The Motorola Edge Plus was the company’s grand return to the flagship space back in April 2020. It’s a beast of a phone, and aimed straight at the market’s top devices. But Motorola sat out of the flagship race for a few years, preferring to field affordable fare in the stellar G series in addition to its mid-market play, the tired Z series. Many questions presented themselves along with Motorola’s flagship return. Chiefly, was Motorola able to rediscover the magic that made it a household name a generation ago? Find out in Android Authority‘s Motorola Edge Plus review.

About this Motorola Edge Plus review: I wrote this Motorola Edge Plus review after spending six days with the phone. Motorola supplied the device to Android Authority, which was running Android 10 with Motorola’s My UX skin and the March 2020 security patch. The phone has since been updated to Android 11 with the April 2021 security patch.

Design: Fresh ideas

Motorola Edge Plus brick face
  • Curved glass
  • 161.1 x 71.4 x 9.6mm
  • 203g
  • Smokey Sangria, Thunder Grey

The Edge Plus is a departure for Motorola as far as the design is concerned. It eschews the basic shape shared by many Motorola phones over the last five or six years in favor of its own silhouette. Gone are the wide-radius shoulders and in their place you’ll see a tall, skinny phone with a sharper appearance. Thanks to the elongated aspect ratio, the Edge Plus may remind some of the Sony Xperia range.

There are a few things I like and a few things I dislike.

See also: The best cases you can get for the Moto Edge Plus

Motorola Edge horizontal in hand 2

In the like column. Motorola has wholly adopted the glass sandwich design. The display glass has a really tight curve that blends into the side edge. The aluminum frame in between the glass panels is incredibly slim along the sides, though it borders on chunky as it spans the top and bottom edges. I particularly appreciate the way the thicker metal is bent at the corners to soften their points. The seams are tight and the quality of the materials is excellent.

Motorola Edge punch hole 2

Motorola has created one of the leading all-screen designs. Where its Z series was long hindered by thick bezels, this phone eliminates them almost entirely. There are no bezels along the sides at all, and the thin sliver of aluminum that frames the glass at either end is barely visible.

Motorola Edge watching video in hand 1

I dig the color options, which are Smokey Sangria and Thunder Grey. Our unit is the grey one. There’s no gradient to the finish, but it has a really appealing sheen to it that I found myself admiring as I reviewed the phone. I also appreciate the headphone jack, something most competitors lack.

Motorola checked off most of the right boxes here.

In the dislike column. The aluminum side frame has a sharp profile that you can feel pressing against the soft flesh of your palm. It gets old. The volume button and power key, both on the right edge, are razor-thin and feel cheap. The power key actually moves around a little, which is just not cool on a phone that costs this much.

Motorola kept the dimensions of the rear-mounted camera module in check, but it’s partially made of plastic and feels a tad cheap to the touch. I don’t know what would make this better, but I do know that it could be.

Motorola Edge camera macro 3

The dimensions of the phone are odd. It’s super tall, really narrow side to side, yet totally chunky front to back. The 9.6mm thickness, in particular, means the Motorola Edge Plus is 1-2 millimeters thicker than competing devices. It’s noticeable. The combination of these measurements means your thumb has no hope of ever reaching the top of the display, lest you wrestle with the phone in your grasp. Toss in a slippery exterior, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. You’ll probably do well to find a case for the phone.

Related: The best Motorola phones you can get

And the one real failure? The phone isn’t waterproof. Despite the fact that most competing devices carry an IP68 rating against dust and water, Motorola has soldiered forth with its nano-coated innards, making the Edge Plus simply “splash proof.” Motorola’s marketing materials spell out clearly: “not waterproof.” Bummer.

Motorola checked off most of the right boxes here. The Edge Plus has nearly all the features of the competition, as far as raw hardware is concerned, and — despite my grievances — a solid design to boot.

Display: Wrong side of the curve

Motorola Edge top half of display
  • 6.7-inch AMOLED with curved edge display
  • 2,340 x 1,080 FHD+ resolution
  • 90Hz refresh rate
  • 21:9 aspect ratio
  • HDR10+
  • Optical in-display fingerprint sensor

Motorola opted for quite a display panel for its flagship return. Gone is the nearly flat glass seen on phones such as the Moto Z4 and in its place you’ll find the most curved glass panel ever. Talk about different!

