The recent releases of highly anticipated and top tier phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 or the HTC One M8 have pushed some other potential flagship phones away from the spotlight. Such is the case with the Nokia Lumia Icon, a high-end Windows Mobile phone from Nokia that surprisingly no longer targets the entry-level markets, but instead focuses on high performance, strong specs and a price to match. Motorola has also moved away from the budget Moto G, providing us with an alternative that’s a bit more expensive and is seemingly better. We’re referring to the Motorola DROID Maxx, Motorola’s attempt to right the wrongs of the Motorola DROID Ultra, a smartphone that can’t seem to find its place in the market, and understandably so.
With the Nokia Lumia Icon, we get everything we could ever hope from a Windows Phone. This time around, there are no compromises whatsoever, and the Icon is, simply put, the best Windows Mobile phone on the market. Period. It’s hardware rivals that of the most prestigious Android competitors, including the Xperia Z2, Galaxy S5, LG G2 or HTC One M8. We’re getting a 5 inch full HD display that is simply amazing. Nokia isn’t known for the breathtaking visual quality of its displays, but the Icon actually is extremely pleasant to look at. With 441 PPI density, great sharpness and contrasts, good viewing angles and good visibility in sunlight, the Lumia Icon proves that Nokia can in fact provide its users with a quality display.
In terms of hardware, there’s nothing surprising going on, at least not once you look at the phone’s specs. A quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU clocked at 2.2 GHz powers the phone, together with an Adreno 330 GPU and 2 GB of RAM. The phone struggles a bit on the storage side though, as it doesn’t have microUSB support, something that may turn off some users. It does come with 32 GB of internal storage, but that can be easy to fill up. The phone’s design is not particularly engaging, and it seems to be a little rough on the edges. It might not win any fashion contests, but at least it feels solid and durable, and with aluminum sides and Gorilla Glass 3 protecting the display, it actually feels better in your hands than a Samsung Galaxy S5 for instance.
The phone comes with some exceptional features too. Due to recent improvements in Windows Mobile, the OS is competent and stable, and unless you’re really fanatical about having Android or iOS, you shouldn’t shy away from it. The camera is exceptional, and the feeling is only amplified by the many features included in its software. It’s truly a blast to take pictures with the Lumia Icon, too bad you’re limited by the storage space though. Battery life is also way above average, reaching towards the high-end side of things. With heavy usage, GPS activated and constant browsing or media playback, the phone should last you through the day without a problem. Tune things down a notch and you can easily get 48 hours out of your Lumia Icon, which, for a 5 inch phone is damn impressive.
Overall, the Nokia Lumia Icon is a great phone. There’s little to complain about, and not even its price can deter users from justifying the costs. It beats the Nokia Lumia 1520, which costs around $500 carrier-free. For reference, the Nokia Lumia Icon is names Lumia 930 in non-US markets. If you can get your hands on a Nokia Lumia Icon, don’t hesitate in picking it up. You’ll have a blast it it, and the phone can do anything you throw at it, from high-end mobile gaming to quality photo shooting and data processing. But what about Motorola’s DROID Maxx?
Another phone launched through Verizon, the Motorola DROID Maxx seems to be expensive at a first glance. It costs around $100 on-contract, and doesn’t seem to be dropping any jaws either with the specs hidden within. With so many new offerings on the market, it’s hard to like the DROID Maxx given what it costs. Remember, the phone is still rather expensive and costs about the same you would pay for the latest high-end 2014 releases. For that, you can pick up many phones with better specs and displays.
We’re not even going to talk about the hardware aspects of the DROID Maxx. The specs (listed below) pretty much speak for themselves. What the Motorola DROID Maxx has going for it though is build quality, where the company has taken massive strides forward. It’s sturdy, looks good and feels good in your palm. Nothing bad to say about the phone there. Where it does even better is the battery life, which due to the 3500 mAh massive battery is exceptional. It really lasts more than your average smartphone, being rivaled by a single phone – the LG G2. However, the LG G2 has better hardware, more storage space capabilities, a better display AND costs less. Thus, justifying a purchase of a Motorola DROID Maxx is extremely difficult, even under these conditions. It’s a fast phone, but there are newer, better, cheaper alternatives, and unless you’re a fan of the brand or require extreme battery life, don’t overspend on it.
Overall, we’re seeing some interesting developments on the mobile market. Given a chance, Nokia can definitely give Samsung, HTC or Sony a run for their money. Don’t be put off by the Windows OS, it’s better than you would think. It used to have its hiccups, but it’s now sturdy and well designed, and offers many unique features. We warmly recommend Nokia’s flagship, so if you can afford it, pick it up confidently. The same can’t be said about the Motorola DROID Maxx unfortunately, and while we wanted to like it, it’s just too expensive for what it offers. You can get better deals, and the battery life alone won’t be enough to justify the hardware limitations, the mediocre display and the hefty price-tag. You can see the full specs for the two below:
Nokia Lumia Icon 4G LTE
- CPU – Quad-core 2.2 GHz Krait 400/Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
- OS – Microsoft Windows Phone 8 Black
- GPU – Adreno 330
- DISPLAY – AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.0 inches (~441 ppi pixel density)
- MEMORY – No microSD, internal 32 GB, 2 GB RAM
- BATTERY – Li-Ion 2420 mAh battery
- CAMERA – 20 MP, 4992 х 3744 pixels, Carl Zeiss optics, optical image stabilization, autofocus, dual-LED flash; Secondary camera 1.2 MP, 720p
- VIDEO – [email protected], video light, stereo sound rec.
- WIRELESS – Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
Motorola DROID Maxx 4G LTE
- CPU – Dual-core 1.7 GHz Krait/Qualcomm Snapdragon S4Pro
- OS – Android 4.2.2 (now upgradable to 4.4 KitKat)
- GPU – 400 MHz quad-core Adreno 320
- DISPLAY – Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, Corning Gorilla Glass, 720 x 1280 pixels, 5.0 inches (~294 ppi pixel density)
- MEMORY – No microSD, internal 16/32 GB, 2 GB RAM
- BATTERY – Li-Ion 3500 mAh battery
- CAMERA – 10 MP, 4320 x 2432 pixels, autofocus, LED flash; Secondary camera 2 MP
- VIDEO – [email protected]
- WIRELESS – Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot, DLNA