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Motorola Edge (2022)
What we like
What we don't like
Motorola Edge (2022)
Motorola’s Edge series has had a turbulent few years. It’s only been around since 2020, yet it feels like the Edge has tried to speedrun the life of a smartphone. We’ve seen it dabble in the flagship sphere with mixed results, but it’s never entirely committed its future to the upper crust. Now, for its vanilla “flagship,” Motorola is changing tact altogether — the Edge is heading for the upper end of the mid-range. Will the move be enough to take on a crowded market? Let’s find out in our Motorola Edge (2022) review.
What you need to know about the Motorola Edge (2022)
- Motorola Edge (6GB/128GB) — T-Mobile: $498
- Motorola Edge (8GB/256GB) — Unlocked: $599 ($499 at launch)
The third-generation Motorola Edge (2022) arrived in September 2022 as a successor to Motorola’s 2021 model of the same name. It continues the shift towards affordability we saw with its predecessor, though the Edge (2022) feels far more committed to the new role with $100 knocked off the MSRP of the base model compared to the $699 unlocked Edge (2021). It sits below the premium-focused Motorola Edge Plus (2022) to a surprising degree considering that phone’s $999 asking price — something we didn’t feel it earned.
You’ll find hard plastic stretched across the back panel and the frame, with a Gorilla Glass 3 display to complete the package. At 6.6-inches, the Full HD OLED display lost about a quarter of an inch from the previous model, but slimmer bezels offer an improved screen-to-body ratio. It hasn’t lost its smooth refresh rate though, which sits at a crisp 144Hz.
Inside the glass and plastic body, Motorola tapped the brand-new Mediatek Dimensity 1050 chipset to keep the lights on, which you can pair with up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The default is 6GB and 128GB, respectively, and the lower configuration will save you a little money. Backing the processor and storage is a hefty 5,000mAh battery and up to 30W “Turbopower” charging. The Edge offers 15W wireless and 5W reverse wireless charging as well, in case you need to share some juice.
We tested the Motorola Edge with Android 12 and the light My UX skin onboard. It ran the July 1, 2022 security update and the March 1, 2022 Google Play system update. Motorola hasn’t been known for its update commitments, but the Edge (2022) feels like a step in the right direction. It’s tapped for three full Android updates (though one of them will be Android 13) and four years of security patches.
Like most phones — both budget-friendly and expensive — the Motorola Edge comes with very little in the box. You’ll find a USB-C cable with a SIM ejector tool and some essential paperwork, but you might notice changes to the box. The classic deep blue cardboard is gone in favor of a natural tan with soy-based ink details. This is Motorola’s first device to come in 100% plastic-free packaging, and it’s indicative of what the brand says is a larger shift toward sustainability.
The Motorola Edge launched on T-Mobile on September 1, 2022, for a limited-time launch price of $498. It will also be available through retailers like Best Buy and Amazon unlocked for $599. If you’re interested, it’s best to adopt the Edge early, as the price for the unlocked model will temporarily start at $499. Other carriers including AT&T and US Cellular will also sell the phone but have yet to confirm pricing. A Verizon model with mmWave 5G support will also arrive later on, though again, we’ve yet to hear word on the price.
While the Motorola Edge is a North American exclusive, those who live outside of the United States and Canada have the Motorola Edge 30 series instead.
The Motorola Edge comes in a single color: Mineral Gray.
One of our main expectations for any Motorola device is a clean, straightforward software experience. The Motorola Edge delivers in spades, bringing My UX to the forefront with plenty of customization options. It delivers almost no Motorola bloatware, instead opting for Google’s version of just about everything. There were a few extra T-Mobile apps and a copy of Facebook on our review unit, but they’re easy enough to uninstall.
Along with My UX, the Edge places a significant emphasis on Motorola’s Ready For app, which trickles down from the top-tier Edge Plus. It’s essentially the company’s version of Samsung Dex, allowing you to turn your computer or TV into a base for your phone. From there, you can either cast games and pair them with an Xbox controller for easy access or opt for a full desktop experience. With the latter, the Edge becomes your trackpad and keyboard, and you can navigate through everything else as if you had a laptop on hand.
