Motorola Droid Turbo Review

by: Kevin NetherNovember 13, 2014
743

The Bottom Line

PROS
  • Solid build quality, rugged materials
  • Fantastic display
  • Latest and greatest hardware
  • Smooth and snappy performance
CONS
  • Some carrier bloatware is found
  • Not the flashiest of designs
8.7
The Motorola Droid Turbo is everything that some would have expected the new Moto X to be. With top of the line specifications, a great display, solid build quality and fantastic battery life, the Droid Turbo will make any non-Verizon customers jealous of the fact that it is available exclusively from that one carrier.

A little over five years ago the world was introduced to the very first Motorola Droid, an Android device built exclusively for the Verizon network. In the time since, Motorola has seen its fair share of ups and downs, but the Droid brand continues to be an iconic series that is well known and loved by many Verizon users.

Related: Best cases for the Droid Turbo

While Droid devices have always been some of the best handsets offered exclusively for use on Verizon’s network, the latest member of the family raises the bar significantly. Join us as we take an in-depth look at the Motorola Droid Turbo!

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The Motorola Droid Turbo is available in three different color options: a metallic black, a metallic red, and a ballistic nylon black. The difference between these models goes beyond the color, as the color you choose also dictates what material you’ll find on the back of the device. While the metallic black and red options feature the Kevlar backing traditional to the Droid line, Ballistic Nylon is a new option available to users, and happens to be the version I utilized for this review.

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Up front you’ll find three capacitive keys below the display, which follow the layout of the on-screen keys you’d find with typical Android 4.4 Kitkat devices. On the right side is the power button and the volume rocker, which come with a textured feel, and offer a good amount of tactile feedback.

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At the top and bottom are where you’ll find the headphone jack and the microUSB charging port respectively.

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On there is a 21 MP camera unit with a dual LED flash, along with the Motorola logo, which isn’t dimpled like the Moto X (2014) or the Nexus 6. Below that is a Droid logo with 64 GB written inside of it, but that is something you’ll only see with this Ballistic Nylon version, with the metallic black and red iterations featuring the Verizon Wireless logo in this space.

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The ballistic nylon material choice definitely feels more rugged, and the 10 grams it adds to the weight compared to other iterations is a negligible difference. It’s not slippery at all, and along with the prominent curve on the back, grip is of no issue with this device, to a point where you might even feel confident enough to use it without a protective case or cover. The Droid Turbo may not come with the flashiest of designs, but there’s no denying that it feels great in the hand.

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The Droid Turbo features a 5.2-inch AMOLED display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3, and boasts a Quad HD resolution, resulting in a pixel density of a whopping 565 ppi. This is one of the highest pixel densities we’ve seen on a smartphone display yet, and is certainly a contributing factor to the great viewing experience this display offers.

As you’d expect from any AMOLED screen, colors are punchy, there are no complaints with regards to viewing angles, and the screen is quite visible even in the bright outdoors. You’ll have a great time doing anything on this display, including reading text, watching videos, and playing games. Granted, at this size, a 1080p resolution would have still be very impressive, but if this is the direction the industry is going to move in, the Droid Turbo is a great showcase of what to expect in the future.

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When it comes to the hardware, the top-of-the-line specifications of the Droid Turbo did catch some by surprise, especially when you consider that this is a carrier exclusive device (with another iteration making its way to limited worldwide markets). With the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, clocked at 2.7 GHz, the Adreno 420 GPU, and 3 GB of RAM, the Droid Turbo boasts the best processing package currently available, and this is certainly reflected in the performance.

Droid Turbo Specs

CPU/GPUQualcomm Snapdragon 805, Quad-core 2.7 GHz Krait 450 / Adreno 420
Display1440 x 2560 pixels, 5.2 inches
RAM3GB
Memory32/64GB
Battery3900 mAh, Wireless charging, Turbo Charger
Camera21 MP (5248 x 3936), autofocus, dual-LED flash / 2MP front cam
ConnectivityWiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wifi direct, GPS / GLONASS, NFC, Bluetooth® v 4.0 (LE)
SensorsAccelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
OSAndroid 4.4 KitKat
Dimensions and Weight143.5 x 73.3 x 11.2 mm, 176 grams

As expected, the Droid Turbo easily powers through any and every task you may throw at it. multitasking is a breeze, opening applications are smooth and snappy, even playing graphically-intensive games such as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas didn’t result in even the slightest of slowdowns. Aided by a near stock software experience, performance is one area that will be of no issue with the Droid Turbo.

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The standard set of connectivity options are available with this device, and the only hardware aspect that is missing is expandable storage. 32 GB and 64 GB of built-in storage options should be more than enough for most users though. Also keep in mind the fact that the Ballistic Nylon version is available only with 64 GB of internal storage.

All of this fantastic hardware of the Droid Turbo is also protected from the elements, courtesy of its IP67 rating for resistance to dust and water, which means almost complete protection from dust, and the ability to use the phone in up to 1 meter of water for as long as 30 minutes, without any negative affect on functionality.

