Disclaimer: As a Verizon Insider Ambassador I receive certain benefits, phone provided for review courtesy of Verizon
Phablet size phones offer great screen size but their bulk can make them difficult to carry in my pockets and hard to use with one hand. Verizon Wireless recently treated me to the Motorola Droid Ultra, a 7.18mm thin phone that promised a bright, crisp 5 inch screen and voice control features that would make me feel like I have android assistant in my pocket! I was skeptical, I’ve used several android voice recognition apps after the initial novelty wore off seldom used them because they didn’t work well.
Touchless Control – A True Android Assistant
I’m able to make calls, send emails and texts, get directions, set up meetings and reminders, play music and movies, ask questions and even set my alarm clock all without touching my phone.
“Okay Google Now”
How Should I Dress Today?
Ask Fun Questions
Where is My Phone?
I misplace my phone fairly often, saying “OK Google Now, call my Droid” solves that problem. The screen will begin flashing and emitting an increasingly louder tone making it easy for me to retrieve my android from wherever I’ve left it.
The Camera does a fairly decent job capturing life moments indoors and out. The pic above was taken in a windowless room at the recent #VZWBuzz event here in Boston. I did find that getting pictures in lower light settings wasn’t always possible and that some of my unedited shots weren’t as sharp and clear as I would prefer.
A Boston street scene shot in late afternoon.
Things I Really Like
1. Form factor – Motorola has engineered a device with a good sized screen that at 7.18mm thin is slim enough to fit into my pockets and easy to use with one hand. The 5 inch 720p AMOLED screen provides deep blacks, vibrant colors and crisp text.
2. The Radio – This phone gives me excellent cellular reception in places where my other devices struggle to establish connection.
3. Touchless Controls – “Okay Google Now” might possibly be my favorite phrase from 2013.
4. Active Display – Conserves battery life by using only a small portion of your screen to show notifications. I love it when I wake up at night and can check the time without having to touch the phone!
5. Battery Life – I get about 12 hours of fairly heavy use before I need to recharge which was an unexpected surprise in a phone this slim.
Things I Wish Were Different
Aside from wishing for a user replaceable battery and options for expanded storage there are very few features about this phone that I’m unhappy with. We cannot have everything and the large screen coupled with the slender design is in my opinion a worthy trade off.
1. The Glossy Back – The Kevlar casing is durable but the glossy finish shows fingerprints easily. if your hand is damp at all it might make the phone harder to grip.
2. The Camera – I’d like consistently sharp, clear shots in lower light settings but any number of photo editing apps do help with this issue and overall the camera does a decent job for social sharing.
The Ultra manages to pack capable hardware into a sleek form factor but the value here lies in the reliability of the voice control features. I really liked this phone when it was $199 with a 2 year contract, now that Verizon Wireless has lowered the price to just $99 with a 2 yr contract, the Motorola Droid Ultra wins an Editor’s choice award from me. If you are looking for a phone with premium features that won’t cost you an arm and a leg the Ultra could be your next android assistant.
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