Motorola DROID Turbo vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4: in-depth specs comparison

Yesterday, Motorola fulfilled the dreams of many an Android fan with its latest powerhouse - the Motorola DROID Turbo - which is packing arguably the best combination of hardware specs for a rather acceptable price. Yet, we shouldn't forget that one of the more popular devices of late, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, totes a very similar bag of hardware, which is pretty much on par with the Verizon-exclusive DROID Turbo.

However, we should note that both of these devices are intended at completely different market segments, yet they will be inevitably compared due to their similar setups and, surely, many users will be on the fence whether to throw their money at the S Pen monster or the Kevlar-reinforced DROID. Let's take a closer look at how these two compare specs-wise and make it easier for you to decide which one's the better overall choice.

Design

Each one has its own take on "premium"

Both the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the Motorola DROID Turbo have both tried to stay away from plastic. Each device employs a different set of build materials that set it much apart from the other. The Moto employs a metal chassis and sticks to the traditions of the DROID line, as its metalized rear cover is either reinforced with kevlar (in one of the available two variations) or not (the other variant). At the same time, the metallic side frames of the handset are clad in Metallized Glass Fiber (MGF), a sturdy material that makes the device both "lightweight and durable", as per Motorola. Samsung's phablet, on the other hand, employs a metal frame, which provides the Note 4 with a more premium feel than previous embodiments of the Note family. The rear still relies on faux leather, yet it's way subtle than the one in the Galaxy Note 3; Samsung has also dropped the fake stitching.  

For better or for the worse, the DROID Turbo can't stand up to the size of the Note 4. With its dimensions of 6.04 x 3.09 inches (153.5 x 78.6mm), Samsung's 5.7-inch offering is both taller and wider than the more compact Motorola, which boasts dimensions of 5.65 x 2.89 inches (143.5 x 73.3mm). The latter, however, is a noticeably thicker than the Note 4 - with 8.5mm-thin profile, the Samsung powerhouse is way slimmer than both version of the DROID Turbo (the back of one of these is a curve that measures at 8.3-11.2mm in thickness, while the curve of the other variation is thinner at 7.8-10.6mm). Interestingly, both devices tip the scales at 6.21 oz (176gr).

What sets the Note 4 phablet from the DROID Turbo is the S Pen stylus, which firmly rests in its own housing. At the same time, the Motorola can boast a front-facing speaker, whereas the Samsung can't. Another nail in Note 4's coffin is the splash-resistance of the DROID Turbo, courtesy of a special nano-coating. Samsung's phablet might be able to survive a close encounter with water, but the company mum's the word on its water-resistant abilities.

Motorola DROID Turbo

Motorola DROID Turbo

Dimensions

5.65 x 2.89 x 0.44 inches

143.5 x 73.3 x 11.2 mm

Weight

6.21 oz (176 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note4

Samsung Galaxy Note4

Dimensions

6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 inches

153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm

Weight

6.21 oz (176 g)

Motorola DROID Turbo

Motorola DROID Turbo

Dimensions

5.65 x 2.89 x 0.44 inches

143.5 x 73.3 x 11.2 mm

Weight

6.21 oz (176 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note4

Samsung Galaxy Note4

Dimensions

6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 inches

153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm

Weight

6.21 oz (176 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page


Display

A heated Quad HD AMOLED battle

Being the newest device to hop directly onto the Quad HD bandwagon, the display of the DROID Turbo is among the most pixel-dense at the moment. Measuring 5.2 inches, this AMOLED embodiment has a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels, which puts its pixel density at the crazy value of 565ppi. The Galaxy Note 4 employs a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with the very same resolution as the DROID Turbo, yet its pixel density is a tad lower - "merely" 515ppi. Regardless of these numbers, it will be extremely hard to discern individual pixels from one another on both displays.

The AMOLED technology aboard both phones also ensures that you'll be treated to high contrast, deep blacks, and good viewing angles. At the same time, the displays of both the Galaxy Note 4 and the Motorola DROID Turbo are protected by the accidental scratch or two, courtesy of the renowned Gorilla Glass 3.0. 

Processor and memory

The same power-laden hardware setup means performance differences will be marginal

The most potent breed of Qualcomm's Snapdragon chipsets at the moment, the Snapdragon 805 APQ8084, is powering both powerhouses. The silicon in question is a quad-core Krait 450-adorned processing beast that relies on the ARMv7-A architecture and can hum at up to 2.7GHz. An Adreno 420 GPU is powering the 3,686,400 pixels in both the Note 4 and the DROID Turbo, ensuring that even the heaviest graphics-intensive 3D games run smoothly. Memory-wise, both devices rely on 3GB of 64-bit LPDDR3 RAM. This means that you'll hardly experience any issues while multitasking.

With the chipsets being the same in both handsets, the performance difference between the two devices will be courtesy of the software that's aboard them - Samsung's TouchWiz UI is way more resource-hungry than the almost-vanilla Android that can be found on the DROID Turbo. But we'll get to this a little bit later.

In the on-board memory department, the DROID Turbo is available in two variants, a basic 32GB one and a more spacious 64GB iteration. Meanwhile, Samsung's phablet is only available of 32 gigabytes of storage, yet it has a microSD card slot that allows you to further extend the available storage with up to 128GB. The Motorola, on the other hand, lacks such a slot.

