Motorola Mobility's Droid Turbo has a big battery and a powerful processor, but it also lacks a microSD card slot and optical imaging stabilization.
The smartphone will be available starting Thursday from Verizon Wireless. Here are its main strengths and weaknesses.
One of the main reasons to get a Droid Turbo is the promised battery life, which is helped by a massive 3900mAH battery. That's almost 70 percent larger than the battery in this year's version of Motorola's Moto X, which, like the Turbo, has a 5.2-inch screen, but with a lower resolution. The downside is that the Turbo is quite big-boned — at 169 or 176 grams, depending on the version, it is noticeably heavier than the Moto X's 144 grams. But I think the tradeoff is worth it. Motorola has said the big battery offers up to two days between charges with a mixture of both usage and standby time.
Smartphones with larger screens have been big this year, with products like the recently announced Nexus 6, which was also developed by Motorola, and Apple's iPhone 6 Plus. But I still want a smartphone that fits in my pocket that I can use with one hand. That's possible with a 5.2-inch screen, which is what the Droid Turbo has. Also, the device is almost 15 millimeters shorter than the iPhone 6 Plus.
The screen on the Droid Turbo has a 2560 by 1440 pixel resolution (also known as QHD), just like the Nexus 6 and the G3 from LG Electronics. Smartphones with QHD screens are still rare, but by next year they will likely become much more common on high-end models. Anyone questioning the attractiveness of the higher resolution can take a look at LG's shipments during the third quarter. They reached a record 16.8 million, thanks in part to sales of the G3.
The Droid Turbo's Snapdragon 805 is starting to become the de facto standard on expensive smartphones. It offers better performance across the board compared to Qualcomm's existing Snapdragon 800 processors, which are used by many high-end smartphones. The Snapdragon 805 lets the Turbo implement carrier aggregation, technology that increases download speeds by combining two channels.
The Droid Turbo is available with 32GB or 64GB of integrated storage, which is all well and good. But there is no microSD card slot for memory expansion, which most competing Android-based products have. The Moto X has the same drawback, so it seems Motorola or Google, which owns Motorola until its acquisition by Lenovo is final, for some reason don't think memory expansion is needed on high-end phones. But whatever that reason is — perhaps the easy availability of cloud storage? — I think the wrong decision was made. On-board storage is easier to use and offers better performance; plus, you can't install native applications in the cloud.
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