The Bottom LineThe Motorola Droid Turbo 2 is a sturdy, powerful smartphone, but its huge battery and tough design come with Verizon bloat and an uncertain Android update future, PCMag editors select and review products independently" /> The Bottom LineThe Motorola Droid Turbo 2 is a sturdy, powerful smartphone, but its huge battery and tough design come with Verizon bloat and an uncertain Android update future, PCMag editors select and review products independently" />

MOTOROLA DROID TURBO REVIEW

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The Bottom Line

The Motorola Droid Turbo 2 is a sturdy, powerful smartphone, but its huge battery and tough design come with Verizon bloat and an uncertain Android update future.

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Pros

Long battery life.Durable shatterproof build.Reliable camera.Snappy performance.Expandable memory.

Cons

Unsightly branding and large bottom lip.Runs Android Lollipop; status of future OS updates is unclear.Rife with Verizon bloatware.

Motorola"s Droid Turbo 2 ($624; 32GB) is a worthy successor to the first Droid Turbo, with performance that outstrips the Moto X Pure Edition. It has everything that made the first-gen phone an Editors" Choice winner, including 48-hour battery life, snappy performance, and a vibrant Quad HD display. The Droid Turbo builds on that, adding a revamped camera, a shatterproof display, and even more powerful hardware. The Droid Maxx 2 is a more affordable version of the Turbo, with significantly pared down hardware and no ShatterShield display, but the same 48-hour battery life. Both devices have extra apps installed by Verizon and a likelihood of slow Android updates, but that"s a given since they are carrier devices. Overall, if battery life and durability are important to you, the Turbo 2 should be at the top of your list. If you want faster OS updates, a sleeker look, and better camera performance, the Google Nexus 6P and the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 offer those features at a similar price.


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The camera doesn"t perform as well in low light, with a struggling autofocus and some noise and graininess in images. To compensate, the Moto camera app allows you to manually control focus and exposure, which is handy in low-light situations. While the Turbo 2 didn"t measure up to the Nexus 6P in low-light shots, it did reasonably well if I adjusted exposure and turned on HDR.

The phone is capable of recording 4K and 1080p video, both at 30fps, but frame rates drop in low light or when there"s a lot of movement in frame. During daylight, the autofocus locks quickly and footage is well stabilized even though the camera lacks optical image stabilization. Low-light videos suffer from all the same problems of low-light stills, with the added issue of an autofocus that has no idea what to do.

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The 5-megapixel front-facing camera is consistently solid, with a wide-angle lens and f/2.0 aperture. It also has an LED flash like the rear-shooter, but using it tends to wash out images or generate noise around the edges of shots. Otherwise, the selfie camera takes great shots during the day, with good color reproduction and sharpness, comparable to the Nexus 6P"s front-facing camera. In low-light settings, the Nexus 6P easily outpaces the Droid Turbo 2.

Software and ConclusionsWith nine Verizon apps, five Amazon apps, a few games, and a handful of other apps, for a total of 22 preinstalled apps, the Droid Turbo 2 qualifies as bloatware-heavy in our book. The only apps that can be uninstalled are the games. Still, it"s not a tragedy since the Turbo 2 comes in 32GB ($624) and 64GB ($720) sizes, plus the phone supports microSD cards up to a theoretical 2TB of total storage. On our 32GB test phone, 24.06GB was available.

The Droid Turbo 2 is running almost-stock Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, with some low-key Moto functionality added on. Owners of the first Droid Turbo can attest to the fact that update support was not great. So far there"s been nothing to indicate that updates will rollout any faster on the Turbo 2. Just the opposite, Motorola has been indicating that it will update only its most recent devices. The Turbo 2 will get the Marshmallow update, but it will probably won"t be quick.

Overall, the Droid Turbo 2 is a powerful and worthy successor to the first Droid Turbo. Its price puts it close to the Google Nexus 6P and Samsung Galaxy Note 5, both of which are compelling phones with performance on par, or better than the Droid Turbo 2.

For Verizon customers, the Droid Turbo 2 is a compelling alternative to the Moto X Pure Edition, given its more powerful hardware, great battery life, improved camera, and shatterproof display. There"s also the more-budget-friendly Droid Maxx 2 with the same 48-hour battery life and camera hardware, but it only has a 1080p display, a Snapdragon 615 processor and 2GB of RAM. It also lacks the ShatterShield display, making it a closer rival to the Nexus 5X and OnePlus 2. And of course, if you"re willing to consider devices outside the Android ecosystem, another obvious competitor is Apple"s iPhone 6s Plus.

The 32GB Google Nexus 6P is only $499, making it $125 less than same-sized Droid Turbo 2 (which itself is only $72 less than the Note 5). This puts the Turbo 2 at an awkward price point, flanked by the more affordable Nexus 6P with comparable hardware, better low-light camera, and reliable bloatware-free updates on one side; and the slightly more expensive Note 5 with its powerful performance, excellent camera, and premium build on the other. If battery life and durability are your primary concern, you won"t go wrong with the Droid Turbo 2. Otherwise, the Nexus 6P and Note 5 may be more to your taste.