Introduction


Oh, Motorola, what have you done with us, releasing such a decked-out smartphone, and leaving it as a Verizon exclusive? The DROID Turbo justifies its title by offering the best that component makers currently have on the market – Quad HD panel, Snapdragon 805 chipset, and a 20 MP camera, all backed up with a giant for the category 3900 mAh battery, promising a two-day endurance, something unheard of for a QHD phone.

Actually, there is no other match for the DROID Turbo in the market, but Samsung's freshly-brewed Note 4 mega-monster, which in its turn sports a larger, 5.7” QHD screen, also an 805 chipset, and an optically-stabilized 16 MP shooter. That is why are pitting the two current Android champions in the cage, and making sure there are no under-the-belt punches...

Design

Smaller and chubbier, the DROID Turbo weighs as much as the larger Note 4, but feels more ergonomic in the palm.

The two phones are fatties for today's demanding standards of sub-8mm flagships, yet the Note 4 clocks in at 0.33” (8.5mm), while the Turbo has the whopping up to 11.2mm girth, depending on whether you get the thinner Metallic, or the just slightly thicker Ballistic Nylon model. Hey, that gigantic battery has to fit somewhere, right? Given the much smaller display, the Turbo is way more comfortable to operate with one hand than the largish Note 4. The phones weigh the same, though, which doesn't bode very well for the thuggish Turbo, which is much smaller.

Samsung offers a removable back cover, which lets you swap the battery, or add more storage, while the Turbo doesn't. The Samsung phablet also comes with the S Pen stylus and its fingerprint scanner, ushering in one more input method, and one more security layer, in case you are inclined to use those.

Motorola does have a few tricks up its sleeve in terms of design against the Note 4 as well, since it offers a few versions of the Turbo with innovative materials like ballistic nylon and metalized fiber for the chassis, and there is even an eye-catchy red version, too. Samsung made the Note 4 look more premium than its predecessors, however, with a metal side rim, so we'd call it a draw in the design department.


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 Note 4

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

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 Note 4

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

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



Displays

The Turbo might sport record pixel density, but Note 4 nails it in every aspect that matters, like color accuracy and peak brightness.

The 5.2” 1440x2560 resolution panel of the Turbo holds the pixel density record with the breathtaking 565ppi. Galaxy Note 4 is not far behind, though, as it boasts the same resolution, but on a 5.7” display diagonal, returning 515ppi. Both are some of the best numbers in the industry, so no matter what pixel matrix is used to achieve those crazily crammed dots, you'd be hard pressed to find any jaggies in small text, icons, and throughout the interface.

Both panels are of the AMOLED variety, but they are pretty different. We measured the Note 4 to offer great 6700K color temperature and to be very, very color-accurate in its Basic screen mode. The Droid Turbo has an even better white point (6600K), very near to the reference 6500K, but its colors are not accurate. The Turbo exhibits very oversaturated greens, which goes somewhat for the reds and blues as well, and the color points are off the standard marks for the most part, while the Note 4 fits very nicely in the sRGB gamut reference. Keep in mind that previous Samsung phones, like the S5, S4 and Note 3, have proven that many people like these oversaturated but inaccurate colors, and the Droid Turbo isn't worse than them.

Another DROID Turbo display downside is that it is pretty dim, at 248nits measures, against the 468 nits of the Note 4, so you will have trouble telling what's on the screen of the Turbo on a bright sunny day outdoors.

Thus, we'd have to give the display round to the Note 4.



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42 Comments

42. yankohurta

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 23, 2015

A happy Moto Maxx 64GB (XT1225, Brazilian's Droid Turbo LTE version) here. After 6 years on Samsung platform (Galaxy S, S2, S3, S4 and Note 3) I went to my carrier store yesterday for a contract renew. They offered me a Note 4 or a Moto Maxx for the renew. Then I spent 2 entire hours playing and testing both, but the cluttered TW interface and battery consumption (I did the same tests on both phones - Note 4 consumed 32% more battery than Droid Turbo!) reminded me why I've beign flashing NON Sammy firmwares in all my Samsung phones all these years. :) I wanted a clean, flawless, uncluttered experience so the weights led me to Moto Maxx and couldn't be happier. BTW, latest firmware loaded and max brightness is perfect even on the heavy sunlight I faced today (38º C at 1:00PM). Color temperature on max brightness is about 6550K and couldn't notice the "grayish" someone mentioned in Chrome or setting LCD to full white (R255, G255, B255) in a test tool. Only my 0.02 cents. PS: Can someone tell me what is the clock/weather/battery widget they installed on the Droid Turbo for this review?

40. Bourne12

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 05, 2014

Back when I had the original Motorola Droid and my wife had the Samsung phone at the time I was jealous of her camera and the resolution it put out! I am always a fan of better battery life as I use my phone a lot. And the feel a phone in hand is big for me too but Samsung does have better camera by far. So I might get the S5 for camera and feel and sacrifice the better battery and bulky size from the note 4

37. LionStone

Posts: 1048; Member since: Dec 10, 2010

Calling the design a "draw" is laughable! The Note 4 has hard corners, flat body, crappy plastic back, hideous texture, square camera lens!? "Note" to Sammy, camera lenses are "round", you know circular! Also light phones gives a cheap impression...so more of the same ol from Sammy, cheap removable back, no solid build quality, same ol iButton...Touchwiz... tsk...

