Earlier this year, Motorola broke back into the phone world with the Motorola Edge Plus, a $ 999 smartphone designed to go toe to toe with top-tier phones like the Galaxy S20 Ultra or OnePlus 8 Pro. And now it’s following what goes with the Motorola Edge, a less expensive and less powerful version that promises sub-flagship features at a $ 699 sub-flagship price.
I’ve already talked a lot about the hardware on the Edge Plus in my review of that device earlier this year, so I’ll mostly refer you there, seeing that the Edge design it’s completely identical but the color it comes in (a shimmering Black finished with a rainbow that aggressively picks up fingerprints) and the number of cameras on the back. In short, though, it’s a well-made slab of unreasonable aluminum and glass, and the “Endless Display,” which bends around the sides of the device, is more attractive than actually useful.
There are six areas where the hardware on the Edge is different from the Edge Plus, however, all of which leave the Edge a little worse compared to its pricier siblings:
- The processor was downgraded from Snapdragon 865 to Snapdragon 765.
- The battery is 4,500mAh, compared to 5,000mAh on the Edge Plus.
- The Edge has 6GB of RAM, half of the 12GB on the Edge Plus.
- The cameras are degraded on the Edge, including a change from the 108-megapixel sensor to a 64-megapixel main camera.
- The Edge has no support for wireless charging.
- The Edge only supports the sub-6GHz 5G and not the faster mmWave version.
That leaves the only real question about the Edge: are those sacrifices worth the price drastically reduced?
The Snapdragon 765 on the Edge is Qualcomm’s second-best processor and, overall, everyday use wasn’t noticeably worse than using a prominent chip. Applications launch quickly, websites load quickly, and navigation around the UI is snappy. More demanding games, such as Fortnite or Asphalt 9, run well as well.
I was getting into the occasional bit of stuttering and lag – particularly when launching the camera app or moving back to an open game before – which could be due to the 6GB RAM. Sure it’s the least one I’d like to go for a high-end Android phone in 2020, but even the minor subluxations weren’t really enough to be a concern.
Similarly, the reduced battery size has no impact on experience. I was able to do it easily in the two days promised, although I admitted that my phone usage is a little different than normal thanks to working from home. (The Snapdragon 765 – which has an integrated modem and is more energy efficient, is presumably a contributing factor to the difference in battery size.)
The 64-megapixel main sensor that replaces the 108-megapixel camera on the Edge Plus holds up well. Like its most precious sibling, the Motorola Edge uses quad-pixel blending to produce lower-resolution images with better color and less image noise (so the Edge shoots 16 megapixels automatic). It can shoot at full 64 megapixels, though, like the Edge Plus, those photos generally came out worse. And while you’re going to miss the finer level of detail the higher-resolution camera offers, I was still pleasantly surprised with the Tarfna camera. This won’t keep up with the hardware and software level of Apple or Google’s industry, but it won’t drag the device (a problem Motorola has had in the past.)
The telephoto camera is also worse on the Edge – it only has 2x optical zoom, instead of 3x, and it lacks optical image stabilization. Because the telephoto lens was already the worst part of the Edge Plus, it doesn’t lose too much. The other two cameras don’t change from the Edge Plus: the 16-megapixel ultrawide-angle / macro camera (which takes nice photos in both wide-angle and macro modes) and the the front-facing camera (which is … good, except for extremely harsh Photo Mode).
The last two changes are the most drastic, as they are losing the missing features that the Edge lacks (instead of scaled-down versions of the ones it does). The lack of wireless charging is frustrating for any device in 2020 (as is the lack of any waterproofing, something to share with the Edge Plus). And the sub-6GHz 5G he definitely slower, especially compared to Verizon. In my tests on T-Mobile’s 700MHz network, I saw speeds of around 70Mbps down and 35Mbps up – not bad, but nothing close to the 250-300Mbps Verizon’s mmWave offers. The flip side, of course, is that you can actually use the Edge on T-Mobile (or AT&T), as it’s not locked as a Verizon exclusive in the US.
There are two other differences, which are less directly on the hardware: the Edge costs $ 699 at the sales level, $ 300 less than the $ 999 price tag on the Edge Plus. And Motorola is offering a promotional price of $ 499 for a limited time on the Edge, making it half as high as the Edge Plus. The Edge can also be used for many more people as it is being sold up, rather than limited to Verizon customers in the US only.
In many ways, it’s the flagship that Motorola probably should have made from the start – one that offers an almost premium experience at a lower price than its competitors, in a loose form that works on any network, rather than trying to meet a market. current of $ 1,000.
Motorola makes a lot of phones at very different prices, to the point where the lineups start to blur together. As a $ 700 phone, the Edge is certainly a better deal than its full-priced fish, which offers features and comparison almost comparable at a significantly reduced price. The current price of $ 499 makes it an even better deal – one that starts asking to be taken seriously as one of the best midrange phones.
Photography by Chaim Gartenberg / The Verge