Motorola’s new commitment to the future is perhaps more important than the software itself. We’ve lamented the brand’s weak software support in the past, but the Motorola Edge now comes with the promise of three Android versions and four years of software updates. It’s still not a Samsung-level of dedication, but it gives the Edge some extra longevity and puts it in line with competing brands like OnePlus. Android 13 will be the first update, but you’ll still get support through Android 15 into 2026.
It can't touch Samsung, but Motorola's meaningful software commitment gives the Edge (2022) legs to last into the future.
The Edge also packs a pretty impressive display. Fast refresh rates, high resolutions, and waterfall edges have been hallmarks of the series, and the best two of the three are back. Motorola’s 6.6-inch flat OLED panel packs a crisp, adaptive 144Hz refresh rate that leaves much of its competition in the rearview, and it feels smooth through just about anything you throw at it. Mix in the Dolby Atmos stereo speakers, and you have a great phone for enjoying streamed content. I didn’t notice any distortion from the speakers, but you can always pair your favorite wireless earbuds if you don’t want to distract others.
If you forgot to charge those wireless earbuds, you can give them a boost with Motorola’s new 5W reverse wireless charging. It’s not very fast, but it’ll save your accessories in a pinch. Otherwise, Motorola boasts that the Edge will go for two days on a full charge from its 5,000mAh cell (200mAh larger than the Motorola Edge Plus (2022). I had no problems using the phone all day with moderate use and was going to bed with around 45% remaining. That’s mightily impressive; even if a full two days is a bit of a top-end estimate for low use, most will get at least a day and a half out of it.
Motorola’s 30W Turbopower charging refills it plenty fast, too. It topped the Motorola Edge up from 5% to full in about 70 minutes. Of course, you’ll need to source your own charger as there isn’t one in the box — a Power Delivery brick will do the job. The phone also supports 15W wireless charging via Motorola’s Turbopower pads, or just regular Qi wireless charging.
One last piece of praise for the Motorola Edge — it’s nice to see an OEM trot out a little sustainability pledge now and again. Motorola has declared the Edge to be the first entirely carbon offset device, and it arrives in 100% plastic-free packaging. At the very least, it’s a good-looking box. While there’s probably more that Motorola could be doing when you look over its carbon offset program, it’s a start at the very least. If you want to learn more about carbon offsets, take 20 minutes and let John Oliver enlighten you — it’s worth it.
What’s not so good?
Plastic is no longer a guarantee throughout the upper mid-range market. Competitors like the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6a, Apple’s iPhone SE (2022), and the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G all sport metal frames at the very least. Motorola, on the other hand, feels content to double down on plastic all around. The result is an Edge that’s feather-light in the hand but doesn’t feel remotely premium. You can tell it’s plastic from the moment you pick it up, and the dull Mineral Gray finish — the only color option — is more than happy to show off fingerprints and smudges in direct lighting.
Continuing with the design, the Motorola Edge isn’t all that exciting to look at. You’ll probably spend most of your time staring at the display — which, as we noted, is a lovely panel — but the overall design is almost identical to that of the 2022 Moto G Power or Moto G 5G models; those are two phones that can be had for significantly less money. The back panel is dominated by a camera bump that follows Motorola’s style guide to the letter and is only interrupted by a small “M” logo otherwise.
The Edge (2022) might be unmistakeably Motorola, but the plastic build is anything but premium, and the single-option gray colorway is, well, bland.
The Gorilla Glass 3 that protects the display is a grade or two below what we’ve come to expect from phones in this price tier. However, if there’s one other notable flaw with the Edge’s otherwise good display, it’s the placement of the fingerprint reader. It sits low enough on the panel that I almost have to stretch my thumb down to reach it. Depending on how you hold your phone and how big your hands are, you may have an easier time, but most will find it a good way to get your thumb calisthenics for the day. On the bright side, I never had issues with speed or accuracy — only placement.
One thing that has steadily become almost a guarantee in the mid-tier smartphone price range is a solid IP rating. Each of the competitors mentioned above offers at least IP67 protection, but not the Edge. Despite being tied as the most expensive of the lot with the Pixel 6, Motorola’s 2022 entry offers just an IP52 certification. It will protect the device from some splashes of water and some degree dust, but it’s far below the level of the competition.
