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My new favorite phone: The Droid Turbo

There is a segment of people like myself that fall into a specific category: Android users that are on Verizon. If you’re one of those, have I got a phone for you! If you prefer iPhone to Android, Susanna has a post to keep you covered. If you prefer Android but you’re not with Verizon, we’ll get to that in a bit.

Last week, Motorola launched the new Droid Turbo and it’s a beast. It’s remarkably similar to the Droid Maxx that I picked up last year, but with some great improvements. I’m loving Motorola’s new phones because they keep them very close to stock Android, without all of the crazy bells and whistles that other manufacturers (such as Samsung) tend to stick on them. This leads to two wonderful things:

  1. All things being even, the phones run more smoothly.
  2. When a new version of Android is released, these phones get the updates far ahead of Samsung phones.

In the case of item #1 above, the Droid Maxx was a fairly weak phone in terms of specs. However, the clean version of Android meant that it still ran very smoothly. The Droid Turbo features that same clean version of Android, but they loaded it up with the latest and greatest; one of the fastest processors available, a screen that is many times sharper than the latest iPhones, a 21 megapixel camera and a massive battery. It’s quite remarkable.

Couple that with the neat Motorola-specific features that I mentioned last year and getting this phone was the easiest decision I’ve had to make for a while. My toughest decision was whether to get it with the “ballistic nylon” (see in the center pic below), or the smoother finish in red. I went with the nylon.

droid turbo

About the battery…

Even though it’s similar to the battery in the Droid Maxx, the 3900 mAh battery is getting a lot more attention this year (for comparison, the iPhone 6 has an 1810 mAh battery, and the Galaxy S5 is 2800 mAh). While the battery is huge, that doesn’t necessarily matter. In particular, Apple is well-known for putting rather small batteries in their phones (to keep them thin), but coaxing a remarkable amount of life out of them.

Motorola and Verizon claim that the battery can last 48 hours of “mixed use”, which seems feasible (though challenging). Today I went 12 hours without a charge and was down to roughly 50%, so that only equates to about 24 hours total. What gives?

For one, it was a pretty hard 12 hours — lots of email, surfing, some GPS navigation, app updates, etc. The next 12 hours will largely be filled with sleeping, which is good for a battery. Also, I turned off some battery-saving features due to personal preference (longer screen time before it sleeps, more accurate GPS, etc) which affected it.

For me, this is a sweet battery. Two days would be nice, but knowing that I can turn on any feature I want, work the phone hard, and still make it though a 16-to-18 hour day is plenty for me. When Android Lollypop arrives in the coming weeks, it promises even more features to help extend battery life.

What if I’m not on Verizon?

At this point, the Droid Turbo is only available to Verizon subscribers. There’s talk of it coming to others (under a different name), but nothing concrete yet. For now, my first suggestion would be the Nexus 6, launching on all carriers in a few weeks. It’s quite similar to the Droid Turbo, though with a larger screen (nearly 6″) and a slightly smaller battery. The phone may be into the “too big” range for a lot of people, but it looks pretty awesome. If you feel the Nexus 6 is simply too large, last year’s Nexus 5 (with a screen a bit under 5″) is still a great one to use.

If you could pick any phone right now, what would you choose?

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Mickey Mellen

Co-Founder and Technical Director

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