Hands on: The first things you notice about Verizon's Droid Turbo

With its industrial form and beefed-up internals, Verizon's new Motorola Droid Turbo is like a Moto X on steroids. Ready to check it out?

Verizon Droid Turbo

With the Nexus 9, Nexus 6, and Lollipop all landing in our laps over the next few weeks, you might think we'd be fresh out of room for any more new stuff here in AndroidLand. 

Well, my friends, you'd be wrong.

Behold: the Motorola Droid Turbo -- a beefed-up and ruggedized version of the 2014 Moto X made specifically for Verizon. The Turbo goes on sale today for $200 on contract for a 32GB model or $250 on contract for a 64GB version.

I've got this bad boy in hand now -- so what's it like to use? I'll be living it for a few days and will have a full review to share with you soon. For now, here are the first things you notice when you pick up the device:

1. Its style and feel.

The Droid Turbo is kind of like a Moto X on steroids: Where the Moto X is sleek and sophisticated, the Droid Turbo is in your face and industrial. The subtle curves and selection of gentle wooden, leather, and soft-touch plastic materials are replaced by a "ballistic nylon" or "metalized glass fiber" backing, both of which are reinforced with a layer of Kevlar underneath. 

Droid Turbo vs Moto X

Brothers with different styles: The Droid Turbo, at left, and Moto X, at right

The review unit I have is the "ballistic nylon" variety. It has a rough woven texture to it, but the material itself has a soft and grippy feel, like what you'd find on a nice backpack. It's distinctive but not exactly pretty -- definitely more of a durable type of device than one we'd describe as "elegant" or "beautiful." So basically in line with what we'd expect from a Droid-branded product.

Droid Turbo Ballistic Nylon

2. Its buttons.

The Droid Turbo sticks with old-fashioned capacitive buttons on its face rather than the virtual on-screen variety favored by Android as a platform these days. Some people can't stand that; others prefer it. But that's what's there. And love it or hate it, it's hard not to notice. 

Droid Turbo Buttons

3. Its software.

The Droid Turbo more or less follows the Moto X's lead in terms of software -- with the near-stock Google Android user interface and a handful of legitimately useful feature-oriented additions on top of it. For the most part, it makes a great first impression. 

I say "for the most part" because Verizon did muck up the initial setup process with some silly carrier-centric steps and complications, which doesn't make for the most pleasant welcoming into the device. But in the grand scheme of things, that's a fairly minor detail that's easy enough to ignore.

A few other things have been tweaked and added here and there, presumably at Verizon's request -- but nothing of any great consequence. By and large, you're getting the same excellent setup we've come to expect from modern Motorola devices.

More to come

The biggest differentiators for the Droid Turbo are really what's inside -- the gigantic battery that promises a full two days of use, the beefed-up processor and RAM, the higher megapixel camera, and the pixel-packed Quad HD display. Those aren't things that jump out at you right away, though, and it'll take some time to evaluate them and figure out how much difference they actually make in practical terms.

That's why I'll be living with the phone over the coming days and closely evaluating what it's like to use in the real world -- what type of overall user experience its rugged design and souped-up specs add up to create.

My full review will be online soon.


Droid Turbo review: A sturdy phone with serious stamina
Moto X vs. Droid Turbo: Which one's right for you?

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