DROID RAZR MAXX ultimate battery test: 3-day business trip with no charger

February 17, 2012
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Battery life is a problem for all mobile electronics, and Android is no exception. If there's one thing holding the platform back from a hardware perspective, it's the inability for high-powered Android phones to last through a full day without additional charges. There is one exception: the Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX. With its massive 3300mAh battery impressively kept in a housing thinner than 9mm, it's nothing less than the best combination of power, longevity and high-end components of any phone on the market.

So I decided to test the DROID RAZR MAXX to its limits. From Monday, February 13th through Wednesday, February 15th, I took a three-day business trip from Dallas-Fort Worth to Las Vegas. I took the RAZR MAXX and left its charger at home, as if I had forgotten it. Over the trip I used it as my only phone. I wanted to see if you could use the phone in an "emergency" situation, as if you had no method of getting power into the phone at all. Here's a log of my experiences.

In keeping with the theme of a businessman who's aware that he won't have any access to a charge for three days, I took the precautions that I thought might get me through. I immediately disabled 4G LTE, and made sure to keep away from superfluous browsing and video. I resolved not to use the DROID RAZR MAXX's tethering function, since they'd kill the battery and I'd have constant access to WiFi anyway. As the beginning of the trip I set the screen brightness at about 20%.

Monday

9:18 AM CST - After an hour and a half of driving with Google Navigation and music playing through my truck's Bluetooth stereo, I took the DROID RAZR MAXX off its charger and dock. This was the last time I plugged the phone into anything for the entire trip. I hopped on the airport shuttle and headed to the gate.

10:04 AM CST - After getting through baggage check and security, I settled down at the gate to do a little work pre-flight. When I checked the battery gauge outside the gate, it still read 100%. I periodically checked my email and random websites over an hour. I boarded and began listening to an audiobook, placing the phone in Airplane Mode when directed. I listened to the book for the entire 150-minute flight, stopping only when directed. I fudged a little and didn't turn the phone completely off for takeoff or landing - don't turn me in to the FAA.

1:16 PM PST: I landed in Las Vegas and boarded the bus to my hotel. This was an intensive period of use, since I was catching up with my bosses and colleagues, and doing some light recreational web surfing. I made a couple of calls to my contacts at the conference. It took over an hour to get to the hotel and check in, thanks to some confusion on the part of the conference organizers.

2:36 PM PST: I get to my hotel room and immediately check the gauge - still 80%. Over the next three hours I made several calls and checked emails and texts, but refrained from strenuous activity like YouTube. After working for a couple of hours in my room, I called some family that was in Las Vegas at the same time to organize dinner - this took some significant time off the battery. I also downloaded some tools for my office workflow.

8:31 PM PST: I went to a dinner/open social put on by the organizers of the event in the hotel. Relatively light use was called for as I mingled for a little over an hour. Heading back up to my room, I continued working, then started organizing for the events of the following day. I continued listening to my audiobook as I prepared for bed.

10:46 PM PST: As I hit the sack (at almost 1 AM by my body's internal clock) and checked the gauge. It read 70% - not bad, considering the strain I had put on it. If it kept up this pace it might make it through.

Tuesday

6:45 AM: I woke up early (thanks to the DROID RAZR MAXX's alarm clock) and got my gear together, then showered and headed down to breakfast. I was just starting on my coffee before I remembered to check the battery: 60%. Not a good start to the day.

7:45 AM: I went through my morning routine of checking emails, Twitter and Google Reader, firing off a few responses and checking my standard web comics. At 7:45 I headed for the conference's main presentation. Over the next four and a half hours I checked my phone only fleetingly, looking at emails a half-dozen times to keep up with the trail of emails coming from the office. When necessary I checked the wen for references or breaking news.

12:51 PM: Lunch at the hotel. Another furious session of emails, Twitter and relevant surfing. When I paused to write a quick post, the phone read 40% battery remaining - a poor showing, probably because the phone had to search for signal inside the large Las Vegas hotel's ballrooms. At this point the RAZR MAXX's indicator light became a crucial battery saving tool: I began pulling the phone out of my pocket and waiting to see if the light was flashing or not, instead of turning the screen on every time.

4:15 PM After a series of presentations, I returned to my room to do more work. The battery gauge still read 40%. Motorola doesn't include more precise measurements in the basic meter, but using Android's System app I could see that the charge was actually closer to 45%. I worked for a couple of hours, using the phone minimally. At this point I set the screen brightness to 1%, where it stayed for the rest of the trip. Thankfully, the AMOLED panel was bright enough that it didn't cause problems.

