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The Motorola Edge (2022) could be a great Pixel 6a alternative

The Motorola Edge (2022) has been announced as Motorola’s latest handset for 2022, and it feels like a lot of other Moto phones we’ve seen over the last couple of years. It has a big display, a large battery, clean Android software, and a competitive price tag — especially if you buy it on a carrier or an unlocked model during Motorola’s limited promotional period.

If you’ve seen a previous Motorola Edge phone before, a lot about the Edge (2022) will be immediately familiar. But there are also a couple of new tricks that should (hopefully) make it stand out as one of Motorola’s better mid-tier offerings.

Design and screen

The front of the Motorola Edge (2022) with the display on.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The Motorola Edge (2022) looks nearly identical to the Edge+ (2022) and Moto G 5G … and numerous other Motorola handsets not released in North America. It has a large display with rounded corners, a centered hole-punch camera cutout in the center at the top, and a round, rectangular camera hump on the back.

The entire thing is also made out of plastic. It’s great at making the Edge (2022) incredibly lightweight (it’s only 170 grams), but it also means that the phone feels very cheap when you hold it. Handsets like the Galaxy A53 5G and Google Pixel 6a are proof you can use plastic and still retain a quality in-hand feel, but the Edge (2022) doesn’t quite cross that mark. That’s far from a deal-breaker, but the minute I picked up the Edge (2022) during my brief hands-on session, that cheap feeling is what stood out to me right away. For a device Motorola’s touting as an entry in its “premium” product portfolio, I was expecting more.

What is impressive, however, is the display. The Motorola Edge (2022) ships with a 6.6-inch OLED panel. It supports HDR10+, a 144Hz refresh rate, and  Full HD resolution. And it looked great during my hands-on time with the Edge (2022)! Colors are super vibrant, text is plenty crisp, and the refresh rate keeps everything flowing as smoothly as you could ask for. I need a lot more time with the Edge (2022) to form more conclusive thoughts, but out of everything the Edge (2022) has going for it, the display stands out as one of its best qualities.

Everything else for the hardware on the Motorola Edge (2022) is a pretty typical affair. There’s a USB-C port on the bottom, stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos support, an under-display fingerprint sensor, and an NFC chip for contactless payments — something that’s not always a guarantee with Motorola devices. What is disappointing, however, is the IP52 water resistance rating. It’s fine protection for basic splashes and light spills, but a far cry from the IP67 and IP68 protection offered on other phones.

Processor, battery, and camera

The Motorola Edge (2022) laying on the arm of a chair.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

One of the more unique aspects of the Motorola Edge (2022) is its processor. Instead of a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, the Edge (2022) is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 1050. It’s the first phone in the U.S. with that chip and continues Motorola’s trend of opting for MediaTek over Qualcomm, just as it did with the Moto G 5G earlier this year.

The Dimensity 1050 is a 6nm chip with an octa-core CPU — including two Cortex A78 cores clocked at 2.5GHz, in addition to six Cortex A55 cores. It also comes with a Mali G610 MC3 GPU for graphics, Wi-Fi 6E support, and both sub-6 and mmWave 5G. The Dimensity 1050 seemed to perform quite well during my time with the Edge (2022), but it’ll be interesting to see how the chip holds up when I can actually rock the Motorola phone as my daily driver versus a few minutes during a short product briefing. System apps opened quickly and pages scrolled smoothly, but it remains to be seen if the Edge (2022) will be a good performer for robust multitasking and graphically intense games. Alongside the Dimensity 1050, you also get either 6GB or 8GB of RAM and 128 or 256GB of storage.

A close-up photo of the camera module on the Motorola Edge (2022).
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Battery is often a big focus for Motorola phones, and the Edge (2022) is no different. It ships with a 5,000 mAh battery that Motorola says is enough for up to two days of use. When it eventually runs out, the Edge (2022) supports 30W wired charging and 15W wireless charging. You can also use it to charge other Qi-compatible devices with 4.5W reverse wireless charging.

Then, of course, there’s the camera system. It’s an area where Motorola phones often trail behind their competitors, and the Edge (2022) is trying to (kind of) change that. The main camera is a 50MP sensor with f/1.8 aperture, phase detection autofocus, and optical image stabilization. It’s the first baseline Edge phone to come with OIS, hopefully making lowlight and nighttime photography significantly better than previous Edge models. The 13MP ultrawide camera is also a fine addition, though the 2MP depth sensor is difficult to get excited about. And for all of your selfie needs, the front of the Motorola Edge (2022) has a 32MP shooter.

Software and updates

The 'about phone' page on the Motorola Edge (2022).
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Another problem Motorola’s trying to address with the Edge (2022) is software updates. Motorola is infamous for offering some of the worst software support in the Android world, often promising just one or two software updates and nothing more.

This is something I — and many of my colleagues/friends in this industry — have harped on Motorola for years. And, thankfully, it looks like all of that complaining is starting to take hold. The Motorola Edge (2022) is promised three years of OS upgrades and four years of bi-monthly security updates. It’s not quite as strong as Samsung’s four years of OS upgrades, but it’s a marked step forward from what we typically see from the company.

As for the software available on the phone out of the box, the Motorola Edge (2022) ships with Android 12 and Motorola’s My UX interface. Android 12 on the Edge (2022) looks identical to Android 12 on a Pixel handset, though it’s also paired with the usual assortment of Motorola software goodies.

Price and availability

The front of the Motorola Edge (2022) with its display on.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

So, what’s all of this going to run you? The Motorola Edge (2022) is initially launching on T-Mobile “in the coming weeks” and will cost $489. From there, it’ll head to AT&T, Verizon, Spectrum Mobile, US Cellular, and Visible — presumably at (or around) the same price.

The Motorola Edge (2022) will also be available unlocked at Amazon, Best Buy, and on Motorola’s website. For a “limited time,” you’ll be able to purchase it for $499. But when that promotional pricing ends, the Edge (2022) will shoot up to $599.

At first glance, it’s easy to be dismissive about the Motorola Edge (2022). The design isn’t inspiring, the secondary camera sensors are as lukewarm as it gets, and IP52 protection leaves a lot to be desired. But if you take your cynical glasses off for a minute, you start to see the potential of what Motorola’s crafted. $499 for a 144Hz display, clean Android 12 software, three years of updates, and a huge 5,000 mAh battery is a really enticing package.

A lot of that value hinges on the performance of the MediaTek chip and Motorola’s upgraded 50MP primary camera, but if those things pull through the way the company’s touting, we could be looking at a great entry in the mid-tier space. I would have much rather seen Motorola bring the X30 Pro or the Razr 2022 to the States instead of another value flagship offering, but if this is the route Motorola’s committed to for the U.S., the Edge (2022) at least looks like one of its better attempts yet.

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Joe Maring
Section Editor, Mobile
Joe Maring is the Section Editor for Digital Trends' Mobile team, leading the site's coverage for all things smartphones…
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