Motorola Droid Razr HD, Razr Maxx HD: To buy or not to buy?

One of my favorite things about Android is the level of choice and diversity the platform provides. Customization potential aside, we've got a huge array of device types, shapes, and sizes to choose from -- something drool-worthy for practically every need and desire.

Motorola Droid Razr HD, Maxx HD

With its new 2012 Razr phones, Motorola is adding even more top-notch options into the playing field. I just finished reviewing the Motorola Droid Razr HD -- the flagship phone of the bunch -- and I'm happy to say it's one outstanding device.

The Razr HD won't be for everyone, mind you -- and that's okay. (Again, the whole beauty of choice thing; if you want a one-size-fits-all kind of ecosystem, you know where to go.) But let me tell you: This phone has a lot of good things going for it.

First and foremost, Moto's build quality on the device is simply exceptional. The phone's Kevlar back, metal rim, and reinforced front feel fantastic in the hand -- strong, durable, and very high-quality. No plasticky surfaces here, folks.

While words like "sexy" and "curvy" come to mind when describing other mobile devices, the Droid Razr HD feels more rugged and angular. If other smartphones are like beautiful women, the Razr HD is like a muscular guy.

That analogy extends beyond basic looks: Thanks to its excellent build quality, the Razr HD is really made for roughhousing. This phone is built to last -- and considering how often mobile devices get dropped, bumped, scratched, or otherwise abused, that's a pretty valuable quality to have.

Build aside, Motorola's Droid Razr HD is among the best phones I've used when it comes to battery life. And while it's not a pure Android device, Moto's modifications to the software are fairly minor and inoffensive -- nothing like the UI butcher jobs we see from certain other manufacturers.

To be clear, Moto's new Razr isn't all puppies and sunshine; the phone certainly has its share of flaws. But all considered, it's a hell of a compelling device that I think a lot of people are going to like.

Motorola Droid Razr HD, Razr Maxx HD

So what about the Razr HD's bigger brother, the Droid Razr Maxx HD? Ridiculous name notwithstanding, the Maxx HD is basically the same phone but with a bigger battery and double the internal storage: It packs a 3300 mAh battery compared to the regular HD's 2530 mAh unit and 32GB of internal space compared to the regular HD's 16.

Considering that both phones have microSD card slots, the battery difference strikes me as the more significant of the upgrades: As a result of the bigger power supply, we're talking an eight-hour difference in estimated overall usage. The Razr HD has great stamina, for sure, but the Maxx HD is like the freakin' Energizer bunny. Even with an LTE connection, you've gotta work to get that thing's battery down.

The tradeoff? The Maxx version of the phone is slightly thicker and slightly heavier -- a difference of 0.04 in. and 0.39 oz. In real-world terms, that's next to nothing; it's actually pretty tough to tell much difference in the phones' forms, even when holding them side by side.

The regular Razr HD sells for $200 on-contract from Verizon; the Maxx HD goes for $300. If you're interested in the Razr and can justify spending the extra hundred bucks, I'd certainly suggest springing for the Maxx model. You can never go wrong by having extra smartphone stamina, and that device provides about the best out-of-the-box Android battery experience money can buy.

As for whether the Razr line is right for you in the first place -- well, that's a question only you can answer. The phones are definitely in the top tier when it comes to overall user experience and among the finest options available on Verizon. Ultimately, it just comes down to your own personal tastes and what's important to you in a phone.

Take a detailed look at the good and the bad, and I suspect you'll have your answer. It's all in my in-depth review:

Motorola Droid Razr HD: How phones should be built

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One thing's for sure: Trying to pinpoint any single device as "the best Android phone out there" is becoming an increasingly difficult task. We've got a lot of great choices on our plates these days -- and for anyone who loves technology, that's an awesome kind of problem to have.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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