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Droid Turbo review: Motorola's big red phone is almost unkillable

Florence Ion | Nov. 19, 2014
The Motorola Droid Turbo is a powerful smartphone with the latest high-end components, a better-than-average rear-facing camera, and a guaranteed two days of battery life--but it's only available to Verizon Wireless subscribers.

Video capture tops out at 24 frames-per-second in 4K recording mode and 30 frames-per-second in 1080p recording mode. I recorded video while driving down my suburban streets, and was impressed with the phone's ability to maintain exposure, though with no image stabilization, the scene can get pretty jarring if you don't hold the phone still.

Almost stock, with neat add-ons

The Droid Turbo runs near-stock Android 4.4.4 KitKat, though it will soon get an update to Android 5.0 Lollipop. The interface is plain vanilla for the most part, and will require some tender love and care when you first bring it home. It also doesn't utilize the nifty Google Launcher on phones like the Nexus 5, where Google Now lives on its own Home screen.

However, you do have all of the Moto X's neat add-ons packed into the Droid Turbo, like Motorola Connect, Assist, Display, and always-on listening. Just like its flagship counterpart, these features work really well and you don't have to worry about them eating up battery life. There are also sensors that can detect when you're about to grab the phone so that it lights up with the appropriate information.

Because the Droid Turbo is a Verizon exclusive, you'll have to contend with Verizon's bloatware. This includes the carrier's own messaging and navigation apps, as well as Verizon "Protect," which scans for malware and blocks "risky" websites. I don't doubt that there are dangerous websites out there, but the bundled security app right out of the box reminds me of when I'd bring home a laptop and have to deal with whatever virus scanner would eat up all my memory.

You can disable any of these Verizon apps in the application manager, but you can't entirely remove them. Also, be careful not to make Verizon's Navigator your default Maps application, either, because it will either charge you 99 cents for every day that you use it.

It's too bad this phone is exclusive to one carrier

I am truly impressed by what Motorola has to offer with the new Droid Turbo, but I'm disappointed that it's limited to Verizon Wireless users. It's a fantastic device despite the boring design, and truly showcases Motorola's abilities for making powerful hardware. It's really a shame that this isn't the Moto X, because the Droid Turbo's high-end specs and the Moto X's customizable chassis would have probably made this the best phone of the year.

For now, if you're locked in to Big Red and are looking for an all-around great phone that can do just a little bit more than your friend's — and you don't mind its uninspiring, utilitarian design — the Droid Turbo is worth your consideration.


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