Track Tech: Verizon Wireless’ Motorola Droid Turbo

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You know the feeling. A cold sweat comes over you, your stomach feels like it just sunk into your feet, you get a little light-headed and you slowly start to panic and wonder… “Wait… what…?! No!” That’s right. That moment. The moment when you’re buying concert tickets, scored amazing seats and then the website freezes up. You can’t click the back button – you know what that does… you can’t click refresh because then you’ll lose your place in line. So you wait. And wait. And wait. And when the buffering finally starts up again, it tells you that you have timed out. It’s crashed & you’re crushed. If you’re like me… you might feel your eyes start to well up a little bit.

Music is a religion for me. Live music is my retreat from everything else in life, where I can just let go & be a part of the entire experience. That said, when I go to buy tickets and happen to score the exact section I was hoping for, and then I lose it before completing the order for no apparent reason… I kind of freak out a little bit. I know I’m not alone in this.

SAM_3441This past February 11th, the Ticketmaster server went down for approximately 45 minutes, right at 10am when tickets were made available in presale for Imagine Dragons, for Live Nation code holders. After the above scenario occurred, I ended up downloading the TM app for Android, in an attempt to try and reclaim the tickets I’d first been offered or at least get whatever was best available at the time. I logged into my account and low & behold… that SAME 4th row ticket for the Columbus, OH show was offered to me! I was beyond relieved that I didn’t lose out on great seats for my favorite rock band. Without my Motorola Droid Turbo and the Verizon Wireless network reliability, who knows when I would have gotten tickets, where they would have been or if I could have scored them in my favorite section! I’m just glad that I don’t have to find out the answer to that question!

Physical Strength AND Aesthetic Beauty

The Droid Turbo comes in two metallic finishes – black or red. I had the fire engine red and as someone who normally goes for the basic black phone, I was surprised by how much I liked the pop of color! The material that was used for the phone covering perplexed me at first. It did not seem as durable as the covers on say, the LG G3 or the HTC One M8 because it was so light. But, as a motorsports enthusiast, I know that lighter material doesn’t always denote weakness. The best racecars in the world, like the Dallara DW-12 chassis for IndyCar, is made of carbon fiber… a material stronger than steel. That got me thinking and I did some research; it turns out the the back of the Turbo is made out of metalized Glass Fiber and reinforced with DuPont® Kevlar fiber. The one downfall to this covering was how much it emphasized fingerprints.

But, to be honest… the innovative material that houses the Turbo is not it’s selling point. The selling point is the insanely long battery life. That is it’s bragging right, and it was certainly not shy when it came to showing off exactly what it was capable of doing.

Strong Screen Surface:

“The Scratch-resistant Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 guards the 5.2-inch Quad HD display. A water-repellent nanocoating protects against spills or an unexpected downpour.” – Verizon Wireless

Bonus: If for some reason, the display of your Droid Turbo is damaged within your first two years of ownership, Motorola & Verizon Wireless will replace it (one time) at no cost to you.

It’s Okay, Let the Power Go to Your Head

I decided to conduct an experiment to really test the battery of this newest Droid. I had the Turbo set up exactly how I wanted it. I had downloaded all the apps I could possible imagine needing or wanting, logged in to my accounts on said apps and email accounts, and I was ready to head out into the world and enjoy my day. I used the phone continually and as I normally would, checking the battery life monitor throughout my day and being constantly surprised by just how full it still was. Internet use, taking pictures & posting them to multiple social media sites, allowing for push notifications on my email accounts, watching YouTube videos… I utilized the Turbo unashamedly to see exactly how much it could handle before (inevitably, I thought) the battery would die before I made it home late that night.

I keep very long days – they usually span from about 5am – midnight. So you can imagine my surprise when returning home that evening, after nearly 17 hours off the charger and almost constant use, the battery was still near 50%. Before heading to bed, I decided to close all the apps and give it a break. Now this is one feature I hope they improve upon – I couldn’t close all active apps at once – I had to swipe away each app individually and that was a bit time consuming and inconvenient. Once that task was complete, I set it on my night stand.

BatteryLifeDroidIt is worth noting, I did NOT plug it in overnight.

The Turbo headed to work with me the following day, made it through that and an evening of errands afterwards before it finally ended up shutting down around 9:30pm. (The radio signal had shut off around the 36 hour mark). I took a screenshot before the battery died – it clearly shows that the phone survived over a day and a half on a single full charge. If that’s not impressive, I don’t know what is.

