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.

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 S5

Samsung Galaxy S5

Dimensions

5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches

142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm

Weight

5.11 oz (145 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 S5

Samsung Galaxy S5

Dimensions

5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches

142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm

Weight

5.11 oz (145 g)

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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20 Comments

1. RiseAgainst94

Posts: 281; Member since: Mar 03, 2012

I think the S5 is the better overall phone, you have less to complain about. The camera and low screen brightness might frustrate users of the Turbo and while the battery life is excellent, it is not replaceable - which is great for travel. That being said, The Turbo wins on design, hardware specs and software hands down.

2. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Couldn't agree more. Well said ! +1

3. antonioli

Posts: 200; Member since: Sep 08, 2013

C'mon. QHD, 3Gb RAM, SD805, 21MP camera, 3900mAh battery, premium material in the back and NO TOUCHWIZ crap, and even so S5 is better overall....lol

4. RiseAgainst94

Posts: 281; Member since: Mar 03, 2012

The QHD screen is too dim (I have a G3 and its dim screen is a real pain), the 21MP camera is worse than the 16MP of the S5 and the 3900 mAh battery is not replaceable (not as good as 2 Samsung batteries). Better materials, software and hardware specs go to the Turbo, but the S5's only major flaw is Touchwiz (which, at the very least, is still functional) - making it the better rounded device.

5. antonioli

Posts: 200; Member since: Sep 08, 2013

We only see some samples of the camera. We had no real comparison between this and the others. But we have to agree that is very interesting. The S5 camera is good but even people who have say that in low light condition it could be better. The G3 painel has some tricks to try to not drain the battery. It's a real good display. This QHD display from Moto Maxx is interesting because of the color temperature, even being a AMOLED. But again, we have to agree that it's a QHD, a natural evolution in high end devices. Sincerely, it's not cool to charge 2 batteries and hold the second to replace. It's better to have one with large capacity as we see in the device. But it's a matter of option, of course. I think that Moto Maxx is what I expected in the begining of the year. All the speculation around S5, G3 and Z2 was about Snapdragon 805, 3 or even 4Gb of RAM, battery with large capacity, cameras more developed, QHD display, another material building, but we didn't see it. Everybody became frustrated when they announced the S5 because of the poor design, material, battery, display, touchwiz, SD 801 and another stuffs that was so long speculated but not done.

7. mrmessma

Posts: 271; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

Poor battery? In its debut it was #2 on the list of phone battery endurances. That's hardly disappointing.

8. antonioli

Posts: 200; Member since: Sep 08, 2013

The battery is not poor, but we expect something more about capacity and power saving. The battery is not bad but if they used something around 3200mAh we have reached another level. We see something about it in Z3 and Z3 Compact. HTC One has a good power saving but a battery capacity above all expectations at the beginning of the year.

9. RiseAgainst94

Posts: 281; Member since: Mar 03, 2012

"Everybody became frustrated when they announced the S5 because of the poor design, material, battery, display, touchwiz, SD 801 and another stuffs that was so long speculated but not done" Yes, but at the end of the day I would rather have lower end specs that are optimized (Fantastic 16mp camera, bright - vivid display, waterproof and dustproof design) than high end specs that are lacking ("meh" camera, low screen brightness)

17. DocOc78

Posts: 17; Member since: Nov 05, 2014

The S5 is NOT the better overall phone. TouchWiz alone makes the S5 an inferior phone. The camera differences are so marginal, I don't know how people even make judgements. The battery life is a huge plus for the Turbo. The removeable battery is taken advantage of by 1% of owners. Most people are not carrying around a spare battery. The screen brightness of the Turbo is a non-issue. The screen is plenty bright. I know the test say the nits are low, but in practical use, the screen is very bright and crisp. I'm not saying the S5 is a bad phone. Really, every major flagship phone out there is awesome. I'm amazed at the technology and capabilities that these phones have. The differences between flagships are so marginal that they aren't even worth discussing. The things that matter most are fast performance, battery life, and a solid screen. Turbo delivers on all fronts. In the big scheme of things, the S5 or any other flagship is not far behind.

6. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

I wouldn't dissuade anyone from buying an S5 over the Turbo. I know Samsung has its strengths (brighter screen, more consistent camera). I just think its design and UI are both dated, not having evolved much since the S3. I think if Moto had stuck with a 1080 screen, the advantages of the Snap 805 would really shine through though. And the capacitive buttons aren't doing the Droid line any favors.

10. RiseAgainst94

Posts: 281; Member since: Mar 03, 2012

I agree, LG should have followed your advice as well. Use an optimized 1080p screen so that you can use less processing power and allow for a brighter display with better battery life. The marginal difference and limited content available for a higher resolution display is not worth the deflated battery life and dim display.

11. Anterv

Posts: 178; Member since: Jul 09, 2014

After using QHD, FullHD looks blurry and not that sharp.

12. RiseAgainst94

Posts: 281; Member since: Mar 03, 2012

FullHD looks blurry? I don't know what FullHD screen you're looking at, but that is definitely not the case. Perhaps if you zoom in A LOT.

13. g2a5b0e unregistered

Said no one, ever. I have better than 20/20 vision & I see no difference between the two. To call FHD blurry is a total exaggeration.

18. DocOc78

Posts: 17; Member since: Nov 05, 2014

The 805 already shines through. The only thing the 2K screen affects is battery life.

14. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

S5 Plus and S5 LTE-A would be a better match up

15. mike2959

Posts: 694; Member since: Oct 08, 2011

I have the S5 lte-a g906. It's the South Korea version. Loaded up with the 805 processor, 3gb ram, and a QHD Display. This model was available in June, yeah a whole 6 months before the turbo. This version of the S5 is killer.

16. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

Ahhh yes. More comments based on PA's review rather than doing the research for yourself. If the Droid Turbo is a phone you're considering, 14 days is plenty of time to test the phone out & $35 restocking fee is worth paying to exchange into the phone you want.

19. RiseAgainst94

Posts: 281; Member since: Mar 03, 2012

Why do you even come on this site?

20. quest4life

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 06, 2015

The biggest difference I seen is the Motorola battery can't be removed and no SD slot. Also I haven't heard that they changed the largest issue and that is that you can't use the voice and data at the same time on the Motorola. While using the turbo charger it also gets very hot. This can't be good for the battery or the phone.

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