News by Luke Jones on Tuesday October 27, 2015.
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While last year's Motorola DROID Turbo was widely dismissed, we were actually huge fans. It looked solid, had blazing specs, and had one of the very best smartphone batteries on the market. Motorola has shown this year that it can do a bona fide flagship very well; the Moto X Pure Edition is spiffing, and we knew that was the basis for the DROID Turbo 2. That means you can color us excited.That handset was launched today and as always the DROID is a Verizon exclusive. It is essentially Big Red's variant of the Moto X Pure Edition, with some changes made in the design, but nothing new in terms of specs. Design Motorola have completely changed the design here, so the DROID Turbo 2 does not look like 2014's DROID Turbo, moving far closer to the Pure Edition Moto X. Whereas previous DROID?s have looked towards rugged design, the Turbo 2 is more elegant and this time out Motorola has opened the device up to its Moto Maker customization suite. That means you can choose the color and materials used to build the DROID Turbo 2. There are noticeable differences in aesthetic compared to Motorola's flagship, such as a thicker metal bezel, while it is also obviously smaller. Different looks maybe, but not different ethos. The DROID Turbo 2 is still a rugged old beast, a tank would be a fair way to describe it. It can deal with falls that would leave other smartphones in tatters, although it is oddly not waterproof, which would have been perfect for that extra bit of durability. Display The original DROID Turbo from last year was the first Motorola handset to sport a Quad HD screen, and indeed only the Moto X Pure Edition and Nexus 6 have followed its lead since. There is no surprise then to see that the DROID Turbo 2 also sports an AMOLED Quad HD panel, although it is smaller than its predecessors at 5.2-inches. Indeed, that smaller size means the pixels are more packed and that close density should make this one of the richest displays on the market. The real news here though is that this panel is shatter-proof. The company's ShatterShield technology means you can drop the DROID Turbo face down and the screen will not crack. We imagine many will test this theory when reviews land, but we don?t recommend you taking a hammer to this thing just for shits and giggles. Software Motorola is on the ball when it comes to Android, but it seems the DROID Turbo 2 was too far ahead in development to get Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box. Instead it gets build 5.1.1 Lollipop, but don?t be surprised to see Marshmallow land early in 2016, if you ignore the fact the original DROID Turbo took an age to get Lollipop. As always with Motorola, this is arguably the best third party Android software out there. The company's extremely light touch on Google?s OS means you are getting a near as makes no difference stock Android interface and features here. Specs One of the hardware updates the DROID Turbo 2 has over the Moto X Pure Edition is that the new device boasts a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, while the latter only gets a Snapdragon 808. We say only rather flippantly considering we are not even sure the 808 is a worse chipset. Sure, it will perform slightly lower than the 810 with its six cores (the 810 sports eight cores), but then the flagship 810 has been plagued with overheating issues. Motorola likely passed on the Snapdragon 810 for the Pure Edition for that very reason, so we can only assume that the company or indeed Qualcomm has solved the issue the processor had with causing heat throttles. In terms of RAM, the Verizon exclusive comes with 3GB of the stuff, while there is 32GB and 64GB available depending on variant, and indeed the DROID Turbo 2 does come with a micro SD slot to expand the space. Camera The snapper is the same configuration found on the Moto X Pure Edition, and here is what we had to say about that set up when that handset launched:
A 21 megapixel camera sits on the rear as the primary shooter, and it comes with all the bells and whistles we would expect from a flagship, including F2.0, phase-detection autofocus, and dual-tone LED flash. Around the front there is a 5 megapixel snapper that is ideal for selfies with its LED flash.Cost and Launch A very good bona fide flagship, the DROID Turbo 2 is a tour de force in many respects. It is getting a price tag to match, with Verizon confirming that the base 32GB model will cost $624 when it is launched in November. We imagine that is a deal breaker for many, especially as the Moto X Pure Edition with a slicker look and almost equal specs costs a bargain $400. Nevertheless, the DROID Turbo 2 does bring new things to the party, chief among them the ShatterShield screen and general ruggedness that means it can survive a tumble. Is a rugged handset enough to spend an extra two hundred bucks for? We'll let you decide.
Luke Jones is the Managing Editor at MobileBurn.com and is the person you need to speak to about the content on the site. Luke studied creative writing at degree level before carving out a reputation as a freelance tech writer. He settled here at MobileBurn, where he reviews devices and contributes to the news, as well as overseeing the site's content and direction.