Creating the Verizon Droid is a simple formula at this point: Take Motorola’s latest and greatest, in this case the new Moto X Pure Edition, and supercharge the specs in every direction. Bigger battery. Bigger processor. So on and so on. But for the Turbo 2, Verizon has a whole new trick—the display is shatterproof.
It is probably a first for me as a gadget reporter watching execs spend many minutes after Verizon’s press conference this morning just dropping a $700 smartphone over and over on a solid brick of concrete. After a dozen or so drops, true to Motorola and Verizon’s promise, not one hairline fracture on the 5.4-inch QHD display.
This is all thanks to what Motorola calls ShatterShield, five layers of aluminum and glass that allows the Droid Turbo 2 to handle all kinds of drop test punishment without shattering. This doesn’t mean it’s flawlessly protected. After inspecting a phone that was probably dropped a dozen times, there were knicks, one deep scratch, and the bezel around the display looked like hell—but no cracks. Pretty impressive.
Past this functional gimmick, the Droid Turbo 2 is business as usual. It retains all the same design language as the new Moto X, only replacing the different choice in materials (no wood here, folks) and the back is protrudes just slightly more than the Moto X to fit in that bigger 3760mAh(!) battery. It’s also the first Droid that’s customizable via Motorola’s online design engine, Moto Maker.
Verizon also makes the promise that battery will get you 48 hours of use. Not up to 48 hours, mind you. This is a two-day promise, but bear in mind Verizon also said something similar last year and that didn’t quite hold up on the Droid Turbo.
With a Snapdragon 810, you’re getting the very best processor Verizon could possibly pack in the Droid Turbo 2. Though with past smartphone makers remarking about heating issues with this particular piece of silicon (it’s why Samsung ditched Qualcomm for its own, in-house processor), we’ll want a longer look at how the phone performs under pressure.
The camera comes in at the same 21-megapixel count as the new Moto X—along with phase-detect autofocus, burst mode, and 4K recording (at 30fps). The few shots I took seem bright and vivid, but I was in a well-lit room. The Moto X lens also kicked ass and took names in normal lighting conditions. It’s in low-light where it had a few weaknesses. Hopefully, Motorola tweaked things for the better for Droid.
As for software you’re getting all the added Moto goodies including Moto Voice for an always-on personal assistant, Moto Display to wake up the display with a wave of your hand, and Moto Assist so your phone can tell if you’re at work or home or a meeting and adjust accordingly. But it’s not running Android Marshmallow and Verizon made no mention when you can expect to get it on the Droid. So right now, it’s kind of a guessing game.
Of course, being Verizon, you’re getting a crap ton of apps added on top of that, including Verizon apps like Cloud, Zap, and Caller Name ID but also all of the Amazon apps and NFL Mobile (and yes, they’re not removable) along with mobile games like Panda Pop and Sugar Smash. The fuck?
So is the Droid Turbo the smartphone to make you forsake your current pocket companion? I’m not sure yet. It’s more inline with Motorola’s design on the Moto X than past Turbos, which could be blessing or a curse depending on your preference. The display seems amazing, the battery life commendable, and the camera, at the very least, capable.
If you’ve always wanted to give Droid a shot, there’s no doubt the Droid Turbo 2 is one hell of a lure.
Droid Turbo 2 Specs
- Network: Verizon
- OS: Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop) with Moto Apps
- CPU: Snapdragon 810 processor
- Screen: 5.4-inch 2560x1440 AMOLED (540 PPI)
- RAM: 3GB
- Storage: 32GB/64GB + MicroSD up to 2TB
- Camera: 21 megapixel rear camera / 5 megapixel front camera
- Battery: 3760 mAh
- Dimensions: 5.9 x 3.1 x 0.36 inches
- Weight: 5.96 ounces
- Price and Availability: $26 a month for 32GB, $30 for 64GB; Available October 29