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First Impressions: Droid Turbo

So in the UK, we’re less used to devices being re-branded and sold as a different name through carriers, than our US cousins are. In the case of the Droid Turbo however, Verizon hold exclusivity on this device meaning we are unlikely to see it in the UK selling freely any time soon. That’s a crying shame. Really. The Droid Turbo sports frankly stunning internals and is packaged in a variety of intriguing material choices. MobileTechTalk got a hold of one, and will be putting the device through its paces. Is it unrivalled in the smartphone market currently as many claim? We’ll find out soon enough, but for now, this is the our first impressions Motorola Droid Turbo.

There are many aspects of this device that simply scream quality. From the QHD display with an eye watering 565 ppi, to the relatively simplistic, yet attractive attire shielding those impressive internals, the Droid Turbo is something of an enigma. Frankly, this is Motorola’s Flagship, in all but name thanks to Verizon’s exclusivity. They may well be leading with their Moto X 2014 edition may be carrying the baton going into the Holiday season, but the Droid Turbo’s raw power is enough to all but wrestle that from its grasp.

Droid Turbo Colour Choices from Verizon
Droid Turbo Colour Choices from Verizon

Firstly, it’s important to state that if anybody outside of the US want’s to get this phone, they’re going to have to import one. These phones are like gold dust currently and we’re fortunate enough to have one ourselves. We’ll put it to good use that’s for sure.

Motorola-DROID-Turbos-battery-plus-images-from-its-User-GuideThe Droid Turbo comes in a variety of colour options as is evidenced by Verizon’s press imagery. Red or Black MGF (Metalised Glass Fiber) sandwich the Ballistic Nylon option we have. The Nylon coating gives this device a unique feel, but it doesn’t exhibit quite the same grip as other bold material choices such as the Sandstone Black OnePlus One for example. The device itself is a smaller than Motorola’s flagship, the Moto X (2014) by a few millimeters across all its dimensions (depth/thickness varies), however weighs a good 25 grams more. Fair from recoiling in horror, we felt quietly reassured handling the device, something that many devices shy away from now.

Hiding under the stylised Nylon coating can be found the one of the year’s most powerful Smartphone hardware configurations. A Snapdragon 805 SoC running a Quad Core 2.7Ghz Krait 450 CPU alongside an Adreno 420 GPU mean that this device packs a fair old punch. Furthermore, it’s heavyweight status is cemented by the inclusion of a 5.2″, 1440 x 2560 QHD display with a retina-pleasing 565 ppi, 3GB’s of RAM, a 21MP dual-LED flash rear facing camera, and a market leading 3900 mAh battery. Take a breath and just read that list again. This is without doubt a spec list to behold. Couple this with the addition of QI Wireless charging and a bundled Turbo charger boasting up to an 8 hour charge in just 15 minutes, and there is the potential for this to be the device of the year.

Early indications suggest that this battery will live up to the hype. With no scientific data collected yet, we noted that with less than 15% of charge remaining we still managed a 2 hour journey streaming Podcasts and Online music the entire journey, without the device dying. It remains to be seen how the device stands up to more screen on time having to push that elevated pixel count around that 5.2″ screen, however we’re quietly optimistic after seeing reports of a simply stunning 8 hours screen on time with moderate use. More to come on battery life in the full review.

turbo-closeCamera shots in day light seem crisp and colourful, however in lower or overhead lighting the results can be a little hit or miss with the default Camera application. One slight issue we’ve seen already is that the shutter speed is a little slow, however this was addresses in a recent OTA and is much improved now. Users will need to take snaps in 4:3 aspect ratio to utilise the full 21MP, with 16:9 wide shots using just 125.5MP. Whether this becomes an issue or not, we’ll have to wait and see in the full review.

Screenshot_2014-12-15-20-28-59Software wise, the Droid Turbo comes with Motorola’s famed “near-stock” Android experience. Running 4.4.4 Kit-Kat out of the box, with a forthcoming OTA update to Lollipop likely to drop December/January, there is much to differentiate itself from the competition here. Motorola’s feature set includes Actions, a suite of settings allowing wave to silence incoming calls, twisting the device for Camera launching and the rather fancy ‘approach’ setting which notices hand movements towards the device and briefly displays notifications on the Turbo’s screen prior to pick-up. Motorola’s Assist and Voice settings also enable a level of hands free communication with the device that is perhaps second only to Google Now in terms of command integration. Motorola really do a nice join of giving value adds in this area however. The launcher itself is as near to stock as can be found anywhere outside of a Nexus device, and for the most part that’s a good thing. There are still limited configurable options in the Kit-Kat release although we expect more from the forthcoming Lollipop update. Those used to CyanogenMod ROMs might find this lack of tweaking irksome however.

So far, we’re quietly confident that this device is going to prove something of a gem, and the fact we’ve actually obtained a unit from outside of the States, and indeed outside of a Verizon contract is doubly pleasing. This device is, to some, what the Nexus 6 should have been. Innovative in specifications, a comfortable size, great battery life and great software. Whilst the Nexus size boasts some of that, there are those owners who have gone on record suggestions that a poor camera, poor battery life and frankly absurd sizing offer little to showcase Google’s latest OS. Whether the Droid Turbo fairs any better on Android 5.0 ‘Lollipop’ remains to be seen.

Stay tuned for more Droid Turbo coverage. Hit us up on Twitter at @Craigytweets drop us a line over at Facebook and comment on this post to let us know what you want to know about the device during our review period. For now, take a look at Verizon’s Video highlighting the device.

 

Links: Droid Turbo Specifications List

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Craig Bradshaw

Tech enthusiast and Editor-in-Chief of MobileTechTalk

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