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Motorola states that you can get as much as 48 hours of use out of the large 3,900 mAh battery of the Droid Turbo. But in my testing, I managed to squeeze around 29 hours, with normal usage with around 4 hours of screen-on time, which is of course, still very impressive, but not at the promised level. To alleviate any battery concerns you may have is the fact that the Droid Turbo also comes with the Motorola Turbo Charger in the box, that lets you get up to 8 hours of use just by charging for 15 minutes. While not offering the same fast charging speeds, the Droid Turbo also comes with a wireless charging capability, and is compatible with any Qi wireless charger currently available.

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The Droid Turbo comes with a 21 MP rear shooter with a f/2.0 aperture and dual LED flash, along with a 2 MP front-facing unit. When it comes to the camera application, things remain simple and minimalistic, with only a few shooting modes like HDR and panorama available.

Accessing the camera is also quite easy, requiring you to simply twist your wrist a few times from any screen, to open up the application. Despite this uncomplicated app, the camera, that utilizes tap to focus and shoot, does allow for some good shots, with a lot of detail, and good color reproduction. It may not be the absolute best smartphone camera out there, but it does rank quite close to the top.

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Motorola maintains its minimalist software philosophy with the Droid Turbo, offering a clean and simple, almost stock-like software experience, with a few very useful additions on top. The Droid Turbo comes with Android 4.4.4 Kitkat out of the box, with an update to Android 5.0 Lollipop expected quite soon, at least if Motorola’s track record is anything to go by. Granted, this is a carrier-exclusive device, so you will find your fair share of bloatware, but that is something that will happen with any smartphone you get from any US carrier.

Droid Zap isn’t a new introduction with this device, but is a pretty decent refresh. What the app does is search for other people using Droid Zap, and then bring in all the photos in a real time stream. You can also fling photos to another person using this app. Chromecast support is built-in, and even iOS users can install this app, so this could prove to quite useful if more and more people begin to use it.

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The latest version of Moto Assist makes its way to this device as well. All of the features you loved about Assist are still here, while adding the ability to interact with other applications. Once you trigger the completely customizable keyboard, you can use Moto Assist to post to Facebook, set reminders, do perform a slew of activities that are housed outside the Assist applications. That said, this is only the start, albeit a good one, but it does have a long way to go.

The software feature I most appreciate and use is Active Notifications. The AMOLED display has the ability to only light up the pixels that are needed to show the notification, helping with battery life. The phone pulses the information on the screen, allowing you to see your notifications with a quick glance. You can also then read any messages, dismiss messages, and even cycle through them all on the lockscreen. This feature is activated whenever you reach for your phone.

The Motorola Droid Turbo is available exclusively from Verizon Wireless for $199.99 with a 2 year contract, $24.99/month under Verizon’s Edge program, or for the full retail price of $599.99.

So, there you have it – the Motorola Droid Turbo! The Droid Turbo offers what many would have hoped from the Moto X (2014), but in comparison, what the Moto X lacks in specifications, it makes up for in terms of design. The Droid Turbo is a solid device, and with its IP67 rating, can brave the elements, and stay relatively safe from accidental bumps and drops. The latest and the greatest in specifications puts the Droid Turbo in an exclusive league that includes the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Nexus 6, and it certainly is disappointing that this fantastic device is available only from Verizon, even if an international version, under the name Moto Maxx, will eventually make its way to limited markets.

 

  • Terry Barnhill

    The overall score seems low considering the lack of negatives the reviewer was able to come up with. “Not the best design”? Okay, but function over form any day. ” Some carrier bloatware”? Yeah just like every phone released on a major carrier, which has nothing to do with the performance of the phone.

    • Individual

      While i do agree with you that not having a slim design or having carrier bloatware are not really flaws, a phone can be a 8/10 without having any “real” negatives, it all comes down to how AA evaluate the products and give ratings accordingly.

      It’s a really good phone, but it’s not the best. The best phone hasn’t really been invented yet because you have to make compromises, therefore it’s hard to give a phone a 10/10 these days.

      • Tony G.

        “The best phone hasn’t really been invented yet because you have to make compromises”…..This is probably one of the best comments ever. I’ve yet to see a phone that is deemed perfect by everyone. Each phone that comes will have faults according to someone. I love this phone and yes, every phone is a compromise. The Turbo, while having a few quirks, does everything that I need. Of course, this is MY opinion. Luckily we have a choice of many phones as everyone’s opinion differs.

    • findinghomer

      Beat me to it. Was going to say this guy must be a fan boy of another device. Only con I see is no expandable storage….but 32 gb on board is legit anyway, let alone 64

  • Solomon Hwang

    you tend to explain simple things using unnecessarily long sentences. and the music is very annoying.

  • lucas

    Is it really IP67 rated? The S5 is, but I seem to recall that it was advertised as being splash resistant, which is different than IP67.

  • Brad

    I routinely get 8+ hours of screen on time with this phone

    • Marc Perrusquia

      Screenshots please.

      • Terry Barnhill

        From my usage of the Turbo…

        • Iron Man

          Not impressed. I can get similar mileage on my g2 too. Currently I’m at 56% with 28 hours off the charger and managed 3 hour 10 minutes of SoT.