6:45 PM I started the long walk to an adjacent hotel, where the conference organizers had paid for a show for the attendees. It was about a 20 minute walk, so I checked email and a little Facebook while I went, listening to my audiobook as well. One call from a friend came in and we spoke for about five minutes - the only call of the day, in stark contrast to Monday, when I'd had about 8 or 9. At the show the indicator light was a social benefit as well as a battery saver, since I could check to make sure that I had not updates from my bosses without disturbing those around me.

10:23 PM After a couple of drinks at the hotel bar I returned to my room. I did some more work, then listened to my audiobook again as I performed my evening ablutions. When I set the alarm for the morning I checked the phone's battery: 30%. The phone had been running for thirty-nine hours. While this was indeed some great battery life, things weren't looking good for my little experiment.

Wednesday

7:00 AM PST: I awoke to the phone's alarm and a disturbing site: the battery had fallen to 20% in the night, and the gauge finally shifted into the orange mode. When I checked the advanced Settings gauge at breakfast at 8:17, the phone had been running completely on battery for just over two days, and read 22%. To keep the test honest, I checked my email, Twitter and RSS feeds again, as I always do at breakfast. I checked out of the hotel.

10:16 AM PST: During the morning presentations I kept to my checks using just the indicator light, only turning the phone on when absolutely necessary. I still needed to check emails at least twice an hour, and had to do some quick web research on more than one occasion. When heading to the keynote speech in a large, darkened ballroom, the DROID RAZR MAXX was saved a little grief: I carry a small flashlight in my pocket, and thus didn't use the phone's LED light as many might have.

12:46 PM PST: While I was checking Android Community at lunch, the first warning from the phone popped up: 15% battery remaining, connect a charger. This was two days and five hours after I'd taken it off the charger in Dallas. The DROID RAZR MAXX's Smart Actions kicked in automatically, and I allowed it to disable GPS, but not automatic syncing or updates. Over the next few hours I attended the closing presentations, using my phone as little as possible.

5:04 PM PST: I boarded the shuttle to get to the Las Vegas Airport and checked the gauge: 10%, with another five hours to go at least. Though I wanted to begin my audiobook again, I refrained, only using the phone to check my email. Once at the airport I loaded up Flight Track and checked the status of my return flight. I set the alarm to wake me just in case I dozed off while waiting for the plane.

7:30 PM PST: Once I boarded the plane I immediately put the phone in airplane mode, and left it there for the entirety of the flight. Since I was pretty exhausted, I took nap for the duration and left the phone alone, though again I didn't turn it completely off to keep continuity. The phone still read a 10% charge, and I hadn't called anyone that day.

12:10 AM CST (Thursday): I landed in Dallas after midnight, then immediately checked the phone. It was still at 10% charge before I re-enabled the cellular data! If I could collect my bags and take the shuttle back to my truck soon enough, I could get through nearly three days of active use without a single charge. Unfortunately it was so late that regular shuttle runs to my parking service had ended, and I had to call them to pick me up at the terminal. When I hung up the phone, the gauge red just 5%, and the battery warning popped up every time I turned on the screen.

12:48PM CST (Thursday): I resisted the urge to check my phone on the shuttle, except for one email. When I got back to my truck, the gauge read 5%, with the advanced settings graph showing closer to 3%. The DROID RAZR MAXX made it! It lasted two days, fifteen hours and thirty minutes on a full charge. I shoved it in my car dock, then gave it some blessed electrical relief so I could navigate home and listen to some music.

This test isn't completely realistic - I could have charged the phone via USB at any time, as could any business traveler, and chargers are available at most airports and hotels. I also used some knowledge of Android that not everyone might have, especially disabling LTE. But the accomplishment is impressive nonetheless: I used the DROID RAZR MAXX as my only phone for three full days of communication and mobile web access, if sparingly for the last day.

The phone is not without its faults: large as it is, the battery isn't removable, so there's no way to extend that massive run time. I'm also not sold on Motorola's user interface, especially the launcher. That said, without the Smart Actions app and the battery-saving AMOLED screen, the test probably would have failed. If you're looking for a smartphone that can go the distance, there's no doubt in my mind that the Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX is your best bet. If you want a more in-depth look at the hardware, check out Android Community's DROID RAZR MAXX review.

[device id=2143]


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  • Anonymous

    So for normal use you should be able to get all day and all night use out of it right? Honestly I don’t care about the second day because its going to charge on my nightstand overnight. All I really want is to be able to use a phone fairly heavily from around 5AM till 11PM without worrying about a charge. 

