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I thought Motorola’s new $550 Android phone would be great. I was wrong

Someone holding the Motorola Edge (2024) outside, showing its leather back.
Motorola Edge (2024)
MSRP $550.00
“The Motorola Edge (2024) offers great performance, battery life, and charging speeds. However, those pros are accompanied by a healthy dose of shortcomings.”
Pros
  • Very good OLED screen
  • Smooth and snappy performance
  • Long battery life and fast charging
Cons
  • Cheap-feeling hardware
  • Slow fingerprint sensor
  • No always-on display
  • Extremely mediocre cameras
  • Buggy software with lots of bloatware
  • Just two Android updates

If there was one smartphone lineup that really surprised me last year, it was the Motorola Edge. Last year’s Motorola Edge and Edge Plus handsets both stood out as very solid options, with the former being a good higher-end midrange phone, while the latter was an excellent full-fledged flagship. Naturally, I’ve been looking forward to seeing what Motorola will do with the Edge series in 2024.

The Motorola Edge (2024) is the first Edge phone to launch in the U.S. this year. It touts an impressive spec sheet, an attractive design, and a retail price that’s $50 cheaper than its predecessor. Surely, that’s a recipe for success … right?

Unfortunately, not really. In fact, it’s a pretty disappointing regression. Let me explain.

What I like about the Motorola Edge (2024)

The Motorola Edge (2024) with its display on.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Before I dig into the negatives, there are a few things about the Motorola Edge (2024) that I quite like. We’ll start with the display. It’s a 6.6-inch OLED panel with a 2400 x 1080 resolution. And it looks great! Colors are bright and punchy, blacks are nice and inky, and everything is razor-sharp — whether I’m reading an article or watching a YouTube video.

The Edge (2024) also has a refresh rate that goes up to 144Hz, which you need to enable in the Settings app. Otherwise, it runs in an Auto mode that goes up to 120Hz. That’s how I’ve been using the phone throughout my review period, and I’ve never felt the need to bump it up to 144Hz. Scrolling through Twitter (or X, for you heathens), jumping back and forth between apps, and all other tasks have felt fast and fluid. Still, it’s nice to have the option there, especially for a phone at this price.

Star Wars Hunters running on the Motorola Edge (2024).
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Speaking of fast and fluid, I’ve not had any performance issues with the Edge (2024). Motorola chose a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 chip for the phone, and it’s performed incredibly well. All of my apps have run without any issues, and the 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM has done a fine job with multitasking.

I played a few rounds of the new Star Wars: Hunters game (a few more than I’m happy to admit). Running the game at 60 frames per second (fps) with High graphics settings, it ran flawlessly on the Motorola Edge (2024). I also didn’t notice the phone getting warm at all, something I can’t say about the Honor 200 Pro I was using before this.

Battery page on the Motorola Edge (2024).
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

In typical Motorola fashion, the Edge (2024) delivers great battery life. The phone has a 5,000 mAh battery, and with over three hours of screen time per day, I’ve easily squeezed out two days of use per charge — and that’s with a lot of YouTube and gaming. Even better, the 68-watt wired charging means you can go from zero to 100% battery in a little over 50 minutes.

To wrap things up, here are a few other little things I really like about the Edge (2024):

  • You get 256GB of storage by default.
  • The dual stereo speakers are very loud and sound pretty good.
  • There’s 15W wireless charging.
  • You can use face unlock for apps, and it’s wicked fast.
  • An IP68 rating offers flagship-level dust/water resistance.

That’s a long list of positives, eh? If the Motorola Edge (2024) gets so much right, what gives when it comes to the 5/10 score? I’m glad you asked.

Where the Motorola Edge (2024) falls apart

Someone holding the Motorola Edge (2024) outside.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

My complaints with the Motorola Edge (2024) begin with the hardware. The phone has an aluminum frame with a leather back. On paper, it should be perfectly fine. In practice, I find it oddly off-putting.

