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Motorola Edge 20 Pro review: On the edge of success
Motorola Edge 20 Pro
What we like
What we don't like
Motorola has been going through a bit of a second coming with a number of well-received phones across its relatively new Edge series, both in the mid-range and premium segments. The company has been banking on reasonable specs, near-stock Android, and a good overall value to snatch a spot for itself amidst ample competition. The Motorola Edge 20 Pro promises an affordable flagship experience with high-end imaging capabilities and a clean software build, packed into a classic design.
With the competition bringing its A-game to the category, it’ll take more than just hardware to excel. In the Android Authority Motorola Edge 20 Pro review, we see if the phone can combine competitive specs with excellent software optimization to deliver results worthy of its Pro moniker.
What you need to know about the Motorola Edge 20 Pro
- Motorola Edge 20 Pro (8GB RAM/128GB): Rs. 36,999 (~$500)
- Motorola Edge 20 Pro (12GB RAM/256GB): £649 / €699
The Motorola Edge 20 Pro is the company’s affordable flagship offering that’s banking on the sub-flagship grade Snapdragon 870 chipset to bring down the price. The phone is available in a range of configurations depending on the market. In India, you get the choice of two colors, Iridescent White and Midnight Blue, both available in a single SKU with 128GB of storage.
In the UK and the rest of Europe, the phone is available in a blue vegan leather option as well. The single SKU being fielded in the UK and the rest of Europe sports 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. We tested out the Indian variant with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
Related: Motorola Edge (2021) review
The phone sits at the top of Motorola’s admittedly confusingly named line-up. The company’s phones go under the Edge moniker in the US, while Europe and India get the Edge 20 series, in which the Motorola Edge 20 Pro sits at the top of the range.
Pricing for the phone is all over the place with the Motorola Edge 20 Pro being a mid-range competitor in India, while tackling much more premium phones in Europe and the UK. Some of the more obvious competition for the phone includes the OnePlus 9R and Samsung Galaxy A52s in India. In other markets, it goes head-t0-head with the Google Pixel 6 and OnePlus 9, which is a tough ask. If you are willing to splurge a little bit more, there’s also the Samsung Galaxy S21 and iPhone 13 to consider.
In India, the phone can be purchased via Flipkart. In Europe, the Motorola Edge 20 Pro is available via the company’s official website as well as Amazon.
How’s the design of the Motorola Edge 20 Pro?
Despite the name, the Motorola Edge 20 Pro isn’t a particularly edgy phone when it comes to design. Don’t mistake it for drab though. Behind the conservative facade is a phone that is pretty well put together and whispers quiet elegance. I like it.
The Gorilla Glass 5 back gently curves to nestle against the curve of your palm. You’ll find the same grade of glass over at the front for adequate enough protection. The color of the phone truly stood out to me, with a subtle pattern — seen on previous Motorola devices as well — that is visible when looked at under direct light. My only gripe is that the phone picks up smudges quite easily and they can be rather stubborn to clean.
The camera lenses, however, aren’t evenly sized and the phone has a tendency to wobble when placed on a table.
Motorola’s made some peculiar choices with the buttons on the Edge 20 Pro. Not only is the power button placed much further along the mid-point of the phone, but the volume rocker is placed higher still. On the other side of the phone lies a Google Assistant shortcut key that is situated ridiculously high, out of reach.
You'll be shuffling your hand constantly to reach the various buttons on the phone.
Suffice it to say that the buttons are extremely awkward to use without constantly shuffling your hand around. This quickly became rather bothersome because the power button doubles up as a fingerprint sensor, and you’ll find yourself adjusting your hand to unlock the phone quite often. That said, you won’t be spending too much time hovering over the fingerprint sensor as it unlocks the phone nearly instantaneously.
It doesn’t take long to notice that the phone is definitely on the larger side. In fact, I found the mid-frame digging into my palm rather uncomfortably. The edges aren’t quite rounded enough and combined with the large physical dimensions of the phone, the Motorola Edge 20 Pro is clearly not designed with one-handed use in mind.
Speaking of the display, the Motorola Edge 20 Pro sports a 6.7-inch OLED screen with a 144Hz refresh rate that helps elevate the everyday user experience. With the display set to 144Hz, even basic interactions like scrolling through the interface or just switching tabs feel noticeably smoother. Motorola’s choice to opt for a 144Hz panel over a more standardized 120Hz display might be entrenched in marketing, but the panel definitely helps add to the general fluidity of the interface, even if not every app supports the high refresh rates.