    • http://www.androidcommunity.com Michael Crider

      Absolutely. The only way I think you might get less than a full day out of the MAXX is by using it for hours and hours of Netflix or tethering, and even then you’d probably be OK. 

      • ITs all hype

        Bull sh*t. I just received this phone. i made 4 texts and went online for maybe ten minutes. the rest of the day it sat in stand by mode with screen off. It was totally dead within 9 hours. yeah Im not happy. -At all

      • Gary Harris

        Crack pipe

      • Duane

        I just got one of these.. I dont know about 2-3 days… I unplugged at 6am and im at 40% currently (2:34 pm).. although I flashed around a few different roms and have been on it fairly heavily.. I can see getting a complete day after break in/Rom settling but 2-3 days for me would be completely absurd to hope for…

      • Razrmaxx

        You probably never charged the phone out of the box. Just bought two. Charged them both overnight and both lasted two days with fairly heavy use. Disregard what this person said.

      • david

        Calibrate your battery right.

  • Bob

    Finally a modern smartphone that has THE killer feature… a battery life that actually works for full usage throughout a day.

  • KoukiFC3S

    Do you know how long the screen was on for? You can see it if you tap the display under battery usage.

  • http://www.mobileattorney.net/ Tom

    I just got the Razr Maxx. I had the Samsung Charge and had to use two batteries just to get through the day. On the first day, I made it 12 hours using the phone and ending up with 20% left. I guess I am a power user even though I though I was just a moderate user.I used my phone during the day in the following manner: phone for 1 hour 5 minutes; Angry Birds for 56 minutes. I know waste of time but waiting with wife and nothing to do; Music Streaming 7 minutes; Display 3 hours 45 minutes. I downloaded Juice Defender and going to see how it does.

    Call quality great and better than the Charge. I love the Razr Maxx compared to the Charge. However, I have always been partial to Motorola over Samsung for phones.

    I don’t know how anyone is getting 21 hours. It that back. I got Razr Maxx as a BOGO. My wife has got about 80% battery left. She made a couple of calls and checked her Facebook account a couple of times along sending a few texts.

    I would still rather have the slim Razr Maxx than the Samsung Charge with 2 batteries.

    • Jim68Land

      You sound like a fake poster. A paid Motorola shill.

      You’re an idiot for comparing a flagship phone to a mid range phone. Of course a flagship phone is going to perform better than one that costs hundreds less.

      Motorola makes $hit phones and the only reason they made the MAXX was to make up for the lousy battery life of the first version of the Razr. I would be pissed if they didn’t do that after the epic screw up.

      • Rand

        +1
        Tom doesn’t sound like a real owner.

      • Emburybrett

        If you think that Motorola makes “shitty” phone then why the hell you on a page about a Motorola? Plus if you think this then you haven’t had any HIGH END MOTOROLA SMARTPHONE!!! I used to have the Motorola BackFlip and yes low end smartphone are shitty on people who are always downing apps …. Ect. So why don’t you get your JackASS self off this? And get a real smartphone!
        Have A Good Day
        -Brett

      • Emburybrett

        If you think that Motorola makes “shitty” phone then why the hell you on a page about a Motorola? Plus if you think this then you haven’t had any HIGH END MOTOROLA SMARTPHONE!!! I used to have the Motorola BackFlip and yes low end smartphone are shitty on people who are always downing apps …. Ect. So why don’t you get your JackASS self off this? And get a real smartphone!
        Have A Good Day
        -Brett

      • Emburbrett

        Downloading **

      • Emburbrett

        Downloading **

      • Zippy

        “If you think that Motorola makes “shitty” phone then why the hell you on a page about a Motorola?”

        Nice “argument”. Still doesn’t change a thing about what he said.

        “Plus if you think this then you haven’t had any HIGH END MOTOROLA
        SMARTPHONE!!! I used to have the Motorola BackFlip and yes low end
        smartphone are shitty on people who are always downing apps …. Ect. So
        why don’t you get your JackASS self off this? And get a real
        smartphone!”

        You fail at reading comprehension. What a waste of pent up anger.

      • Zippy

        “If you think that Motorola makes “shitty” phone then why the hell you on a page about a Motorola?”

        Nice “argument”. Still doesn’t change a thing about what he said.

        “Plus if you think this then you haven’t had any HIGH END MOTOROLA
        SMARTPHONE!!! I used to have the Motorola BackFlip and yes low end
        smartphone are shitty on people who are always downing apps …. Ect. So
        why don’t you get your JackASS self off this? And get a real
        smartphone!”

        You fail at reading comprehension. What a waste of pent up anger.