          Note 4 users are claiming over 9 hour SoT and I’m seeing screenshots too. Same with z3 users having more than 8 hours.

          • Terry Barnhill

            Well it’s a good thing I wasn’t posting to impress you.

            Just to clarify I’m a heavy user. Mobile gaming, video streaming, and music over Bluetooth for several hours each day. This is the only phone I’ve ever found that can get me through an entire day of heavy usage without me having to worry about it dying. The only other phone you mentioned with similar battery life that also has a qhd screen us the note 4, but I don’t want a phablet, can’t stand the lightweight plastic Samsung build because I feel like I’m going to break it, prefer stock android with moto features over touchwiz, and no front facing speaker. So for me, the turbo is the best phone on the market. In all seriousness if you use one of the newer moto phones with moto display it’s hard to go back to unlocking your phone to check notifications.

          • Tony G.

            What works for you is all that matters. Those are good stats in my opinion. I love the phone. Is does everything I need. My first 10 hours is at the office with a metal roof surrounded by steel file cabinets so it works hard at holding 3G. However have data 98% of the time. At home I have solid 3 or 4G. The last two days I had 5h 7m screen with 38% left and 5h1m with 26% left. That’s great for my situation. I don’t decide on a phone solely on battery stats, although that’s important for me. If it works for you and you’re happy with it, that’s all that matter. I am happy with the Turbo. And NO phone available is going to be perfect according to everyone.

  • Gato Mafioso

    The Turbo isn’t IP67 certified

    • LionStone

      Yea it just has nano coating

  • Jayfeather787

    DAMN.

  • CMJO

    So, it’s not 64-bit and the Ballistic Nylon comes in both 32GB and 64GB. I work at Verizon and just sold one yesterday that was 32GB. Not to mention that it straight up say 32GB or 64GB on the Verizon Wireless website.

  • Dt Bell

    My biggest knock is the carrier choice and being tied to a plan.

    • Tony G.

      I have been off contract with Verizon since April. I pay $78 per month for unlimitied data and bought the Turbo at full price. My calculations showed it would cost me $180 more in two years buying full price. But that’s if I don’t use additional data on a plan. At $15/GB, that adds up fast. And Verizon has nearly perfect service for me. I usually use 3 to 5GB per month.

      • Dt Bell

        It is hands down the best network in my area, I just can’t stomach the taxes and fees NY attaches to a plan. Straight Talk $140. 3mo

      • Dt Bell

        I get straight talk with a three month card and pay $45 a month full, it’s LTE, but its no Verizon. Verizon, in my area is the fastest, and lately I’ve been the first to improve.

    • Oli72

      Totally agree. But if this phone Isn’t going to gsm network. Then im buying It from vz and going to straight talk for a resonable plan.

      • Dt Bell

        agreed

  • Marc Plante

    My wife tried one and ultimately returned it. The ear piece has terrible, muffled sound for phone calls, and the qi charging is pretty touchy, though that may be a function of the ballistic case. QI is important to someone who has had their usb port fail, trendsetting a device useless since it can no longer charge.

    I would assume they can fix the audio with a software update, and qi chargers should improve utility dramatically with the expansion to 40mm range next year, but she didn’t want to wait.

  • Brian

    Is this phone really 64-bit enabled or is it 32-bit?

    • CMJO

      32-bit from what qualcomm says.

  • CDavisUnlimited

    Was this a Droid Turbo review or DJ Clue dubbing his voice over a new rap video?

  • ThunderCrackR

    I actually think this is one of the best designed phones, the red Kevlar option especially. Just take a look:

  • Yogesh Mandell

    Anyone have a link for the music?

  • My new phone – Review

    My first smart phone was the original Motorola Droid. I kept it for a couple of years and upgraded to a Bionic. That phone was horrible, to the point where they replaced it after a couple of months for another Bionic and then after a couple of months for the original Razor. I had that phone for nearly 3 years. It finally got so slow and aggravating and the battery was discharging so fast that I had to make sure I had my charger with me everywhere I went. SO….I finally broke down and got a new phone.

    I had planned on getting a Note 4. I was just waiting for it to come out. When I finally got up the nerve to go get one the past Monday (I hate upgrading and fear losing all my stuff) I went in to get my Note 4. BUT, while trying to decide, the Verizon rep told me about the new Droid Turbo. I held it, a bit smaller than the Note 4 but a bit larger than the razor. It’s comparable to the Galaxy S4. So, my choice was the Note 4, the G5 or the Turbo. I decided on the Turbo. I’m SOOO glad I did. The turbo is a great phone, perfect size, 21 MP Camera, fast as greased lightning, charges fast, holds a charge a long time, etc. I realize it’s new and my old phone was slow but, …I think I made the right choice. If you’re a droid person and you’re looking to upgrade, before going the Note 4 or S5 route, make sure you check out the Turbo. Fantastic phone…so far. http://www.jayfloyd.com

  • Oli72

    Overall if USA gsm network doesnt get this phone. Im buying this out right from vz then go to straight talk.

  • Ben

    I don’t think it’s ip67.. You should check that