I found the default color calibration to be a bit cool, but switching to the natural profile fixes this. Viewing angles and overall brightness levels are very good here, though not quite the absolute best. On-paper specifications aside, outdoor visibility is perfectly acceptable and most users will be pleased.
The Motorola Edge 20 Pro has a calm, composed design.
Despite the overall excellence of the display, there are a few quirks. For example, despite being an HDR-capable panel, high dynamic range content is not supported on Netflix. This is a recurring issue with Netflix support on Motorola devices and appears to be a certification issue. We’ve reached out to Motorola for clarification and will update this review if we hear back. HDR support was not an issue while viewing content on YouTube, though.
The much-touted high refresh rate support is also suspect. You get three options: 144Hz, 60Hz, and an auto mode. While the first two modes are self-explanatory, the auto mode only switches between 60Hz, 90Hz, and 120Hz. This means you won’t get lower, battery-friendly adaptive refresh rates like we’ve seen on the OnePlus 9 Pro and Samsung’s Galaxy S21 series. The automatic mode also never went all the way to 144Hz in my testing, which is rather odd.
Overall, the phone gives you a sense of calm, composed design rather than something exciting like, say, a Realme or Honor phone. While the general construction is premium, the oddly placed buttons and vast dimensions make the phone rather cumbersome to use for some basic functions. Elsewhere, the phone makes do with an IP52 rating for basic splash resistance, but it would’ve been nice to see a more robust IP68 rating against dust and water ingress — a feature that is increasingly common in the category.
How powerful is the Moto Edge 20 Pro?
The Motorola Edge 20 Pro is powered by a Snapdragon 870 processor, a less-than-pro option for a phone that is branded as one. That said, the chipset, which still resides in Qualcomm’s flagship SoC family, has quickly become a popular choice in the premium mid-range segment following its debut in the OnePlus 9R earlier this year. The chipset is, for the most part, an overclocked Snapdragon 865 that gives it enough grunt for practically any task you throw at it.
Performance is rather good with the phone and is particularly aided by Motorola’s ultra-light user interface. Interestingly, benchmark results are lower than you’d expect from the chipset. It appears that Motorola is throttling down performance for longer battery life and better thermals. Despite that, general performance is pretty good, and not once did I face issues while performing everyday tasks. My use case involves extensive use of social media apps, Slack, chat platforms, and dozens of tabs in Chrome. The Motorola Edge 20 Pro performed just fine with no slowdown or lag.
The gaming experience is adequate too. I could crank up the settings in Call of Duty: Mobile and got a couple of rounds in with the phone only heating up marginally around the camera. You won’t be taking the most demanding games like Genshin Impact to the highest settings, but for the most part, it’s all good for mobile gamers.
The Motorola Edge 20 Pro delivers all-day battery life with ease.
A 4,500mAh battery is pretty standard for the category and the Motorola Edge 20 Pro delivers all-day battery life with ease. With the refresh rate set to 144Hz, I went through a day of use and clocked about seven hours of screen-on time. It’s worth noting that the phone has a fairly high standby battery drain and I observed that the phone dropped anywhere from 4-5% charge every hour even while idling.
Charging speeds on the phone are perfectly middle of the road with support for 30W charging (based on Qualcomm’s Quick Charge standards) and an equivalent charger in the box. Going from zero to 100% battery took about 66 minutes. That’s impressive compared to some of the more mainstream options like the Galaxy S21 series and Pixel 6, but quite a bit slower than the rapid 65W charging being championed by some alternatives in the category.
There is no wireless charging support, but that’s still a feature that’s less common for this price tier — at least in India.
Does the Motorola Edge 20 Pro have good cameras?
Motorola is taking the kitchen sink approach towards cameras. You get a main 108MP primary shooter, flanked by a 16MP ultra-wide shooter and an 8MP periscope zoom lens. That’s not bad for a premium mid-range smartphone, especially when we’re so used to seeing brands ditch dedicated zoom cameras at this price point.
See also: The best camera phones you can get
Before we talk about the image quality, it’s worth noting that there is a very perceptible shutter lag while taking images. Both while switching lenses and on tapping the shutter button, it takes almost half a second for the image capture to go through, which can mean the difference between capturing a moment or missing it.
