Droid Turbo 2 assessment: What it lacks in fashion, it makes up for in energy

Droid Turbo 2 review: What it lacks in style, it makes up for in power

Verizon’s line of Droid telephones simply celebrated its sixth birthday, and what higher option to have fun than by releasing the perfect gadget to ever bear the Droid title? I jokingly referred to as Motorola’s Droid Turbo 2 “a Moto X Pure on steroids,” however there is no denying it packs much more energy than its predecessor right into a physique that is constructed to take a beating. Throw in a battery rated for forty eight hours and we ought to be left with a telephone that may make Moto X house owners rue the day they whipped out their bank cards, proper? Seems, the answer is a little extra difficult.

eighty four
Motorola

Droid Turbo 2

Execs

  • Sturdy display
  • Quick efficiency
  • Strong, if overstated, battery life
  • Motorola’s greatest software program tweaks are again

Cons

  • Digital camera is hit and miss
  • Costly for what it’s
  • Barely dim, oversaturated show
  • A great deal of Verizon bloatware

Abstract

It isn’t exhausting to take a look at the Droid Turbo 2 as an upgraded model of the Moto X Pure, with its extra highly effective elements, huge battery and shatterproof display. This all sounds nice, and it’s… till you uncover that the battery life is not all the time as epic as Motorola claims and that digital camera efficiency is a combined bag. What’s extra, it is unclear when the telephone will obtain a software program replace, and it is saddled with Verizon bloatware. It is nonetheless an honest selection, however we finally just like the common Moto X even higher.

Hardware
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Droid Turbo 2 review: What it lacks in style, it makes up for in power

I will be blunt: the Droid Turbo 2 ($624 and up) is fairly ugly. When you took a Moto X Pure version and by some means sucked out most of its allure, you would be left with this factor. The white model I have been testing is particularly bland, and does nothing to cover the sensors that make tips like Moto Show potential. Fortunately, you are able to do one thing to probably treatment this. The Turbo 2 is the primary Verizon Droid you possibly can run by way of Motorola’s MotoMaker customizer, with three totally different materials decisions for the again and a number of colour choices for the metallic body and rectangular accent on the rear.

In equity, the bottom is not dangerous; my check unit has a neat smooth-contact plastic again with a tessellating triangle sample and a sturdy silver metallic rim across the edges. Nonetheless, some issues stay annoying regardless of the end you select. Hefty bezels encircle the 5.four-inch Quad HD display, making the Turbo 2 really feel wider than it truly is. Additionally, whereas the Turbo 2 made its official debut after Verizon’s huge rebranding, it nonetheless has the discontinued Verizon Wi-fi emblem on it. Thankfully, it is solely on the exterior lens — Motorola’s identify for the thick, plastic display protector that’ll catch all these pesky scratches — so that you in the event you actually needed to you possibly can peel it off.

Droid Turbo 2 review: What it lacks in style, it makes up for in power

In fact, you may disagree with me about all of this. Nice! We will in all probability nonetheless agree that the Droid status hinges extra on pure energy than type and luckily, the Turbo 2 has that in spades. A excessive-finish octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 thrums away inside, paired with 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM and an Adreno 430 GPU. Since Motorola is an enormous fan of its contextual computing tips (as am I), there are additionally two further co-processors to assist the telephone monitor movement and pay attention on your voice instructions. The mixture makes for some critically snappy (to not point out considerate) efficiency, however I am going to dig into that extra later.

The Turbo 2 was additionally blessed with additional energy within the type of a hefty, if sealed, three,760mAh battery. Positive, final yr’s Droid Turbo had a fair greater cell, however Motorola claims you’ll squeeze about two full days of utilization out of this yr’s mannequin. Throw in a microSD card slot to complement the 32GB or 64GB of inner storage — expandable as much as 2TB, every time these playing cards present up — and you have got a tool that ticks virtually each field that energy customers care about. If something, I want Motorola had bothered to make the brand new Turbo waterproof only for good measure, particularly contemplating how sturdy the telephone is in any other case.

