This week everyone is partying over the final release of Android 5.1 for the Droid Turbo. That doesn't sound like a very big deal on the face of it, but remember that until a few days ago the Turbo was still running Android 4.4 — it needed this update, bad.
But a couple days after my wonderment of the new software on my Turbo wore off, I realized it didn't really matter much — the phone still serves its primary function as the best mobile hotspot you can buy.
You see, when you live and work on the Internet, having devices that can keep you connected are pretty important. Here at Android Central we're pretty much always online, and while you can do basic writing without a connection, pretty much everything else requires fast and consistent Internet. And we're not always at home or our offices, we're on the go — and that means mobile data for our tablets and most importantly, laptops.
Being blessed with a literal pile of devices to choose from here, it's not hard to pull out a phone and use it as a hotspot when you're out of the house. But I don't just use things that work, I want the best possible device I can have, and when it comes to having a phone with perfect mobile hotspot abilities it's still the Droid Turbo.
Of course the 3900 mAh battery in the Droid Turbo is a pretty large (literally) part of why I rely on it as a hotspot. That battery is the same size or larger than your average dedicated mobile hotspot battery, and considerably larger than your average phone of the same size (the Moto X (2014) is just 2300 mAh). That means I can fire up the Droid Turbo as a hotspot for several hours without using up its full reserves, even with lots of network traffic or multiple devices connected at once.
And when I'm done with a day of heavy work on the go, I can still pick it up and use it as a phone, with software that I actually like and a size I can manage — and because of the massive battery I don't have to charge it up to keep using it. That means if I want to head out with just one phone (less gear on my back is always good), instead of one as a phone and another as a hotspot, I have the Droid Turbo available as a choice to be both.
Further, the Droid Turbo comes out of the box unlocked and capable of running on both T-Mobile and AT&T, of course in addition to Verizon. While it's not hard to find an unlocked phone, hotspot or USB LTE dongle, you'll likely be limited to just T-Mobile and AT&T on those devices. When you start out with a capable device on Verizon, it gives you the freedom of sticking with Big Red or choosing between two others, or a variety of prepaid options. The phone's radios also seem top notch no matter what carrier you're on, matching or besting other phones running side-by-side on the same network. (And how about that cool SIM card slot? No tool required to swap SIMs.)
The ability to swap SIMs between carriers isn't a big deal for most who have one carrier and stick with it — but again, when it comes down to having just one device with me, it offers even more flexibility in my mobile data choices depending on where I'm traveling.
For those very simple reasons, I have kept — and will keep — the Droid Turbo around as a sort of utility device that can do the heavy lifting for me when I'm on the go. It has a gigantic battery that can run a hotspot for hours without complaining, it'll take a SIM from the top three carriers in the U.S. (and internationally), and at the end of the day is still a good phone that I wouldn't mind using if I had to carry just one device with me.
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Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.