The Droid Razr Maxx is our highest-scoring Verizon smart phone

Consumer Reports News: February 10, 2012 09:38 AM

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The new Motorola Droid Razr Maxx, $300 on Verizon with a two-year contract, is the top-rated phone in our Ratings of Verizon smart phones, thanks in part to its exceptionally capacious battery. The Razr Maxx maxed out at more than 13 hours of talk time in our real-world tests, and we think you could likely gab for up to 21 hours under optimal conditions. Those scores, along with tests that reflect a range of tasks, including data-heavy downloads, earned the phone a score of excellent for overall battery life.

That makes it only one of two Verizon smart phones in our Ratings to earn excellence in battery life—the other being the rugged Casio G'zOne Commando, which is a marked contrast to the sleek design of the Razr family.

The lab findings echo those of my informal tests of the Razr Maxx. I found the phone managed to retain 75 percent of its battery life after a full day of moderate to heavy use—frequent video streaming, pushing e-mail, Web browsing, camera use, and so on—on Verizon's 4G LTE network, a level of longevity I’d never before experienced with a smart phone.

That battery power allowed the Razr Maxx to edge out its sibling, the Droid Razr, from the top spot in Ratings of Verizon phones. Battery life aside, the two phones are nearly identical in performance. Both provide excellent keypad readability under most lighting conditions, including bright light, and each has an 8-megapixel camera that produces very-good-quality pictures when taken under well-lighted conditions.

The Droid Razr is, however, a little slimmer and lighter—presumably a consequence of the Razr Maxx’s beefier battery. And the older Razr now costs $50 less, dropping in price to $250 (with a two-year contract) for the version that has the same 32GB capacity as its new sibling.

Other phones in our new batch of Ratings arethe LG Nitro, available on AT&T for $200 with a two-year contract, which also had an impressive 8 hours of talk time and a top-notch 4.5-inch, high-definition (720p) display. It's one of the first phones that supports both of AT&T's 4G networks (LTE and HSPA+).

Other notable Ratings additions include the Samsung Galaxy Nexus ($300 on Verizon with a two-year contract), one of the first phones to run the Android 4.0 operating system (a.k.a. Ice Cream Sandwich), and the HTC Radar 4G ($100 on T-Mobile with a two-year contract), which is one of the first Windows phones with 4G capability (running on the carrier's HSPA+ network).

Mike Gikas

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