For one thing, the Motorola Edge (2024) is light — almost too light. At 174 grams, it’s technically a little heavier than the iPhone 15, but it doesn’t come across that way. It has a hollow, almost toylike feel to it. It’s difficult to explain, but it’s undeniable.

A close-up of the leather on the back of the Motorola Edge (2024).
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

I also don’t like the leather back. It doesn’t look good in the single Midnight Blue color the phone comes in, and it easily attracts skin oil and fingerprint smudges — often making the back look really gross. Funny enough, this isn’t a problem at all on the much cheaper Moto G Stylus 5G (2024) I reviewed earlier this year. The buttons also feel bad. They’re way too tiny and don’t feel good to press.

The Quick Button on the Motorola Edge (2024).
The Motorola Edge’s Quick Button Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Motorola includes a programmable Quick Button on the left side of the phone, which is essentially an Action Button like you’d find on an iPhone 15 Pro. It’s a good idea, but it’s not executed well. The double press is restricted to actions within Motorola’s Ready For app. You can customize the single press to open any app you’d like, which would be cool if the button worked reliably — which it does not. About half the time I press it, the button just doesn’t do anything. It’s a fun idea, but one that could have used more time in the oven.

A few final hardware complaints before I talk about the software. The in-screen fingerprint sensor is sloooowww. It’s accurate, but it takes noticeably longer to scan your fingerprint than it does on almost every other phone I’ve used this year.

Peek Display on the Motorola Edge Plus (2023).
Peek Display on the Motorola Edge Plus (2023) Joe Maring/Digital Trends / Digital Trends

There’s also no always-on display. On a $550 smartphone. In 2024. In fact, even Peek Display seems to have been neutered on this year’s Edge. Peek Display has been a long-standing Motorola feature that allowed you to see the time and weather and interact with your notifications without fully turning on the screen. Tapping the screen still shows you the time, weather, and notification icons, but you can no longer interact with said notifications — and there’s no longer an option in the settings to adjust it.

My final hardware complaint is about the camera. It’s not good. The Motorola Edge (2024) provides a 50-megapixel main camera, a 13MP ultrawide camera, and a 32MP selfie camera. I’ve taken a handful of photos that look pretty decent, but more often than not, the Motorola Edge (2024) produces images that are way too bright, far too saturated, and much too sharp. It also doesn’t perform well in lowlight settings.

Photos from the ultrawide camera lack considerable detail, and selfies often look like I cranked the sharpness level up to 11. When phones like the Pixel 8a offer substantially better camera experiences for less money, the Motorola Edge’s camera shortcomings are difficult to overlook.

Motorola’s ongoing software issues

Motorola Edge (2024) with its Entertainment Folder open.
The Edge’s “Entertainment Folder” is filled with ads and news articles. Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Software used to be a strong suit for Motorola phones. Recently, though, that’s not been the case. I’ve aired my grievances about Motorola’s ongoing software troubles, and unfortunately, they’re all present once more on the Motorola Edge (2024).

It starts with the bloatware. There are four types of bloat on the Edge (2024):

  • A handful of preinstalled apps, including Adobe Scan, Booking.com. and LinkedIn.
  • Shopping, Entertainment, and Gaming Folders. These are folders for your related apps that assault you with advertisements, news articles, and push notifications.
  • One of the worst preinstalled weather apps I’ve ever used. It runs terribly and is filled to the brim with ads, articles, etc.
  • Glance — a very fun and very cool application that shows mindless news articles on your lock screen. It also takes up so much space that you can’t see the contents of your notifications without tapping them.

As I’ve stated in previous Motorola reviews this year, you can uninstall/remove all of these things. As I’ve also stated, the steps for doing that aren’t immediately clear. Further, as annoying as this stuff is on a $200 to $400 Moto G phone, the fact that it’s all just as prevalent on a $550 Motorola Edge makes it feel even worse. When you’re spending this kind of money on a smartphone, it shouldn’t have to be subsidized with ads and bloat — full stop.

