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Motorola Edge vs. OnePlus 8: Which is better for $700?

2020 has been the year of making big strides for Motorola and OnePlus. Both companies launched a duo of smartphones that represent its brand values, while carrying specs worthy of competing with the old guards of Apple and Samsung. The two also established themselves as front-runners for the best affordable flagship with the Motorola Edge and OnePlus 8.

Both devices sport similar specs, multiple cameras, and large batteries and are priced the same at $700. So which one should you buy? We break down all the categories that make for an ideal smartphone and give you our input on which new offering is the best bang for your buck.

Specs

Motorola Edge
OnePlus 8
Size 161.6 x 71.1 x 9.3mm (6.36 x 2.80 x 0.37 inches) 160.2 x 72.9 x 8mm (6.31 x 2.87 x 0.31 inches)
Weight 188 grams (6.63 ounces) 180 grams (6.35 ounces)
Screen size 6.7-inch OLED (90Hz) 6.55-inch AMOLED (90Hz)
Screen resolution 2,340 x 1,080 pixels (385 pixels per inch) 2,400 x 1,080 pixels (402 pixels per inch)
Operating system Android 10 (under Motorola My UX) Android 10 (under OxygenOS)
Storage 128GB 128GB, 256GB
MicroSD card slot Yes No
Tap-to-pay services Google Pay Google Pay
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
RAM 6GB 8GB, 12GB
Camera 64-megapixel wide-angle, 16MP ultra-wide, 8MP telephoto rear, and time-of-flight depth, 25MP front 48-megapixel wide-angle, 12MP ultra-wide, 2MP macro rear, 16MP front
Video Up to 4K at 30 fps, 1080p up to 60 fps Up to 4K at 60 fps, 1080p at 340 fps
Bluetooth version 5.1 5.1
Ports USB-C USB-C
Fingerprint sensor Yes (under display) Yes (under display)
Water resistance No No (IP68 on T-Mobile and Verizon models)
Battery 4,500mAh

Fast charging (18W)

4,300mAh

Warp Charge fast-charging (30W)

App marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support Verizon support coming soon Verizon, T-Mobile
Colors Solar Black, Midnight Magenta Onyx Black, Glacial Green, Interstellar Glow, Polar Silver
Prices $700+ $700+
Buy from Motorola OnePlus
Review score 3.5 out of 5 stars 3 out of 5 stars

Design, display, and durability

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

In terms of display, the difference between the Motorola Edge and OnePlus 8 is very minute. They’re tall, colorful, 1080p, and boast 90Hz refresh rates for buttery-smooth scrolling. There’s also a punch hole camera situated at the upper-left corner of both devices.

You’ll notice a more drastic difference when holding these premium pieces of hardware. The Motorola Edge has a larger screen at 6.7 inches, and the 19.5:9 aspect ratio isn’t uncomfortable to hold, despite being noticeably taller. The waterfall edges give off the illusion the content on your phone is spilling off as you glide your finger around. A downside, however, is that accidental palm touches are common, and there’s a glare that bounces off both sides in brighter environments. The back of the Motorola Edge is plastic, though it’s reflective and elegant like glass. We suggest throwing on a case if you want it to stay that way.

The OnePlus 8 takes a different route with its back cover, going for a matte-glass finish — a design that we’re accustomed to with OnePlus devices. It feels more slippery, but is less prone to scratches and fingerprints than the Motorola Edge. The 6.55-inch display is flatter as well, and the corners of the device are more rounded, allowing it to rest smoothly in your hand.

If there’s any reason to look elsewhere, it’s the fact that neither devices have an IP certification (unless you buy the OnePlus 8 from Verizon or -Mobile), meaning they’ll survive from raindrops and splashes, but not a dive in the bathtub. Durability seems to be an ongoing aspect that OEMs omit as it costs more to invest in, but both devices bring practical designs that any consumer will enjoy having. OnePlus edges Motorola in this round.

Winner: OnePlus 8

Performance, battery life, and charging

Motorola Edge screen adjustment menu
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Motorola Edge is only available in a 6GB RAM model, backed by a Snapdragon 765G. It’s enough to power you through a Twitter feed, and some emailing on the side, but will encounter some hiccups when handling more graphic-intensive apps. On the other hand, the OnePlus 8 starts at 8GB of RAM, with the option of 12GB for an extra $100. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 865 chipset, and with Fnatic-sponsored gaming mode turned on, lag and slow-downs are less common. Base storage for both devices is 128GB. The OnePlus 8 is upgradable to 256GB, and the Motorola Edge can go up to 1TB via microSD card.

