Motorola DROID Turbo ReviewMotorola DROID Turbo 9.2
Oh Motorola, you’ve been making some serious waves of late. First of all, the Moto 360 received much acclaim from critics and consumers alike when it launched not too long ago – rising straight to the top of the charts when it comes to Android Wear watches. Commendable to say the least, the Moto 360 proved that the company still has some quality aces up its sleeve. On the flip side, though, we were hopeful about the refreshed version of the Moto X, but despite the incremental upgrades and its unique personalized design process, the handset just couldn’t compete on the same level as its contemporaries – so it felt rather underwhelming.
With the introduction of the original Moto X in the fall of 2013, a strange and uncertain future was cast over Moto's DROID family. The name has its roots, naturally, as the one and only original Motorola DROID seemingly catapulted Android to new heights back in its heyday. However, it seems as though the tides are turning once again, as the Motorola DROID Turbo comes out of the gate with the same ferocity that we witnessed with the original DROID. Arguably the most specs heavy smartphone on the market, the DROID Turbo is action packed and ready to make its mark – it checks all boxes, coming with 5.1” Quad HD AMOLED screen, 20MP camera, the latest Snapdragon 805 processor and impressive battery! Big muscles are nice in catching the attention of people, but is it cunning enough to be backed with a solid performance?
The package contains:
- Quick Reference Guide
- Product Safety & Warranty Brochure
- Wall/USB Turbo Charger
The new metalized glass fiber and ballistic nylon fiber materials solidify its sound construction, one that exudes that built-like-a-tank quality.
Looking at the phone head on, the DROID Turbo’s design seems very much mute – in the sense that it looks generic. Certainly, it’s not as curvier in design as the Moto X, but the DROID Turbo earns its merits with a more aggressive, angular appearance from the front. Flip it around to the rear, however, we’ll certainly say that it breaks the mold with its own unique finish – one that gives it a distinctive and distinguishable look.
Our particular review unit bears the new metalized glass fiber (MGF) material, which is further reinforced by DuPont Kevlar, to match its aggressive demeanor. Although it’s not as pronounced as the Moto X, there’s also a thin metal trim that outlines the sides of the phone. Now, the material looks good and feel good too – though, the feeling of the texture is more rubbery. Depending on the angle, there’s a subtle 3D effect with the weave pattern of the surface. It’s available in red or black, but we’d recommend going with the former because it stands out more.
Alternatively, the DROID Turbo has a third option to select from – the ballistic nylon model. Indeed, the stitched pattern is something we haven’t seen in the DROID family, so it’s undoubtedly refreshing to see, but we’re curious to see how it handles long term. Considering that it has a fabric feel to it, the material might fray over time. However, we should note that the phone features a water-repellant nanocoating for protection against minor incursions with splashes, but it doesn’t give the phone a water resistant quality – so don’t think about dunking this one under water!
Overall, the construction of the DROID Turbo is rock-solid – a constant quality with the DROID line, so we’re pleased to find it here yet again. In addition, its size is pretty manageable to hold with a single hand effortlessly, but we wouldn’t go far to say that it breaks any records. Comparing it to the Moto X, the DROID Turbo is minutely thicker, wider, longer, and heavier. Nevertheless, the result is an aggressively styled smartphone that’s built like a tank.
In standard practice, the sides of the phone are home to its power button, volume control, 3.5mm headset jack, microphones, and microUSB port. Although it’s seldom seen in smartphones nowadays, the DROID Turbo features that dedicated trio of capacitive Android buttons beneath its display – while a thin narrow strip along the opposite side makes up its earpiece.
One peculiar thing we notice noted on the packaging is that the 4G LTE SIM is pre-installed. That’s pretty nice of them to do, but after an initial inspection, we’re baffled to where they put the slot. Surprisingly, it’s discretely incorporated into the volume control. We can actually pry it off slowly, which reveals the SIM slot.
