DROID Turbo 2 Review

The Screen You Just Can't Break

Have you ever dropped your phone and had that dreadful moment before you picked it up thinking “oh no, the screen definitely cracked”. It’s something just about everyone has experienced, but thanks to Motorola, you don’t have to worry about it. With the new DROID Turbo 2, Motorola has created a phone with screen you just can’t break. Is it worth picking up? Let’s take a look.

Specs

  • 5.4” AMOLED Display 2560×1440
  • Snapdragon 810 Processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB Storage (with microSD)
  • 21MP Rear Camera
  • 5MP Front Camera (with front facing flash)
  • 3,760 mAh Battery
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop

Hardware And Design

For the past few years Motorola has had two big designs out there. The Moto X with it’s gentle curves and unique materials, and then the DROID line, a collection of smartphones that bring more “rugged” designs. However this year, the two have merged. The DROID Turbo 2 looks nearly identical, at least at a quick glance, to the 2015 Moto X Pure Edition, and that’s great. The gentle curve around back and the grippy texture make the phone feel awesome in the hand and that aluminum frame is great.

For the first time ever, the DROID Turbo 2 can also use MotoMaker meaning that you can easily customize the look of your device right down to the material on the back. That could include a leather back, ballistic nylon, or the silicone texture which was on my review unit. Personally I would pick the nylon, but the silicone is awesome and very grippy, just like it was on the Moto X Pure Edition.

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The size of the DROID Turbo 2 is also great. It fits well in the hand and in the pocket. With the 5.4”  display, you can use the device one-handed fairly easily and you don’t really need to worry about dropping it.

However if you do drop it, the Turbo 2 can take a hit. The metal frame does scratch and dent, but a small drop in the house is unlikely to do any damage. Dropping it onto something like concrete probably will, but overall, not much to worry about.

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Display

The impressive part of the Turbo 2 is the display. We’ll save the Shattershield for the next paragraph, but for now let’s focus on the actual display. The Quad-HD AMOLED panel is great. It has vivid colors and solid viewing angles. The brightness leaves a little room for improvement, but overall there are few complaints with the quality of this display.

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Now, the fun part. The DROID Turbo 2 is the first smartphone ever with a Shattershield display. What is that? Long story short, it’s a display that cannot shatter. Drop the phone, kick the phone, run it over with a car, it will still work when you’re done. While I wasn’t daring enough (or allowed really) to put the Turbo 2 through a true torture test, the few drops I did have with the phone didn’t even close to cause any damage.

If you do want to see a true torture test, check out this video CNET did on the Turbo 2 where they dropped it several times, had a horse walk over it, and basically did anything they could think of that would break any other smartphone instantly.

How Does Shattershield Work?

Shattershield doesn’t look any different from another smartphone screen at first glance, however if you take the device apart, you’ll find out just how Motorola created the world’s first shatter-proof display.

The basic explanation is that Shattershield is made up of 5 layers of what comes down to plastic. These make it physically impossible for the display to shatter since plastic cannot do that.

While the Shattershield can’t break, it can scratch, and easily. The outer layer will almost definitely scratch within just a few weeks of use. I mistakenly put the Turbo 2 into my camera bag alongside a plastic tool and when the device came out, it had several scratches. A Gorilla Glass equipped device probably wouldn’t have suffered the same fate, however there is a remedy. Motorola has made the top layer of the Shattershield replaceable. If you get a scratch or accidentally remove the outer layer, simply head over to Motorola’s website or to Amazon and pick up a new one. It’ll run you $30, but it’s easy to apply and lasts much longer than the typical screen protector.

Software And Performance

Powering the DROID Turbo 2 is a Snapdragon 810 processor and 3GB of RAM on top of Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. Marshmallow is supposed to be coming soon, but let’s be honest, Verizon’s never been quick with updates.

The Turbo 2 does however run a near stock version of Android Lollipop. The only minor changes are for Motorola’s built in features such as Moto Voice, Moto Display, and a few others. There is however a ton of bloatware pre-loaded on this phone. Aside from a handful of Verizon apps, there’s a suite of Amazon applications and several games which you’ll likely never play. Luckily most of it is removable.

Performance wise the DROID Turbo 2 is solid. It plays most games without any issues and day-to-day performance is fine. I did notice quite a few dropped frames here and there, but nothing too bad. One thing I did notice when I first got the Turbo 2 was that the phone had a tendency to heat up quite a lot for pretty much no reason. Just simple social media use would cause the device to heat up, but over the next few weeks using the device that issue went away for the most part.

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Camera

Sitting on the back of the Turbo 2 is a 21MP camera similar to what was found in the Moto X Pure Edition. Overall it’s a solid camera. Pictures pack plenty of detail, outdoor shots look great, and even in low light it’s a pretty decent shooter. It isn’t the best out there, but it gets the job done well and is capable of some very impressive pictures.

One thing that still annoys me however is the camera app which is frustrating to use. You take a shot by tapping anywhere on the screen and while it works OK, it doesn’t work all of the time, especially for close up shots.

Battery Life

Embedded inside the DROID Turbo 2 is a 3,760 mAh battery which is great. It won’t last 48 hours, but it can easily make it through a heavy day of use without breaking a sweat. It comes with a fast charging brick to fill up the battery quickly and it also includes wireless charging, something I’m always glad to see.

The Little Things

  • One thing I didn’t love was the speaker setup on the Turbo 2. While I will never complain about having front facing speakers, the single bottom mounted speaker doesn’t sound amazing and I really wish the sound was stereo from both the top and bottom of the device. Plus, the speakers look very odd on this device.
  • Another huge downside of the Turbo 2 is that it is exclusive to Verizon Wireless here in the United States. While that does mean plenty of you can buy it, users of AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and any other US carrier won’t be able to get this phone. Outside of the US however this phone is available for sale unlocked under the name “Moto X Force”.

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Final Thoughts

So in the end, the DROID Turbo 2 is a pretty solid phone. It isn’t without it’s flaws, but it is without a doubt one of the best phone’s Motorola has ever put out and is definitely the best DROID yet. The Turbo 2 comes in for $624 at it’s full retail price or starting at $26 a month through Verizon’s installment plans.

DROID Turbo 2

DROID Turbo 2
8.32

Design

9/10

    Camera

    9/10

      Screen

      8/10

        Performance

        7/10

          Battery Life

          9/10

            Pros

            • Shatterproof display
            • Great design
            • Customizable hardware
            • Awesome battery life

            Cons

            • Tons of bloatware
            • Heats up quickly