Software Development

Droid Razr Maxx Teardown: Impressive battery life in a sleek package

Offering 20 hours of talk time, Motorola's Droid Razr Maxx may be the answer for those who fear smartphones with non-removable batteries.

Just three months after releasing the Droid Razr, Motorola is back with a new model that offers significantly more battery life.

The new Razr has a 1.2GHz TI OMAP 4430 processor, 16GB of internal storage, an 8MP rear-facing camera, a 1.3MP front-facing camera, and a 4.3" Super AMOLED display (960x540 pixels). It measures 5.15" (H) x 2.71" (W) x 0.35" (D) and weighs 5.11 ounces.

The Droid Razr Maxx comes with Android 2.3.5 installed, and can be upgraded to Android 4.0. In the US, Verizon sells the Razr Maxx for $299.99 (with a two-year contract). I bought our test device (sans contract) from a local Best Buy Mobile location for $799.99 (plus tax).

In this week's episode of Cracking Open, I show you what's inside the Droid Razr Maxx, and discuss what I learned from my teardown.

Full teardown gallery: Cracking Open the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx

Cracking Open observations

  • Same hardware specs as Droid Razr (sans battery): Like the original Droid Razr, the Maxx has a 1.2GHz TI OMAP 4430 processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of flash storage, a 4.3" (960x540 pixels) qHD Super AMOLED display, and runs on Verizon's 4G/LTE network.
  • Upgraded battery: The Razr Maxx has a 3,200/3,300 mAh battery compared to the earlier Razr's 1,750/1,780 mAh battery. According to Motorola this beefed-up battery can provide 21.5 hours of talk time and last for about 16 days on standby. My friends over at CNET Labs put the Razr Maxx to the test and got pretty close to Motorola's talk-time numbers. They achieved 20 hours of continuous call time and 19 hours and 47 minutes of continuous video playback.
  • Thicker and heavier: The Razr Maxx's larger battery makes the phone slightly thicker and heavier than its predecessor. But the difference isn't enough to make the phone uncomfortable or too heavy to hold.
  • More expensive: The Maxx is also more expensive than the original Droid Razr. As of publication, the Maxx is $299 (with a two-year Verizon contract) while the old Razr's price has dropped to $199.

Internal hardware

To avoid damaging our test device, I decided against desoldering all the EMI shields on the Razr Maxx's motherboard. Luckily, our friends over at iFixit did remove the shields on a Droid Razr produced in November and a more recently produced unit. The new Razr and Razr Maxx have the same basic specs as the older phone, but Motorola appears to have swapped a few chips.

  • 3.8V 3,300mAh Li-Ion Polymer battery
  • microSD and SIM card reader
  • 8MP rear-facing camera
  • 1.3MP front-facing camera
  • 1.2GHz Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 Application Processor
  • Samsung K3PE7E700M-XGC1 4Gb LPDDR2 RAM
  • Elpida B8164B3PF-8D-F DDR2 mobile SDRAM (likely covers the TI OMAP 4430 processor)
  • Atmel MXT224E touchscreen controller
  • SanDisk SDIN5C1-16G flash memory chip
  • Qualcomm PM8028 power management chip
  • Qualcomm MDM6600 (provides GSM and CDMA connectivity also used on iPhone 4)
  • Motorola T6VP0XBG (LTE baseband processor)
  • Texas Instruments WL1285C (provides 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, FM and GPS support)
  • Toshiba Y9A0A111308LA Memory Stack
  • Bosch 2133 accelerometer
  • Infineon 5726
  • ST Ericsson CPCAP 6556002
  • Skyworks 77449 Power Amplifier Module
  • Avago ACPM-7868 quad-band power amplifier

For more information on the original Droid Razr, check out Deb Shinder's real-world review, "Motorola Droid Razr: Super model or serial killer?"