Show and sound

Droid Turbo 2 review: What it lacks in style, it makes up for in power

We will not speak concerning the Droid Turbo with out speaking about its “shatterproof” display. In short, Motorola constructed layers of redundant safety over a 5.four-inch OLED panel — particularly, one layer of scratch-resistant plastic and one other layer of thicker, sturdier polycarbonate. There’s one other contact-delicate layer beneath these strata to ensure you’d nonetheless have the ability to use the telephone if one thing else went awry. Thanks as properly to an aluminum body, the telephone is so sturdy that it ought to have the ability to survive all however probably the most tragic of drops.

Earlier than we go any additional, you need to know that I’ve damaged perhaps two telephones prior to now and I took it actually onerous each occasions. Ask anybody who is aware of me: I type unhealthy private attachments to devices. Anyway, I put all that apart for 2 weeks so I might deal with the Turbo 2 the best way a careless asshole would: tossing it throughout the room at my desk, letting it slip out of my pocket and watching it skitter throughout asphalt for kicks. Usually the last word drop check can be giving me the Turbo after a number of Manhattans, however I made a decision to attempt one thing much more provocative: operating it over with my automotive. It survived. It survived!

Principally, then, this “shatterproof” enterprise actually works. Inside purpose, anyway. The remainder of the telephone did not all the time fare as nicely — its metallic rim now has a couple of chunks lacking and the display is scratched — however there is no query that the Turbo 2 can take a licking. Simply, you already know, do not get any brilliant concepts and toss it off your roof.

Droid Turbo 2 review: What it lacks in style, it makes up for in power

It is too dangerous, then, that the display being protected is in any other case unremarkable. The excessive resoltion (2,560 x 1,440) and 540-ppi pixel density imply your eyes will not be hurting for crispness, however the show is a contact dimmer and much more distinction-y than the Moto X Pure’s. Contemplate this wallpaper: The ribbon seemed magenta on the X, however appeared a lurid purple on the Turbo 2. Ditto for almost each photograph on Instagram; some individuals will adore the Turbo 2’s punchy colours, however they’re a bit of excessive for me. On the flip aspect, the entrance-dealing with audio system etched on both aspect of the growing older Verizon emblem aren’t horrible: They pumped out some surprisingly deep (if typically muddy) sound and are greater than sufficient for the occasional YouTube video or podcast.

Software program

Droid Turbo 2 review: What it lacks in style, it makes up for in power

Final yr’s Turbo ran an almost inventory construct of Android four.four.four loaded up with sufficient Verizon bloatware to get me seeing purple. Guess what occurred this yr? Bingo! Precisely the identical, besides we’re working with a tweaked model of Android 5.1.1. (I am informed work on the Turbo 2’s software program wrapped up simply as Marshmallow turned obtainable to OEMs so we’re caught ready for an OTA replace.) Anyway. Lollipop. All of its normal strengths and foibles (this is taking a look at you, notification quantity controls) are again, as are Motorola’s contextual computing tips. I will not delve into them an excessive amount of — we have examined them on a couple of different units already yr — however I am nonetheless very glad to have them.

Motorola’s strategy to gussying up Android has all the time been my favourite: By principally leaving the core OS alone, the corporate can as an alternative give attention to including invaluable, hardware-powered options that decide up the place Android leaves off. Moto Show, for example, works in addition to it all the time has, which is to say you possibly can swipe your hand over the display to get a fast look on the time or what notifications have rolled in. The extra contextual core baked into the chipset additionally means the Turbo 2 is all the time listening on your voice instructions, and Moto Voice nonetheless goes a fantastic job deciphering and appearing on them. Does it really feel somewhat foolish speaking a telephone the best way one would converse to a secretary? Perhaps just a little, however I can not argue with the outcomes.