When the Turbo finally did power down on it’s own, I wasn’t worried that I would be without a phone for long, thanks to the Turbo Charger. The ads claim to give you 8 hours of life in just 15 minutes of charging, but I feel that it’s a relative claim because the draining of your battery is based on how often and in what way you utilize it. What I did find however, was that the Turbo Charger charged about a percentage point a minute and I never had the phone last the advertised 48 hours.

Of Note: The Turbo Charger doesn’t go into the quick-paced “turbo charging mode” unless the battery life is less than 10%.

The other impressive part of the power behind the Turbo is it’s quad-core processor. For the most part, it lets the user jump back and forth between apps, emails, and all aspects of the phone – but I did experience some lag time. Sometimes, I would hit the back button and nothing would occur. Normally when you hit any of the front buttons, you would feel a pulse or vibration under your fingertip, letting you know the phone received the command. I found on more than one occasion, that I would not get a response to the “back” command. I would troubleshoot this by pressing the home key to get back to the main page, then pulling up apps and closing them all out to start fresh.

Battery Life in Real Life: I utilized the Droid Turbo while attending IndyCar Media Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in February. Not only did the Turbo navigate a quicker route for me through downtown on the way there, but it allowed me to tweet real-time updates to my followers and then stayed working as a line of communication home during the long day. 11 hours were spent in the car round-tripping from Cleveland that Tuesday, and I always felt safe. I relied on the Turbo for many different things & it never let me down.

Wait, It Has How Many Megapixels…?!

I really liked the double turn-of-the-doorknob gesture that pulled the camera app up. No question that it is one of the best phone cameras on the market; 21 megapixels on the rear camera, plus a “dual LED flash”, and the ability to capture crystal clear videos will make you the envy of your friends. Just remember that with power & innovation comes responsibility. YOU will be the one taking all the pictures while out & about and expected to post, tweet, and instagram them instantly for everyone to enjoy. Okay, I guess as far as responsibilities go… that’s a pretty decent one to have. Zooming was minimal as with most camera phones – while the zoomed images still grainy, they were slightly less severe than most of the devices I’ve reviewed on Track Tech.

 IMG_20150225_180839816  IMG_20150225_180843359

Hands down, my favorite part of the Turbo camera was how I could drag the exposure and white balance focus around the screen to get the perfect balance of light and shadow in all my shots, regardless of time of day. That feature is usually something you get only on a separate app, which has a pricetag attached to it. I am an avid digital photographer, so the fact that this was a part of the standard camera app that came loaded on the Droid Turbo, made me a huge fan.

The photos above show the difference between using the white balance & exposure focus feature (photo on the left) vs taking a simple point & click with the same camera but choosing not to use the aforementioned feature (photo on the right). These shots of the sunset over Lake Erie were both taken using the Droid Turbo standard camera app on February 25th, only 3 seconds apart.

Shortcuts Revealed: Emoji menu on standard keyboard can be brought up with a long-hold on the enter key. Most frequently used punctuation marks can be brought up by a long-hold on the period key. I can’t tell you how excited I was to discover these shortcuts a few days into using the Turbo, so I wanted to make sure I shared them with all of you!

Motorola Branded Options & Apps

MotoAppIconThe pre-loaded Moto app allows you to customize the display, lock screen, approach/waking feature as well as hands free/talk-to-me options when at home or driving… or as I like to call the last one, the Uncle Jesse feature. If you didn’t get that joke, then you’re probably young enough to be my kid… which is a reality I don’t feel like dealing with, so let’s move on.

I use the approach feature continually. When simply reaching towards the device, the display comes on to show which apps have notifications & the current time/date. You can press on the app logo to get a sneak peak of what the notification is and then if you want to go directly to it, you just drag the icon up to the notice itself – that will unlock the screen and open the app. The hands-free while driving feature, when enabled, vocalizes when you’ve received a text and who it is from. You can opt to have it read to you and even reply back using the voice-to-text capability, keeping you focused on the road and arriving at your destination safe & sound.

Retail Details

The Motorola Droid Turbo is available exclusively at Verizon Wireless. It comes in a 32 GB version and can be purchased for $199.99 with a 2-year contract or for $24.99/month on the Verizon EDGE plan. Information on these payment plans as well as data and coverage plan options can be found by visiting Verizon Wireless online or your nearest VZW retailer. While you’re there, don’t forget to personalize your new device with a case from Kate Spade or an NFL-themed Otterbox for the Turbo – there’s truly an option for everyone!

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