Glance on the Motorola Edge (2024) lock screen.
Glance on the lock screen Joe Maring / Digital Trends

I’ve also noticed a lot of bugs on the Motorola Edge (2024), which I didn’t find on other Moto phones this year. When changing the theme/accent color, it sometimes takes hours before the new color applies to the Quick Settings. The back gesture, which is one of the most basic navigations in Android, has been oddly inconsistent. When I swipe down to view a notification on the lock screen, the notification often bounces up and doesn’t expand so I can read its contents. It all makes the Edge feel cheap and unfinished in a way that Motorola devices never used to feel.

Software used to be a strong suit for Motorola phones.

And, of course, there’s the issue of software updates. The Motorola Edge (2024) will get just two years of OS updates and three years of bimonthly security patches. That’s an embarrassing level of software support for a phone this expensive in 2024, and it’s something I’ll continue to harp on Motorola about for as long as it continues.

Motorola Edge (2024) price and availability

Someone holding the Motorola Edge (2024) outside, showing its leather back.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The Motorola Edge (2024) is available now from Amazon, Best Buy, and Motorola’s website. It comes in just one color (Midnight Blue) and can be yours for $550. Later this year, we’ll see the phone head to numerous U.S. carriers — including T-Mobile, Spectrum, Consumer Cellular, Visible, and others.

At $550, the Motorola Edge (2024) finds itself in an awkward position. The Google Pixel 8a is $50 cheaper and has a much nicer camera, vastly better software, and lots of fun AI tricks, too. You have to put up with one-day battery life and slower charging speeds, but you also get a phone that’s promised seven years of updates and doesn’t have any pesky bloatware.

You could also get the OnePlus 12R. It’s the best $500 smartphone I’ve ever used and one of the best phones you can buy in 2024 overall. It has an incredibly nice design, an outstanding display, even better performance, similarly great battery life, and even faster charging. If you can live without wireless charging, it’s a much better purchase.

Hell, even Motorola’s own Moto G Stylus 5G (2024) is a better buy than the Edge (2024). It comes with a few sacrifices, yes, but it shares many of the Edge’s strengths. Plus, it adds a headphone jack, expandable storage, and a built-in stylus — all for just $400.

Should you buy the Motorola Edge (2024)?

The Motorola Edge (2024) standing upright against a white railing.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

I’m not going to beat around the bush with this one. I don’t think you should buy the Motorola Edge (2024). It’s a blunt answer, and it’s also a frustrating one for me to give.

After reviewing the Moto G Power earlier this year and seeing Digital Trends staff writer Christine Romero-Chan’s review of the new Moto G 5G, I started to get a bad feeling. Had Motorola lost its touch? After launching so many solid smartphones in 2023, had the company suddenly fallen into a slump? Then this year’s Moto G Stylus came along, and I was thoroughly impressed; Motorola clearly still had some magic in it.

But now that I’ve reviewed the Motorola Edge (2024), I’m not sure what to think. Motorola nailed the fundamentals with this one — a quality display, good performance, long battery life, and fast charging — but it completely dropped the ball with everything else.

A close-up of the Motorola "M" logo on the Motorola Edge (2024).
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The hardware feels cheap and not pleasing to use. The cameras are very disappointing for a phone at this price. The software is buggy, ruined with bloatware, and plagued by Motorola’s poor update policy. If I were reviewing a cheaper Moto G, I’d be willing to let some of these things slide. But on a $550 smartphone in the Edge series — which is supposed to be Motorola’s flagship smartphone lineup — I can’t do that.

I don’t think you should buy the Motorola Edge (2024).

There are things to like about the Motorola Edge (2024). But its positives are weighed down by far too many shortcomings. There could have been a good phone here, but due to a mix of hardware and software failures, it ends up being one you should probably ignore.

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