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Motorola Edge (2022) review: Don’t ignore this surprise Android hit

The Motorola Edge (2022).
Motorola Edge (2022)
MSRP $499.00
“The Motorola Edge (2022) wasn't on my radar at all this year, but in practice, it stands tall as one of the best smartphones you can buy for under $500.”
  • Super lightweight
  • 144Hz display feels amazing
  • MediaTek chip performs great
  • Excellent battery life with wireless charging
  • Clean software with useful features
  • 3 years of guaranteed OS updates
  • Plastic design looks and feels cheap
  • Water resistance is only IP52
  • Mediocre cameras

The Motorola Edge (2022) isn’t a smartphone that I had on my radar at all going into 2022, and that’s largely due to Motorola’s smartphone strategy over the last few years. The company launches numerous handsets over the course of a year, hopes that something sticks, and then does it all over again. More often than not, this results in a bunch of smartphones that are perfectly adequate but fail to stand out in any meaningful way. I fully expected the Motorola Edge (2022) to be another example of that, but it quickly proved me wrong.

Is the Motorola Edge (2022) a perfect smartphone? Not by any means. But it’s also one of the strongest showings I’ve seen from the company in a long time. The Edge (2022) has great specs, a competitive price, and fixes some of my biggest problems with recent Moto phones. I didn’t go into 2022 expecting to be so impressed with a Motorola handset, but the Edge (2022) has happily proved me wrong. Let’s dig in.

Motorola Edge (2022): design

The Motorola Edge (2022).
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

If there’s one word to describe the Motorola Edge (2022)’s design, it’d be “practical” There’s nothing overly flashy or interesting about how the phone looks, but it also doesn’t get in the way of daily use. So long as you aren’t a stickler for aesthetics.

The biggest thing to take note of is that the Motorola Edge (2022) is made entirely of plastic — and you immediately notice that when picking up the phone. Compared to the Pixel 6a with its plastic back and aluminum frame, the Motorola Edge lacks a refined, premium feeling that competing handsets in this price range do. The same goes for the phone’s eye appeal. The single Mineral Gray color is as bland as it gets, the back plastic attracts fingerprints within seconds, and the rear camera housing looks just like the dozen other phones Motorola’s released over the last few months.

But it’s not all bad. If you can look past the cheap in-hand feel and abundant fingerprints, the Motorola Edge (2022) also gets some important things right. Thanks to its all-plastic build, the Motorola Edge weighs just 170g. That’s 8g lighter than the Pixel 6a, 19g lighter than the Galaxy A53 5G, and 34g lighter than the iPhone 13 Pro. That’s made even more impressive considering that the Motorola Edge (2022) has a 6.6-inch screen. As much as I don’t like the gray color or fingerprinty back, I’ve loved how easy the Motorola Edge is to hold. It’s comfortable to have in one hand and never feels fatiguing after prolonged use.

In-screen fingerprint sensor on the Motorola Edge (2022).
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

I’ve also been very impressed with the Motorola Edge’s in-screen fingerprint sensor. Motorola usually relies on side-mounted sensors, but for the Edge (2022), Motorola shifted to an in-screen one. And it’s excellent! It’s fast, reliable, and lightyears better than the in-screen fingerprint sensors on the Pixel 6 family.

My biggest annoyance with the Motorola Edge (2022) is its IP52 dust and water resistance rating. IP52 means the Motorola Edge is protected against dust and debris but is not fully dust-tight. Furthermore, it’s only rated to survive dripping water at various angles — not full water submersion of any kind.

Motorola Edge (2022): screen

The Motorola Edge (2022).
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

As much as I wish the Motorola Edge (2022) has stronger waterproofing, its paltry IP52 rating is easier to digest every time I look at its screen. The Edge (2022) is equipped with a 6.6-inch OLED screen. That screen has a Full HD resolution, HDR10+ support, and a variable refresh rate that goes all the way up to 144Hz — faster than the 90 and 120Hz displays seen on devices from Samsung, Google, and Apple.

The screen on the Motorola Edge (2022) is great.

