Motorola DROID Turbo vs Samsung Galaxy S5

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Introduction


Ah, nothing like getting two of the strongest Android smartphones around and staging a cage match between them! Thankfully, that's exactly what we do for a living these days, and with manufacturers continuing to present us with such mind-blowing powerhouses like the just-released Motorola Droid Turbo, it seems like there will always be worthy, new contenders for us to put in the ring.

Speaking of the Droid Turbo – this new product from Motorola and Verizon can really be seen as one of the most powerful smartphones ever made. Equipped with a state-of-the-art specs configuration, the Droid Turbo can easily challenge pretty much any other smartphone for a quick face-off in the arena. This time, however, we've found a fearsome opponent for it, in the form of the venerable Samsung Galaxy S5. Samsung's flagship has ruled the Android land throughout most of 2014, but it's grasp on the throne appears to be waning these days. Too many challengers, too many months have passed since the S5's advent, and it will all come down to this duel, in which the Motorola Droid Turbo is going to try and take over the champion belt.


Design

Ballistic nylon meets... plastic

Design has never been the strongest side of Samsung's Galaxy line, and while Verizon's army of Droids isn't particularly impressive in this area as well, it's had a certain appeal for tech-savvy consumers. All in all, we wouldn't go so far to say that one is decidedly better than the other; successfully crossing the "good enough" line, neither appears to be particularly fancy in the 'outer beauty' department. However, it's worth pointing out the interesting materials employed in the Droid Turbo's construction. One of the phone's variants features the so-called metalized glass fiber material (that one's also available in red), which is further reinforced by DuPont kevlar. It makes for a characteristic appearance of the back panel, but its feeling isn't particularly new – it mostly feels like a rubbery type of finish. Alternatively, there's also the 'ballistic nylon' version, which looks very cool and has a characteristic feel to it. The Galaxy S5, as you probably know, comes in three color versions (black, blue, and gold), all of which are made of fairly ordinary plastic material with a dotted pattern to shake things up.

There isn't a massive difference between the Droid Turbo and the Galaxy S5 when it comes to dimensions. The Turbo is just slightly bigger, but not quite as big as something like the G3. Still, Motorola's proposition is significantly thicker with its 0.44" (11.2mm), compared to the S5's way slender 0.32" (8.1mm). Overall, the Droid Turbo definitely feels like the chubbier phone, but that's supposed to have some positive effects that we'll discuss later (hint: battery capacity).

In terms of construction quality, we'd side with the Motorola Droid Turbo, seeing that it feels a tad sturdier and more solid in the hand, compared to its Samsung rival. However, the Galaxy S5 does have a useful trick up its sleeve, and that's IP 67 certification for water and dust resistance. The Droid Turbo, on the other hand, has to do with a water-repellant nano-coating, which will protect the handset from light water splashes or rain, but not from submersion.


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


Display

Two AMOLED screens. One is Super AMOLED, the other is superb AMOLED

Arriving multiple months later than the Galaxy S5, the Droid Turbo's benefits from a higher screen resolution – 1440 x 2560 pixels, versus the S5's 1080 x 1920 pixels. With the screen on the Turbo being just marginally bigger at 5.2” vs 5.1”, it all means that Moto's handset will deliver a much higher pixel density: the astonishing 565 ppi vs the S5's 432 ppi. And before you ask – no, there isn't any major difference in terms of clarity between both – the QHD resolution of the Turbo only a subtle improvement over the already super-sharp picture quality of the Galaxy S5.

Where these guys differ is in the way they reproduce colors. Both the Droid Turbo and the Galaxy S5 make use of AMOLED screens, but their color balance tends to be different most of the time. The Droid Turbo comes with fixed color settings that cannot be altered by the user. Its colors tend to be very oversaturated and way off from their reference values. It's a vivid and eye-catchy screen, but one that will rarely display images the way the artist intended them to be seen, so to speak. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S5 gives the user a choice between a bunch of screen modes. Most of those deliver a striking, overly-punchy image with inaccurate colors. There are some modes that try to tone things down to an extent, but nothing to really bring those AMOLED nuances to something that we could call natural – something like the Note 4's Basic screen mode, for example, which does a good job of normalizing the colors, but is missing from the S5. Even though the Galaxy S5's display benefits from the added flexibility of the screen modes, we tend to prefer the Droid Turbo's AMOLED panel, because it maintains a more realistic color temperature of about 6600 K, compared to the GS5's predominantly cold (8100 K in Standard mode) and greenish appearance.

Outdoor visibility, on the other hand, is excellent with the Samsung Galaxy S5 – Samsung's phone is among the best offerings out there in this category. The Motorola Droid Turbo could definitely be better when it comes to its readability under the glaring sun.

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