Despite sporting a “Pro” moniker, image quality doesn’t stand out, especially for the category the phone is competing in. The camera appears to bump up sharpening to give images the illusion of being crisp, but zoom in close and there’s just not that much detail.
Dynamic range too could’ve been better, with some areas under direct lighting appearing a bit blown out. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t stand out either. With that said, I actually quite liked Motorola’s color rendering that steers clear of appearing oversaturated. Images look true to life in most situations and it consistently takes pleasing shots.
A 5x periscope zoom isn’t common in the category, and the Edge 20 Pro does well here. Images maintain a good amount of detail as long as there is ample light. More importantly, color is kept consistent across the board. Dynamic range isn’t bad either, though you do end up losing some detail in shadow regions.
Beyond 5x, the camera will allow you to go for as much as 50x reach, but the software zoom is predictably lacking in detail and is borderline unusable.
Wide-angle shots too stood out for me for how well the camera handles distortion. While my earlier gripes with dynamic range continue to be a concern here and you end up losing detail in shadow areas, it’s a very good ultra-wide camera, all things considered, and can take reliable images in most lighting conditions.
Indoor shots from the Motorola Edge 20 Pro are a bit lackluster due to the shutter lag that introduces a hint of shake.
Switching over to the night mode helps in this case since it tries to mitigate shake alongside a longer exposure. The end result is a bright, in-focus shot that is just a bit too oversharpened for my liking. Unfortunately, there is no night mode support for the ultra-wide or periscope camera and results are rather lacking as a result.
Similar to the OnePlus 9 Pro or the iPhone 13 Pro, the Moto Edge 20 Pro uses the ultra-wide camera to capture macro images. The results are excellent, if not a bit oversaturated, provided you are able to hold your hand stable enough. Moto is using a 12MP crop from the 16MP sensor to capture these images, which is fine on its own. However, the camera then upscales the shots back to 16MP which adds a bit of softness to an otherwise great image.
Elsewhere, the 32MP selfie camera oversamples images to 8MP by default. I wasn’t really impressed by the shots, with the camera bumping up the contrast levels and shooting rather underexposed images by default. Skin tones don’t look too good and there is noticeable smearing of details. The portrait mode does an alright job at best with decent edge detection. Images, however, end up with lifted shadows that give the shot a slightly washed-out look. Skin tones take a turn for the worse in portrait mode.
Video recording goes all the way to 8K, but I wouldn’t read too much into that. The cropped-in footage without stabilization is short on detail and focusing speeds are too slow to get usable videos. Drop it down to 4K at 60fps though, and things improve quite a bit. The electronic stabilization is excellent and there’s hardly any shakiness to the footage, even while walking around. Overall, there’s ample detail here and colors are fairly true to life, though the cooler tones might not be to your liking — they certainly weren’t to mine.
Head on over to our Google Drive link for full resolution Motorola Edge 20 Pro camera samples.
- Software: Motorola’s near-stock Android build is rather excellent and comes with no extraneous pre-loaded apps. The additions are all thoughtful, including Motorola’s signature gestures that add useful shortcuts to activate the camera app or flashlight. My favorite feature, however, has to be the Peek Display function that goes beyond an always-on display. Notification shortcuts placed along the bottom edge allow you to interact with them without having to unlock the phone. There’s also Motorola Styles which works as a rudimentary theming engine for changing icons, wallpapers, and fonts.
- Audio: The lack of a dual speaker setup in a premium phone such as this is disappointing. The single bottom-firing speaker doesn’t get nearly loud enough and lacks bass. It can also sound muffled when holding the phone in a horizontal orientation. Coupled with the lack of a headphone jack, the audio capabilities leave much to be desired.
- Connectivity: The Moto Edge 20 Pro ships with robust 5G support across all major bands. You won’t get mmWave support here, but that’s not really a concern since the phone isn’t being sold in North America.
- Updates: Motorola is promising two years of Android updates, which is good but not quite good enough, with Google, Samsung, and even OnePlus pushing this to three years of support for premium devices.