The Motorola Edge’s Dimensity 1050 chipset is plenty capable, at least compared to most mid-range systems on the market. I didn’t notice any struggles or lag through my day-to-day use, and streaming or scrolling through social media felt especially light. When you turn your attention to the benchmarks, it even breezes past Motorola’s affordable 5G options like the Moto G Stylus 5G and Moto G 5G. The Galaxy A53 5G tells a similar tale. However, those mid-rangers are far from the most powerful contenders in the Edge’s price bracket.
If you get it for $499 right off the bat at launch, you’ll probably be happy with how the Edge compares to phones around that price. However, if you’re paying the full $599 MSRP for the unlocked model and expect it to keep up with the likes of the Pixel 6 or Pixel 6a, the iPhone SE, or even the nearby OnePlus 10T, you might come away disappointed. Google’s phones top the Edge on both the Geekbench 5 and 3DMark score — with even the cheaper Pixel 6a roughly doubling the latter number. The gap is even bigger when set against the OnePlus 10T (priced just $50 higher), which trounces the Edge in default mode, though you can also turn on an optional performance mode to leave Motorola further in the dust.
Motorola Edge (2022) camera review
Motorola shed a few megapixels on its latest Edge series camera — about half of them, in fact. It dropped from a 108MP shooter in 2021 to a 50MP option for 2022, but there’s not much doom or gloom to be had. The sensor itself barely shrank, the pixels grew slightly. The 2022 Edge also offers a wider aperture (f/1.8) than its predecessor (f/1.9). That means you should be able to let in just a little bit more light for a shallow depth of field. The camera bins images to 12.5MP by default, though you can tap into the full 50MP resolution at any point if you wish.
You might say a few of those shed megapixels migrated over to the ultrawide lens, which now packs a 13MP resolution. The pixels themselves, however, are exactly the same size, as is the maximum aperture (f/2.2). It dropped one degree in its field of view, rounding down to a nice even 118 degrees. More importantly, Motorola’s ultrawide camera doubles as its macro shooter — we’re always happy to commend a little double duty over a throwaway low-res macro shooter. The Edge does actually have a third lens — a 2MP depth sensor — but it’s mostly just along for the ride for portrait shots. Sadly, that means there’s no telephoto option for optical zoom.
As you can see throughout the samples above, the Motorola Edge’s primary camera is more than up to the task in most scenarios. It replicates color nicely, and light digital zoom doesn’t come at the cost of too many details. The clouds are slightly blown out in the scene with the “Open” flag, but they’re more accurately depicted floating above the light blue sign.
Motorola’s portrait mode is good overall, though it doesn’t always detect the edges of non-human objects. For example, I focused on the lamp post in the center image, but the Edge only blurred the far background. The image of the teacup flowers is a better result, though it’s likely thanks to the greater distance from the subject to the background. I have no real complaints about the macro camera, either, as it captured plenty of detail in the yellow flowers and feels far more flexible than a dedicated shooter would have.
The Motorola Edge (2022) offers three buttons across the bottom of the viewfinder — macro, 0.5x, and 1x zoom. It clearly comes with the expectation that you’ll do a lot of zooming out rather than in, but I found it capable in either direction. The ultrawide camera generally retains details well, at least in the above four-image comparison. Comparing the chimineas with the slider, the ultrawide’s colors are noticeably muted, especially the reds. You can see some stretching and distortion around the edges, especially in the leaves closest to the corner around the yellow building and the furthest-left chiminea.
As you make your way through the focal range, I found that the Motorola Edge performed well most of the way considering it doesn’t have dedicated zoom hardware. Both details and color are accurate enough for usable snaps at up to about 5x, even though the leaves in the background begin to get a bit muddy at that stage. The shingles and the cupola on the yellow building are much cleaner in comparison.