  • Chris082303

    thanks for that report. question. Where is that display showing the battery life and how long it was running. its image 12 of 12. thanks

  • http://www.facebook.com/sfcarlos Carlos Almendárez

    Just got mine and the battery has been awesome. Went from 9am today to 10pm and it is at 40% and I did email, music, facebook, texting etc. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/sfcarlos Carlos Almendárez

    Just got mine and the battery has been awesome. Went from 9am today to 10pm and it is at 40% and I did email, music, facebook, texting etc. 

    • Jossue Munoz

      I am not trying to hate or anything, but that seems a bit low for a battery of this caliber (3000+ mAh).  What display brightness level did you use and what wireless connections were enabled? My GSM Galaxy Nexus has the 2000 mAh and by the end of the day I’m at about 50-60% with regular use (Wifi always on, 50% brightness, lots of texting, I have the phone synched with 3 different e-mail accounts using push, and lots of facebook.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Josue-Aristy/540455542 Josue Aristy

    Amazing!!

  • Emburybrett

    Nice battery I can’t get my htc inspire to last more then 12 hours and that with being under clocked when screen is off…. Nice to know the phone I just got will last!

  • Mdub

    Very cool review! Motorola made a brilliant move that should have been done years ago. I’m making the migration from sprint to Verizon but I’m still going with the galaxy nexus because nothing matches the super amoled hd display and pure ics.

    • Anonymous

      Had the gn.  Battery is horrible.  Voice recognition is horrible.  Only got it working when i switched to English UK setting.  Still only worked 30% of the time.  Could not receive contact cards through text.  These are probably ICS issues so hopefully they will be fixed soon.  Great display and ICS will be very nice once bugs r fixed.  Also power/unlock button is opposite volume rocker.  Each time i lock the screen i would also lower ring volume because of its placement.

      • Jack

         Love my Galaxy Nexus. Sounds like you’re griping about minor things.

      • Darren Swanson

        I hear what you’re saying with the button placement. It took me a while to get used to them.

      • http://twitter.com/mikelentini Mike Lentini

        Battery life is fixed with the update that leaked (4.0.4) and should be rolling out soon. Voice recognition works perfectly for me, maybe it’s just your voice. Sorry.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/CZPCK254RK6SWBMGQYDVEDFL7Q Dave

        There are lots of connection issues with the Nexus.  Poor radio.  Motorola has the best radios on Verizon.

    • Darren Swanson

      You’ll love the G-Nex. I know I love mine!

  • Ninjahamster

    As with all androids, don’t like the launcher? Download a new one.

  • Shaina

    wish I had one

  • Emburybrett

    I’m getting mine this Friday… Anyone know how this phone runs for a person that’s always one their phone?

  • Emburybrett

    I’m getting mine this Friday… Anyone know how this phone runs for a person that’s always one their phone?

  • Darren Swanson

    I would like to see how long it can last with Juice Defender. The app works wonders! I’m also really anticipating the day that battery tech gets updated. Batteries are holding back the advancement of technology so much! They have batteries in labs that are like 10 times better than what consumers have now, so I’m just waiting with bated breath.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/CZPCK254RK6SWBMGQYDVEDFL7Q Dave

      Mine still has 75% charge over the weekend, down from 80%, with no usage with Juice Defender Plus turning off 4G/3G/WiFi off 1 min. after screen dim.  Juice Defender works wonders with DROID RAZR Maxx and the HTC Rezound.

  • Anonymous

    Pair this with a external battery charger like the New Trent offerings and you could probably go for over a week.  

    Now if Moto would just open up the bootloader, I might even buy this.

  • http://profiles.google.com/tnfsmith tnf smith

    I would love to the massive battery for free time at night without charger. It’s make poor to charge phone every night. I hope that Razr Maxx public new version compatible with GSM carrier world wide and that the reason will be buy him none hesitate.

  • Ben Singley

    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…

    • Cuzinruthi

       I bought the Maxx 12 days ago and I am thinking of taking it back because the battery drains in one day.  Very disappointing.

      • Patty McFatty

        I get about 1 day and 10-20 hours on average for my MAXX.  It’s my first smart phone so I don’t have much to compare it to, but most people tell me that it is pretty good.  For example a buddy of mine gets 5-10 hours on his Droid 3.

        3300 mAh is pretty ridiculous for a lithium-ion phone battery, some laptop batteries don’t even have that much capacity.

        Only downside I can see is that the battery is sealed in the case so that you can’t carry a spare battery around or replace the old one if it goes bad.  Perhaps Motorola will offer an external battery case down the road, or maybe it will be possible to cut into the phone to replace the battery when the time comes.