Motorola Edge 20 Pro specs
|Motorola Edge 20 Pro|
6.7-inch FHD+ OLED
144Hz refresh rate
19.5:9 aspect ratio
Qualcomm Snapdragon 870G CPU
Adreno 650 GPU
Wide: 108MP, f/1.9, 0.7µm pixels, 2.1µm ultra pixels
Ultra-wide: 16MP, f/2.2, 1.12µm pixels, 119-degree FoV
Telephoto: 8MP, f/3.4, 5x Zoom
Video: 8K @ 24fps, 4K @ 60/30FPS, slow-motion FHD @ 120/240/960fps
Selfie: 32MP, f/2.25, 0.7µm pixels, 1.4µm Quad Pixels
Video: 4K @30fps
No Wireless Charging
Displaylink video out
163 x 76 x 7.99mm
Blue vegan leather
Value and competition
The Motorola Edge 20 Pro is going for a well-rounded package over all-out performance and, for the most part, it succeeds. The cameras aren’t best in class but manage to take consistently decent shots. Meanwhile, performance is perfectly satisfactory for most users. From a design point of view, Motorola succeeds in building a chic, professional-looking phone but has unfortunately bungled the button placement, making them a bit too hard to reach for those with smaller hands. The true plus point, however, is the software that excels both with its lack of bloatware, but also genuinely useful additions like gestures and Peek Display. It’s just a shame Motorola can’t match that quality with a software support promise to rival the best.
A rather obvious competitor for the Motorola Edge 20 Pro is the OnePlus 9R (Rs. 39,999). It’s got similar specs but takes it up a notch with the premium design. However, those looking for stellar cameras might be disappointed by the inconsistent output. Over in Europe, the OnePlus Nord 2 (£399) is a cheaper option, though it’s competing more closely with the OnePlus 9 (£629). That phone packs superior processing power as well as better imaging capabilities. The OnePlus 9 Pro (£929) can also be frequently found at a significant discount bringing it closer to the Edge 20 Pro’s price.
It is also hard to ignore the sheer value offered by the Google Pixel 6 (£599/€649). The phone’s Tensor chipset is loaded with machine learning smarts, it comes in quirky colors, and the class-leading cameras are a league ahead of Motorola’s camera system, even if you discount the lacking telephoto lens. It’s also set to receive five years of security updates and three Android version upgrades.
The Motorola Edge 20 Pro is a good deal in India, but suffers in Europe when put against stiff competition.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 (€799/£769/Rs. 69,999) is another device to consider for European buyers. The Exynos 2100 chipset might not be the absolute best in the business but it brings more than adequate performance to the table. However, the combination of stellar design, reliable cameras, and three years of software updates and four years of security patches make it an appealing choice at a competitive price. There’s also the Samsung Galaxy A52s (£409/Rs. 35,999) which has excellent build quality as well as top-tier primary and selfie cameras. Battery life is exceptional too, though the performance and bloatware might be a put-off for some users.
If sheer performance is what you are after, the Realme GT (£399/Rs.37,999) brings the goods with a Snapdragon 888 chipset, fast charging, and solid camera credentials. Likewise, Gaming enthusiasts might also want to take a look at the Poco F3 GT (Rs. 26,999) that pairs a Dimensity 1200 chipset with magnetic triggers to take your smartphone gaming sessions to the next level. In Europe, you can opt for the equally affordable Poco F3 (£329) that drops the triggers, but adds the Snapdragon 870 chipset for performance needs.
Finally, there is the iPhone 13 (£779/€899) to consider. The A15 Bionic chipset brings blistering performance, the camera system is consistently reliable and the software ecosystem is robust. You won’t get all the hardware bells and whistles like the high-refresh-rate display or telephoto lens, but what’s here is good if you’re happy to pay Apple’s premium.
Motorola Edge 20 Pro review: The verdict
The Motorola Edge 20 Pro is by all measures a well-balanced phone. It doesn’t stand out in any specific way, but that’s not necessarily a negative. The elegant design should have its takers and performance is solid enough for most users. The camera isn’t going to set benchmarks, but what’s here is good and more importantly, consistent for everyday use.
The Moto Edge 20 Pro earns a recommendation for being a safe, consistent bet — in India.
Not every phone needs to push the smartphone gamut forward, and the Edge 20 Pro earns a recommendation for being a safe, consistent bet for most everyday users. It’s got all the essentials you could need, but it’s the careful and considered software additions that stand out and leave a lasting impression.
However, this is only really the case for those in India. The equation changes quite a bit when you consider the breadth of options available in Europe and the Motorola Edge 20 Pro’s inflated price. The Google Pixel 6, in particular, gives you all the benefits of a clean UI and adds to it with three years of software updates, five years of security patches, and cameras that are hard to beat, let alone match. Factor in tried and tested alternatives like the Samsung Galaxy S21, and the value proposition drops quite a bit.