Introduction

Motorola Droid Turbo for Verizon Wireless is the latest product of a long and prolific partnership between the storied manufacturer and the largest wireless carrier in the United States. Over the years, Motorola and Verizon have released a number of groundbreaking devices. They include the ultra-thin (for its time) Droid RAZR, through the RAZR MAXX, which had 3,300mAh battery back when 1,800mAh was standard, all the way to the Droid RAZR M that impressed with thin display bezels a year before anyone else.


Motorola Droid Turbo official photos

The Droid Turbo is reaching for the crown of the most capable Android smartphone to launch in 2014. Its specs leave no room for compromise - a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 SoC, a 5.2" QHD AMOLED display, a 21MP camera, and a 3,900mAh battery come straight from the dreams of every Android junkie. The same goes for the device's innovative build materials that include Ballistic Nylon and DuPont Kevlar reinforced by Metallized Glass Fiber.

Key features

  • 5.2" QHD AMOLED display (2,560 x 1,440 pixels); 565ppi; Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • 2.7GHz quad-core Krait 450 CPU; Adreno 420GPU; Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chipset; 3GB of RAM
  • 21MP camera with dual-LED flash; 4K video capture; 2MP front-facing unit with 1080p video
  • 3,900mAh battery; bundled Motorola Turbo Charger
  • Android 4.4.4 KitKat with stock UI; planned Android 5.0 Lollipop update
  • 32/64GB of built-in memory
  • Cat. 4 LTE support; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; Bluetooth 4.0; GPS/GLONASS; microUSB
  • Gesture controls via built-in IR sensor
  • Available voice control and active notifications
  • Active noise cancellation with four microphones
  • Quality build materials that include Ballistic Nylon and DuPont Kevlar reinforced by Metallized Glass Fiber
  • Splash-resistant; internals with water-repellent nanocoating

Main disadvantages

  • No stereo speakers (the entry-level Moto G has them)
  • Lack of memory expansion slot
  • Rather limited retail availability
  • It is a bit on the thick side
  • Some might find the design a bit dated

As you can see, the Motorola Droid Turbo is anything but lacking in top shelf specs. As a matter of fact, the smartphone is arguably the best-equipped Android smartphone available at the moment - it blows competitors away with a combination of powerful internals, a humongous battery, and the sharpest display available at the moment.

Forward thinking, water-repellent build materials meet the top-shelf specs of the device. Ballistic Nylon debuts on a smartphone, while DuPont Kevlar, a long time Motorola Droid landmark, has been further enhanced by the addition of a material called Metallized Glass Fiber.

Of course, having such a long list of hardware specs has come at a price. Motorola Droid Turbo is noticeably thicker than the typical 2014 Android flagship. We will surely be keeping a close look on its handling and ergonomics.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Motorola Droid Turbo live photos

Will the Motorola Droid Turbo live up to the hefty expectations set by lengthy feature set? Read on to find out! As always, we will kick the review off with unboxing of the device, followed by a close look at its design and build.

Editorial: You may notice that this review is shorter than usual and doesn't include some of our proprietary tests. The reason is it has been prepared and written away from our test labs. Still, we think we've captured the essence of the device in the same precise, informative and detailed way that's become our trademark. Enjoy the good read!

Unboxing

Motorola Droid Turbo ships in an elegant black box with a matte finish. Inside it, you will find the headset, a USB cable, Motorola Turbo Charger, and the usual set of booklets.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

The retail package

There's no bundled headset with the Motorola Droid Turbo. However, Motorola and Verizon make up for its lack by throwing the ultra-fast charger in the box - it costs $35 on its own.

Design and build quality

Motorola Droid Turbo looks a lot like its predecessors. You can easily mistake the smartphone for last year's model.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Motorola Droid Turbo in the flesh

That said, the design of the handset is dominated by the materials used in its making and that is a good thing - both the textured threads of the Ballistic Nylon and the matte finish of the Kevlar option look great in person.

Motorola Droid Turbo
Motorola Droid Turbo

The Motorola Droid Turbo family

Verizon Wireless deserves a hat tip for not featuring any prominent logos or branding on the device. The top of the line 64GB Droid Turbo in Ballistic Nylon has no carrier branding whatsoever, there is only a textured Droid logo on its back.

Motorola Droid Turbo
Motorola Droid Turbo
Motorola Droid Turbo
Motorola Droid Turbo

The 64GB model has no Verizon branding

Some people might find the design of the smartphone a tad dated. However, its worth noting that the Motorola Droid family for Verizon, like most smartphone flagship lineups, has a distinct design language - you can't blame its makers for sticking to it as everyone else seems to do the same thing these days.