In practice, the screen on the Motorola Edge (2022) is great. Colors are bright and punchy, the screen gets bright enough for outdoor use, and the 144Hz refresh rate is incredibly smooth. From opening apps, doomscrolling Twitter, and navigating subreddits, everything on the Edge (2022) moves with near-perfect fluidity. And not only is it smooth, but interacting with the phone also feels lightning quick.

A 120Hz screen probably would have been just as good, and I likely wouldn’t be able to notice much of a difference, if any. But considering how snappy the Motorola Edge (2022) has been for me, I’m certainly not complaining that Motorola went all out with 144Hz. It’s been nothing but a joy to use.

The Motorola Edge (2022).
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

That said, a perfect OLED screen this is not. Firstly, looking at the screen from an angle quickly distorts things. My quick settings toggles have a tannish/pinkish color, but if I look at them from any angle, they take on a yellowish appearance. This isn’t uncommon with OLED panels on more affordable handsets, and the Motorola Edge (2022) isn’t an exception to that rule. I’ve also noticed that some colors just don’t look quite right on the Edge (2022) — specifically, greens and yellows. When I’m doing a Duolingo session and my progress bar turns yellow, it’s such a bright yellow that it looks like someone cranked up the saturation levels a bit too much.

Are these deal-breaking complaints? Not at all. They’re reminders of the Edge’s lower price, but they’re not enough to detract from an otherwise great screen. So long as you don’t look at the phone from an angle and won’t be doing any work that requires a perfectly color-calibrated screen, this is a display that’ll you’ll be happy with.

Motorola Edge (2022): performance

Call of Duty: Mobile on the Motorola Edge (2022).
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

One of the most interesting specs on the Motorola Edge (2022) is hiding under the hood. Instead of opting for a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip like most smartphones in the U.S., Motorola chose a MediaTek chip for the Edge (2022) — specifically, the MediaTek Dimensity 1050. Announced earlier this year, the Dimensity 1050 is a 6nm octa-core chip. There are two Cortex-A78 cores clocked at 2500MHz, plus six Cortex-A55 at 2000MHz. There’s also a Mali-G610 GPU, Wi-Fi 6E, and mmWave 5G – a first for any MediaTek chip.

For some people, the MediaTek name holds a negative connotation in the mobile space. MediaTek chips used to trail behind competing ones from Qualcomm, and combined with few and far opportunities to buy a MediaTek phone in the States, it’s understandable why that image remains for some people. But MediaTek has made significant gains with its mobile chipsets in recent years, and the Dimensity 1050 is a phenomenal example of that.

The Dimensity 1050 has rarely left me yearning for more horsepower.

I’ve used the Motorola Edge (2022) for everything and anything. It’s been my shopping companion to multitask between my shopping list and Target app, has streamed multiple hours of Twitch and YouTube videos, and sees frequent use of Twitter, Reddit, Chrome, and Microsoft Teams every single day. No matter what I’ve thrown at the Edge (2022), it’s handled it with ease. Is it the absolute fastest smartphone I’ve ever used? No. But the Dimensity 1050 has rarely left me yearning for more horsepower.

A render of the MediaTek Dimensity 1050 processor.

The MediaTek Dimensity 1050 has also proven its worth with gaming. Playing Call of Duty: Mobile — with graphics set to High and frame rate set to Max — the Motorola Edge (2022) handled the title just fine. I encountered some jittery frames here and there, but nowhere near enough to make the game unenjoyable to play. So long as you don’t go into it expecting the same flagship performance found on a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, the MediaTek Dimensity 1050 does just fine here.

Perhaps what impressed me the most with the Dimensity 1050 is that it churns out this power without heating up too much. Even after watching Twitch or playing CoD: Mobile for an hour or longer, the Motorola Edge (2022) never feels uncomfortably warm. It still heats up a little bit, but it’s significantly cooler than the Pixel 6a and its toasty Google Tensor chip.

