Droid Turbo speeds onto the scene with a near-immortal battery

The Droid Turbo smart phone, a Motorola-made Verizon exclusive, offers an appealing all-star collection of today’s most advanced smart phone features, including a mammoth battery that will allow you to watch the entire six-film "Star Wars" saga with power to spare, the company claims. The phone is quick on the charge, as well. If you find yourself with a near-dead battery, you can resurrect it with up to 8 hours of talk time with just a 15-minute recharge using a USB 2.0 adapter.

The Droid Turbo’s ultra-sharp 5.2-inch Super AMOLED Quad HD screen delivers 565 pixels per inch of resolution, according to company specs. Only a handful of phones offer comparable resolution, including the LG G3 and the Samsung Note 4 and upcoming Note Edge. Our tests will confirm the Turbo's specs, but we've found that it’s increasingly hard to notice improvements in resolution above 400ppi.

The Turbo is Moto X at heart, which means its always-on, voice-activated assistant can launch launching apps on command and perform other complex tasks. The latest version of smart actions, called Moto Assist, automatically changes phone settings, notifications, and other things based on where you are and the time of day. For instance, it might not put through phone calls after midnight unless it’s your significant other calling, or it might turn off Wi-Fi and other power-eating features if it senses you haven’t touched your phone in a while.

A tough outer skin

While the front bezel of the Droid Turbo is made from a generic plastic, Motorola boasts that the back of the phone is made of a “tougher-than-steel” Kevlar substrate topped with either ballistic nylon or metallized glass fiber. During the press conference, Motorola used the word “military” in describing the toughness of these materials, though it declined to say which spec the phone satisfied or even describe a particularly tough situation it could survive. The phone isn’t officially water resistant, though one of the product managers said a hydrophobic nano coating would protect the innards if you were to accidentally drop the Turbo in the sink or a puddle for about a minute.

Comfortable to hold

The Turbo, which is about 143mm high and 73mm wide, is comfortable to hold and small enough to easily to operate with one hand, thanks in part to a curved back that tapers at edges. The ballistic-nylon model, which is 8.3mm thick in the middle and 11.2mm along the edges, is about 5mm thicker than the metallized glass fiber version. But the clothlike texture of the ballistic nylon did appear more comfortable to hold than the more shiny—and slippery—metallized glass-fiber cover. The Motorola rep who demoed the phone for us hinted that the “more mushy” qualities of the nylon might offer slightly more protection if you accidentally drop the phone.

High-res camera

Spec-wise, the Droid Turbo’s 21-megapixel camera is among the highest we’ve seen in terms of resolution. And since we found that the otherwise identical 16-megapixel camera on the second-gen Moto X takes very good pictures, we’ll be anxious to see whether those extra megapixels makes the Turbo’s camera even better. Also, the Turbo adds a dual-LED flash that may give it a low-light performance edge over the Moto X. However, past smart-phone camera tests have shown that more megapixels don’t automatically translate into better image or video quality.

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An immortal battery

The Droid Turbo seems quite determined to minimize your need for an AC outlet.  On a full charge, Motorola claims the Turbo will provide you with up to 48 hours of talk time, and that you can run the Google Navigation app on a road trip from New York City to Chicago on a single charge. (Read about the battery on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.)

Availability

The Droid Turbo ships with Android 4 OS (KitKat) but will be among the first phones to upgrade to Android 5 (Lollipop), which adds a phone “kill switch,” synchronized document access between other Android devices, and more. The 32GB Droid Turbo in metallic black, metallic red, or ballistic nylon will cost $199 with a two-year Verizon contract, and the 64GB version in ballistic nylon will cost $249 with a two-year Verizon contract.

Mike Gikas

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