The device's build is nothing short of extraordinary. Motorola Droid Turbo is superbly put together and ready to take on the rigors of daily life, regardless of the circumstances.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review

The Droid Turbo is superbly built

Ballistic Nylon is the newest material to debut alongside the Motorola Droid Turbo. DuPont developed the material for the flak jackets of the airmen during World War II. Its threads are incredibly strong and grippy - you can find them on tool belts, action sports gear, and motorcycle jackets among others these days.

The Kevlar version has been updated over past models as well. It now features Metallized Glass Fiber finish, which results in even higher durability.

The Droid Turbo isn't afraid of water either as its innards are covered with water-repellent coating, allowing it to last up to 1 minute under 6 inches of water, well enough to save your _phone_ after an unexpected dip in the water.

Physical measures of the Kevlar Motorola Droid Turbo are 146.5 x 73.3 x 10.6mm, while its weight tips the scale at 169 grams. The Ballistic Nylon model is slightly thicker and heavier with measures of 73.3 x 143.5 x 11.2mm and 176 grams.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Motorola Droid Turbo sized up against the Moto X (2014)

There is no denying that Motorola Droid Turbo is thick for today's smartphone flagship standards. However, we believe many users will be more than willing to sacrifice a couple of millimeters of thickness for the added benefit of having an ample 3,900mAh battery.

Anyway, handling the smartphone is a pleasure. We actually found the added thickness beneficial for the device's ergonomics - coupled with the thinner edges, it naturally follows the curvature of your palm.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Handling Motorola Droid Turbo

The Ballistic Nylon version certainly offers more grip than the Kevlar model. The latter looks a tad more elegant though.

Display

Motorola Droid Turbo features a 5.2" AMOLED display with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. The screen pixel density is a whopping 565ppi - the highest we've encountered on any smartphone to date.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

The sharpest display we've seen to date

The device's display features a PenTile matrix as expected from an AMOLED screen these days. However, its lower number of subpixels is irrelevant at 565ppi - it is impossible to distinguish individual pixels with a naked eye.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

A closer look at the display

Viewing angles and contrast of the display are superb as expected. Its sunlight legibility is also stellar.

Colors are naturally not as accurate as those produced by high-quality IPS LCD units - whites in particular show yellow or blue tint when viewed at an angle. However, thanks to the AMOLED's punchy colors, we do believe that many people will find the screen of the Motorola Droid Turbo more attractive than the LCDs by some of its competitors.

Controls

The scene above the display is quite busy. The nicely looking grill houses the earpiece and the sole loudspeaker of the device. Additionally, you will find the 2MP front-facing camera, the ambient light and the proximity sensor, and one of the infrared sensors.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

The view above the display

Below the screen is where the three capacitive keys for navigating around Android reside - it's been a while since we've seen the setup. The second infrared sensor is in the area too, as is a pinhole for the mouthpiece.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review

A look below the screen

There is nothing on the left side of the phone. The right side is home to the power/lock key and the volume rocker.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

The sides of the smartphone

The nano-SIM tray is ingeniously tucked under a removable volume rocker. The solution is rather original and makes the smartphone's design look cleaner.

The 3.5mm audio jack is located on top of the device. The microUSB port sits on the bottom.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

The top and bottom of the Motorola Droid Turbo

The back of the Motorola Droid Turbo is where the 21MP camera and its dual-LED flash can be seen. The signature textured Motorola logo sits there too. A Verizon and Droid branding complete the picture.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

The back of the Droid Turbo

Three tiny pinholes for the built-in microphones can be seen on the back, too. They are visible only upon close inspection.

Battery performance

Motorola Droid Turbo features a whopping 3,900mAh battery. The smartphone is quoted at offering up to 48 hours of usage time and 675 hours of standby time.

We put the Motorola Droid Turbo through our battery test and it posted an endurance rating of 90. This means that the smartphone will easily make it past three full days of usage should you go for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily.

The device doesn't offer a user-replaceable battery, but it partially makes up for it thanks to the bundled Motorola Turbo Charger. The latter provides up to 8 hours of mixed use for only 15 minutes worth of charging.

Connectivity

Motorola Droid Turbo covers all bases when it comes to cellular data standards - quad-band GSM/HSDPA, dual-band CDMA, 1xEV-DO and penta-band Cat. 4 LTE.

On the local connectivity front, the device offers Bluetooth 4.0 alongside Wi-Fi with a/b/g/n/ac standard compatibility. MicroUSB 2.0 port with USB host is also at hand. Positioning is covered by A-GPS and GLONASS support.

The device allows you to share all sorts of media via NFC by simply touching the device and other NFC-capable devices back-to-back.

User interface

Motorola Droid Turbo boots Android 4.4.4 KitKat. Check it out in action below.

