Hands On With The Droid Turbo: Initial Impressions

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This post was published 6 years, 11 months ago. Due to the rapidly evolving world of technology, some material it contains may no longer be applicable.

Motorola Droid Turbo

On October 28th, Motorola unveiled the Droid Turbo at their Chicago press event and the Droid Does landing site. Confirming previous leaks and rumours, this handset is a powerhouse. It has similar guts to the new Nexus 6, sporting the Snapdragon 805 and 3GB RAM. The differences between the two come down to design, camera, battery, and price.

Design

I actually got to pop in to the Verizon store over this past weekend and get a hands on with the Droid Turbo. Design is a matter of personal preference. Adopting the looks of previous Droids, capacitive keys and Kevlar/Nylon back are standard. Some people will like this, many may not. The Motorola “M” dimple is still present but is textured differently than the Moto line or the Nexus 6. Compared to my daily-driver 2013 Moto X, the device is big, not unwieldy.

I didn’t grab any pics but you can check out a gallery of Motorola’s official press shots below:

Camera

Motorola has had a reputation for sub-par cameras, but when I heard this packed a new 21-megapixel sensor, I was excited to try it. In my limited experience with the device the camera certainly seemed better than the one on the 2014 Moto X, but still not the best. Hopefully Android 5.0’s new camera APIs and other updates to the camera software will help improve the camera further.

Battery

I did not have enough time with the device to test battery, but others have claimed to have no problems getting over 6 hours of screen on time! From a whopping 3,900mAh battery and with Motorola’s kernel-based battery optimizations, I can see the fulfilment of their claim that this device could see you through 48-hours per charge. Naturally though this would be subject to variation depending on your usage.

The device also comes with Motorola’s “Turbo Charger” included which should give you up to 8 hours of battery life from a mere 15 minute charge, just for good measure. This is based on Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 technology and is the same as found in other recent flagships such as the new Moto X, Nexus 6 and the Galaxy Note 4. It should prove be handy if you ever need to give your phone a quick boost!

Software

Near stock Android, Motorola enhances the software. In my experience, Moto Voice works all the time. Customizing your launch phrase is also very nifty. My 2013 X is stuck to “Ok, Google Now”, which is quite the mouthful. Active Display made it over due to the stunning 5.2” 2k AMOLED display. This allows you to view more details from your notifications without even waking your device and pulses the time which looks rather cool.

Lesser known features like Motorola Migrate, and Motorola Connect made it over too. My personal favourite is the “Shake to Launch” for activating the camera. While not the most impressive camera, you can count on it being there for you.

Availability & Cost

Sadly, this handset, like all Droid device before it, is an exclusive to US carrier Verizon. It can be had for $200 down on contract and $600 outright, that makes it 100 dollars more than the company’s leading flagship (the 2014 Moto X) either way you choose to purchase it.

However, Motorola also recently unveiled the Moto Maxx, which is basically a GSM varient of the Droid Turbo and is available unlocked in Brazil and Mexico.

We would love to see the Maxx come to in other countries as well but we are not too hopeful as we believe the device will remain a Verizon exclusive in the States under the DROID brand and Motorola France have said that it will not be coming to Europe in a response to AndroidPIT France via Twitter (although their tweet has since been deleted – mistake? We hope so!).

That said, “not coming to Europe” does not definitely rule out availability in other places such as Canada or India for example but we would not get overly optimistic just yet.

Final Statements

Motorola’s primary flagship device is still the 2014 Moto X, but the Droid Turbo is a murderous device. At $200 on-contract with Verizon, it’s on par in terms of pricing with other high end flagships like the LG G3, and $100 less than the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. In the last year or so Motorola has really stepped up their game with updates, so we wouldn’t expect you should have too much of a wait for an Android Lollipop update so long as Verizon can keep their hands out of it.

If you are on Verizon, this device is an absolute beast, but if you’re not (or aren’t a fan of capacitive buttons), then you are probably better off holding out for availability of the (also Motorola-made) Nexus 6.

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