We have a good one for you today – the new Motorola Droid Turbo goes up against a perennial powerhouse, the Samsung Galaxy S5. Does the old Galaxy S5 have what it takes to out compare the newest device from Motorola, or will the new Droid Turbo knockout Samsung's main flagship. Neither device will win any beauty contest – don't get me wrong, they are not ugly by any stretch of the imagination, but there is not much curved metal or tiny bezels here – straightforward phones, well-built, with beautiful displays.
Other than the screen size – 5.2-inch on the Droid Turbo and 5.1-inch on the Galaxy S5, screen technology – both are AMOLED displays, the front-facing cameras (FFC) – both are 2MP, the overall size, both running Android 4.4.4 KitKat and the price of $199 on a two-year contract…not much is the same on these two powerhouses.
Please take a look at the detailed specifications below and see just how much they differ from one another, and then we will take a closer look at both of these great smartphones, explore their pluses and minuses, in order to determine a winner in this comparison.
Motorola Droid Turbo
The new Motorola Droid Turbo was announced October 28 and released just two days later, exclusively on Verizon's network for $199 on a two-year contract…it is a Droid after all. It still has the unmistakable 'Droid' look to it with its legendary Kevlar reinforced back and a metallized fiberglass body for strength and durability. It comes in three renditions – metallic black and metallic red, and the third is a new look with a ballistic nylon (like a backpack) on the backside…it comes in black and with 64GB of internal storage, rather than the 32GB found in the other two models.
The new Droid Turbo has all of the latest and greatest specifications. Let's start with the display, which is a 5.2-inch AMOLED QHD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and an astounding 565 pixels-per-inch (PPI) for unheard of clarity and a display that simply pops with color. Although the size is similar, the Galaxy S5 is only the FHD variety with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with still respectable 432 PPI. The Droid Turbo also uses the newest Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor clocked at 2.7GHz – you will find this CPU only in the Nexus 6 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4. It is replacing the older Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 found in the Galaxy S5. The Droid Turbo has 3GB of RAM compared to the surprising 2GB of RAM in the Galaxy S5. Both devices offer 32GB models – the Turbo also has a 64GB option and the Galaxy S5 has a 16GB model – the important thing to remember is that the Droid Turbo has no memory expansion, whereas the Galaxy S5 has that option.
Both manufacturers up the cameras on these devices, but, disappointedly, neither one of them offer Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). The Droid Turbo has more megapixels – 21MP versus the 16MP on the Galaxy S5, and both have auto-focus. The Turbo has a dual-LED flash and the Galaxy S5 has a single LED Flash. As I said earlier, both smartphones have a 2MP FFC for video chatting and selfies. The battery in the Droid Turbo is a humongous 3900mAh compared to the small 2800mAh in the Galaxy S5.
When it comes to features, both devices have the usual Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, MicroUSB port, and even VoLTE calling capabilities. The Droid Turbo does have a nano-coating for water resistance – not as much as the Galaxy S5's IP67 rating – it also offers wireless charging, Motorola Turbo Charging and a front-facing speaker. Both devices run Android 4.4.4 KitKat, although the Droid Turbo is pretty much full-vanilla Android and subject to quicker updates than the heavily skinned TouchWiz on the Galaxy S5. As far as availability – both devices cost the same on a two-year contract, but with the Droid Turbo you are looking at a Verizon only device…which is a turn-off for many people.
Samsung Galaxy S5
The Samsung Galaxy S5 came out in the Spring of this year to a roar of disappointment – no metal, no QHD, not enough RAM, no OIS and a back that looked like it came from a first-aid kit. These critics were more the critics of anything Samsung produces rather than directed at the Galaxy S5 itself. When the criticisms finally died down, many found it to be a solid device and worthy of praise. True, the design did not change much from its predecessor, but it was a well-made and easy to hold smartphone…even the people that made fun of its "Band-Aid" like backing, thought it looked pretty good and felt even better once they actually saw and held the device.
The Galaxy S5 only (I cannot believe I am using the word "only") comes with a FHD display, meaning it has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with 'only' 432 PPI – compared to the Droid Turbo's 565 PPI – but is a beautiful display that will not disappoint you. Samsung put in the best processor that they could at the time – a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core clocked at 2.5GHz – but it is not as good as its replacement found in the Droid Turbo. The fact that Samsung did not up the RAM from 2GB to 3GB was a real surprise…obviously, Samsung did not feel it was necessary, but still a marketing snafu. The Galaxy S5 does have a 16GB (which should be outlawed) and 32GB model, but thankfully, they gave us a microSD card slot to expand the internal memory to 128GB, whereas the Droid Turbo has no expansion.
Another area of hope and then disappointment was the camera on the Galaxy S5 – we were glad to see them increase it to 16MP with auto focus, but were disappointed that it did not included a dual-LED flash and especially OIS…which critics have been clamoring to have for years. Samsung does use their ISOCELL technology for better low-light shots, but neither the Droid Turbo nor Galaxy S5 included OIS. Both devices use a 2MP FFC for video chatting and selfies. Battery life is always a hot topic and here the Galaxy S5 uses a rather small battery by today's standards – 2800mAh – but it is removable over the non-removable 3900mAh monster found in the Droid Turbo. Samsung has included many features to help extend battery life, such as the Ultra Power Saving Mode (UPSM).
As far as features go, nobody gives you more features than Samsung, although many would consider them more gimmicky than useful. The Galaxy S5 does include Wi-Fi calling as well as VoLTE calling. It is IP67 certified for dust and water protection and includes an IR Blaster, Fingerprint Scanner and Heart Rate Monitor. It too is running Android 4.4.4 KitKat with a heavy overlay of TouchWiz, which users either love or hate. The Galaxy S5 is available on all networks – a big plus – and costs the same on a two-year contract as the Droid Turbo.
…And The Winner Is…
The Samsung Galaxy S5 wins in the looks department for me – I just think it has a more premium look to it – however, the new Motorola Droid Turbo is the winner at this shootout. The devices are so even in size, but within those dimensions, there beats the heart of a lion in the Droid Turbo. It has the QHD display, more advanced processor, more RAM, more megapixels in the main camera, and a killer battery. It also has the front-facing speaker (I hate speakers on the back of a device like the Galaxy S5), wireless charging and access to the Turbo Charging (thanks to the Snapdragon 805) that allows you to get 6-8 hours of usage out of a 15-minute charge…much more useful than a heart rate monitor. It also has almost a pure vanilla Android experience that will guarantee earlier updates than Samsung would ever provide with TouchWiz. The Droid Turbo's main drawback for many people will be it exclusivity with Verizon.
I like Samsung a lot – okay, their Galaxy Note series and AMOLED displays (which the Droid Turbo has) – but IP67 certifications, the IR Blaster (which I use on mine), a fingerprint scanner and the Heart Rate Monitor are not enough to win against the strong Motorola build, features and excellent radios that they always employ.
Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know which one of these devices you would pick and WHY…as always, we would love to hear from you.