The lockscreen widgets remain unchanged and are full-screen, resizable tiles. One of them is always visible at the top of the main lockscreen, above the padlock icon. The rest are a right swipe away. The widget on the main lockscreen is collapsed to make room for the padlock button, but can be expanded to display additional information.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

The lockscreen

There are a few stock lockscreen widgets: Messages, Calendar, Gmail, Digital Clock, Google Now and Google+. The camera shortcut, just like before, is a left swipe on the lockscreen.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Some of the lockscreen widgets

Lockscreen widgets are resizable - tap and drag down to expand and show more content, if available. Tapping and dragging can also reorder lockscreen widgets, so you can choose which one is visible on the main lockscreen. They can also be dragged up to discard.

The homescreen holds no surprises. It features the Droid family's signature command center widget, which is nice-looking and incredibly useful.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

The homescreen

You can access Google Now by long pressing and swiping up from the home button. The functionality works from any app and is quite useful.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Google Now

Google Daydream is available too. Once turned on, you can set it up to show photo albums, the latest news from Google Now, the clock, or an animation.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Daydream

The notification center and Quick toggles are on board too. They're accessible via an icon in the top right corner of the notification area. You get access to key device settings such as brightness, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, location, mobile networks and Battery. Some toggles are directly accessible shortcuts to their respected functions in the settings menu. The quick settings menu can be accessed by a two-finger swipe down from the top of the screen.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

The notification area

Notifications can be expanded and collapsed with a downward swipe. The top one is expanded by default (if the app that put up the notification supports it, of course).

You can add more screen panes once you start putting widgets, shortcuts or folders. You can add as many panes as you want.

You can access the widget list only by a tap and hold on an empty space on the homescreen and selecting the dedicated Widgets shortcut. We prefer this way of handling the widgets, because they don't get in the way of the day-to-day work with the app drawer.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Editing the homescreen

Most of the widgets are resizable in all directions in order to fit into any tight space. To resize a widget, you tap and hold and then release. Four handles will appear on its sides, allowing you to change the widget's size in the direction you want.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Editing a widget

Folder functionality functions as expected. A folder is created by dropping an app shortcut on top of another shortcut and can be named by tapping on the "Unnamed folder" label. Opening a folder expands it only as much as needed to show the icons inside.

The folders icons themselves are circular with several individual app shortcuts stacked on top of each other. They are lined up so the first shortcut in the folder will be the only one unobscured - the rest of the icons are nearly impossible to tell apart.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Creating a folder

The app drawer consists of 5 rows of icons on side-scrollable pages. The app icons are big and easy to access.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

The app drawer

The apps are ordered alphabetically and there's no other sorting option. Placing a shortcut on the homescreen works as you would expect: press and hold to grab it and then position it on the homescreen pane of choice. Two more options appear at the top of the screen while you're dragging - Uninstall (to quickly remove apps) and App info, which opens the application's entry in the Manage applications list.

Last but not least, the Recent Apps list has remained virtually unchanged. It would be nice if Google finally adds a kill all/close all option.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Recent apps

Overall, stock Android 4.4.4 Kit Kat offers polished and intuitive UI. Coupled with the top of the line chipset, operation is lightning fast all the time.

Performance

Built upon a Snapdragon 805 chipset with a quad-core 2.7GHz Krait 450, 3GB of RAM and the Adreno 420 graphics processing unit the Motorola Droid Turbo should be a true benchmarks champ. We've found that a mostly pure Android helps a lot too.

And indeed it is - the Droid Turbo utilizes its hardware very well and managed to top immediate competitors in GeekBench 3. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4, for example, has the same chipset and screen resolution, OS version too. The Motorola also managed to outdo the 64-bit Apple iPhone 6.

GeekBench 3

Higher is better

  • Motorola Droid Turbo
    3080
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (S801)
    3011
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    2984
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    2925
  • Apple iPhone 6
    2924
  • LG G3 (2GB/16GB)
    2563
  • HTC One (M8)
    2367

The Droid Turbo easily topped our AnTuTu 5 comparison as well. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 stays a close second to Motorola's latest flagship. Snapdragon 801 smartphones are left in the dust of the newer chip's performance.

AnTuTu 5

Higher is better

  • Motorola Droid Turbo
    47067
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    46824
  • HTC One (M8)
    44020
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    43676
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (S801)
    43164
  • LG G3 (2GB/16GB)
    39905

Basemark X and Basemark OS II scores by Motorola Droid Turbo came out impressive as well. See them below.

