Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Tech

Well, we're back from our all-too-brief visit to Chicago, and we had lots of fun.  No major snafus in terms of directions or anything like that, and the kiddos seemed to have a good time, so I'd call this one a successful vacation.  :)

Right before we left, I was able to snag an upgrade to my phone, and I chose the Razr Maxx.  I was considering the Maxx and the Nexus for this upgrade.  I liked how the Nexus line is Google's flagship product and is the first to receive updates (like the upcoming and much-anticipated Ice Cream Sandwich), but I've never been a big fan of the design of the phone itself.  On the other hand, I love the Razr's styling and design, and I had one of the old clamshell Razr phones back in the day.  My initial hesitation on the new Razr was, of course, the hideous battery life and the fact that the battery is built in and thus not removable, so the introduction of the Maxx (the same Razr phone, but with a double-sized battery) pretty much sealed the deal for me.

And let me tell you, the battery on the Razr Maxx is everything it's cracked up to be.  On the first day I had it, I put it through the following:
- used a live wallpaper all day
- installed and setup 125+ apps
- 3 hours of streaming radio
- significant poking around to tweak options and customize the interface
- normal load of phone calls, text messages, browsing sessions, checking the weather, etc.

Overall, I'd say it was about 12 hours of heavy usage, and I still had 30%+ battery left over!  Incredible!  Another example would be the drive back from Chicago.  Through typical levels of usage (browsing, email, etc.) across the 8+ hours we were on the road -- which included a number of stretches where there is no cell coverage and thus constant tower-searching -- I was only down to about 80% by the time we rolled into Liberty.

So, if you're wondering if the much-hyped battery is the real deal...yes, yes it is.

On top of that, the performance is incredible.  The phone is responsive and fast, and I have yet to experience a lock-up or freeze of any kind.  The Kevlar back provides great strength, and the phone itself is thinner than my Droid X, even with the monster battery.

On the network side, I have to say that the 4G speeds are a bit disappointing.  It seems there are typically two speed plateaus, one with about 4-5Mbps download and 2Mbps upload, and another at about 10Mbps down and 10Mbps up.  My previous 3G speeds were roughly 3Mbps/1Mbps, so the lower plateau really isn't much at all to brag about, and the upper plateau (while a major and welcome improvement) is still pretty far off from the promised peak of 50Mbps.  Ah, well, I'm sure the 4G network will come around more as time goes on.  I'm sure some of it has to do with walls, weather, etc., so I'm going to keep on testing.

The only other negative I can offer (and it's a half-hearted one at most) is the screen.  The colors aren't as vivid or bright compared to my Droid X, and the coloration seems to be tinted a bit darker in general.  But, given that I tend to use my phone as a tool more than an entertainment device, this is a 'negative' that I can easily live with, and one that is really pretty minimal.

The most pleasant surprise to me is the touch screen.  It's Gorilla Glass, so I expected it to be very strong and scratch resistant; what I didn't expect was how it is so naturally smudge-resistant.  It barely registers any residue after a lengthy session of use, and what little is there easily wipes off.  I don't think I'm going to bother with a screen protector.

All in all, this is a great phone, and I'm very pleased with the purchase.  It'll stink to have to wait on Motorola to roll out the ICS update, but I'm certain it'll be worth the wait.  In the meantime, I'll be here enjoying my Razr Maxx.

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