The Edge Plus’ display wraps around onto the side edges of the phone. This makes some apps harder to deal with, as you may need to tap something that’s around the curve. Thankfully you can control this to a degree, though it’s on an app-by-app basis. I wish you could dial in the change system-wide. Thankfully, the phone avoids the false positive issue, which would otherwise have people accidentally tapping things they didn’t intend.

The size, resolution, refresh rate, and aspect ratio of the screen are all fine. It’s certainly vibrant, colorful, and sharp. Motion looks incredibly smooth, thanks to the speedy 90Hz refresh rate, as on-screen elements zoom up and down with nary a stutter. I really like the advanced controls for flashing notification lights, dark mode, and such. It’s a good screen. Most of the time. I’ll point out that in today’s flagships, such as the Samsung Galaxy S21, have 120Hz displays, which makes them even smoother.

The Edge Plus display isn't bad, but it's not what I want to see on a flagship.

My big gripe with the phone is the way the curved glass treats the light coming from the display. The screen is markedly darker along the edges where the curve sits and, in some cases, causes blue shift when viewing white content. This is simply the physics of light passing through bent glass. I find it utterly aggravating — just as I did on older phones that relied on this setup. It makes the narrow screen look and feel even more narrow, effectively reducing the usable size of the screen. I wish Motorola had chosen another display style. Newer phones have eschewed such steep curves with improved visibility as a result.

Motorola Edge Plus edge on

The Edge Plus display isn’t bad, but a couple of missteps prevent it from being great.

Performance: On par

Processor: No surprises

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
  • Adreno 650 GPU
  • 12GB LPDDR5 RAM
  • 256 UFS 3.0 storage

With Qualcomm’s premier chip for 2020 aboard and a generous 12GB of high-speed RAM, the Edge Plus powers through benchmark tests. It scored, on average, in the 95th percentile across a variety of tests, including AnTuTu, Geekbench, and 3DMark. It doesn’t compete with the Snapdragon 888 in newer phones, but it’s still a solid processor and holds up.

More importantly, the phone always felt fast and light on its feet. Absolutely nothing bogged the UI down, even a big game such as Fortnite. The Motorola Edge Plus has all the performance you’ll ever need.

Motorola Edge Plus in repose
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Battery: Stellar

  • 5,000mAh lithium-ion
  • 15W wired charging
  • 15W wireless charging
  • 5W reverse wireless charging

Motorola equaled its direct competitors with respect to battery life, at least by some measures. The 5,000mAh is the same size as that in other 2020 flagship and even 2021 flagships, such as the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. Motorola claims the battery delivers more than two days of uptime. Over the course of six days, I had a hard time killing the battery entirely. It only croaked when I ran it through a brutal stress test for 16+ hours. You know what they say about the Energizer Bunny. Screen-on time typically ranged over seven hours for my use.

The phone is a bit limited with respect to charging speeds. It handles 15W wired and wireless charging. We would have preferred to see 30W or higher (which many of Motorola’s competitors support). In fact, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra supports 67W wired and wireless charging. The Edge Plus takes a solid one hour 50 minutes for the battery to charge fully, which is ridiculously slow by today’s standards. Still, you can leave work with 50% and still have more than enough to get through an entire night out.

Last, it handles reverse charging at 5W. This means you can top-up select accessories, such as wireless headphones. At 5W, it’s pretty slow, and modern phones have upped this to 10W.

What matters most? The battery gets you through the promised two days. That’s more than most phones.

Related: Motorola’s latest budge phone packs 5,000mAh battery

Camera: Open to possibilities

Motorola Edge Plus on window sill
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
  • Rear:
    • Main: 108MP, ƒ/1.8, 0.8μm pixels, 1/1.33” sensor, OIS
    • Telephoto: 8MP, ƒ/2.4, 1.0μm pixels, 3x optical zoom, OIS
    • Ultra-wide/Macro: 16MP , ƒ/2.2, 1.0μm pixels, 117-deg. FoV
    • Time of flight sensor
  • Front:
    • Selfie: 25MP, ƒ/2.0, 0.9μm pixels, Quad Pixel for 1.8μm
  • Video:
    • 6K, 4K, FHD, 19.5:9

Motorola has been trying hard to build its camera cred and the Edge Plus may be its best effort yet. The phone packs a 108MP main sensor that bins down by a factor of four to 27MP. Motorola did the right thing and loaded the phone with a 3x optical telephoto lens and a combined ultra wide-angle/macro lens. The 25MP selfie camera also bins down by a factor of four to 6MP. You can record video up to 6K.