Basemark OS II

Higher is better

  • Motorola Droid Turbo
    1345
  • Apple iPhone 6
    1252
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    1222
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    1181
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    1176

Basemark X

Higher is better

  • Motorola Droid Turbo
    18971
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    18684
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    18297
  • Apple iPhone 6
    17054
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    11855

As expected, the device’s Adreno 420 GPU does a good job in handling the multitude of pixels. The newcomer performed in line with the similarly equipped Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

GFX 2.7 T-Rex (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    44.6
  • Apple iPhone 6
    42.6
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    41.7
  • Motorola Droid Turbo
    40.9
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    26.6

GFX 2.7 T-Rex (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 6
    51
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    28.3
  • Motorola Droid Turbo
    26.6
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    26.4

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    18.6
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    18.5
  • Motorola Droid Turbo
    18
  • Apple iPhone 6
    17.7
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    11.4

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 6
    29.2
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    11.9
  • Motorola Droid Turbo
    11.4
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    11.2

Thanks to Samsung's typical optimizations to the web browser it managed to grab a win from the Droid Turbo, which uses Google's mobile Chrome browser that typically doesn't benchmark as well.

Kraken 1.1

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    5351
  • Motorola Droid Turbo
    5763
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (S801)
    6043
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    6209
  • LG G3 (2GB/16GB)
    6987
  • HTC One (M8)
    10296

Browsermark 2.1 is another benchmark, where the Droid Turbo falls behind the competition. Google Chrome is not as optimized as some of its competitors.

BrowserMark 2.1

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3389
  • Apple iPhone 6
    3153
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    2208
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    1600
  • Motorola Droid Turbo
    1487
  • Meizu MX4
    720

Overall, Motorola Droid Turbo did a stellar job in our benchmark tests. The handset packs plenty of oomph and will handle anything you throw at it without breaking a sweat.

Phonebook

The phonebook is made up of three tabs that you can switch between with sideways swipes. The middle tab is the default one, listing all of your contacts. Contacts are listed with a name and a picture to the right. They can be sorted by first or last name, and viewed as first name or last name first.

There's a permanent scroll bar available that you can grab and jump straight to contacts starting with a certain letter. There's regular search as you type too.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

The phonebook

The quick contacts feature triggers on tapping a contact image to bring up a tabbed popup window. The tabs are _phone_ and email with a list of the available numbers or addresses. These tabs can be navigated with sideswipes as well.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Quick contacts

Single contact view displays the contact's name along with a star to mark a contact as favorite and a Settings button that lets you edit, share or delete a contact, as well assign custom ringtones to them or set the phone to redirect calls from that contact straight to voice mail.

Under that is a list of all contact info sorted by category - phone numbers, emails, events, notes and so on.

While editing a contact, you can add various new fields to fill in more info for the contact. You can link contacts too, if you've added the same person on multiple services.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Editing a contact

The other two major tabs in the phonebook are Groups and Favorites. Groups are listed by service (e.g. your Gmail account), while favorites are a listed as a grid of large contact photos, which is readily thumbable.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Favorites

Telephony

In-call quality of the Motorola Droid Turbo is exceptional. Voices come out loud and clear and the device held on to signal without issues.

Android 4.4.4 KitKat offers a smart phone app with clean design. Upon launch it brings you to its default dialing tab where you get a search field, the most recent dialed contact and a list of contacts you've dialed most often.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

The phone app

You can bring up or hide the dialer by its dedicated shortcut at the bottom. It supports smart dialing both by name and phone numbers.

The search field on top of the page scans both your contacts and nearby places. For example, you can type Subway and you'll automatically get the nearest Subway phone number. You can turn the nearby search off from settings, of course.

There is also a standard history tab in the phone app. It has two sub-tabs - all and missed. There you get the complete history of all your phone calls.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review

The in-call display

Messaging

You can choose Google Hangouts or the default messaging app to handle your text messages. Verizon has its own messaging app as well, thus giving you a plethora of options out of the box.

Hangouts has two pages - the first one shows all of your conversations, while the second lists the people you exchanged Hangouts with, plus suggested contacts and other contacts (a.k.a. from your phonebook).

Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Google hangouts

The messaging section is business as usual. All SMS/MMS communication is organized into threads - each thread consists of all messages between you and one of your contacts.

Each thread is organized like an IM chat session, the latest message at the bottom. You can manage individual messages (forward, copy, delete) and even lock them (to prevent deletion). You can use search to find a specific message in all conversations.

Quick contacts work here too and there's a call shortcut at the top of the screen when viewing a thread.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Good ol' messaging

You can add multimedia (photos, videos, sounds, etc.), which will convert the message to an MMS. If you need multiple slides or multiple attachments, you can go to a full-blown MMS editor as well.

Gmail for Android has been thoroughly refreshed with the release of 5.0 Lollipop. The latest version of the app is now the only email client you will need on your Android device - it can handle any account you throw at it, including non-Google ones.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Brand new Gmail

Overall functionality of the app has remained similar to the one it replaces. Swiping from the left reveals the inbox and the various email folders. You can also switch email accounts from the top left corner.