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

14 comments
tln
tln

I presently use a Motorola Defy and have found that the screen brightness, in bright daylight, is totally insufficient to use those apps that are only used in broad and bright daylight, e.g. golfing apps using gps to show position and distance. My suggestion is that you make comparisons in screen brightness when you do these full analyses of the various phones. The fact is, most unfortunately, that the i-phone screen brightness is far superior for these outside conditions. I wondered how this new Razr Maxx compares as I am seriously considering purchasing one. However, if the brightness is only comparable to the "Defy", then I shall be considering another make or model with a sufficiently bright screen. For your guidance, I work in the Middle East - Dubai, UAE - and screen brightness when you are using the phone outside is a major issue - on auto and on manual brightness control, of course..

colfranky
colfranky

"This is not a GSM device, it will not work on any GSM network worldwide". What good its for me if aint have GSM network !!!

rhonin
rhonin

almost wish it was also on AT&T. But my one concern with locked in batteries.... - what is the longevity of the battery? As an example I'll use my former iPhone4 (use a Samsung Skyrocket now). After one year of use, I could no longer get much past lunch before having to plug in (battery level approx 25-30 %). When new I could go to mid afternoon with the same basic use. See the same thing on my son's Samsung Captivate. After 18 months had to replace the battery as it was dead by early afternoon. New battery allowed to last well into the evening. Prior to this year, my contract through my employer allowed me to get a new phone every year. Due to cost, sigh, it is now every 2 years. Hence the concern over battery longevity.

JJFitz
JJFitz

I could live with that kind of battery life.

GeoffMichael
GeoffMichael

Buy a phone and three months later, the same phone is re-introduced with a battery that lasts twice as long? And people p&m about Apple? The more the difference, the more the same.

nrhudson
nrhudson

Worth the money to not have to plug in my smartphone after 8 hours. I paid $299 for the phone and after my corporate discount, dropped the price down to $269. I have been listening to google music streaming all day at work, checking email, Facebook, twitter periodically during the day, and batter still has 50% charge at the end of the day. Thank you Motorola also for the external battery pack for those times you can't plugin into an outlet. $30 purchase for that as well. Car dock works great for driving mode, gps navigation, etc...

kylehutson
kylehutson

I bought a DroidX the day it came out in 2010. I had no complaints about battery life then. Fast forward 12 or 14 months and I had to start charging it in the middle of the day, even with only moderate usage. I had to buy a new battery. What are you going to do with this one (or the Droid 4) when you've still got 6 months left on your 2 year contract and that once-great battery doesn't last you past your morning coffee break? I'm never buying a device that costs more than a half-day's pay (new, not subsidized with a contract) that doesn't have a replaceable battery.

HollyLouise
HollyLouise

I turn off my 4G (also Tucson) unless I want it on for speed. It does drain the battery much faster than 3G or WiFi. [Droid Charge]

PhaedrusZen
PhaedrusZen

I bought my Razr Maxx specifically because of the battery life. Got it last night, plugged it in and charged it, setting it up while it was on the charger. It got a healthy 7 hour straight charge over the night before I took it out for its test run. I noticed a huge difference with the general phone speed, switching between and opening apps. In town (Tucson) the 4G coverage made a noticeable difference on the download/ streaming speeds. I watched a Netflix show on a 40" HD TV, and on 4G, it looked like it could have almost been Blu-Ray. I noticed, however, that right around noon, my battery switched into the orange zone, and after a half hour of Netflix I was at 5% battery life. I did a lot of web browsing/ downloading during the morning, probably more than normal, due to getting old apps installed and whatnot, but to kill the battery that fast was pretty impressive. My Droid X held up better than that. I don't know if it was the 4g that killed it like that, but it was not what I expected the Maxx to deliver. I'm hoping it's just a break in period, although I didn't think these newer batteries needed it. I'll give it a couple more days before I bring it in to a store and make a nuisance of myself...

dthrun
dthrun

I bought my Razer from Verizon 2 months ago. Now the new maxx comes out with a battery life increase. My current phone will last all day if I simply use the phone as a phone. If I play a game it lasts about 30 to 60 minutes then it needs recharged. I am now stuck for two years until my contract expires. Any way around this? I Paid full price originally at verizon and now the maxx is cheaper.

eric.smith
eric.smith

"19 hours and 47 minutes of continuous video playback" WOW, did that include video with audio or just plain video?

rhonin
rhonin

Have you tried turn by turn navigation on it? If so, does the battery get warm?

perth_colin
perth_colin

@PhaedrusZen: All lithium batteries need several full cycles before you'll start to see their capacity. Give it a week, and make sure you are running it all the way down before charging during that period.

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