With a larger 4,500mAh battery, the Motorola Edge will easily get you a day and half of usage. Comparatively, the OnePlus 8’s 4,300mAh cell should present similar results. Where it lacks in battery size, it makes up for with faster charging. The OnePlus 8 comes with Warp Charge 30T, taking its battery to 50% in about 20 minutes, and a tad over an hour to top up fully. You won’t find wireless charging on either devices though.

For having more future-proof internals and industry-leading wired charging, the OnePlus 8 wins it in this category.

Winner: OnePlus 8

Cameras

Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends.com

Comparing stills of different smartphones can be fairly subjective, so let’s break them down. The OnePlus 8 features a 48-megapixel wide-angle main lens paired with a 16-megapixel ultra-wide lens, and a 2-megapixel macro lens. While you get a triple-camera setup similar to that of $1,000 flagships, the results will remind you of why it doesn’t cost the same. Quick point-and-shoots won’t give you Instagram-worthy shots and low-light photography is subpar — decent at best. What the OnePlus does well is software tuning, which requires a steady hand and a little patience. Video-recording gives you the flexibility of shooting up to 4K at 60 fps and 1080p at 240 fps.

The Motorola Edge sports a similar triple-camera setup: a 64-megapixel main lens, 16-megapixel ultrawide, and an 8-megapixel telephoto. A time-of-flight sensor aids in portrait shots, to give you that blurred out bokeh effect. Like the OnePlus 8, the Edge’s flexibility in camera lens doesn’t make up for the fact that there’s variation in color and exposure throughout. Sure, you can tweak the pictures in post, but not everyone has the time for that. Video-recording capabilities only go up to 4K at 30 fps, but perform really well. Electronic image stabilization is available on all three cameras, and colors in general look natural.

While you’re not getting any fancy camera features like 8K recording or variable aperture, both the OnePlus 8 and Motorola Edge will perform adequately for day-to-day pictures and videos.

Winner: Tie

Software and updates

OnePlus 8
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The OnePlus 8 runs on OxygenOS 10.5, based on Android 10. It’s a fan favorite due to the balance of a stock Android appearance and enough customization options to still make it personal. My UX, Motorola’s flavor of Android, offers a similar approach. It’s minimal but incorporates enough features like Edge Touch to take advantage of all the hardware aspects of the device.

OnePlus has a positive track record when it comes to software updates, and Motorola will surely want to keep the Edge series running for as long as possible, being their premier flagship in 2020. You can expect at least two years of updates from both manufacturers. It’s a tie.

Winner: Tie

Special features

Motorola Edge Moto Action menu
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Now for the extras, the benchwarmers, the special features that keep these devices afloat in a sea of $700 smartphones. The Motorola Edge retains Motorola’s classic Moto Actions — motion gestures that trigger specific functions. You can make a chopping motion to turn on and off the flashlight, twist your wrist to quick launch the camera, or reach for your phone to reveal notifications. The Edge also features a 3.5mm headphone jack, a rare sight in 2020.

While the OnePlus 8 doesn’t have as many flashy features, it does include Zen Mode. As we become more reliant on our smartphones to handle everyday tasks, Zen Mode reminds you that you don’t need it to stay focused and productive. After a timer is set, it puts your device in a deep freeze, similar to Do Not Disturb on most phones.

Both devices are 5G-ready so you’ll be able to take advantage of the improved connection speeds when it hits your area.

Winner: Motorola Edge

Price and availability

The OnePlus 8 starts at $700 for the 128GB version with 8GB of RAM. You can pick one up today at OnePlus or a local Verizon and T-Mobile store. The Motorola Edge is available for 549 British pounds (about $700) for the version with 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM. While it’s currently sold in the U.K., a release in the U.S. has been indicated, and will most likely be a Verizon exclusive like the Motorola Edge Plus.

Overall winner: OnePlus 8

For the same price, and better performance overall, the OnePlus 8 is the winner of this comparison. The device showcases a design that you can’t really complain about. It’s built beautifully and has an ample amount of RAM and a 90Hz display that works in harmony with Oxygen OS. Nationwide availability in the U.S. is the cherry on top for OnePlus.

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