At a small and relatively short event in New York City this morning, Verizon and Motorola unveiled the latest smartphones to bear the iconic DROID brand-name. The DROID Turbo 2 and Maxx 2 both take influence from the latest series of Moto X devices, and continue the legacy of their predecessors. The Turbo 2 is the company’s shatterproof flagship, while the Maxx 2 is more moderately priced and is essentially a Verizon-branded Moto X Play.
From a design standpoint, there are a few noticeable differences between the Turbo 2 and Maxx 2. Like the Moto X Play, the Maxx 2 is made predominantly from plastic and has matching earpiece and speaker cutouts on the front panel. The Turbo 2, unusually, has its bottom speaker grille cut in two by an obtuse Verizon logo and has a metal chassis. It also has a front-facing LED flash for taking well-lit selfies, which the Maxx 2 doesn’t. What’s more, the flagship phone will be customizable on Moto Maker and can be made to order with Horween leather, plastic, and nylon backs in different colors. The Maxx 2 will be available with a number of different color plastic rear shells, but that’s as much customization as you’ll get with the mid-ranger.
What I both love and hate about the Moto DROID Turbo 2 and Maxx 2 is the difference in pricing. There’s a clear difference in the performance you should expect, and that results in a clear difference in price. The problem with the price, however, is the realization that you can get a 2015 Moto X Style for $399. The cheapest Turbo 2 is a full $225 more expensive than the cheapest Moto X. Perhaps a worse realization is that the DROID Maxx 2 is just $15 less than the Moto X Style and is nowhere close in specifications or build quality. Verizon is charging a premium for these phones versus what Motorola would normally charge for similar products.
On the spec front, the Turbo 2 is clearly the flagship of these two phones. It has an AMOLED Quad HD display with a resolution of 1440 x 2560 and a pixel density over 540ppi. More impressive is the technology used to keep this screen from breaking. Motorola calls it ShatterShield, and it’s built from five distinct layers. The base of the display is supported by an aluminum core, then the display panel itself is a flexible AMOLED screen. On top of that is a dual-touch layer, meaning that even if one layer of touch sensors stops working, you’ll be fine. Above that is an interior lens which forms a protective shield and absorbs impact, while the exterior lens hard-coat resists scratching. If you drop your phones a lot, or have been known to crack your display, the Turbo 2 is a no-brainer.
The DROID Maxx 2 doesn’t have any of the innovative display protection, but it does have a large 5.5-inch full HD panel. If it’s anything like the Moto X Play’s, it’ll be sharp and colorful, but without the contrast you’d get from an AMOLED panel.
Both are vastly different on the inside too. The Turbo 2 sports a Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor clocked at 2GHz, while the Maxx 2 houses the octa-core Snapdragon 615 at 1.7GHz. But that’s pretty much where the differences end. Both have a 21MP camera on the back, the Turbo can shoot 4K while the Maxx 2 tops out at 1080p. Both have a 5MP camera on the front, and both have 2-day battery life and Quick-Charge (TurboPower) support. The Turbo 2 does have 230mAh more battery power than the Maxx 2 but, with the higher resolution screen and more powerful processor, that’s not likely to make much difference.
On paper, the Turbo 2 is an awesome package. It’s virtually unbreakable, has a two-day battery, a great screen and decent camera. But from my perspective, it’s still tough to recommend over the Moto X Style unless you absolutely need to have an indestructible screen. What’s more, the Moto X range is almost certainly going to see Android 6.0 Marshmallow before either of the DROIDs do.