people considering the DROID Turbo 2 or a different device.
There's also no presence of Android 6.0 Marshmallow here, and having been unleashed earlier this Fall well before the launch of the phone, it makes you wonder if Motorola may have had the time to push the phone out with Android 6.0 instead of Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. Of course, there's always the chance that Motorola will be quick and deliver a speedy update to the latest version of the Android software, but there's no denying they haven't been as fast this year as they have in the past with software upgrades.
The ugliest part of this device, if you could consider it ugly, is the pre-installed Verizon apps. This won't bother every single user, but enough users don't care for them to make this a giant pain point. While it generally doesn't slow the device down like it may have on much older phones with limited RAM and storage space, it's still a downside to see this forced on users instead of giving them the option to keep them. Motorola is well-known for having a fairly clean and as much like stock Android experience with their software as one could get, so it's a little sad to see that the same kind of experience wasn't applied here. Then again this is a Verizon-branded device after all, so it probably was to be expected.
When you get right down to it, though, despite the inclusion of extra apps that nearly everyone could do without and the lack of a ShatterShield display, the DROID Maxx 2 is a pretty solid device and it won't cost you an arm and a leg. There's at least some customization with the different backplates which come in different colors, and the massive battery life is definitely a huge benefit with how much people rely on their phones these days. The camera experience should also provide some decent images to those who pick this device up, and that's refreshing to see in a mid-range handset. All in all, if you have Verizon and aren't looking to spend upwards of $650-$800 for a new phone but you don't want to compromise too much on features and specs, the DROID Maxx 2 isn't a bad way to go in the slightest.