Get to know the ins and outs of this year's flagship Droid phone
The Droid line on Verizon is synonymous with power, features, and hyped-up branding — and the latest flagship in the line, the Droid Turbo from Motorola, is no exception. Like a Moto X with every spec bump imaginable, the Droid Turbo has a higher resolution screen, faster processor, more RAM, a bigger camera, gigantic battery, wireless charging, more storage and a Kevlar casing. It's also a poster device for Verizon throughout the year, getting the big money in terms of advertising and marketing.
So it's no surprise that it's a popular device in terms of sales and also mind share, with most everyone interested in smartphones in the U.S. aware of the Droid Turbo as a leading device. While you may have heard the name and seen the commercials, you should probably know a bit more about the phone itself if you're considering buying it — whether it's for a gift or to indulge on your own. Here are our top 10 things we think you should know about the Motorola Droid Turbo.
1. It may have similarities with the Moto X, but it's quite different
It's easy to see that the Droid Turbo and Moto X (2014) have similar designs and builds, but there's really more different than the same here. Motorola clearly built both phones on the same platform, and it's seen best in the camera placement, general size, screen dimensions and of course software.
But the Droid Turbo has a drastically different look and feel, dropping the metal edges for solid plastic and Kevlar. The on-screen buttons have been replaced by capacitive ones, the camera loses its ring flash and the speaker arrangement has changed. The Turbo is also notably thicker and heavier, accommodating the boosted internals and gigantic battery. These are all differences that really can't be seen in press renders and photos — but you instantly notice them when holding the Droid Turbo and Moto X side-by-side.
2. The battery makes it a bit thicker and heavier than you think
With a 3900mAh battery, the Droid Turbo was bound to be thicker and heavier than phones of this size that have batteries some 50 percent smaller. At 169 grams it's considerably heavy for its 5.2-inch screen size, and with a thickness of 10.6 mm it isn't exactly paper thin. The biggest thing you'll notice with the Droid Turbo is how dense it feels, as if there's so much more stuffed in that body than there should be. But if you need the battery life, you'll be more than willing to put up with the added girth of the Droid Turbo.
3. The two material choices give drastically different feels
The Droid Turbo is one phone, but it actually comes in two distinct models and even has two different listings on the Verizon online store. There's both the standard Droid Turbo, which has a smooth case, and a Droid Turbo in "Ballistic Nylon" with a much different look and feel. In either finish you're getting a Kevlar construction that adds strength all around, and while it probably isn't going to stop a bullet it's likely to survive any drops or bumps it encounters.
The standard Turbo is slick and somewhat glossy, with a subtle woven look to it, and comes in either red or black. It's a little more on the slippery side, but is also easy to pick up and super durable. The Ballistic Nylon model has a rough grippy texture to it that'll make it much easier to hold onto, but is a bit tougher on your hand if you prefer something smooth. The nylon model is also only available in black, so you'll have to make a choice on both color and finish if you decide to buy.
4. Only the Ballistic Nylon model offers 64GB of internal storage
One of the big benefits of the Droid Turbo is its storage choice, where you get 32GB in base internal storage with an option to bump that to 64GB for an extra $50. But here's the catch — you can only get 64GB of storage if you choose to go with the Ballistic Nylon version of the Droid Turbo. If you want the smooth exterior (or red color option), you'll be stuck with 32GB. And because there's no SD card expansion here, you'll have to make this choice wisely.
5. You get a Motorola Turbo Charger in the box
Motorola introduced its new Turbo Charger with the announcement of the Moto X, and has decided to include the otherwise $35 optional accessory in the box with the Droid Turbo. Not only is it a cost savings, it's also just an all-around great charger that'll boost up your Droid Turbo at a rate of one percent a minute. That means you'll get about eight hours of usage in 15 minutes if you just need a quick charge, but it also means you're gonna be able to pick up a full charge much faster than on a standard charger — a big deal with a battery this large.
And remember for slower (but more convenient) charging, the Turbo includes Qi wireless charging technology under the back.
6. The SIM card slot is hiding ... until you know where to look
Bringing on a feature it first introduced with last year's Droid Maxx, Motorola has cleverly hidden the SIM card slot on the Droid Turbo. In order to remove the SIM you'll actually pull out the volume rocker, which has a small notch underneath for you to pry on. The base of the volume rocker holds the Micro SIM, and it's an extremely clever solution to limit the number of cutouts on the Droid Turbo.
7. We hope you like Verizon apps and bloat!
Phones with the "Droid" name are the most Verizon of all the Verizon phones, and that means the software is going to be loaded up with all the apps, bloat and branding you can handle (and more). Get ready to disable no fewer than a dozen Verizon and affiliate apps (mostly from Amazon) on the Droid Turbo when you first turn it on. Unfortunately very few can be uninstalled, but with 32 or 64GB of internal storage they likely won't make much of a dent.
8. A water-resistant nanocoating will keep it safe from occasional spills
One of the often glossed-over features of the Droid Turbo is its water-repellant nanocoating that'll keep the phone safe from occasional contact with liquids. Now without flaps and seals covering the various ports and openings we wouldn't go anywhere near calling this "waterproof" (and neither will Motorola), but you'll be safe using it poolside or in the rain walking down the street without fear of having a meltdown from contact with water.
9. You get one free screen replacement in your first two years of ownership
The Droid Turbo carries a pretty hefty price tag starting at $199 on-contract and $599 without, but baked into that price is a guarantee of one free screen replacement in the first two years you own the phone. With Gorilla Glass 3 on the front you aren't likely to put much of a scratch on the screen let alone shatter it completely, but if you do happen to do such a thing Verizon has your back on the first replacement. It's a great guarantee, just don't use it as an excuse to not take care of your phone on a daily basis.
10. Expect software updates to fall behind the Moto X
Though the Droid Turbo has nearly identical software to that of the Moto X, don't expect the Droid to keep up with Motorola's own flagship in terms of software updates. Due to the extra tweaks and certification from Verizon, things are going to get gummed up as new software releases come along — in the end leading to slower updates.
Now given Motorola's renewed focus on software simplicity and updates you can probably expect the Turbo to pick up future software revisions quicker than some other manufacturers on Verizon, just don't think that you'll be on the bleeding edge with this phone.