There's a generic email client on board too. However, with the updated Gmail app, you will hardly need it, unless you like to separate you email accounts in different apps.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Generic email client

The Google keyboard is the default text input option out of the box. It is one of the most preferred Android keyboards out there and its screen the keys are comfortably large in both portrait and landscape mode.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Google keyboard

Gesture typing is available as usual. Naturally, it benefits from the already existing Android word prediction, so you can just click on the words the keyboard suggests.

A tap on the text area will reveal a "handle" attached to the text cursor - it's easy and more accurate, which makes correcting mistakes easier. A double tap will bring up the select options - Select word and Select All - with two handles to adjust the start and end of the selection.

If a word has a typo, it will be underlined in red and when you tap it, the phone will offer a number of suggested corrections along with options to add the word to the phone's dictionary or just delete it.

Voice input is available as well and it works great too. It doesn't even require network connection if you download the specific language file and make it available for offline usage.

Photos and gallery

The gallery in Android 4.4.4 KitKat is called Photos. Upon opening the app you'll see two tabs - Camera and Highlights. Above those two tabs you get the Movie, Search and Settings shortcuts.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Google Photos

The movie shortcuts allows you to easily select pictures and videos from which you want to create a movie and they will be automatically added to the brand new Video Creator. After that you can add music, stitching theme and your video is ready with just a few taps.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Creating a mix of images

The Camera is a grid of your photos and videos, three on a line. The very first thumb is marked as Folders and will return you a step back to the old Album view, where you can choose to open a different album. The Gallery will always open the Camera album by default.

The new Gallery has a few hidden goodies that we almost missed. There is a hidden navigation menu pane that is revealed with a swipe from the edge of the screen anywhere in the gallery. You can easily switch Google+ accounts from there, go to Albums, Videos, Photos you are tagged in, all Google+ photos or even the deleted photos.

There is also an Auto Awesome section. It is something like a smart gallery that combines similar photos and videos in a cool way - it either exports a collage picture or a motion gif. If you like the combination the gallery has made for you, there is a dedicated shortcut to save the new picture in the gallery.

The old gallery is also on board. The Default view of the gallery is Albums, the first of which is always the Camera album, which has a camera overlay icon too. Rather than the familiar stacks, the app uses a grid of photos, two on a line.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

The old gallery app

Besides, Album view, you also get Locations (photos are grouped based on where they were taken), Times (grouped by when they were taken), People (if the photos have tagged faces in them) and Tags (these are general tags you can add manually).

A handy option is the Make available offline feature - it lets you easily select multiple online albums and download them for offline viewing. The Gallery app supports online albums from Google+ and Picasa and sync is available just like in the new Photos app. You can make all of the albums available offline.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Looking at a single photo

The settings menu lets you do simple edits to a photo (rotate, crop) or go into a more capable editor with a lot more option. The editor can be accessed from a small icon from the bottom left hand-side corner and offers light adjustments (so you can bring out the shadows or the highlights), effects, color styles, red eye correction, straightening a photo, sharpening and face glow (which detects faces automatically). Most of these options have a slider that lets you fine-tune the strength of the effect.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Editing a photo

Video player

The video player has retained its stock Android interface. Like last year, Motorola has added much better codec support than the one found in Nexus devices. The video player is now perfectly usable out of the box - it plays a host of formats, which include H.263, H.264, MPEG4, VC-1, and VP8.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

The video player

You can also wirelessly sharing videos with a Wi-Fi enabled TV. The feature relies on DLNA technology to connect and the Miracast protocol for streaming. It's another feature most customs launchers had, but is only now making its way to the platform itself.

Google Play Music

Google Play Music is the default player for your tunes out of the box. The app has been treated to the new material design, though it functionality remains unchanged - it can play your local files, as well as stream music from the cloud.

Google Play Music also gives you the option to upload music onto the Google-branded cloud and stream it on your device via Wi-Fi or mobile data. There's also the nifty option of downloading the content onto the device if you want to have there for connection-less times.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Google Play Music

From the Settings key you can get into the equalizer. It can be turned on and off and features several equalizer presets along with a custom user defined one. If you plug in a headset, you can also play around with the Bass boost and 3D effect sliders.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

There's a built-in equalizer

The Now Playing screen uses the song album art and gives you a quick shortcut to the rest of the artist's songs along with the play controls. While the player is working, the entire lockscreen features the album art and track info for the current song along with dedicated playback controls. The notification area also lets you control the playback via an expandable notification.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Now playing screens

Audio output is good, not quite the best

The Motorola DROID Turbo is a very decent performer when it comes to audio playback, although not quite up there with the kind of elite competition its high price tag inevitably brings.

The smartphone is nicely loud when plugged into an active external amplifier and posted several excellent readings. It's not as perfect as it should be given the lack resistance applied to its line-out - the frequency response is sub-par and there's a hint of intermodulation distortion.