143.5 x 73.3 x 11.2 mm
6.21 oz (176 g)
140.8 x 72.4 x 9.9 mm
5.08 oz (144 g)
142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm
5.11 oz (145 g)
146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm
5.26 oz (149 g)
You can’t see any of the pixels, it’s that detailed!To the surprise of many (and including us), the Motorola DROID Turbo is packing a 5.2-inch 1440 x 2560 QuadHD AMOLED display. Simply, it’s a marvel to behold because it’s one of the most pixel-dense screens on the market with its tally of 565 ppi. It’s so detailed that even when we look at it closely with our eye, it’s tough to decipher individual pixels.
Unfortunately, some of the display’s other characteristics aren’t as impressive. In particular, the screen achieves a maximum brightness output of 247 nits when measured displaying an all white image (that's the way we're measuring maximum brightness for all phones) – a pitiful mark we might add, one that’s near the bottom of our benchmark list and makes it hard to read outdoors in the sun. AMOLEDs are known for their lower brightness in such tests and they can actually have brighter output if the displayed image is not all white – e.g. if it is mostly a black screen with a few white areas, those areas may be significantly brighter than 247 nits. But still, this is a mediocre mark even in the land of AMOLED screens – to put it into perspective, we measured the Note 4's maximum brightness output at 468 nits.
Concurrently, its color reproduction is extremely over-saturated, which does produce eye-catching looks, but it’s far from being particularly accurate. As you can see in our color gamut chart for the DROID Turbo, it misses the reference values of almost every target. However, it so happens to sport a very neutral color temperature of 6594 K (reference is 6500 K), so colors do not appear cold/bluish as is the case with many phone screens. Thankfully, green colors aren't too excessive as well, so the balance between red, green, and blue tends to be good.
Yes, we’ll vouch that the DROID Turbo is impressive for its pixel crushing resolution, which is something that many of us take great pride in seeing in a high-end phone. In fact, it’s a member of an elite crew in that regard, seeing that very few phones can rival its pixel density count. However, there are still drawbacks to the screen’s characteristics that doesn’t make it all that polished. Despite that, we feel that more people will be forgiving about it.
Display measurements and quality
|Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better||Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better||Contrast Higher is better||Color temperature (Kelvins)||Gamma||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Samsung Galaxy S5||442
|Motorola Moto X (2014)||385
|Motorola DROID Turbo||248
The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.
|Maximum brightness Lower is better||Minimum brightness Lower is better||Contrast Lower is better||Color temperature Lower is better||Gamma Lower is better||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Motorola DROID Turbo||50.8%
|Motorola Moto X (2014)||54%
|Samsung Galaxy S5||62.7%
The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
28. akki20892 (Posts: 3900; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)
Yeah, he can't even see chest is wide and big of turbo
109. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)
Enjoy your #bendgate phone. Most of us rather have A FAT BATTERY than a small one.
10. DogeShibe (Posts: 1113; Member since: 10 Jan 2014)
This has 2 days of normal battery life, so yeah :)
32. roldefol (Posts: 4178; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
That's just the Verizon marketing take. Both PA and PC Mag say it's closer to a day and half. I found the "48 hour" Maxx last year was similar - 30-36 hours. It's still very impressive, but less than advertised.
85. gtrxman (Posts: 122; Member since: 10 Sep 2011)
I've had my Turbo since Thursday. It definitely goes two days. I didn't even get down to half battery while installing all my apps and setting the phone up to my liking. This is such a great piece of hardware.
43. Scomii (Posts: 25; Member since: 22 Nov 2013)
Z3 has an almost as good battery but it's still so stylish
69. vincelongman (Posts: 4248; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)
Image if the Z3 was 11 mm
It would have a weeks worth of battery life
86. gtrxman (Posts: 122; Member since: 10 Sep 2011)
Style is a matter of preference. To me, the Z3 is a nice phone, but just too big. From my perspective, the Turbo is the right balance of size, usability and style. The ballistic nylon feels great in hand and there's a small ring of soft-touch material around the phone that allows for a nice grip.
110. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)
yet sexy and shiney
16. deanylev (Posts: 212; Member since: 11 Mar 2014)
True, some phones manage both though it's not too hard. My Z2 @ 8.2mm is about as thin as I'd like and it fits a 3200mAh cell. The Z3 is only 7.3mm thick and still fits a 3100mAh cell
30. DRO_ID (Posts: 40; Member since: 20 Feb 2014)
Yet the Turbo manages to have a smaller footprint. Sony devices are always often bigger than other OEM's flagships with similar sized screen. Also, You can't compare Motorola's build quality to Sony.
36. roldefol (Posts: 4178; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
I checked out the Z3v and Turbo at the Verizon store and found the thick but contoured Turbo was much more comfortable to hold than the thin but flat Z3.
51. Scomii (Posts: 25; Member since: 22 Nov 2013)
Don't forget the Z3 is ingress protected adding more bulk.
44. cheetah2k (Posts: 1539; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)
The reason for long battery life is 248nits max brightness.... FAILCAKE!
46. RandomUsername (Posts: 808; Member since: 29 Oct 2013)
Also, better ergonomics. It doesn't feel as thick as it is on paper.
82. sar44 (Posts: 278; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)
amoled display without flickering
very good color temperature and grayscale
very good camera
very good materials
40. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 12503; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)
Those 5 cons should've came out to a 6 or 7 out of 10
87. gtrxman (Posts: 122; Member since: 10 Sep 2011)
The cons are a stretch at best. This phone rocks.
33. Vinayakn73 (Posts: 191; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)
I like Big Fat Battery. F--k those skinny bit--s (Phones).
80. Vinayakn73 (Posts: 191; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)
and the credit goes to Nicki Minaj's Anaconda. I mean Anaconda Song
95. DocOc (Posts: 138; Member since: 23 Apr 2014)
I have one. It's really not that thick. It's very comfortable to hold and it doesn't stick out in my jeans pocket at all. Very happy with it.
74. Firedogee (Posts: 8; Member since: 19 Sep 2014)
Check out the PA display brightness comparison of the new and old Moto X. They messed up the test of the old Moto X and show it at 218nits which is not even possible. I think they have royally messed up the Turbo test too. I own it and can confirm it is nearly as bright as the Note 4.
3. terabyteRouser (Posts: 457; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)
screen is a no go. no thanks, i'll just pick up a nexus 6.
9. vincelongman (Posts: 4248; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)
The screen is quite disappointing
Seems like they compromised on quality and just picked the one with the higher pixel count for marketing QHD/1440p
Seems like only Samsung/LG make good AMOLED/OLED displays
And only Samsung's match IPS displays
25. roldefol (Posts: 4178; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
And yet I'm not surprised. Samsung saves their best and brightest AMOLED for themselves. Moto's screens will always be a generation behind in either resolution or brightness. I'd rather a more balanced screen with decent outdoor visibility, but "quad HD" looks better on paper.
65. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
That's something that can be fixed in a software update, so lets hope they do it.
96. DocOc (Posts: 138; Member since: 23 Apr 2014)
How have you come to the conclusion the screen is disappointing? Do you own one? I'm sure not. The screen is actually very impressive. I've had one now since the day it came out and I've never seen a screen so clear and crisp. it's the real deal.
14. deanylev (Posts: 212; Member since: 11 Mar 2014)
I have a feeling the battery life will be better on the N6. They probably put such a large cell in the Turbo because they couldn't optimize. Now that google has more a of a budget to craft a smartphone, the battery life is probably fantastic. I've heard the N6 camera runs circles around the Moto X and is probably nearly as good as the Turbo. Unless you want an interesting back cover, lower price and more manageable size, the N6 seems like a much better option.