Interface and functionality

The feature-rich TouchWiz stands up to pure Android 


TouchWiz might not be among the most loved custom Android firmwares in the wild, but few can argue that it's not among the most feature-rich ones. Apart from the numerous software goodnesses that Samsung has crammed inside the interface, the phablet also holds another solid argument - the whole new level of functionality the S Pen offers. With useful features like Smart Select, Action Memo, Image Clip, and Screen Write, few devices can rival the feature-laden portfolio that the Note 4 flaunts. 

In the meantime, the DROID Turbo relies on stock Android, adorned with but a few of Motorola's own apps and features, like Moto Voice, Moto Actions, Moto Assist, Moto Display, the exclusive Zap Zone, Zap to TV, and Zap with Voice. Although not as feature-rich as the Note 4, the firmware of the DROID beast will most probably allow the latter to sport a better overall performance. Not to mention that it will surely appeal to fans of stock Android. 

Both devices come with Android 4.4.4 out of the box, yet the sophistication of TouchWiz will force Samsung to push the Android 5.0 Lollipop version of its firmware a tad later than the Motorola DROID Turbo, which will receive the newest confectionery update of the OS in the following weeks.


Battery

The current QHD record-holder might meet his demise in the form of DROID Turbo

Many expected the Quad HD Note 4 to have a slightly worse battery life than its 1080p predecessors, yet the phablet took us by surprise and became the most enduring handset with a pixel-rich Quad HD display aboard. Its 3,220mAh juicer is just marginally larger than Galaxy Note 3's 3,200mAh note, yet the Note 4 scored 8 hours and 43 minutes in our custom battery test. As a side comparison, the Note 3 endured for 6 hours and 8 minutes.

We measure battery life by running a custom web-script, designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage. All devices that go through the test have their displays set at 200-nit brightness.

hours Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note4
8h 43 min (Good)
Samsung Galaxy Note3
6h 8 min (Poor)

Nevertheless, it's highly likely that the Motorola DROID Turbo with its humongous 3,900mAh powerbank (the biggest in any Quad HD phone) and lightweight UI has all the potential to score higher than the Note 4 and snatch its crown. We would even speculate that the DROID might stand up to Sony's finest - the Xperia Z3. Still, we'll have to tinker with the DROID before we could put it on our battery-centric hall of fame. One thing is certain - its 3,900mAh will undoubtedly serve you a long time.

Camera

You can't go wrong with either


Both devices are both well-endowed in the camera department. It's true that the DROID Turbo is probably better specc'd on paper, as it sports a large, 21MP sensor with an aperture of f/2.0, complemented by a dual-LED flash. Meanwhile, the Note 4 has a 16MP snapper with an f/2.2 aperture in tow. Sound logic suggests that the sensor of the DROID allows more light inside itself, resulting in better results in low-light conditions, not to mention that the its larger sensor should produce more detailed images. We already shared our first camera samples from the Motorola DROID Turbo, yet we'll have to put the device next to the Note 4 in order to compare them under the same conditions.

Samsung's phablet, on the other hand, has a few aces up its sleeve as well. For starters, it has an optical image stabilization, a handy feature that promises to eliminate any blur due to non-deliberate shakes. The S Pen gladiator already aced our latest camera comparison, leaving behind prominent performers like the iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy S5, the long-time champion. You have a lot to prove, DROID Turbo!

As far as front-facing snappers are concerned, the Note 4 outscores the DROID Turbo. Samsung has crammed a 3.7MP shooter at the upper-right front of its phablet, while Motorola has decided that a 2MP front camera will suffice for the occasional selfie,

Both devices are capable of shooting a 4K video, yet the Note 4 can do so in 30fps, whereas the Motorola device reaches up to 24fps. At lower video resolutions, the phablet also rules supreme - the Note 4's capable of shooting a 1080p video at 60fps, while the DROID is only capable of 1080p video recording at 30fps. 



Expectations


As you know, the Motorola DROID Turbo is a Verizon-exclusive device, which is a hurdle for some potential adopters. The Note 4 is already available in most corners of the vast world and it should be truly available on a global scale by mid-November. Price-wise, you can get the 32GB version of the DROID Turbo from Big Red for $199 with a 2-year contract, while the 64GB one will se you back $249.99, both with 2-year contracts. Meanwhile, getting Samsung's newest phablet will cost you $299.99 with a 2-year contract.

Both are spectacular smartphones and each one has its own merits and highlights. The top-of-the-line hardware ensures that you both phones are as future-proof as it gets. You can go wrong with neither of them. 


Related phones

Galaxy Note4
  • Display 5.7 inches
    2560 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP (Single camera)
    3.7 MP front
  • Hardware Samsung Exynos 7 Octa, 3GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 3220 mAh
  • OS Android 6.0 Marshmallow
    Samsung TouchWiz UI
DROID Turbo
  • Display 5.2 inches
    2560 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 20.7 MP (Single camera)
    2 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 805, 3GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB,
  • Battery 3900 mAh
  • OS Android 6.0 Marshmallow

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