Motorola took a year off from the flagship smartphone market in 2019, but it didn’t give up. The company has returned with the Moto Edge+, a new Android flagship with a 6.7-inch curved OLED display, 5G, and a 108MP camera. It’s a Verizon Wireless exclusive that sells for $999.
I’ll start with the display, since it’s stands out to me most. The 6.7-inch display follows the trend of huge flagship phones but adds its own twist: A 90-degree wraparound OLED display. While wraparound displays aren’t new, the Moto Edge+ has particularly dramatic curves. As a result, the phone has no noticeable bezel on either side (when held viewed from the front).
Motorola is a big fan of using subtle software tricks to define its phones, and the Moto Edge+ is no different. The display’s sides will offer a “pill” interface that can be used to control Android 10’s gestures. Instead of using a more dramatic swipe across the screen to open the app drawer, for example, you can instead slightly move the “pill,” which hangs out on the phone’s edge.
The goal is better one-handed use, something large phones struggle with, but I haven’t used it enough to make a judgement yet.
Otherwise, the display is a typical flagship phone screen. It’s 6.7 inches with a 21:9 aspect ratio, has a 90Hz refresh rate, and serves up 10-bit color with HDR+10 support. It’s all very impressive, as all flagship phones are, but the Edge+ doesn’t have an obvious lead on the spec sheet.
The screen is flanked with speakers tuned by Waves, a Grammy Award-winning audio company. If you want to bring your own audio, though, you can go old school with a pair of wired cans. The Moto Edge+ has a 3.5mm audio jack.
Some things the Moto Edge+ notably lacks are a durability and water resistance certification. Motorola says the phone is “water-repellent” to protect against “moderate exposure” but specifically states the phone isn’t designed to be submerged.
I was willing to forgive this on the Moto G Stylus and Moto G Power, a pair of budget phones, but buyers have come to expect significant water resistance on flagship devices. It’s a feature I’d certainly miss if I owned the Moto Edge+, as I’ve become used to placing my phone near water without worry.
The Moto Edge+ has a 108MP main camera that offers both Quad Pixel and Ultra-Res shooting mode. This all gets a bit technical, so hang on to something.
In Quad Pixel mode, the 108MP main camera uses “pixel binning” to combine the light of four pixels into one. That resulting output resolution is only 27MP (which, frankly, is still great), but performance in mediocre lighting is improved. This isn’t new technology, and it’s worked reasonably well in past phones with the feature.
Ultra-Res, on the other hand, shoots at the full 108MP. That’s frankly overkill for most situations, but if you want to shoot massive photos, you have the option. Its most useful trait is the ability to offer enhanced digital zoom, particularly in scenes with excellent lighting. Because the image is so large, you can zoom in significantly without much of a hit to image quality.
That’s just the main camera. Like all modern flagships, the Moto Edge+ is adorned with sensors and glass. It also has an 8MP telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom and a 16MP ultrawide lens with a 117-degree field of view. A time-of-flight sensor, Macro photo mode, and 6K video recording round out the high-end camera features.
Despite this, I’m not sure the Moto Edge+ has one camera feature that’s truly distinctive. Samsung and Xiaomi already offer a 108MP camera on certain flagships, and Samsung flagships have 8K video recording. I’m sure the Moto Edge+ will take nice photos, but it may be like the OnePlus 8 Pro — excellent but not necessarily a reason to buy the phone.
The Moto Edge+ has a large 5000mAh battery that is promised to last “more than two full days” on a charge. That promise represents light use, but it’s probably obtainable if you pull out the phone for only a few hours each day. I expect the battery will last a full day, with plenty to spare, in more typical use.
An 18-watt TurboCharge feature will let you add several hours of battery life in a few minutes. The phone can be charged through USB-C or wirelessly (at 15 watts) and has a 5-watt wireless power share feature to fill up other devices.
Motorola certainly hasn’t skimped on performance. The Edge+ has the latest Snapdragon 865 processor paired with 12GB of DDR5 memory and 256GB of UFS 3.0 storage that, according to Motorola, supports read speeds of 800MB/s.
It’s a solid combination of traits, but like other specifications, not unusual for a flagship phone. I expect the phone’s performance will be excellent, though not quite up to par with the latest iPhones from Apple.
The Snapdragon 865 also includes support for 5G networks, and that’s where Motorola is placing its flag in the ground. The company says the Edge+ can obtain network speeds up to 4Gbps. That’s thanks to its support of both sub-6GHz and mmWave networks. It also should work on 5G networks across the globe. Plus, if you’re at home on Wi-Fi, you should see great performance thanks to Wi-Fi 6 support (if you have a router that supports the same).
The Moto Edge+ is the new flagship, but it’s joined by a similar phone called the Moto Edge. It retains the curved 90HZ OLED display but cuts costs in a few areas.
A Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 processor is used instead of 865, so the Edge will only support Sub-6GHz 5G networks. It also has 4GB of RAM instead of 12GB and only 128GB of storage instead of 256GB. It has a 4,500mAh battery instead of 5,000mAh. The main camera is a 64MP shooter instead of 108MP, but other specifications don’t budge.
These changes should make the Moto Edge available at a lower price point. How much lower? That’s not clear. Exact pricing and availability remains to be announced.
Motorola is hosting a launch event at noon ET/9 a.m. PT on April 22. You can watch it here.
The Moto Edge+ will be available on May 14 for $999. It’s exclusive to Verizon Wireless in the U.S. Availability and pricing for the Moto Edge remains to be announced.
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