Droid Ultra Video: First Impressions

The Verizon Droid Ultra is one of Verizon’s latest smartphones, arriving to fill the shoes of the Droid RAZR HD which came before it and while there is no longer a RAZR in the name, there are some fan favorite features on the Droid Ultra.

Verizon’s Droid Ultra is $199 on contract and arrives as the middle-child of a Droid Mini and a Droid Max, both of which offer similar features at varying price points. The Droid Mini is $99 on contract and comes with a smaller screen, while the Droid Max boasts double the memory and longer battery life for $299.

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Droid Ultra Video Overview

The three-minute Droid Ultra video below covers the design and hardware of the Droid Ultra as well as the new software features the new always listening feature.

The Droid Ultra is similar to the Droid RAZR HD, but instead of the soft touch back, users get a glossy KEVLAR back that should prove resilient to scratches, but does not look or feel as premium as the Droid RAZR HD and collects fingerprints way too quickly. It’s an odd design choice as devices like the Moto X come to Verizon with a polycarbonate shell.

Droid RAZR HD vs. Droid Ultra vs. Moto X.

Droid RAZR HD vs. Droid Ultra vs. Moto X.

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Even with the new plastic feel, the device is very solid with no flex as I grip the Droid Ultra in my hands to text or take a phone call. The Droid Ultra is still incredibly thin measuring 7.18mm thick and it remains lightweight. The volume buttons are easy to locate and press, and are also where Motorola hides the SIM tray.

The Verizon Droid Ultra is thin at 7.18mm thick.

The Verizon Droid Ultra is thin at 7.18mm thick.

The 5-inch 720P display may not offer a full 1080P HD resolution like the Samsung Galaxy S4, but it looks good and is a big step up from Pentile displays that previously graced many Motorola devices.

The Droid Ultra comes with a 5-inch display.

The Droid Ultra comes with a 5-inch display.

The Droid Ultra doesn’t match the 36 hour battery life claims that come with the Droid Max, but in my first several days of testing the Droid Ultra is able to last a full day.

The Droid Ultra software is where some of the best features come from. Motorola includes the Active Listening feature from the Moto X to let users say, “Ok Google Now,” followed by a request without the need to press a button or turn on the screen. This is an awesome feature to use the phone while in the car or when it is across the room.

The Droid Ultra can always listen for "Ok Google Now" to respond to voice commands.

The Droid Ultra can always listen for “Ok Google Now” to respond to voice commands.

Another handy feature is the ability to quickly see what an alert is for thanks to the active display. With this feature on, small icons show up in the center of the display and users can hold an icon to see what the alert is for, often including a full text, part of a tweet or email, etc.

With Active Display, Droid Ultra owners can see notifications on the lock screen.

With Active Display, Droid Ultra owners can see notifications on the lock screen.

The Droid Ultra runs Android 4.2.2 with a Moto Blur style skin on top, but overall it is close to stock Android.

 

  

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