- World-class battery life
- Stunning display
- Excellent performance
- No microSD card slot
- Loaded with bloatware
The Motorola Droid Turbo is a late contender as the best smartphone of 2014. Its design “flaws” -- that it’s big, bulky, and heavy -- are tradeoffs for what’s arguably its best feature: the outstanding battery life.
Have a smartphone complaint? Chances are it’s about the battery. It’s what most users single out when they have a smartphone gripe.
It’s too bad then that the hardware advances, particularly large and pixel-dense displays, processor power increases, and 4G LTE, in recent years have only served to exacerbate the problem. Compounding the issue is that battery technology hasn’t advanced at the same pace, and where “thin and light” are major selling points, smartphone hardware makers too often choose form over function.
This is what makes the Motorola Droid Turbo (and others like it, including the Droid Razr Maxx and Maxx HD) such a refreshing device. By today’s smartphone standards, it’s big and bulky. But it also has a battery that potentially lasts for days.
Build and Design
Physically, the Motorola Droid Turbo is straight out of 2012. It measures 5.66 x 2.89 x .33-.44 inches (HWD) and weighs 6.2 ounces, making it slightly smaller and lighter than the original Samsung Galaxy Note, which shares a similar screen size.
Its severe and angular design is reminiscent of previous Droids, and coupled with the thick and heavy build, suggest a durable handset. In fact, users might be alright forgoing a protective case all together. There is a bottom lip that juts out slightly from the display bezel, which houses microUSB input on its bottom edge, above two microphone pinholes. Opposite that, on the top of the Droid Turbo, sits the 3.5mm headphone jack. The textured power button and volume rocker are on the right landscape side. The back houses a 21-megapixel rear shooter and two LED flashes on its top-center edge, just above some understated Motorola and Droid branding.
The back is not removable, and there is no microSD cardslot. Users can access the nano SIM by prying off the volume rocker.
Overall, it’s pleasant to hold and easy to grip thanks to its weight, rubberized edges, and “ballistic nylon” stitching that covers the entire back panel of our black review unit. Motorola also produces a red variant with “metalized glass fiber,” which we haven’t had the chance to review. However, that sounds suspiciously like the greasy “Kevlar unibody” that marred the otherwise excellent Droid Ultra.
Display and Speaker
The Motorola Droid Turbo has a 5.2-inch Super AMOLED display with a 2560 x 1440 resolution, which is good for a pixel per inch count of 565. The familiar Android back, home, and all apps softkeys rest on the bottom bezel.
It looks as good in person as the specs suggest. Without the benefit of direct comparison it’s impossible to state for certain, but the Motorola Droid Turbo may have the best display on a smartphone to date. It’s simply phenomenal. Colors are vibrant and blacks are deep, and it’s bright enough at the max setting to cut through glare.
To be clear, glare’s still an issue, but the Droid Turbo seems to be one of the best phones at mitigating against it. The display also does a great job shrugging off smudges and fingerprints, and because it’s Gorilla Glass 3, it’s tough to scratch and crack.
The front-facing mono speaker is one of the loudest we’ve heard in recent times, although it’s predictably mediocre. Voices are fine, but the speaker distorts music horribly at both ends. Fortunately for Motorola, no smartphone maker excels here.