Plugging in a pair of headphones leads to a huge spike in stereo crosstalk, while the other issues remain, so again it's far from a perfect showing. Loudness is good though and if you aren't a great audiophile you will likely be pleased with the results.

Test Frequency response Noise level Dynamic range THD IMD + Noise Stereo crosstalk
Motorola DROID Turbo +0.01, -1.24 -91.0 90.8 0.0092 0.120 -90.7
Motorola DROID Turbo (headphones attached) +0.00, -1.25 -91.3 91.0 0.014 0.172 -40.5
Sony Xperia Z3 +0.02, -0.08 -86.4 86.4 0.014 0.021 -86.6
Sony Xperia Z3 (headphones attached) +0.29, -0.10 -85.7 85.7 0.035 0.064 -50.8
LG G3 +0.02, -0.08 -99.4 98.9 0.0016 0.035 -100.0
LG G3 (headphones attached) +0.02, -0.09 -93.7 93.3 0.0060 0.032 -78.5
Samsung Galaxy S5 +0.02, -0.08 -96.3 93.3 0.0017 0.0089 -95.2
Samsung Galaxy S5 (headphones) +0.01, -0.08 -96.3 93.3 0.0095 0.018 -61.9
HTC One (M8) +0.04, -0.10 -95.4 93.4 0.0012 0.010 -93.2
HTC One (M8) (headphones attached) +0.04, -0.08 -94.9 93.9 0.0014 0.018 -79.7
Oppo Find 7a +0.03, -0.16 -92.7 92.6 0.0057 0.072 -92.0
Oppo Find 7a (headphones) +0.05, -0.07 -91.5 92.7 0.0042 0.054 -15.7

Motorola DROID Turbo frequency response

Motorola DROID Turbo frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.

21MP camera with dual-LED flash

Motorola Droid Turbo packs a 21MP f/2.0 camera with dual-LED flash. It produces 4:3 still images with a resolution of 3936 x 5248 pixels, and 15.5MP 16:9 snaps with 2952 x 5248 pixels.

The camera can be activated by a simple hand gesture. Dubbed Quick Capture, the feature works by twisting your wrist twice when holding the device.

On the software side, the camera offers HDR, burst shots and panorama. The device can also shoot UHD videos at 30fps - par for the course for high-end smartphones these days. There are also features like face detection and geo-tagging that we've grown accustomed to in most phones nowadays.

The camera UI of the Motorola Droid Turbo is quite simple. It relies completely on sliding gestures for zoom and settings - sliding from the left opens the settings, while sliding from the right opens the image gallery. Zoom works by sliding your finger up and down the screen. Capturing an image is as easy as tapping on the screen.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

At the front of the handset, there's a 2MP camera capable of 1080p video recording for video-chatting purposes.

The Motorola Droid Turbo captures some really nice images. Image processing is not as mature as we would have liked, but there is plenty of detail in all shots. It's hard to compare it directly to the Sony smartphones that presumably make use of the same 20MP lens, but we're quite happy with the shots the Droid Turbo produces just as it is. We doubt it's much better than the current high-end crop of 16MP cameraphones, but it's still on par with them if not better.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

16:9 camera samples (cropped to 15MP)

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

4:3 camera samples (20MP)

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

HDR mode: On & Off • On & Off

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Low light samples: Flash On & Off • Flash On & Off

The 1080p videos don't have high level of detail that we're used to see from high-end devices. The less than stellar impression from the 1080p videos is quickly rectified by the 2160p videos, which look outstanding.

The device captured slow-motion videos in 720p only. It stretches 10 seconds of video capture in about 40 seconds of footage. Here is a sample.

Here are download links where you can get untouched video samples straight from the device. First off is a 1080p@30fps video (20MB) and then, there is this 2160p video (60MB).

Google Chrome

Motorola Droid Turbo comes with Google Chrome as the default web browser out of box instead of the generic Android browser. Chrome received a major update recently, which brought a new UI on board. It is now even more pleasant to look at.

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Google Chrome

Of course, one of Chrome's strengths is its ability to seamlessly sync with the desktop version, using nothing but your Google account. This allows you to open an article on your PC and finish reading it on your mobile phone. It also syncs your bookmarks and favorite sites.

Google Chrome is generous with the available settings as well. You can control almost every aspect of your web browsing from choosing what content you want to allow to load like JavaScript, images, cookies and pop-ups. Reduce data usage does what it says - Google servers compress the webpage (using Google-developed tech like SPDY and WebP) and send them to the phone.

Opening the tabs area reveals a list of tabs that can be closed, again with a left or right swipe. Incognito tabs let you browse without saving history or cookies.

Other apps

The Calendar has four different types of view - daily, weekly, monthly and diary (agenda). Adding a new event is quick and easy, and you can also set an alarm to act as a reminder.

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The calendar

The handset also features the Quick Office, which supports creating, viewing and editing office files (docs, xls, ppt), and it can also read PDFs.

