Motorola Droid Turbo: Performance

December 10, 2014 by Jamison Cush Reads (577)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Service, Warranty & Support
    • 9
    • Ease of Use
    • 8
    • Design
    • 7
    • Performance
    • 10
    • Value
    • 9
    • Total Score:
    • 8.60
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Performance

The Motorola Droid has 3 GB of RAM, as well as a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor running at 2.7 GHz, which includes an Adreno 420 GPU. That is to say that this is a very powerful smartphone. It’s also very fast, stable, and responsive. It starts up and powers down in seconds and handles heavy 3D gaming apps with ease. The handset gets a bit warm when taxed, which doesn’t seemingly produce any adverse side effects. Still, it’s worth noting as most smartphones stay cool.

More importantly, this is one of the most future-proof smartphones on the market. Though it ships with Android 4.4 KitKat, it will undoubtedly receive the Android 5.0 Lollipop update soon (it’s very similar to the Nexus 6 on paper), and should be in line for subsequent updates throughout 2015.

The Droid Turbo ships with either 32 GB or 64 GB of internal storage, which makes the lack of expandable storage a bit easier to swallow. The preloaded apps and Android operating system take up about 8 GB or 9 GB out of the box.

Software

Moto Assist, Actions, Voice, and Display

Moto Assist, Actions, Voice, and Display

The Motorola Droid Turbo sports a very thinly skinned version of Android. In fact, if not for the Verizon bloatware, one would guess this was a Nexus at a glance. This is a good thing. That’s not to say Motorola hasn’t applied any tweaks. There are a few well-though-out refinements hidden under the hood.

Those upgrading from a Moto X should be familiar with them, and they revolve around hands-free control. There is Moto Voice for basic navigation and Google Now-like information; Moto Assist for the automatic tweaking of settings based on place and time, like a “car mode” for driving (texts are read aloud), or meeting mode for Google Calendar meetings (the Droid goes quiet with notifications); Moto Display for lock screen notifications; and Moto Actions for simple gesture control.

There’s no question these are cool additions. Moto Voice is particularly fun as it allows users to set a custom voice prompt (“Yo Phone!”). But how useful are they really, and what problems do they solve, outside of the few seconds it takes to silence a smartphone? On top of that, voice controls are too finicky, and a true car mode should turn off all notifications.

Still, it’s hard to knock Motorola for trying here. Especially with those additions juxtaposed against the obnoxious apps Verizon preloads on its smartphones.

Right off the bat, an extremely large Amazon widget hogs up an entire homescreen. There are also useless apps like Softcard, VZ Navigator, VZ Protect, Slacker Radio, IMDb, NFL Mobile, Message+, Audible, Amazon, and Verizon Cloud to name a few. None of these can be deleted – only “disabled,” which means they don’t appear anywhere, but still take up some space. What’s worse, most of these are redundant. Softcard is Verizon’s answer to Google Wallet. Message+ is Verizon’s answer to Hangouts (on top of that, there is also a Google Messages app, so here we are dealing with a triplicate). Google Drive, Verizon Cloud. VZ Navigator, Google Maps. The point is clear: Bloatware is crapware.

Battery Life

Verizon bloatware

Verizon bloatware

The Droid Turbo has a massive 3,900 mAh battery that Motorola claims can power the Droid Trubo up to 48 hours with “mixed usage.” That’s a bold claim.

Streaming video at maximum brightness over Wi-Fi, the Droid Turbo lasted 11 hours and 20 minutes. That is close to the bare minimum the Droid Turbo will last on a single charge, and it’s a phenomenal number. Anything over 8 hours is outstanding. If “mixed useage” means casual computing (social media, email, and maybe some light gaming) off and on during waking hours with the display set to automatic brightness, then it’s easy to see the Droid Turbo going two days between charges.

Motorola also claims that 15 minutes of charging with the included Motorola Turbo Charger provides an additional 8 hours of “mixed usage” battery power.

After draining the battery, we plugged it in for 15 minutes, which charged it to 17%. From there, we were able to squeeze another 1 hour and 50 minutes of video streaming over Wi-Fi at max brightness. So again, that 8 hour “mixed usage” claim might hold water.

The bottom line here is that the Motorola Droid Turbo is one of, if not the, best battery performers on the market.

Camera

The Droid Turbo ships with the same minimalistic camera software found on previous Motorola smartphones, including the Moto X.

While users are free to download and use the standard Google Camera app, they might think twice after using Motorola’s offering. It’s intuitive, and with the gallery and settings available via swipes to the left and right, respectively. It’s also easy to access, and launches with just two quick wrist flicks. This proves both effective and useful, especially when time-sensitive shooting opportunities pop up.

Shooting options are limited to HDR, flash control, touch focus, video mode (HD, Slo Mo, and 4K), Panorama, timer, location, resolution, and shutter sound. Slo Mo and 4K video are standouts here, but they also make the case of expandable storage. Approximately 55 minutes of 4K video will use up about 21 GB of storage. Remember, the 32 GB unit only has about 23 GB to 22 GB available out of the box.

Pictures are well defined and the colors are accurate. At the 21-megapixel, 4:3 setting, the image files are large enough for significant cropping and zooming. The Droid Turbo struggles in low light, as do most other smartphone cameras. Overall, the Droid Turbo meets the high mark set by other smartphones in this area.

Sample Photos
Motorola Droid Turbo sample photo Motorola Droid Turbo sample photoMotorola Droid Turbo sample photo Motorola Droid Turbo sample photo



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