Motorola Edge (2022): 5G connectivity

5G logo on the Motorola Edge (2022).
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

As noted above, the Dimensity 1050 marks the first MediaTek chip with mmWave 5G support, but is that 5G any good? To find out, I ran multiple speed tests on the Motorola Edge (2022) while reviewing the phone, and compared those side-by-side with speed tests run on the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1-powered Galaxy Z Flip 4. With both phones connected to T-Mobile’s 5G network in southwest Michigan, here’s what I got:

Motorola Edge (2022) download speeds Galaxy Z Flip 4 download speeds
117Mbps 176Mbps
82.8Mbps 105Mbps
399Mbps 368Mbps
414Mbps 420Mbps
489Mbps 535Mbps
593Mbps 608Mbps

Starting with download speeds, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is almost always faster than the Motorola Edge (2022), though just slightly. In the six tests shown here, the Motorola Edge (2022) has an average download speed of 349Mbps versus the Z Flip 4’s average speed of 363Mbps.

Motorola Edge (2022) upload speeds Galaxy Z Flip 4 upload speeds
6.53Mbps 9.23Mbps
0.75Mbps 1.81Mbps
14.8Mbps 10.9Mbps
26.6Mbps 11.6Mbps
25.1Mbps 20Mbps
32.2Mbps 42.4Mbps

Interestingly, the MediaTek chip slightly outperforms Qualcomm’s 5G upload speeds. After six tests, the Motorola Edge (2022) averages at 17Mbps, and the Galaxy Z Flip 4 has an average of about 15Mbps.

These aren’t substantial differences either way, and that’s exactly what I was hoping to see. MediaTek’s 5G modem may not be quite as fast for 5G download speeds, but it’s not something the average person would ever notice in daily use. If you want a smartphone that’ll give you a fast and reliable 5G connection, the Motorola Edge (2022)  and its MediaTek chip more than fit the bill.

Motorola Edge (2022): camera

Rear cameras on the Motorola Edge (2022).
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Looking at the camera system, the Motorola Edge (2022) has a fairly solid lineup of sensors. At least on paper. There’s a 50MP main camera with OIS, plus a 13MP ultrawide camera with a 120-degree field-of-view that doubles as a macro camera. The 2MP depth sensor on the back appears to just be there for vanity’s sake, while the front of the phone touts a 32MP selfie camera.

I certainly wouldn’t call this camera setup “bad” or “unusable,” but there’s also nothing noteworthy about it. The 50MP main camera has been hit-or-miss in my testing. Sometimes, it produces a very nice-looking photo with great detail and pleasing colors. Other times, the colors become washed out or too saturated — particularly if there’s too much direct sunlight in the area. I’ve snapped some pictures with the Edge (2022) that I’m quite happy with, but for every great photo I get, there’s another one that’s completely forgettable or not something I’d want to share. The second photo of my dog makes his fur look far too orange, while the white flower in the next image is overexposed and too bright.

Speaking of photos I don’t want to share, the Motorola Edge (2022) really struggles with lowlight photography. At their best, nighttime photos look muted with soft details. At their worst, they’re a blurry, pixelated mess that’s almost impressively bad. The addition of OIS helps, but nearly enough that the Motorola Edge (2022) will be competing with the iPhone 13 Pro or Pixel 6 any time soon.

Things are better with the 13MP ultrawide camera. You obviously lose finer details compared to the 50MP main camera, but it produces consistent colors and has a fairly generous 120-degree field-of-view.

I’ve also had a lot of fun playing with the included macro mode it enables. The lack of OIS means taking macro pictures in lowlight environments is all but impossible, but so long as there’s decent lighting, you can get some really neat images with it.

Finally, the 32MP selfie camera has been somewhat disappointing. Photos look fine at first glance, but examine them more closely, and there’s a surprising lack of detail in my face in both shots. The portrait mode effect with the selfie shooter could also be improved, as it often leaves rough edges or distracting halos.

I’m not at all surprised by the Motorola Edge’s mediocre camera performance. This is a department where Motorola has often struggled, and the Edge (2022) doesn’t do anything significant to change that. The cameras here are fine and get the job done for casually sharing pictures on social media, but don’t expect it to be well-suited for anything beyond that.

Motorola Edge (2022): battery life and charging

Battery page on the Motorola Edge (2022).
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Battery life is often a focal point for Motorola handsets, and the Edge (2022) is no different. Inside the phone is a 5,000mAh battery, and in my testing, it’s made it extremely easy to make it through at least a day and a half on a single charge. And for some users, two days of use is very possible.