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Quickoffice

The stock Android Calculator and Clock app (with stopwatch, world clock and timer) are available by default.

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Calculator • Clock

The Moto app gives control of all additional features available in the Droid Turbo. They include the superb voice commands, the IR gesture controls, the glance notifications, and Motorola Assist.

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Moto app

You can operate your device via voice commands, which have been greatly improved over last years model. This time around, you can make your phone respond to any name you like - there's no need for the slightly cumbersome "ok Google Now."

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Setting up voice control

Thanks to the superior quad-microphone setup, the voice control in the Droid Turbo works superbly. We tested the device in plenty of scenarios, including loud restaurant and street environment and came out really impressed.

Motion controls via the IR sensors are simple and effective. Hovering your hand over the device can snooze the alarm in the morning, and show you time and notifications during the rest of your day.

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Motion controls

Moto Assist automatically adjusts the settings of your device depending on the environment you are in. Available modes include Sleeping, Driving, Home, and Meeting. You can tweak the settings of each individually.

Overall, Motorola deserves credit for adding unique features to the Droid Turbo without going overboard. All features are useful and easy to operate. Naturally, you can disable them altogether.

Final words

Motorola Droid Turbo is a complete package - a no-compromise Android powerhouse that is fit to accommodate even the most discerning power user. The smartphone blends high performance hardware, innovative materials, and stellar battery endurance into a compact, superbly built package.

Android flagships often rely on their specs to succeed and the Droid Turbo is as prepared as its gets. It is the best-equipped device that doesn't carry a phablet moniker - only larger beasts come close to its hardware chops.

Key review findings

  • The materials used in the making of the device are superb and innovative
  • At 565ppi, the 5.2" QHD display is the sharpest available at the moment on any smartphone
  • Stock Android 4.4.4 KitKat is responsive and the fast-track Android update schedule is great
  • The chipset and its performance are stellar
  • Still camera performance is good; video capture is excellent
  • Audio quality could be better
  • Battery endurance is impressive, more than makes up for the thickness
  • Motorola's Turbo Charger is a must-have for every smartphone
  • Retail availability is way too limited (at least for the time being)

The performance of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chipset is solid as expected. Motorola Droid Turbo is up to any task you throw at it.

The 5.2" QHD display is gorgeous and offers more pixels than you can shake a stick at. It offers good contrast, viewing angles, sunlight legibility, and punchy, if a tad inaccurate colors.

With 3,900mAh on tap, the Droid Turbo displayed good battery performance. The handset didn't top our chart, but it is the longest-lasting offering with QHD display at the moment.

Build quality has traditionally been a key feature of the Motorola Droid family and the Turbo is no exception. We really like the Ballistic Nylon option - there is nothing else on the market today like it. The improved DuPont Kevlar is also quite nice, as is the water repellency of the smartphone.

With 21 megapixels, dual-LED flash, and UHD video recording, the camera of the smartphone doesn't disappoint either. It isn't quite the best we have tested, but it isn't far off the top either - you will not be disappointed by the images and the videos you have captured with it.

Stock Android 4.4.4 KitKat is light on its feet and easy to customize. Motorola's additions are clever and unobtrusive. Verizon's extensive bloatware is manageable - you can disable most of the preloaded apps.

The lack of stereo speakers and a microSD card slot are what keep the Motorola Droid Turbo away from being absolutely perfect. The well-sorted front-facing mono speaker and the available 64GB option partially make up for the lack though.

Motorola Droid Turbo is priced at $199.99 with a two-year contract for a version with 32GB of built-in memory. The 64GB model is exclusively offered with Ballistic Nylon and no Verizon branding for $249.99. Verizon Edge installment plans for the handset kick off at $24.99 with no down payment.

Verizon really wants you to opt for the smartphone - the carrier will give you a $150 bill credit, $100 for your old phone, and waive all your activation fees if you grab one. You also get one free screen replacement during the two-year duration of your contract.

The holiday shopping season is about to kick off in the United States and all manufacturers have released their latest and greatest offerings. Here are some other devices that are worth your consideration at this price point and in this performance range.

While we were preparing this review, Motorola launched an international version of the Droid Turbo, dubbed Moto Maxx. For the time being, the latter will only be available in Latin America, but we truly hope that Motorola will expand its availability further. If you don't reside in the US, this model may be your only hope for getting the Droid Turbo.

Motorola Moto Maxx

Motorola Moto Maxx

LG G3 comes close to the Droid Turbo in terms of specs, though its chipset sits a generation behind. The Korean offering makes up for its older hardware with a lower price and wider availability.

LG G3

LG G3

Sony Xperia Z3 offers a large battery, expandable memory, stereo speakers, and a waterproof body. However, much like the LG G3, it packs an older generation chipset that lacks the oomph of the Turbo.

