-Fantastic battery life
-Micro SD card expansion
-Large Vibrant display
-Clean software experience
-Much improved camera
-Front facing speaker
-Unattractive front with Verizon logo
Recently the major points of focus for Verizon’s Droid series of smartphones have been on battery life and durability, especially when it came to last year’s Droid Turbo, which featured ballistic nylon or re-enforced Kevlar backings to make for quite a durable device. Additionally, the Turbo packed a large battery that allowed for an impressive battery life.
With its successor, Motorola is aiming to further improve upon and refine what are the most exciting aspects of the Droid Turbo series, while also updating the hardware package to better compete with the current crop of flagship smartphones. Available exclusively from Verizon Wireless, does the latest Motorola offering prove to be a compelling option? We find out, in this in-depth review of the Motorola Droid Turbo 2!
The Droid Turbo 2 may be a lot of things, but attractive may not be one of them. Following its official launch, there were quite a lot of complaints with regards to how the front of the device wasn’t the most appealing to look at, and we have to agree. With the split speaker grills, slew of sensors, the front-facing camera with flash, and of course, the Verizon logo, there is certainly a lot going on up front. For what it is worth, this is all far more noticeable on the white iteration of the device, which happens to be the color of our review unit. The bezels along the sides of the display of the Droid Turbo 2 aren’t particularly thin either, which also takes away from the look.
The Droid Turbo 2 does borrow some design elements from the Moto X Style (Pure Edition), with the signature Motorola dimple on the back a part of the metal bar that also houses the camera unit. The back isn’t as curved however, making for a slightly thinner device than the Moto X Pure Edition when comparing their thickest points. With its 5.4-inch display, the handling experience with the Droid Turbo 2 is a little more manageable as well, but might still be outside the realm of comfortable one-handed use for some users.
Related: Droid Turbo 2 cases
Up top is the headphone jack and the SIM tray that also has a slot for the microSD card, and on the bottom is the microUSB port. On the right side are the volume rocker and the power button, with the latter coming with a textured finish that makes it very easy to locate.
For the first time, Motorola brings its Moto Maker customization suite to the Droid series, allowing for users to choose between various options for the backing, the accent colors, and the colors of the front face, while also offering the ability to add an engraving, for that little bit more of a personal touch. For the backing, the standard soft grip material is available, as also seen with the Moto X Pure Edition, and users can also opt for ballistic nylon, that some fans will appreciate, along with leather materials as well. The customization available via Moto Maker is one of the more compelling features of Motorola’s flagships, and bringing it to the Droid line is certainly a great move.
The big news with the Droid Turbo 2 is the fact that it features a shatterproof display, courtesy of Motorola’s new Shattershield tech. This happens due to the fact that the screen comes with five different layers, starting with a layer of plastic that covers the display. The display itself is slightly flexible, allowing for it to bend on impact and absorb shock, instead of shattering. Along with that, there is a dual-touch layer, so if one touch layer does happen to be affected, there is always a backup.
Having dropped the device face down on concrete, hardwood flooring, and down the stairs, repeatedly, the display does manage to survive everything with hardly any hints of damage. There are consequences of course, with the plastic layer being more prone to scratches, and given the fact that the device itself isn’t rated for protection against impact, while the display may survive, the components inside may not if the fall is hard enough.
As far as the display is concerned, it is a 5.4-inch AMOLED screen with a Quad HD resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 540 ppi. With its high resolution, sharpness is of no concern, and you get the vibrant colors and deep blacks that are expected from AMOLED screens, along with decent viewing angles. Granted, the display may not be as impressive as other AMOLED screens out there, given the multiple layers that are to be found, but we were surprised by how good of a viewing experience Motorola was able to maintain.
Performance and hardware
Under the hood, the Droid Turbo 2 comes with an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, clocked at 2 GHz, and backed by the Adreno 430 GPU and 3 GB of RAM. This processing package is the current flagship standard, and with Motorola’s near stock software experience on-board, the performance of the Droid Turbo 2 is as good as expected. The device handles everything from swiping, scrolling, and opening applications, to multi-tasking and gaming very well, and everything remains smooth and snappy for the most part.
32 GB or 64 GB of on-board storage is available, and if storage is of concern, the good news is the expandable storage via microSD card, by up to 128 GB, is also to be found here. The device also comes with a standard suite of connectivity options, but as far as network compatibility is concerned, the Droid Turbo 2 is exclusively available only for Verizon Wireless customers. However, there is an international version of the device as well, called the Moto X Force.
