Motorola RAZR MAXX review: Power ranger

GSMArena team, 24 August 2012.
Pages: 123456789

ICS update brings revamped custom UI

The Motorola RAZR MAXX launched with Gingerbread, but has since moved on to Ice Cream Sandwich. The update brought more than just a change of the underlying OS -Moto's customizations have been refined too.

Before we go on, here's the user interface in action to give you an idea of what we're dealing with.

The lockscreen is inspired by the current trend in Android lockscreens - providing shortcuts to commonly used features. It uses a familiar "drag out of a circle" action to launch the dialer, the messaging app, the camera or simply unlock the phone. Instead of dragging, you can just tap the key icon and tap the icon of the app you want. A ringer toggle is also available.

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The new lockscreen

The lockscreen can be further customized with a couple of other options - Face Unlock, of course, but also the more standard PIN, pattern and password unlocks.

The homescreen consists of five side-scrollable panes. A tap on the Home key brings you to the middle pane, but oddly the preview mode that showed a zoomed out view of all five homescreens is gone. This means you can no longer easily rearrange homescreens.

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The RAZR MAXX's homescreen

The Motorola RAZR MAXX comes with a long list of custom widgets to place around the homescreen. Some widgets can be resized, all you need to do is tap and hold on a widget. Resizing also changes the widget's appearance - depending on the widget, it can display more or less info when resized.

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Widgets can be adjusted to be bigger or smaller

The notification area is pulled down from the top, as usual. It's a clean, unaltered notification area - no quick toggle buttons or anything like that in here. You still get the swipe to dismiss function that ICS brought.

At the bottom of the screen there is dock with five shortcuts - the center one always brings up the app drawer, but the other four you are free to replace with whatever app you want (even a bookmark or a playlist).

You can create folders in the familiar ICS way. All you have to do is swipe the icon over the one you want to pair it with.

As a final extra shortcut, you can also set up the Home key to launch an app on double tap.

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Notification area Shortcuts dock at the bottom of the screen Double tap shortcut

Speaking of the app drawer, it looks like the standard ICS launcher, but Moto has tweaked it a bit. Each page is a 4 x 5 grid of icons. The option to change the sorting order of the icons is no longer available (another feature missing since the transition to ICS).

What Moto kept in place was the Groups feature - the default ones are All apps, Frequent and Downloaded. You can create custom groups (and assign them custom icons). So, you can have groups labeled Work, Games and so on, which really helps get things in order if you have many apps installed. Later you can put those groups as shortcuts on the homescreen or even in the dock at the bottom to create an alternative app drawer.

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The app drawer

The new ICS task switcher has taken over from the custom switcher (called "Recent") and the task manager that Motorola used on Gingerbread. The ICS interface is more intuitive and easier to use, so it's a welcome change.

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The new ICS task switcher takes over from two custom solutions

Synthetic benchmarks

The Motorola RAZR MAXX uses relatively old hardware - the TI OMAP 4430 chipset with a 1.2GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 processor, PowerVR SGX540 GPU and 1GB of RAM was all the rage last year, but is now little better than mid-range. Still, it has plenty of fight left in it, especially after a refreshing serving of Ice Cream Sandwich.

While the processor is no Krait, it got excellent scores in Benchmark Pi, though Linpack scores are a bit below other dual-cores. The AnTuTu score is around half of what the current quad-core flagships achieved, which is all that we could have asked from the RAZR MAXX.

Benchmark Pi

Lower is better

  • HTC One S
    306
  • HTC One X
    338
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    344
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    402
  • Samsung Galaxy S Advance
    530
  • Sony Xperia U
    533
  • Sony Xperia P
    539
  • Samsung Galaxy Beam
    539
  • Motorola RAZR (Gingerbread)
    593
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2
    643

Linpack

Higher is better

  • HTC One S
    210
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    177.1
  • HTC One X
    126.1
  • Sony Xperia P
    66.9
  • Sony Xperia U
    64.9
  • Samsung Galaxy S Advance
    64.7
  • Samsung Galaxy Beam
    63.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2
    54.9
  • Motorola RAZR (Gingerbread)
    55.8
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    51.2

AnTuTu

Higher is better

  • Meizu MX 4-core
    11820
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    11735
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    10962
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    10767
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    6030

Moving on to the 3D benchmarks, the PowerVR SGX540 manages to win out against single-core Mali-400 GPUs (like in the popular NovaThor U8500 chipset that recent mid-range dual-core droids employ), and that's with a qHD screen whereas most of the competition uses WVGA or less.

NenaMark 2

Higher is better

  • HTC One S
    60.5
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    58.8
  • HTC One X
    47.5
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    36.9
  • Samsung Galaxy Beam
    35.8
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2
    31.6
  • Sony Xperia P
    29.9
  • Sony Xperia U
    28.3
  • Motorola RAZR (Gingerbread)
    27.2

GLBenchmark Egypt (offscreen 720p)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    103
  • HTC One S
    56
  • HTC One X
    55.7
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    29
  • Sony Xperia P
    19.6
  • Sony Xperia U
    19.3
  • Samsung Galaxy S Advance
    19.2
  • Samsung Galaxy Beam
    19
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2
    16.3

The ICS web browser gets a big bump in performance compared to the Gingerbread one. With the update, the Motorola RAZR MAXX successfully rivals an iPhone 4S in both JavaScript performance and HTML5.

SunSpider

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1447
  • HTC One S
    1708
  • HTC One X
    1757
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    2136
  • Samsung Galaxy Beam
    2517
  • Samsung Galaxy S Advance
    2663
  • Sony Xperia P
    2784
  • Sony Xperia U
    2814
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2
    2997
  • Motorola RAZR (Gingerbread)
    3455

BrowserMark

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    169811
  • HTC One S
    98435
  • HTC One X
    96803
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    92653
  • Samsung Galaxy S Advance
    81557
  • Samsung Galaxy Beam
    81136
  • Sony Xperia U
    75906
  • Sony Xperia P
    72237
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2
    62252
  • Motorola RAZR (Gingerbread)
    59783

Vellamo

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1890
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    1629
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1568
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1468
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    1392
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