The Edge’s performance at night is about as varied as they come. If you find a scene that doesn’t rely on the automatic night mode, you can get some excellent results, as in the image on the left. It’s sharp and well exposed and stands in stark contrast to the images on the right. The small figurine appears flat and lifeless, and the colors aren’t enhanced close to the night mode capabilities of rivals. The small pavilion to the far right falls somewhere in the middle — it has a few muddied details, especially in the back, but it offers better color recreation overall.
The Edge lets its 32MP selfie camera stand as the only interruption to the 6.6-inch display, and it delivers acceptable images. It bins from the full resolution down to 8MP by default, and I didn’t have too many issues with the colors or clarity. The portrait shot is a bit punchier, especially on my shirt, but I won’t complain too much for one reason — no more beauty filtering. Motorola’s last few offerings have been plagued by heavy-handed processing that renders your face all but unrecognizable, but the Edge feels much more natural. Ironically, it could use some help in its edge detection. The selfie camera missed portions of my hair, which isn’t common on most other phones.
Unfortunately, video is still not the Edge’s strength, as the rear camera tops out with 4K at 30fps or 1080p at up to 60fps. It’s almost a given to have 4K at 60fps at this price point, so this is a big miss. The rear ultrawide camera can only handle 1080p at 30fps, but it jumps back to 60fps when set to macro mode.
Motorola Edge (2022) specs
|Motorola Edge (2022)|
- 6.6-inch OLED
- 144Hz refresh rate
- 2,400 x 1,080
Mediatek Dimensity 1050
No expandable storage
30W TurboPower charging
15W wireless charging
5W reverse charging
No charger in box
- 50MP wide, 2.0μm, OIS, Ultra Pixel, ƒ/1.8
- 13MP ultrawide, 1.12μm, ƒ/2.2, 120-degree FOV
- 2MP depth sensor
- 32MP, 1.4μm, ƒ/2.45
Dolby Atmos support
No 3.5mm headphone port
Single nano-SIM tray
In-display fingerprint reader
Dimensions and weight
160.8 x 74.2 x 8.2mm
IP52 water resistance
Motorola Edge (2022) review: The verdict
We’ve given Motorola a fair amount of constructive criticism in our reviews in recent years and the Edge (2022) feels like the first phone where it’s being taken to heart. It’s still far from the complete article, but it takes a few big steps in the right direction. The overdue improvement to the update commitment goes a long way. Even if it’s only now in line with the pack and not at the top with Samsung and Google, it’s great to see Motorola promising to support its phones long-term.
The camera setup has some issues with night photography and video quality that keep it out of the big leagues, but it’s a solid performer in most scenarios. Similarly, while the phone is still plastic and the IP52 rating lags well behind even more affordable devices, the mid-range Edge generally feels more settled than its not-quite-flagship family members while still excelling with its excellent display and impressive battery life.
The Motorola Edge (2022) is the sharpest Edge phone in quite some time, but only if you can get it at the right price.
The Edge’s price variability stacks it against a wide variety of competitors. At $499 for the discounted launch model (or the carrier variant), it capably stands its ground with the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G ($446.99 at Amazon), Apple iPhone SE ($429 at Amazon), and Google Pixel 6a ($449 at Amazon).
At its full MSRP of $599, however, there are two close rivals that give Motorola a really tough run for its money — the Google Pixel 6 ($599 at Amazon) and the OnePlus 10T ($649.99 at Amazon). The former excels with its stellar cameras, while the latter blows the Motorola Edge out of the water in the performance stakes thanks to the might of the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1. Meanwhile, the Pixel 6 offers rapid and regular updates, while the OnePlus 10T packs the fastest charging of any phone available in the US. Of the two, the Pixel 6 is by far the better all-rounder, though the OnePlus 10T is the flagship killer of choice for power users on a budget.
If you can get Motorola’s latest Edge at its launch price of $499, do so — the phone thrives in the sub-$500 sphere. At its full retail price, the Edge is somewhat dulled against excellent competition.
Top Motorola Edge (2022) questions and answers
No, the Motorola Edge (2022) only has a single nano-SIM slot.
Yes, the Motorola Edge (2022) offers 15W Turbopower wireless charging (or non-proprietary Qi wireless charging) and 5W reverse wireless charging.