Challenge accepted? Verizon and Motorola are introducing two new Droids today including the Droid Turbo 2, a phone that makes the bold promise of having a shatter-proof screen, no matter how many times it gets face time with pavement. I can hear all the hands rubbing together in eager anticipation of trying that claim out.
High-end Droids have quietly been some of the best Android phones on the market, and the Turbo 2 looks just as promising as its predecessors. This is a 5.4″ phone running Android 5.1 Lollipop with a 6.0 Marshmallow update in the works, but with no hard release date. It has a 2560 x 1440 resolution AMOLED display, a high-end (but not quite cutting edge) Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 SoC with a 2.0 GHz octa-core processor, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB or 64 GB of storage (microSD card slot supporting up to 2 TB), a 21 MP rear camera with dual LED CCT flash and no shutter lag, and a 5 MP front camera with flash and a wide-angle lens for optimal selfies. There’s NFC, Bluetooth 4.1, and 802.11 ac MIMO Wi-Fi, so connectivity should deliver on expectations.
This is all being powered by a huge 3,760 mAh battery that Verizon and Motorola claim gives the Turbo 2 a 48-hour battery life — given that battery life has long been a strength of the Droid line, we believe it. Even if it falls short, this phone should still last much longer than most other premium smartphones. Quick charging should give you 13 hours of use on a 15-minute charge, which is stellar if true. There’s also both PMA and Qi wireless charging built in, making this one of the rare phones you can chuck on a Starbucks charging pad without needing to fish out a dongle from the community accessory bucket.
But, onto the dropping part. The Turbo 2 is equipped with Moto ShatterShield technology, which uses five layers of material on the display to absorb shock with cracking or shattering. That includes two touch-sensitive layers, just in case one of them does stop functioning after repeated drops. During the press conference, the Turbo 2 was given the increasingly popular live test drop, and it survived.
This is also one of the most stylish Droids to come out of Motorola and Verizon. Motorola is adding the Droid Turbo 2 to the Moto Maker, allowing you to customize colors and materials on the back, with options including leather ($24 extra) and ballistic nylon.
The two companies are also releasing the Droid Maxx 2, a budget phone with the same 48-hour battery life and 21 MP rear camera. The display is knocked down to a still great 1080p resolution, but goes without the ShatterShield technology found on the Turbo 2. Otherwise, we’re looking at mid-tier specs — a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 SoC with a 1.7 GHz octa-core processor, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage (microSD card slot supporting up to 128 GB), an unadorned 5 MP front camera, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi. The battery is a little smaller at 3,630 mAh, and quick charging only gives you eight hours on a 15-minute charge, which is still great.
Both the Droid Turbo 2 and Maxx 2 will be available in Verizon stores on October 29. The Turbo 2 will be $26 per month over 24 months or $30 per month over 24 months for the larger capacity and eligibility for a design refresh — you can redesign the Turbo 2 on the Moto Maker and get a new model exactly once during those two years. The mid-tier Maxx 2 will be $16 per month over 24 months. Verizon also has a trade-in deal — you can trade in a working smartphone, even with a cracked screen, when buying a Turbo 2. Trade-ins max out at $300, but I wouldn’t plan on getting $300 unless you have something high-end and in excellent condition. As always, the downside to getting a Droid is that you’re locked into Verizon’s expensive service, but if you’re already locked in as it is, both phones seem like great options on paper, if for no other reason than their predictably excellent battery life.