Sony Xperia Z3

Sony Xperia Z3

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 matches the power and the screen resolution of the Droid Turbo. It is slightly larger and more productive thanks to the S Pen. It's worth a look if you care about a larger display.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Nexus 6 by Motorola offers the same chipset and screen resolution as the Turbo, but also a camera with OIS, stereo speakers, and Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box. If you are comfortable with a 6" display, you may as well check it out - Motorola surely won't mind.

Motorola Nexus 6

Motorola Nexus 6

Motorola has churned out a number of stellar devices this year. The Droid Turbo is yet another entry by the now Lenovo-owned company. Thanks to the solid battery backup and the great performance, it's an excellent choice for any power user.

We honestly hope that Motorola and Lenovo will bring the device to more markets and back it with the marketing budget it deserves. It can surely teach some of the rivals with bigger market share a few tricks.

Unboxing

Motorola Droid Turbo ships in an elegant black box with a matte finish. Inside it, you will find the headset, a USB cable, Motorola Turbo Charger, and the usual set of booklets.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

The retail package

There's no bundled headset with the Motorola Droid Turbo. However, Motorola and Verizon make up for its lack by throwing the ultra-fast charger in the box - it costs $35 on its own.

Design and build quality

Motorola Droid Turbo looks a lot like its predecessors. You can easily mistake the smartphone for last year's model.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Motorola Droid Turbo in the flesh

That said, the design of the handset is dominated by the materials used in its making and that is a good thing - both the textured threads of the Ballistic Nylon and the matte finish of the Kevlar option look great in person.

Motorola Droid Turbo
Motorola Droid Turbo

The Motorola Droid Turbo family

Verizon Wireless deserves a hat tip for not featuring any prominent logos or branding on the device. The top of the line 64GB Droid Turbo in Ballistic Nylon has no carrier branding whatsoever, there is only a textured Droid logo on its back.

Motorola Droid Turbo
Motorola Droid Turbo
Motorola Droid Turbo
Motorola Droid Turbo

The 64GB model has no Verizon branding

Some people might find the design of the smartphone a tad dated. However, its worth noting that the Motorola Droid family for Verizon, like most smartphone flagship lineups, has a distinct design language - you can't blame its makers for sticking to it as everyone else seems to do the same thing these days.

The device's build is nothing short of extraordinary. Motorola Droid Turbo is superbly put together and ready to take on the rigors of daily life, regardless of the circumstances.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review

The Droid Turbo is superbly built

Ballistic Nylon is the newest material to debut alongside the Motorola Droid Turbo. DuPont developed the material for the flak jackets of the airmen during World War II. Its threads are incredibly strong and grippy - you can find them on tool belts, action sports gear, and motorcycle jackets among others these days.

The Kevlar version has been updated over past models as well. It now features Metallized Glass Fiber finish, which results in even higher durability.

The Droid Turbo isn't afraid of water either as its innards are covered with water-repellent coating, allowing it to last up to 1 minute under 6 inches of water, well enough to save your phone after an unexpected dip in the water.

Physical measures of the Kevlar Motorola Droid Turbo are 146.5 x 73.3 x 10.6mm, while its weight tips the scale at 169 grams. The Ballistic Nylon model is slightly thicker and heavier with measures of 73.3 x 143.5 x 11.2mm and 176 grams.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Motorola Droid Turbo sized up against the Moto X (2014)

There is no denying that Motorola Droid Turbo is thick for today's smartphone flagship standards. However, we believe many users will be more than willing to sacrifice a couple of millimeters of thickness for the added benefit of having an ample 3,900mAh battery.

Anyway, handling the smartphone is a pleasure. We actually found the added thickness beneficial for the device's ergonomics - coupled with the thinner edges, it naturally follows the curvature of your palm.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

Handling Motorola Droid Turbo

The Ballistic Nylon version certainly offers more grip than the Kevlar model. The latter looks a tad more elegant though.

Display

Motorola Droid Turbo features a 5.2" AMOLED display with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. The screen pixel density is a whopping 565ppi - the highest we've encountered on any smartphone to date.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

The sharpest display we've seen to date

The device's display features a PenTile matrix as expected from an AMOLED screen these days. However, its lower number of subpixels is irrelevant at 565ppi - it is impossible to distinguish individual pixels with a naked eye.

Motorola Droid Turbo Review
Motorola Droid Turbo Review

A closer look at the display

Viewing angles and contrast of the display are superb as expected. Its sunlight legibility is also stellar.

Colors are naturally not as accurate as those produced by high-quality IPS LCD units - whites in particular show yellow or blue tint when viewed at an angle. However, thanks to the AMOLED's punchy colors, we do believe that many people will find the screen of the Motorola Droid Turbo more attractive than the LCDs by some of its competitors.