Motorola returns to form with new Edge+ and Edge flagships

The Edge and Edge+ are all about performance, 5G and photography.

Motorola has been out of the flagship smartphone game for a few years. However, the company today announced its return to form with the new Motorola Edge+ and Edge smartphones.

While some may have apprehensions about Motorola’s return to flagships, looking at the phones’ spec lists should put those concerns to rest. The Edge+ is jam-packed with new technology and features that should help it go toe-to-toe with the likes of Samsung, OnePlus and Google. That said, specs alone don’t make a phone great and there’s a lot we don’t know about the phone. Since those things can only be revealed in a deep-dive review, for now, we’ll focus on the specs.

To start, Motorola says it built the Edge+ for speed and power. That means the Edge+ is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 system-on-a-chip (SoC). Further, Motorola coupled the 865 with 12GB of Micron DDR5 RAM, which should keep things blazing fast on the phone. As for storage, the Edge+ includes 256GB of internal UFS 3.0 storage with built-in ‘Turbo Write’ for even faster speed.

Considering Motorola’s ongoing work in bringing 5G to the masses through things like its 5G-capable Moto Mods, it’s no surprise that the Edge+ also supports 5G. Motorola says it equipped the phone with an antenna array suitable for both Sub-6 and mmWave frequencies. Not only does that ensure global compatibility, but Motorola says it will allow the phone to achieve future speeds of over 4Gbps on 5G connections. The Motorola Edge+ supports Wi-Fi 6 as well.

All this is powered by a 5,000mAh battery that can last for two days according to Motorola. The phone also supports 15W wireless charging and 5W wireless power-sharing.

Endless Edge display brings high refresh rate and more

The Motorola Edge+ sports a new ‘Endless Edge’ 6.7-inch OLED display featuring Full HD+ (FHD+), a 21:9 aspect ratio and a 90Hz refresh rate. Further, the display is HDR10+ certified and uses a 10-bit DCI-P3 colour space with over a billion colours.

Love it or hate it, Motorola is also hopping on the curved edge bandwagon with its display. The Edge+ sports an aggressive ‘bend’ that wraps the screen 90 degrees around the edge of the phone. Thankfully, the company also seems to recognize that curved edge displays aren’t for everyone, so Motorola says it included a software feature to turn off the screen on the edges. Additionally, Motorola says the Endless Edge screen will work with critical smartphone features.

Motorola also added several software features that take advantage of the edge. That includes ‘Edge Touch,’ which lets users customize interactions with the edge of the screen. For example, users can swipe up or down on the edge to switch apps or open the notification shade.

On top of that, the Edge+ includes ‘Edge Lights’ that illuminate the sides of the screen to let people know when they get notifications, show that the battery is charging and more.

There is an extra feature for gamers too. Motorola’s ‘Edge Gaming’ feature puts two ‘top buttons’ on the edge of the screen that act similar to shoulder buttons on a game controller. That could add new ways for players to interact with mobile games.

All-in on the camera

The Edge+ sports a 108-megapixel sensor for the main rear camera. Motorola says it’s a 1/1.33-inch sensor size, which is three times larger than the 12-megapixel sensor found in most flagships. The camera’s native shooting mode users Motorola’s Quad Pixel technology to output 27-megapixel images. On top of that, Motorola says the camera is four times more sensitive to light.

Along with the main camera, the Edge+ also sports an 8-megapixel telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom and OIS and a 16-megapixel ultra-wide angle lens with a ‘Macro Vision’ feature for getting close-up shots up to 2cm away from the subject. Finally, the camera set-up includes a time-of-flight sensor to improve low-light focus.

Motorola says the camera supports Night Vision photography with background processing, which means users can keep snapping picks while the phone processes images in the background. Night Vision is also available on the phone’s 25-megapixel selfie camera now. Motorola’s Portrait Mode supports HDR bokeh as well.

On the video side, the Edge+ camera features horizon correction, which aligns video based on the horizon. Additionally, it actively combines OIS and EIS for extra stability while recording. The phone supports HEVC as well and lets users capture high-res 20-megapixel images while shooting video.

Software and other details

Finally, Motorola says that it wanted to get as “close as possible” to near-stock Android 10 with the Edge+. Part of that means not duplicating apps. That should mean when you power up the Edge+ for the first time, you’ll have Google Calendar, Messages and other apps and not a bunch of Motorola-made apps that do the same thing.

Additionally, Edge+ users will have access to ‘My UX’ in the Motorola app. My UX lets you tweak the system theme, create your own theme and adjust other parts of the phone like Moto gestures, the Edge display software and more.

In terms of software support, Motorola says the Edge+ will get at least one major operating system upgrade, which should mean the Edge+ will get Android 11 in the future. Beyond that, the future will be “under evaluation.” Motorola will also provide quarterly security updates for at least two years along with other updates through the Play Store.

Additionally, Motorola partnered with Waves Audio to bring its processing software to the Edge+ for improved sound. The phone has two large stereo speakers and a built-in 3.5mm headphone jack.

Motorola Edge, availability and pricing

For the most part, the Motorola Edge and Edge+ are the same phone but with a few critical differences. For one, the Edge runs on a Snapdragon 765 instead of the more powerful 865. It sports the same display but with HDR10 certification. Around back the Edge has a 64-megapixel main camera along with an 8-megapixel telephoto lens and a 16-megapixel ultra-wide shooter.

Further, the Edge sports a smaller 4,500mAh battery, 4GB of RAM in North America and 128GB of built-in storage along with expandable storage that supports up to 1TB microSD cards. Based on the spec list, it also looks like the Motorola Edge doesn’t support wireless charging.

Both phones will come to Canada, although at the time of writing Motorola said it did not have pricing details. The Edge+ will have a global digital launch on April 22nd and will have exclusivity with U.S. carrier Verizon.

The Motorola Edge+ will be available in both ‘Thunder Grey’ and ‘Smoky Sangria’ starting at $999.99 USD (about $1,418.39 CAD). In Canada, the Edge+ will be available at Bell, Rogers, Telus and Freedom Mobile.

The Motorola Edge will be available later this year in ‘Midnight Magenta’ and ‘Solar Black.’

Update 01/05/2020: Motorola confirmed to MobileSyrup that there are “currently no plans” to offer the Motorola Edge in Canada.