The Motorola Edge and Motorola Edge Plus may look identical, but they are vastly different phones under the glassy skin. Where one is a full-on flagship meant to compete with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultras and OnePlus 9 Pros of the world, the other is a down-spec’d slugger meant to take on the best of the upper mid-range. In other words, what separates the two boils down to some under-the-hood specs that may not mean much to some end users. Do specs make the phone, or is the experience itself enough to get the job done? Find out in Android Authority‘s Motorola Edge review.

About this Motorola Edge review: We spent a week evaluating the Motorola Edge and comparing it to its more powerful stablemate. Motorola supplied Android Authority with the review unit, which was running Android 10 with the July 2020 security patch. The phone was only recently updated (March 2021) to Android 11 with the January security patch.

Update, May 2021: Added references to new competing devices, software updates, and more.

What you need to know about the Motorola Edge

Motorola Moto Edge facae on brick
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Motorola announced the Motorola Edge Plus and Motorola Edge in 2020. The Edge Plus was Motorola’s 2020 flagship, while the Edge was a more affordable take on the same phone. It’s sort of like the difference between the OnePlus 9 Pro and OnePlus 9, though the two Motorolas share the same size and shape.

More reading: The best Motorola phones you can get

Motorola recently dropped the price of the Edge Plus to $799, but it is still available only from Verizon Wireless. Conversely, the Edge costs $699 and is compatible with all US carriers, but has yet to see a permanent price drop. The Edge has a lower-grade processor and GPU, has different cameras, and a smaller battery. The screen is the same, as is the chassis. Let’s start there.

Design and display: Carried over

Motorola Moto Edge rear view
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Design: Same same, but different

The Motorola Edge looks every bit a flagship, despite its lower cost. The naked eye cannot tell the Edge from the Edge Plus, as the differences are so minor. The front panel is steeply curved glass that meets an aluminum frame. The rear glass is also curved, though more gently. The Motorola Edge has one of the thinnest aluminum frames out there. I appreciate that the top and bottom metal end caps are bent at the corners to soften their points. The seams are tight and the quality of the materials is excellent across the board.

The aluminum frame has a sharp profile that you can feel pressing against your palm. The volume button and power key, both on the right edge, are razor-thin and feel cheap. Motorola kept the size of the rear-mounted camera module in check, but it’s partially made of plastic and feels a tad cheap to the touch.

Motorola Moto Edge back profile
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Where the Edge Plus measures 161.1 x 71.4 x 9.6mm and weighs 203g, the Edge measures 161.64 x 71.1 x 9.29mm and weighs 188g. The Edge is taller but thinner and lighter. The difference in weight really helps the lower-cost phone when it comes to usability.

The phone isn’t waterproof. Many competing devices, even in the mid-range, carry an IP68 rating against dust and water. Instead, Motorola nano-coated the innards, making the Edge “splash proof.” Rain is ok, the pool is not.

I like the color options, which are Solar Black and Midnight Magenta. Our unit is the black one. There’s no gradient to the finish, but it has an appealing sheen to it that’s more blue than black. I also appreciate the headphone jack, something most competitors lack these days.

Motorola Moto Edge front view
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Display: Identical

  • 6.7-inch AMOLED, curved edge
  • 2,340 x 1,080 FHD
  • 90Hz refresh rate
  • 21:9 aspect ratio
  • Optical in-display fingerprint sensor

The size, resolution, refresh rate, and aspect ratio of the screen are all good. The display is vibrant, colorful, and sharp. Motion looks smooth, thanks to the speedy 90Hz refresh rate, as on-screen elements zoom up and down with nary a stutter. I like the advanced controls for flashing notification lights, dark mode, and such.

The Edge’s 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 slightly 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.

In all, it’s a good screen, though the curve to the edge is a bit too much.

Performance

Motorola Moto Edge bottom edge
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Processor: Meeting expectations

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
  • Adreno 620 GPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 128 storage

With Qualcomm’s 2020 sub-flagship processor of choice aboard and 4GB of RAM, the Edge didn’t do as well as its more powerful sibling, but that is no surprise. Its scores on tests such as GeekBench 4 and 3DMark were average at best. However, the phone always felt fast. Nothing bogged the UI down during our time with it. The Motorola Edge has all the performance most users might need, though gamers may find it doesn’t measure up.

The Snapdragon 780G has since replaced the 765G and newer phones with that chip perform faster.