Moto is not recognized for its extraneous apps, which makes the inclusion of stuff like Droid Zap somewhat irritating. Zap, in case you missed it on the primary Turbo, is a social sharing app. You possibly can ship photographs to random Zap customers close by, or arrange a shared photograph stream referred to as a Zap Zone the place all of the pictures you’re taking are shared with Zappers you’ve got invited. All of it works as marketed and is extra helpful than you’d anticipate, however I nonetheless cannot think about many individuals are leaping aboard the Zap bandwagon. Loop, in the meantime, is a extra passive addition. Assuming you’ve got obtained different Verizon Droid house owners in your loved ones, you’ll see their present standing, verify the climate at house and even management your Nest thermostat or Philips Hue mild bulbs. I personal neither of these, however I did designate one other Verizon telephone as a Loop “roommate” and used it to see how lengthy the Turbo 2 was sitting in my automotive that morning. Chalk that one up within the “surprisingly helpful” column.

I want I might say the identical concerning the Verizon bloatware. VZ Navigator, VZ Shield, My Verizon Cellular, Message+ and Verizon’s Cloud all went unused in favor of Google’s personal apps, although I can see additions like Amazon’s Kindle app and NFL Cellular coming in useful. Ditto for the Sweet Crush and Bubble Bobble clone, although actually, I might somewhat not have them cluttering up my apps launcher.

Digital camera

Droid Turbo 2 review: What it lacks in style, it makes up for in power

When you’re looking for much more similarities between the Droid Turbo 2 and the Moto X Pure version, look no additional than the digital camera. Each telephones share a Sony-made 21-megapixel rear shooter with an f/2.zero aperture lens, and each take completely good photographs when the sunshine is true. Body issues up simply so and you will even get a touch of bokeh every now and then. A lot of the photographs I took by way of my week of testing have been suffused with punchy, correct colours and loads of element, although the Turbo 2 nonetheless struggled to correctly expose some pictures when all of the settings are left in Auto. We now have Motorola’s concentrate on sheer velocity to thank for that — you’ll be able to crank your wrist twice to launch the digital camera and snap a photograph in underneath two seconds, however you will need to allow HDR and the movable focus/publicity bracket for the perfect outcomes. Prefer it or not, that is about as in-depth because the digital camera will get; you will not discover any of these fancy guide capturing modes right here.

Too dangerous, since a type of may need helped the Turbo 2 in low-mild conditions. Dim settings are what separate photographic chumps from champs, and Moto’s new Droid can not seem to determine which camp it belongs in. For each surprisingly robust low-mild shot I snapped, I had one or two grainy ones that the automated Night time mode simply could not save. Optical picture stabilization would have helped Motorola take issues to the subsequent degree right here, however that was clearly much less necessary than making a close to-unbreakable display.

As for that 5-megapixel entrance digital camera, my pattern photographs have been completely satisfactory, if a contact washed out. Don’t be concerned, although, your selfie recreation will not endure a lot in consequence — simply be considered with how you employ that entrance-dealing with flash.

Efficiency and battery life

Droid Turbo 2 review: What it lacks in style, it makes up for in power

This is the place the Turbo 2 makes up for its curious cosmetics and lives as much as its identify. This factor is quick. Nothing I threw at it over my week of testing — shortly leaping out and in of apps or enjoying video games like Asphalt eight and Lifeless Set off — made the Turbo 2 hiccup. That should not come as a shock contemplating the highest-flight silicon inside, however after being turned off by the Turbo 2’s design I used to be bowled over by how a lot I appreciated it on a technical degree. All the things simply works. The one draw back: You will really feel the again get heat whenever you’re enjoying graphically intense video games or utilizing the hell of the GPS.