    • engadger

      The large battery is to keep the phone alive for the whole day despite 4G. If you would like to compare with Droid X, just turn off the 4G it will probably double the battery life.
      Or just compare the battery life with a 4G phone, like the EVO4G or Thunderbolt.

  • TDG

    What other phone would last three days, used sparingly or not?

    • Jgonzalez483

      Anything that isn’t a smartphone. I haven’t charged my Samsung Alias 2 in a long time and have 4 bars of battery. On a full charge, after 2 or more weeks it will use a bar. Still 3 bars to go, then you have no bars and have time to keep using the phone until it lost all of its charge. It has pretty much a month or more of battery life. It just isn’t a smartphone.

  • Nbaballar18

    how do u get to that graph of how long the phone has been working on 1 charge?

    • http://www.facebook.com/ColorlessWorld Clayton Thomas

      Im not sure if its the same as the Droid X but go to the status area in the settings and theres a batter option that’ll tell you the stats.

  • Mrev

    These results are pretty impressive, but doesn’t setting the brightness to 1% halfway through defeat the purpose of a “real world” test?

    • Nick

      If you had forgotten your charger for the weekend, wouldn’t you set your brightness as low as possible?

  • Pweer

    thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ColorlessWorld Clayton Thomas

    Neat!!  Im really thinking about getting one here soon, I have the Droid X and ts okay, rooted with Liberty3 2.0 and i get around 21-36 hours depending on use but the maxx sounds worth it! Thanks for the test!

  • Nick Avicolli5

    mine says only 4 hrs of talk time on the app i always use to check how much life i have on my battery and its on 100% help? (i have the razr maxx)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=716288175 Binod Kumar

    I own a LG Optimus 2X and it provide a decent battery life. I have
    noticed that keeping Wi-Fi, 3G/4G, Bluetooth turned off when not in use further
    extends the battery life. However, turning on and off these services manually
    can be painful.. i have been using cosmos for smartphone from past few months
    have noticed some improvement in the battery life. The app is free and also
    cleans junk data stored on the phone. Highly recommended! https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.support.cosmos

  • MotorollaNewbie

    Total BS!!! I bought the Razr Maxx based on reading reviews like this and soon figured out that all of these were probably bought and paid for by Motorola. While the battery life does last much longer than an Iphone … this review is the biggest exaggeration I’ve ever read. I take the phone off the charger in the morning and make 3 or 4 calls around 20 – 30 minutes each during the day. I check my facebook several times a day (turning off wifi in between). Send about 50 – 100 text messages. And stream 30 minutes of music here and there. I also keep the screen brightness on factory suggested setting (which is impossible to see outdoors). The battery warning light comes on by around 9 p.m. and the phone is dead by 10 p.m. And another thing I hate … while most cell phones charge fully in about an hour or two … plan on 4-5 hours for the Razr Maxx. Not bad if you remember to put your phone on the charger before bed, but if you don’t … your phone will be useless because unless you turn it off and leave it on the charger for 4 hours, it does not actually charge while it is on and on the charger and you use it periodically. Not worth the extended battery life in my opinion. Had I to do it over again, I might go with the IPhone. And I promise unlike what is probably going on in this review, Apple is not paying me to say this!

  • http://twitter.com/kumar_amit amit kumar

    Great reveiw man . This is the only Android phone I would love to buy and its GSM version is coming to India .. The most amazing part is how come only motorola has been able to do this kind of battery and not samsung or HTC (not counting apple as the iphone itself is small comparatively) .. !! Seriously this is THE phone which encourages you to actually USE it the way phones should be used for the features !!! Kudos to Motorola Engineers and this does not get appreciated at all . Google please put some of your Billions in marketing it . You can beat the heck out of any HTC ONE or S3 etc… put a simple video with the 3 phones and show how the others just die at 5 PM in evening pushing you to carry a charger and finding a place to charge. Thats all needs to be put in advertising and sales will skyrocket

  • Shaun

    Since The Update For Droid Razr Maxx, My Battery Life Has Been Terrible. On A Full Charge When I Go To Bed, I Wake To An Almost Dead Battery.

  • iceweasel69

    The entire post would benefit with the inclusion of some objective data:
    1. Total MB sent/received during the time period
    2. Total talk time (hh:mm:ss)
    3. Total on-screen time
    4. Total processing/clock time; processor load

    This will give us an objective view as to usage vs “I did some light surfing and made a few calls”
    How long did you surf for? How much data was sent/received? How many calls did you make? How long were the calls?

  • Chris Vickers

    My razor maxx does not do the best