Battery: Surprising

  • 4,500mAh lithium-ion
  • 15W wired charging
  • No wireless charging

Motorola equaled its direct competitors with respect to battery life, at least by some measures. The 4,500mAh capacity cell is the same size as many batteries in this space. Together with the Snapdragon 765G and some smart tuning for the display, the battery delivered superb results.

In our battery torture test, for example, the phone lasted six hours 39 minutes at full power, with the processor and other components running at their highest levels. This is the very least screen-on time you’ll get with the phone, and it’s a fine number. Backing off the benchmarks to real-world use saw screen-on time closer to eight hours and mixed-use time of 1.5 days.

Charging speeds are limited to 15W. We found the included charger needed more than 90 minutes to fully power the phone from 0%.

The Motorola Edge may be an upper mid-range phone, but there’s nothing mid-range about its battery performance.

Camera: Middling

Motorola Moto Edge cameras
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
  • Main: 64MP sensor, ƒ/1.8
  • Telephoto: 8MP, ƒ/2.4
  • Ultra-wide/Macro: 16MP, ƒ/2.2, 117-deg. FoV
  • Time of flight sensor
  • Front: Selfie: 25MP, ƒ/2.0, 0.9μm pixels, Quad Pixel for 1.8μm
  • Video: 4K, FHD, 19.5:9

If there’s one area of the Edge that fails to live up to the Edge Plus, it’s the camera. Motorola swapped out the 108MP main sensor of the Plus model for a 64MP sensor on the Edge. This change, in addition to the different imaging capabilities of the Snapdragon 765, downgrades the camera performance to what I’d call average at best.

Related: The best camera phones you can get

First, the app. The app is fairly robust and still 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 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 mostly good. Color representation and exposure were generally on point. Noise and artifacts are limited to shadowy areas, which is to be expected. The HDR tool works fairly well.

The interface lets you quickly jump from 0.5x to 1x to 2x. You can zoom in as far as 10x digitally, but the results are really rough. The three main lenses deliver sharp shots at their base focal lengths.

The selfie shooter is mediocre. The regular selfie shot below is clean and accurate. The portrait, on the other hand, is a mess. The biggest issue is edge detection, which often falls off in the wrong spot. Full resolution photos are available here.

I like that there are plenty of video options, including 4K, Full HD at 60fps, and the 19.5:9 cinema mode. The video sample I took looked solid, with just a fair touch of noise in darker regions.

Taken as a whole, the Motorola Edge camera is fine, but it stops short of good.

Software: My UX shines

  • Android 11
  • Motorola My UX

Motorola’s software has led the pack for quite some time. The company employs a mostly stock build of Android, called My UX, with only the lightest enhancements to improve the experience of using the phone day in and day out. Motorola has committed to at least two major OS upgrades for the phone, in addition to security patches for a period of two years. The device just recently received Android 11 and the January 2021 security patch. Motorola similarly delivered the Edge Plus’ Android 11 update. Nevertheless, Motorola is typically behind major competitors such as Samsung and OnePlus in getting updates out the door. That’s something to consider.

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. Moreover, there’s no annoying bloatware from carriers.

Motorola Edge 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 (4GB/128GB): $699/£549/€599

At $699, this device isn’t as appealing as it should be. The phone should have seen a price cut by now. It’s been on sale occasionally throughout the year, but at the moment Motorola wants full scratch for it. Even so, there’s still plenty of value here. Motorola made just the right changes to give the Edge the cost advantage it needs compared to its more performant stablemate.

What about the competition? Other phones at or near the Edge’s regular $699 price point include those such as the OnePlus 9. We really liked the OnePlus 9. Choosing between these two may fall down to a matter of preference.

There’s also the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE to weigh, as well as the Google Pixel 5. If you don’t mind spending a little bit more, the Samsung Galaxy S21 is an excellent option.

Motorola Edge review: Should you buy it?

Motorola Moto Edge on the bridge
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

An unlocked Motorola sub-flagship for $699? It makes sense, but nine months on the phone is starting to lose appeal compared to the competition. We’d prefer to see this phone discounted by $100 or more. Though I wish the cameras were slightly better, everything else about the Motorola Edge shines in a way that should appeal to the majority of consumers. While the Motorola Edge doesn’t quite have the specs of the Edge Plus, in this case, the price more than makes up the difference. Specs aren’t everything, and the Moto Edge is the proof.

Motorola Edge Press Image
Motorola Edge
Motorola Edge
The incredible value for the Motorola Edge makes it hard to pass up, The specs aren't quite that of the Edge Plus, but everything else about the Motorola Edge shines in a way that should appeal to the majority of consumers.