Related: The best camera phones you can get

The app is fairly robust. It’s not quite the stock Android camera, but it is close. It’s dead simple to use. Shooting modes include: portrait, cutout, macro, spot color, night vision, cinemagraph, panorama, live filter, and high-res, and video modes include macro, slow motion, time-lapse, and AR stickers. I like that the mode picker is just three things: camera, video, and a tray with everything else. The settings are extensive and allow for plenty of customization to the app. As always, you can launch the camera app with a quick twist of your wrist.

The shots I took with the phone turned out well, for the most part. I particularly like color representation and exposure, which are on point. Check out the tree with flowers and bridge. Noise and artifacts are limited to shadowy areas. The HDR tool works fairly well, as you can see in the balanced under-the-bridge shot.

A zoom picker lets you quickly jump from 0.5x to 1x to 3x. You can zoom in as far as 10x digitally, but the results are pretty bad. The three main lenses deliver sharp shots at their base focal lengths. I used the 3x optical zoom on the bridge close-up and the geese. You can see how sharp the geese are, which is surprising considering they were paddling along quickly.

The selfie shooter is a mixed bag. The regular selfie shot below is sharp and clean, with everything in focus. The portrait, on the other hand, is a mess. I took several samples and all of them cut off the right side of my head. That’s edge detection gone awry.

For whatever reason, Motorola didn’t want to go with 8K. The company said it felt they are too many limitations with 8K video capture (storage, etc.) It went with 6K instead. The 6K video can be downsampled to 4K or Full HD if needed. The majority of competing flagships support 8K at this point. The video footage looks really good. You can capture at full resolution 6K, 4K, FHD, or change the aspect ratio to 19.5:9. It isn’t the same 21:9 that some phones offer, but it does fill the entire screen as you capture video.

Here is a folder with full-sized photos samples.

How does the camera fare against the competition? Surprisingly, it holds up.

Software: My, my, My UX

  • Android 10
  • Motorola My UX

The phone ran Android 10, at launch and shipped with the March 2020 security update on board. It has since been updated to Android 11 and has the April 2021 security patch. I’ll point out that the phone just received Android 11 in February 2021. That’s months later than many competing flagships received the newer platform from Google. Motorola’s track record for security updates is good, but it hasn’t been as consistent on the big updates.

Motorola’s Android software has led the pack for quite some time. The company employs a mostly stock build of Android, with only the lightest enhancements to improve the experience of using the phone day and in day out. Motorola calls its software Motorola My UX. Motorola has committed to at least two major OS upgrades for the phone, in addition to security patches for a period of two years. That means you’ll get Android 12 and another year of patches at most.

It’s the simple things. Chop the phone twice to turn on the flashlight. Twist your wrist twice to launch the camera. Flip the phone over to turn on Do Not Disturb. Motorola was one of the first with the always-on display, and it continues to lead with a flexible tool that gives you just the right amount of information at the right time. These are all still delightful.

There's a certain joy to be found in the simplicity of the user interface.

The software may not look or behave as advanced as competing devices from Samsung and LG, but there’s joy to be found in its simplicity.

Given that the phone is a Verizon Wireless exclusive in the US, we found lots of unwanted bloatware onboard. There are a half dozen games, a half dozen Verizon-branded apps, and even a too-large collection of Yahoo apps clogging up storage. The games and Yahoo stuff can be deleted, but the Verizon stuff cannot. Either way, 20 bloat apps is 20 too many. The worst part is that the Verizon App Manager will serve up push notifications to remind you to play Candy Crush. Nooo waaay, Verizon.

