Track Tech: Verizon Wireless’ Droid Turbo 2

pdp-feature3-droiddesignyours-handpick-12116Upon initial usage of the Droid Turbo 2, I thought, “Wow. This is the perfect size phone.” The 5.4-inch screen was comfortable for one-handed control and typing on the keyboard felt like second nature with ergonomically spaced keys. The lack of lines between the keys enhanced speed and accuracy, making the process of completing long emails or even quick texts, more fluid.

The leather backing and gold-metal edges made it sleek and new-age while still feeling steady in my hand and regal to my eyes. What’s great is that if you purchase the Droid Turbo 2, you can use the Moto Maker online to customize the phone to your exact likes – color, grip, leather back or ballistic nylon… the combinations are endless, giving you a truly personalized device.

On the inside, it’s power and speed is further exemplified by being on the Nation’s most reliable network, Verizon Wireless.

Taking a Shot in the Dark

One of my favorite Motorola Droid features is back in the Turbo 2, a double twist of the wrist opens the 21-megapixel camera which features “rapid focus with zero shutter lag to shoot crystal clear photos and amazing HD video.” As with past Droid cameras, shooting from regular distance and zoomed out produces great shots. Zooming in for far away subjects will create grainy images that are, unfortunately, less than desirable. The front-facing, or selfie camera, will make you smile however – it features a wide angle lens, so you can fit all your buddies in the shot!

wp-1458918136710.jpgLet’s be honest, the camera app is probably the most used app by any smartphone user, regardless of make and model. We share our lives through photographs and we document our journeys visually more than any other method. So having a camera that can capture accuracy, whether in broad daylight or low light conditions, is important to all of us. The latter is usually the more difficult to relay to others… we find details lost in the lack of light or emphasis brought to items in the forefront and losing the context of everything that made up the whole picture in your eyes. The Turbo 2 did not give me that frustration. It allowed me to easily adjust white balance and ISO with the focus and lighting icon that was present on my screen. Even capturing the beauty of Christmas lights at the Columbus Zoo on a freezing rain night in January was possible. Which made me happy. I mean, if I’m going to take my hands out of my toasty pockets to try and get “the shot”, I want to get it quickly and without much adjustment to the camera settings. As you can see, that was not a struggle!

Getting to Know 2

The Droid command center widget houses time, date, and weather as well as icons to access your calendar & alarm. Battery level is represented by percentage and also with visual representation in the form of a circular frame (think: speedometer) around the command center’s main disc. You can personalize the frame by choosing from 8 accent colors.

With a quick set up of preferences, the Moto features keep you safe by automatically jumping into driving mode, announcing calls and texts while you focus on the road. It gives notifications on the screen without waking the phone, plus it listens and responds hands free once you set up your launch phrase.

The Turbo 2 also lets you set quiet times with either no interruptions or only priority contact notifications for home, driving, work and sleeping hours. I love this. There are few things that send more of a panic down your spine than your phone screaming your text message sound in the middle of a silent hospital lobby. I would occasionally forget to silence my phone and have this happen at work – with Moto, my phone never lets me forget because it takes note of where I am and takes care of the rest for me!

Approach for Motorola Display turns the display on as you approach your device, showing the time and icons of the apps that have notifications, without any details in order to protect your privacy. Another discrete feature is Moto Voice, which allows you to give voice commands with quiet responses in the earpiece instead of speakerphone. You just lift the phone from waist level to your ear, listen for beep and ask your question. (Please note: if you prefer a list of notification details on your wake screen, you can change it to ambient display under Moto display options.)

In addition to the aforementioned “doorknob turning” motion to activate the camera app, the Droid Turbo 2 has other motion sensitive commands. One of the newer ones that also happens to be pretty fun is for the flashlight. Hold the phone in your hand and make two chopping motions to turn the light on and off. Channel your inner karate kid and light up the room!

Turbo-Charged Adventures

It won’t crack under pressure. This is a true statement on a couple different levels for the Turbo 2. Not only will it continue to power up and be there when you need it for up to 48 hours on a single charge, but it literally won’t crack.

wp-1458918154310.jpgMoto ShatterShield™ is the world’s first smartphone display guaranteed not to crack or shatter. For all the cracked iPhone screens you’ve seen your friends dealing with, it’s nice to know that your Turbo 2 won’t lose it’s cool, even if you do! Heck, staring at some of the incredible automobilies at the North American International Auto Show may or may not have distracted me and led to me dropping the phone at one point. But, absolutely no cause for concern – when I picked it back up, it was just as flawless as the Ford GT parked in front of me. Hashtag butterfingers.

Circling back, I want to note the notifications screen on the Droid Turbo 2, because the simplicity and efficiency of it is a big part of how this device prolongs its battery life – a simple black and white display with minimal pixels that still looks sharp and pleasing to the user is key. The Moto display won’t appear while tucked away in your pocket, purse or carry on, while face down or when you’re on a call. If you want to read a particular notification, just press the icon and drag it up. To unlock the phone and go to the home screen, touch the screen and drag down. Drag left or right to ignore current notifications and it won’t light up again until something new comes your way or you opt to approach. The Turbo 2 is there for you when you need it, but strong and silent when you don’t. If only all partnerships were so beneficial!

Room for Improvement

I own a Droid Maxx and I have demo’ed the original Droid Turbo so I feel pretty familiar with the family of devices. There has always been one feature I found lacking and I was disappointed to see that it hasn’t been changed with the new Turbo 2. Droid doesn’t have an option to close all open apps at once. The user has to swipe each one away on individually on a cascaded list. This is slightly inconvenient. I’m not sure why they haven’t implemented a “Clear All” button when you are looking at the open apps page, like other Android phones.

The other item that confuses me is how the Droid Turbo 2 doesn’t allow you to rearrange pages. The home page is always the one to the far left – no option to change it. So you have to move one icon or widget at a time if you want the pages in a different order. This lack of personalization and convenience is relatively surprising considering the variety in these areas with other Android OS phones manufactured by say, Samsung & LG.

Occasionally the screen freezes on the Turbo 2, turning all white or black. There was never one particular reason that this happened and it would usually go back to normal after hitting the home button multiple times. But given that this phone was brand new out of the box, I feel like it shouldn’t have been giving me issues like this. My concern lies in what kind of issue it would present after months or years of use, if it seemed to get overwhelmed by normal use over the course of a few days and weeks.

This issue occurred multiple times which I found surprising – especially since the the Droid Turbo 2 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor which should provide quick ease-of-access and ability between apps, email accounts and the internet itself.

The camera app freezes as well, sometimes stopping entirely and prompting me to restart the program with a warning message: “Camera app has stopped working. Please restart.” Normally, I would hit okay, it would close and then I would reopen the app and it worked fine, but a couple times I had to turn off the device and do a full reboot. At these times it would just show a black screen with the reverse camera icon, and the reverse icon did not respond with touch.

Overall, the Droid Turbo 2 is a solid device that you can rely on. It’s not perfect, but what technology can claim that in honesty? If you are looking for long battery life, a sharp-looking phone that can stand up to your clumsiness, and a smartphone camera that isn’t scared of the dark, you can’t go wrong with this newest member of the Droid family.