97. DocOc (Posts: 138; Member since: 23 Apr 2014)
Why would then not be able to optimize? So your saying Motorola can optimize some of their phones but not others? That's ridiculous. There is nothing that would indicate the battery life on the N6 would be greater than the Turbo. The opposite will likely be the case. I love both phones, but the N6 really is gigantic and difficult to operate on a day to day basis.
22. fanboy1974 (Posts: 1345; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)
If you're disappointed with this screen (when it comes to brightness) I doubt that the Nexus 6 will solve your problems. My guess is that it's going to be worst or even. The king of Amoled displays is Samsung. Plus expect the battery life to take a huge hit; larger display plus smaller battery equals less battery life.
27. roldefol (Posts: 4178; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
Wait until we see the Nexus 6 review. With Moto's track record, I don't have much confidence that its screen will be much better.
72. Firedogee (Posts: 8; Member since: 19 Sep 2014)
I own the Droid Turbo and can tell you that PA got this wrong. It s not as bright as Note 4, but it gets way brighter than 247nits. Even my old phone the Droid RAZR M was brighter than that and side by side the Turbo is like much brighter!
119. TAMARETTE (Posts: 182; Member since: 15 Jun 2014)
You're right. I wouldn't let the 247 nits bother me. The Note 4 actually has 700+ nits but the way nits are measured is definitely geared toward LCD screens. The nits are registered using a white screen. Who uses a white screen? As soon as you load any kind of graphics or text, the Note 4 is stunningly brighter. The same would go for the Droid Turbo. It may not reach 700 nits but it would rock far above 247 to be sure.
4. juandante (Posts: 463; Member since: 23 Apr 2013)
The Big. The Best. The One.
Thank you Motorola.
6. Busyboy (unregistered)
No way the screen is only 250 nits. Not possible
13. deanylev (Posts: 212; Member since: 11 Mar 2014)
I think PA tested it wrong or their unit is faulty or something, Sammy or LG probably makes this panel and there's no way they would let a display that dim make it out of the factory. No matter how much s**t people will give either one of them, there's just no way.
24. Millenialssux (Posts: 28; Member since: 22 Jan 2014)
Looked at this at the VZ store and compared to my Note 4 and G3. In comparison to those handsets, the screen of the turbo was way dimmer. Even dimmer than the G3's screen. Was greatly disappointed at the screen because I actually like the way the phone looks. You literally have to keep the brightness cranked up all the way and it's still not as bright as the G3. It's not even a comparison with the Note 4.
88. gtrxman (Posts: 122; Member since: 10 Sep 2011)
The way some are commenting, you'd think you have to hold the phone up to a light to see the screen. There's no material issue with the brightness that I can see. The phone is perfectly readable in various light settings.
38. terabyteRouser (Posts: 457; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)
i went to verizon yesterday. they had a droid turbo right next to a moto x (2014) and the difference was glaring. you can definitely tell. and thats pretty bad because i was indoors.
58. jpmurph (Posts: 1; Member since: 31 Oct 2014)
I believe there was an issue in there testing. I was using the turbo outdoors for an extended period of time and had not problems with display brightness and that was coming from owning a Note 3 previously.
73. Firedogee (Posts: 8; Member since: 19 Sep 2014)
I own the Droid Turbo and can tell you that PA got this wrong. It s not as bright as Note 4, but it gets way brighter than 247nits. Even my old phone the Droid RAZR M was brighter than that and side by side the Turbo is so much brighter!
20. g2a5b0e (Posts: 3723; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)
Thanks for that. I wasn't sure if that was the case or not after I read the review.
15. harvardale (Posts: 46; Member since: 22 Jul 2011)
Had you installed the day 1 update before doing this review?
17. Rich123 (Posts: 34; Member since: 30 Oct 2014)
Nits, schmits! In real use my Turbo has more than enough brightness. The brightness test doesn't relate to every day use.