Extras

5G: The Edge Plus was Motorola’s first legit 5G phone. The company had a snap-on 5G Mod for the Moto Z3 and Z4, but the Edge Plus has full 5G built-in from the get-go. It includes both mmWave and sub-6GHz. Verizon Wireless’ 5G runs on mmWave for the moment and is limited in availability. Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, we were unable to travel to test it. US residents who have access to Verizon’s mmWave 5G should see very fast download speeds when outdoors in coverage areas. The lesser spec’d Motorola Edge has only sub-6GHz 5G on board. Most modern flagships have 5G, so this is where Motorola needs to be.

Audio: Motorola went all-in on the audio. To start, the phone ships with stereo speakers. Motorola is combining output from the earpiece with the bottom-firing speaker to create the stereo effect. The company teamed with Waves Audio to tune the sound. Right out of the box the phone sounds really good. To my ears, the stereo effect is a bit imbalanced, with more output coming from the bottom speaker than the earpiece. If you set the phone down, crank it up, and take a few steps back this effect dissolves. The Edge Plus is more than loud enough to fill a small room, or even a garage or deck, with sound. I really appreciate that the newer Moto Audio app allows you to tweak and create your own audio profiles.

Not feeling the built-in speakers? You can plug the phone into your favorite portable speaker thanks to the 3.5mm headphone jack, or, of course, rely on the Bluetooth 5.1 radio with wide codec support.

Motorola Edge Plus specs

Motorola Edge PlusMotorola Edge
Display
Motorola Edge Plus:
6.7-inch AMOLED with curved edge display
2,340 x 1,080 resolution
90Hz refresh rate
21:9 aspect ratio
HDR10+
Motorola Edge:
6.7-inch AMOLED with curved edge display
2,340 x 1,080 resolution
90Hz refresh rate
21:9 aspect ratio
SoC
Motorola Edge Plus:
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
Motorola Edge:
Qualcomm Snapdragon 765
GPU
Motorola Edge Plus:
Adreno 650
Motorola Edge:
Adreno 620
RAM
Motorola Edge Plus:
12GB
LPDDR5
Motorola Edge:
4GB (NA)
6GB (ROW)
Storage
Motorola Edge Plus:
256GB
UFS 3.0
No microSD expansion
Motorola Edge:
128GB
microSD expansion up to 1TB
Cameras
Motorola Edge Plus:
Rear cameras
- Main: 108MP sensor, ƒ/1.8 aperture, 0.8μm pixels, 1/1.33” sensor size, Quad Pixel technology for 1.6μm, OIS
- Telephoto: 8MP sensor, ƒ/2.4 aperture, 1.0μm pixels, 3x high-res optical zoom, OIS
- Ultra-wide and Macro Vision: 16MP sensor, ƒ/2.2 aperture, 1.0μm pixels, 117-degree field-of-view
- Time of flight sensor

Front camera
- 25MP sensor, ƒ/2.0 aperture, 0.9μm pixels, Quad Pixel technology for 1.8μm
Motorola Edge:
Rear cameras
- Main: 64MP sensor, ƒ/1.8 aperture, 0.8μm pixels, 1/1.72” sensor size, Quad Pixel technology for 1.6μm
- Telephoto: 8MP sensor, ƒ/2.4 aperture, 1.12μm pixels, 2x high-res optical zoom
- Ultra-wide and Macro Vision: 16MP sensor, ƒ/2.2 aperture, 1.0μm pixels, 117-degree field-of-view
- Time of flight sensor

Front camera
- 25MP sensor, ƒ/2.0 aperture, 0.9μm pixels, Quad Pixel technology for 1.8μm
IP rating
Motorola Edge Plus:
No
Water-repellent design
Motorola Edge:
No
IP54 water-repellent design
Audio
Motorola Edge Plus:
Headphone jack
Stereo speakers tuned by Waves Audio
Motorola Edge:
Headphone jack
Stereo speakers tuned by Waves Audio
Biometrics and sensors
Motorola Edge Plus:
Optical in-display fingerprint sensor
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Proximity
Ambient Light
Sensor hub
Barometer
Motorola Edge:
Optical in-display fingerprint sensor
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Proximity
Ambient Light
Sensor hub
Battery
Motorola Edge Plus:
5,000mAh
Non-removable
15W wired charging
15W wireless charging
5W reverse wireless charging
Motorola Edge:
4,500mAh
Non-removable
18W wired charging
No wireless or reverse wireless charging
SIM
Motorola Edge Plus:
Single nano SIM
Motorola Edge:
Hybrid dual SIM (2 nano SIMs / 1 nano SIM + 1 microSD)
Network
Motorola Edge Plus:
5G: NR mmWave + sub-6GHz (NA & Russia)
5G: NR sub-6GHz (ROW)
4G: LTE (UL Cat 18 / DL Cat 20)
3G: UMTS / HSPA+
2G: GSM / EDGE / CDMA