While the device may give the appearance of a dual front-facing speaker setup, there is actually only a single speaker to be found, under the speaker grill at the bottom right below the display. The speaker actually does get pretty loud and sounds very crisp and clear. While not as good as any stereo front-facing speakers, it is certainly better than any rear or bottom-mounted speakers out there.
In battery, the Droid Turbo 2 packs a large 3,760 mAh unit, which Motorola claimed would last for 48 hours. In our testing, with moderate use that involved a lot of texting, taking a few pictures, watching some videos, and surfing the web, the device managed up to 5 and a half hours of screen-on time. However, it is quite difficult to drain the battery in just one day. There would be around 40% of battery left at the end of the day, and leaving it uncharged for the night, the device would last up to another half a day. Usage varies from user to user, but it shouldn’t be difficult to get up to 30 hours of battery life from the Droid Turbo 2. If you do find yourself needing to recharge, Motorola’s Turbo Charger will help get you back up and running in no time.
In camera, you get a 21 MP rear camera and a 5 MP front-facing shooter, which is identical to the camera package seen with the Moto X Style (Pure Edition). There is no optical image stabilization however, which means you will have to keep your hands steady when taking images in low-light conditions, and this will likely result in some shaky videos.
The primary camera is capable of taking some great photos, with good color reproduction and detail. The quality understandably deteriorates as lighting conditions worsen, and in low light situations, some grain is to be seen, along with colors losing their vibrancy. As mentioned, you will also have to keep your hands steady to avoid blurry images in these conditions, but for the most part, the device manages decent shots in low light.
The front-facing 5 MP camera takes some great shots as well, with good detail, and with its wide angle lens, it is easy to get quite a lot into the frame. There is also a front-facing flash, but other than in really dark places, this is not something you will end up using as often.
Video recording is pretty good too, with the software-based stabilization somewhat making up for the lack of OIS, and the device is capable of shooting video in 4K as well. Overall, the Droid Turbo 2 offers a great camera that allows for shots that should please most users.
In software, the Droid Turbo 2 runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out of the box. While an official update to the Android 6.0 Marshmallow is in the works, it is a little disappointing to see a new device not running the latest version of Android right off the bat. Further, the Droid Turbo 2 will be dependent on Verizon Wireless to roll out the update, and the network carrier has historically not had the best track record in this regard.
Motorola’s take on Android keeps things as close to stock as possible, but with some useful additions baked in. Moto Display lets you have a quick glance at the notifications by simply waving your hand over the display, or picking up the phone. Moto Voice proves to be a good voice assistant, and Moto Actions includes some useful gesture controls, such as twisting your wrist to launch the camera, or performing a chopping motion to activate the flashlight. Given that this is a Verizon device however, there are a lot of pre-installed Verizon applications, along with a few games, but luckily, most of these apps can be uninstalled if required.
Quad HD resolution, 540ppi / Shatter Shield tech
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor / Adreno 430 GPU|
expandable via microSD up to 2TB
|Camera||21 MP rear camera with dual LED flash
5 MP front-facing camera with wide angle lens and front-facing flash
Universal LTE bands
|Network||4G LTE (Cat 4)
CDMA / EVDO Rev A
UMTS / HSPA+
Bands: CDMA (850, 1900MHz)
GSM / GPRS / EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
UMTS / HSPA+ (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz)
4G LTE (B2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 13)
GSM / EDGE
|Battery||3,760 mAh Battery with Turbo & Fast Wireless Charging / Supports PMA and Qi wireless charging (wireless charger sold separately|
|Software||Android 5.1.1 Lollipop|
|Colors||Moto Maker support included|
|Weight and size||149.8 mm x 78 mm x 7.6 mm - 9.2 mm, Weight 169g|
Pricing and final thoughts
The Droid Turbo 2 is available via Verizon’s EDGE agreement, priced at $26 per month for the 32 GB version, and $30 for the 64 GB iteration, with the off-contract priced of $624 and $720 respectively.
So there you have it for this in-depth look at the Motorola Droid Turbo 2! The Droid Turbo 2 is essentially the Moto X Pure Edition on steroids, with its larger battery, shatterproof display, and slightly more powerful processing package. Of course, The Droid Turbo 2 is available exclusively from Verizon Wireless in the US, but international users will be able to get their hands on the device, under the Moto X Force moniker. If you do decide to pick up the 64 GB version of the device, you also get the added benefit of being able to change the look entirely once during the first two years.
Overall, the Droid Turbo 2 is a great smartphone, though it is on the pricey side. However, if battery life and a well-protected display are important to you, this is definitely the phone to consider.