On a day with lighter use — including 40 minutes of Twitter, 10 minutes of YouTube, and frequent use of Telegram and Outlook — I still had 65% battery remaining with 2 hours and 17 minutes of screen time and over 15 hours of total uptime. On a day with much heavier use — including 45 minutes of Twitch streaming and 46 minutes playing Call of Duty: Mobile, among other things — I ended the day with over 16 hours of uptime, nearly five hours of screen time, and 34% battery still left in the tank. I didn’t charge the phone overnight and kept using it the next day, finally draining it to 3% following nearly 30 hours of use with six hours and 36 minutes of screen time. Simply put, battery life on the Motorola Edge (2022) is outstanding.

Better yet, your charging options are also quite good. The Edge (2022) supports 30W wired charging, which gives the phone 20% battery after 10 minutes, nearly 60% after 30 minutes, and a full charge in a little over an hour. You also get 15W wireless charging, plus 5W reverse wireless charging.

Motorola Edge (2022): software and updates

Android 12 logo on the Motorola Edge (2022).
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The Motorola Edge (2022) ships with Android 12 out of the box, paired with Motorola’s My UX interface. Motorola’s take on Android has long been one of my favorites, as it’s essentially the same UI you’d find on a Google Pixel, plus some added features that are legitimately useful.

All of the Android 12 staples, including the redesigned Quick Settings page and wallpaper-based theme engine, are fully intact on the Motorola Edge (2022). The interface is clean, simple, and extremely responsive for whatever you’re doing. The real magic, though, is how Motorola retains that “stock Android” simplicity while also making it better.

You can chop the phone to turn on your flashlight, twist it a couple of times to open the camera app, and Motorola’s Peek Display remains one of the best always-on screens in the business — allowing you to dismiss and interact with notifications without powering on the entire display. The Edge (2022) also supports Motorola’s Rady For platform, allowing you to connect it to a Windows PC or Miracast TV for big-screen experiences.

None of these features are new for a Motorola smartphone, but what is new is Motorola’s improved update policy. In the past, Motorola phones have often been promised just one major Android update — or two if the company was feeling generous — and nothing more. With the Motorola Edge (2022), however, Motorola is promising three years of Android updates and four years of bi-monthly security updates. That’s still not as good as the update policy you get with Samsung and Apple phones, but it is a significant step forward for Motorola, and one I’m incredibly happy to see.

Motorola Edge (2022): price and availability

The Motorola Edge (2022) is available now in the U.S. through T-Mobile and will be coming later to AT&T, Verizon, Spectrum Mobile, and other carriers. Additionally, an unlocked version of the phone is available for pre-order now at Amazon, Best Buy, and Motorola’s website.

T-Mobile is selling the Edge (2022) for $498, while the unlocked model can be pre-ordered for $499. Normal sales are set to begin on September 22. It’s important to note, however, that the $499 unlocked price is a “limited time launch price.” The unlocked variant will eventually shoot up to $599, though Motorola hasn’t said when that’ll happen.

This year’s sleeper hit Android phone

The Motorola Edge (2022).
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

As I noted at the top of this review, the Motorola Edge (2022) wasn’t a phone on my radar at all, and I think that goes for most people. But after using it and seeing everything it brings to the table, I’ve come away eager to recommend it.

Like with most phones, that recommendation comes with a couple of caveats. If you want a phone with excellent cameras, a more premium design, and something a bit easier on the wallet, the $449 Pixel 6a remains a fantastic device. The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is also great, delivering better cameras and a more reliable IP67 water resistance rating.  This is also all under the assumption you’re getting the Motorola Edge (2022) for $499. At that price, the phone is an excellent deal. But if Motorola’s asking you to pay the $599 price it’ll eventually shoot up to, you’re getting into the territory of handsets like the Pixel 6 and Galaxy S22.

Those caveats aside, the Motorola Edge (2022) is the most positive I’ve been about a Motorola phone in years. It’s fast, lasts forever, has features like NFC and wireless charging, and comes with a software update policy that won’t leave you in the dust a year from now. It all creates a really good package and one that has me hopeful for where Motorola goes next.

Editors' Recommendations

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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