27. Rich123

Posts: 88; Member since: Oct 30, 2014

I stopped in at a Verizon authorized retailer two hours ago and compared my Turbo 64GB with the Samsung Note 4 and S5 on display. They don't have the Turbo. I opened the phoneArena webpage using Chrome and compared the pages side-by-side, with all 3 set to maximum brightness. The Note 4 and S5 displays are "brighter" than the Turbo. The white background of the phoneArena web page is "grayish" on the Turbo and bright white on the two Samsungs. There isn't much difference in the sharpness of the text, all are excellent. The screen of the Turbo is hard to see outdoors with sunlight directly on it but if you can rotate your body 180 deg then the screen will be in your shadow, provided you cast one. Also no one has mentioned that there is no native file explorer App provided with the Turbo. I called Motorola tech support yesterday and asked them about this and they said "Yep". They recommended the free ES File Explorer from the Play Store which I installed. You can customize it to look almost the same as the stock one I have on my Droid Razr M.

31. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

So after your observation are you still cool with the Turbo? Does the grayish white bother you or are more content with the reasons why you bought it?

32. uzimafioso

Posts: 469; Member since: Jul 15, 2014

No file explorer is a given on stock android devices. It's greyish cause of the lighting. The turbo has accurate white balance. The Note is brighter but in the native mode its bluish.

25. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

Neither phone destroys the other. They are nearly identical but built for different purposes.

15. DaveElliott

Posts: 151; Member since: Sep 20, 2012

who cares which is better? I have a Note 4 and want every phone released after to be better or at least have a few advatages over it. Even if i was on Verizon and did not have the Note 4, i would probably not get the Motorola and would wait for something else. Just a personal preference. Still have to acknowledge their offering is pretty good. All this just means my next phone will be that much better.

22. McLTE

Posts: 922; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

WELL SAID! I also have the Note 4. I'm glad to see Moto continue to push the battery life. I hope they get strong sales from the Turbo and manufacturers see this as a wake-up call to start making the batteries bigger and last longer. For ME, the Turbo is just lacking too many things to choose it over the Note 4 - No SD slot, No removable Batt, No LED, smaller screen. Those are all important to ME.

14. Rich123

Posts: 88; Member since: Oct 30, 2014

I got my Turbo 64GB on the 30th and installed the firmware update. I didn't notice a major icrease in brightness. The Turbo is brighter than my older Razr M but both can be a little difficult to see with sunlight shining directly on the screen. I found that by turning around 180 deg the screen is in your shadow. I haven't seen any mention of the fact that Motorola didn' include a file explorer app with the phone. I called their tech support, they said to nstall the ES File Explorer app from the Play Store.

17. Sakeem

Posts: 865; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

I was wondering about this. I installed the firmware as well and i don't have trouble viewing the screen in direct sunlight. I never tested it pre firmware update though so i have nothing to compare it to.

13. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

I wouldn't get either one because of their massive footprints but if I had to pick one I would pick the screen over the battery life.

12. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

The GS5 LTE A holds the pixel density record, not the Droid turbo. Although I am not sure if it's as good as the Note 4 display.

24. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

With the Samsung using a 5.1" at 577 ppi and Motorola using a 5.2" at 565 ppi, I doubt the difference is noticeable.

34. hurrycanger

Posts: 1776; Member since: Dec 01, 2013

I don't think the main point was bragging about how much better the S5 LTE A is. The point was to correct the article where it says "the Turbo holds the pixel density record". Anyway, I agree with you.

41. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

they're pixel density record breakers in their respective markets anyway...

11. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

Lol Note 4 please

10. Scarambay unregistered

Moto's cameras are usually meh, but I'll wait for the Turbo's samples before I come to a conclusion. Note 4 for me as of now.

9. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Tough but I'll choose Note 4.

8. Martin_Cooper

Posts: 1774; Member since: Jul 30, 2013

Considering Note 4 is a phablet which is not something majority of people will choose the droid turbo is an overall winner since more people would be comfortable with its size.

7. scarface21173

Posts: 702; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

I like both, my preference would be the Motorola just because your guaranteed regular updates and I don't like unwanted bloatware.

6. RocKO03

Posts: 11; Member since: Apr 18, 2014

Hey, John V did you update the Droid Turbo to the latest system update from Motorola? I think it fixes the brightness issue many websites mention that..

3. Busyboy unregistered

Really tough one. But I think the Note 4 is advantaged here.

1. Zylam

Posts: 1825; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

The Turbo/Maxx destroys the note 4. Note 4 in't even in the same league when compared to the real Android flagship.

2. ebubekir26

Posts: 337; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

review shows otherwise... you OVER-exaggerated with the "DESTROYS THE NOTE 4" bs they are currently the best smartphones you can get, I would personally choose the Note 4, the Turbo won't be available everywhere. Imagine how fast the Note 4 would be with a little bit of tweaking like a custom rom...

18. TheMoltenD

Posts: 109; Member since: Jul 13, 2014

Note 4 is already getting roms.

20. bigmaster

Posts: 198; Member since: Sep 05, 2014

The Note 4 scored 55000 on antutu running a custom rom !!!

36. LionStone

Posts: 1048; Member since: Dec 10, 2010

Imagine having a phone so fast that there isn't a need for a custom rom...that's the Turbo.

4. wilsong17 unregistered

Is that why it has poor maximum brightness

21. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

They had an update already that fixed that.

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