Verizon:
5G: mmWave band n260/n261, sub-6GHz band n2/5/66
4G: LTE band 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/20/28//46/48/66
3G: WCDMA band 1/2/5/8
2G: CDMA band 0/1, GSM band 2/3/5/8

ROW:
5G: sub-6GHz band n/5/41/66/71/77/78
4G: LTE band 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/20/25/26/28/29/30/34/38/39/40/41/42/46/66/71
3G: WCDMA band 1/2/4/5/8
2G: CDMA band 0/1, GSM band 2/3/5/8
Motorola Edge:
5G: NR sub-6GHz
4G: LTE (UL Cat 13 / DL Cat 16)
3G: UMTS / HSPA+
2G: GSM / EDGE

5G: 1/2/3/5/7/25/28/38/41/66/71/78
4G: LTE band 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/20/25/2628/32/38/39/40/41/66/71
3G: UMTS band 1/2/4/5/8
3G: CDMA band bc0/bc1/bc10
2G: GSM band 2/3/5/8
Connectivity
Motorola Edge Plus:
Bluetooth 5.1
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax | 2.4GHz + 5GHz
Wi-Fi 6
Wi-Fi hotspot
GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BDS (except in US)
Motorola Edge:
Bluetooth 5.1
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac | 2.4GHz & 5GHz
Wi-Fi hotspot
GPS, AGPS, LTEPP, SUPL, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou
Software
Motorola Edge Plus:
Android 10
Motorola Edge:
Android 10
Dimensions and weight
Motorola Edge Plus:
161.1 x 71.4 x 9.6mm
203g
Motorola Edge:
161.64 x 71.1 x 9.29mm
188g
Colors
Motorola Edge Plus:
Smokey Sangria, Thunder Grey
Motorola Edge:
Solar Black, Midnight Magenta

Value and competition

Motorola Edge horizontal in hand 2
Motorola Edge Plus
The Motorola Edge Plus is one of Moto's most feature-packed phones to date. With flagship-tier specs and a price point to match, can it really take on the Samsung Galaxy S20?
  • Motorola Edge Plus (12GB/256GB): $799

Motorola is selling a single version of the phone and it costs $799, at a permanent $200 price cut from the original launch price of $999. It’s still a Verizon Wireless exclusive as far as carrier availability is concerned, which is limiting if you’re in the US.

Motorola priced the phone maybe $100 too high out of the gate. I think it is a more competitive offering at $799. That said, I think there’s plenty of value here. You get a good-looking phone with excellent hardware and performance at a cost that’s comparable to other options in the market. If you want to save more and stick with Motorola, the regular Motorola Edge is also worth a look.

Moreover, nearly a year since launch has seen a wide range of phones reach the market at appealing price points, including the Samsung Galaxy S21 series and the OnePlus 9 series.

Motorola Edge Plus review: Should you buy it?

Who is this phone for? It’s for people who want to give Motorola a shot. Maybe you’re tired of Galaxies, Notes, Vs, Gs, and Ps. The Motorola Edge Plus is a unique device that fares well, but it is showing age.

My biggest complaint with the phone is the display, which may be just me. You may not have an issue with the curved light phenomenon. The other major issue is, of course, the Verizon exclusivity. That really holds the phone back.

When it comes to everything else, Motorola did a fine job. Basics such as battery life, processing power, 5G, and overall quality are all spot on. The camera is surprisingly good for a Motorola phone, too.

For those who want to try something fresh, the Motorola Edge Plus is a fine choice. At this point in its life cycle, however, you may be better off with a Galaxy S21 or OnePlus 9 Pro.