Motorola Droid Turbo 2 Samsung Galaxy Notice 5 Moto X Pure Nexus 6P AndEBench Professional 10,494 9,995 9,686 7,377 Vellamo three.2 four,942 four,564 four,401 5,one hundred and five 3DMark IS Limitless 26,014 21,316 18,474 21,847 GFXBench three.zero 1080p Manhattan Offscreen (fps) 18 25 15 25 CF-Bench (general) seventy five,300 fifty five,267 seventy four,237 forty eight,796

Now, about that battery. The celebration line is that you’re going to rise up to forty eight hours of steady use out of the Turbo 2, however I by no means fairly managed to realize that. Think about my normal routine: I might unplug the factor at about 7:30 within the morning, sift by way of emails, make a smattering of telephone calls and play a couple of video games over lunch, all whereas firing off Slack messages and listening to tracks on Spotify. After the workday ended, I might fall right into a Wikipedia rabbit gap and watch YouTube movies till conking out for the night time. The Turbo 2 dealt with a few full day and a half of all that, usually shutting down round midday the subsequent day.

That is not dangerous in any respect — it is in reality a contact higher than most different flagships I’ve examined this yr — however I hoped that three,760mAh battery would come a bit nearer to reaching the promised forty eight-hour mark. Equally, the Turbo 2 did not precisely excel within the good ol’ Engadget video rundown check, the place I loop an HD video indefinitely with WiFi related and the display brightness fastened at 50 %. This yr’s Turbo lasted slightly below 14 hours; that is half an hour much less than the unique Turbo, and about on par with the Samsung Galaxy Notice 5. It is one of many higher batteries on the market, however it’s no class chief both. Fortuitously, the Turbo 2 ships with certainly one of Motorola’s 25W TurboChargers — it’s kind of of a brick nevertheless it’ll get your lifeless telephone about 14 hours of life after a 15-minute cost.

The competitors

Droid Turbo 2 review: What it lacks in style, it makes up for in power

You would be exhausting-pressed to seek out one other flagship that takes a beating in addition to the Turbo 2 does. In the event you’re a fan of Motorola’s strategy to software program (apart from Verizon’s bloatware), there’s all the time the Moto X Pure ($399 and up). You will get a cleaner design and consumer interface for a lot much less cash, and for some that’ll be sufficient to offset the marginally pokier chipset and fewer sturdy display.

Want much more energy? Think about the Nexus 6P ($499 and up), the most effective telephone Google has made but. It too has a Snapdragon 810 chip, 3GB of RAM and an Adreno 430 GPU, together with a superior digital camera (do not let the decrease megapixel rely idiot you). Do not forget these fast software program updates, both: Verizon has to check and log off on any new Android construct headed for the Turbo 2, a course of that tends to take ages.

In case your largest precedence is battery life, the Galaxy Observe 5 ($699 and up) is value a glance. It is sleeker than the Turbo 2 and has one of the best display of the bunch, together with a blazing-quick Samsung-made chip for good measure. Simply realize it does not match the Turbo relating to sturdiness; I dropped one from a few foot off the bottom and was rewarded with a hairline fracture throughout the display and a spiderweb of cracks.

Wrap-up

Droid Turbo 2 review: What it lacks in style, it makes up for in power

The Droid Turbo 2 has this in widespread with final yr’s mannequin: It is nonetheless irritating. I am a fan of the Moto X Pure for its clear software program and glossy design, however the Turbo 2 provides much more horsepower and a brand new physique that dealt with all the abuse I’ve hurled at it the previous week. Even the Turbo’s design — which I am clearly no fan of — can principally be salvaged because of MotoMaker. It is in some ways a a lot better telephone than its predecessor. That alone ought to make it an apparent purchase, proper?

That is the place I am torn. Sturdy or not, Verizon’s bloatware is tough to disregard, the digital camera is outpaced by its rivals and it is simply too costly for what it’s. In case you’ve racked up an honest assortment of shattered telephones, the Turbo 2 provides the right mix of energy and hardiness. However for those who’re simply in search of excessive-powered Android telephone, nicely, there are different higher choices that value much less.

*Verizon has acquired AOL, Engadget’s dad or mum firm. Nevertheless, Engadget maintains full editorial management, and Verizon should pry it from our chilly, lifeless arms.