Motorola Edge+ (2022) review: Edged out by the competition
“The Motorola Edge+ (2022) is a very good phone that unfortunately does little to distinguish itself, and which suffers from a lack of water resistance and a mediocre camera.”
- Beautiful appearance
- Great display
- Fast and powerful
- Excellent speakers
- Long battery life
- Mediocre camera
- Relatively poor cellular reception
- No water resistance
To call the high-end smartphone market crowded and competitive would be to state the obvious, and between Apple, Samsung, and Google, there’s not much room to squeeze in. Nevertheless, many other companies fight for the scraps left behind by the big three, and one of them is the venerable and legendary Motorola, with the Edge+ making its 2022 model debut.
The Edge+ is packed with the latest tech and is situated at a price that makes it clear they’re aiming to make a name for themselves with this device. Digital Trends writer Tushar Mehta got some hands-on time with the Edge+ (2022) in February, and while he found that it packs plenty of power, it doesn’t offer much else to recommend it over the competition. Let’s dig in and see if on closer inspection there might be more to the Edge+.
Despite not having changed much in appearance from the 2021 Motorola Edge on the outside, the 2022 Edge+ features a very beautiful design. Its blue coloring is implemented in such a way that the color shifts as it catches the light. It would seem like a shame to cover that up with a case, but I’ve learned the hard way the dangers of failing to take that precaution, so if you’re like me, the color of the back of the phone is something to be admired only during the unboxing process.
The 2022 Edge+ features a very beautiful design.
The vertical array of cameras is designed so that it doesn’t protrude as noticeably as many other smartphone camera arrays do, and I found that it makes the Edge+ easier to lay on a flat surface. It’s also comfortable to hold in the hand. The materials used are somewhat on the cheap side, however, and it’s only rated as IP52, meaning you’ll have to be more careful about dust, and that it’s not at all water-resistant.
The power button below the volume rocker doubles as a fingerprint scanner, and the phone features a USB-C port, as you’d expect. Bezels are present but are thin, black, and unobtrusive, and a hole-punch selfie camera sits in the upper part of the screen. The Edge+ (2022) is reasonably lightweight at 196 grams.
The 6.7-inch pOLED FullHD+ display looks great, with rich colors and deep blacks, and importantly, it has a high 144Hz refresh rate that makes scrolling through articles and apps a smooth, fluid experience. This makes it great for games, particularly paired with above-average CPU and GPU performance. It’s bright and usable outdoors in sunlight, and overall I have no complaints when it comes to the display.
As a bonus, the Edge+ (2022) supports active styluses. These include an official stylus sold separately by Motorola, or third-party styluses such as Samsung’s S Pen. You might prefer the official pen, however, as it is compatible with a custom Edge+ case that offers convenient storage for the pen while on the go.
When it comes to sheer processing power, the Edge+ excels. It features the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU, Qualcomm Adreno GPU, and up to 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM. When I was navigating the phone, playing games such as Dota Underlords at max graphics settings, and using various apps felt like I was using a high-end flagship device.
Audio is a surprisingly strong attribute of the Edge+. Its dual stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos tuning give it fantastic audio performance. I did a side-by-side comparison with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Edge+ playing 2Cellos cover of Thunderstruck, and the Edge+ was noticeably better in its rendition of the song compared to the S22 Ultra. Low tones are particularly punchy and well defined; normally phone speakers don’t deliver nearly so much bass. This is the ideal phone to use as a portable speaker for playing music.
Microphone quality is fine, and I had no trouble making myself understood while talking on the phone.
The screen is responsive with excellent haptic feedback, and the software interface is slickly designed and was easy to navigate once I adjusted to it. I’m very used to Samsung’s flavor of Android as my daily driver, while the Edge+ uses what is essentially stock Android twelve, with only minor tweaks from Motorola. This was initially uncomfortable after being so immersed in Samsung’s products, but I soon adjusted.
Through the Moto app, you get some interesting extra customization features for the layout, background, and gestures. My favorite little gimmick is using a gesture that allows you to turn on the flashlight by shaking the phone twice. Some gestures work better than others, but between these and a surprisingly wide range of other little customizable features, the Moto app is more than just pack-in bloatware.
I live in a largely rural region where cellular internet speeds are anything but fast and reliable, and there’s no genuine full-throttle 5G access anywhere nearby, so I was unable to test out the full wireless connection speed the Edge+ is capable of.
I’ve tried several carriers over the years, and in my experience, only Verizon and US Cellular are reliable here. My Edge+ was hooked up to Verizon’s network, and I was highly disappointed by its performance. At my home, it had absolutely no signal, where in the past I’ve always been able to at least get a strong connection for calls with Verizon.
The Edge+ received a consistently weaker signal than the S22 Ultra.
I tested the Edge+ alongside my own Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (connected to USCellular, which utilizes the same towers as Verizon), and the Edge+ received a consistently weaker signal than the S22 Ultra. Tested side-by-side on a 4G LTE network, the Edge+ received a full bar of reception less than the S22 Ultra. An Ookla speed test yielded 5.42 Mbps download speeds with the Edge+, while the S22 Ultra hit 21.67 Mbps using the same test.
While this is hardly a conclusive test, given that two different cellular providers were used, the lack of reception at my home with the Edge+ with Verizon leads me to believe that the result of my speed test accurately reflects the deficiency of the phone in terms of its mobile network performance.
Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, and GPS are all here and they are all fully functional, so no complaints on those counts.
I was excited to try out the camera on the Edge+ but was left very disappointed. The wide and ultra-wide camera perform reasonably well, portrait mode works great, and its selfie camera is somewhat better than average. However, the macro mode is absolute garbage unless you use a tripod.
The image stabilization for macro is practically nonexistent, so to get usable shots handheld I had to bump up the shutter speed and either underexpose my images or boost the ISO and increase grain. Even then, I needed to take a batch of photos so that one would come out reasonably sharp. In very bright mid-day conditions it worked much better, and I was able to get good results then.
Aside from my macro woes, the rest of the camera delivered very good results. The primary camera has a 5-megapixel sensor and is image stabilized with a moderately wide field of view. The Ultra-wide camera is also 50MP and offers an expansive 114-degree field of view. The selfie camera is 60MP, and is pretty impressive for a front-facing camera. All three cameras utilize Quad Pixel technology, meaning that the camera automatically combines four pixels into one for improved quality, particularly in low light. You can set it to shoot with full resolution, but you’re better off letting the Quad Pixel wizardry do its work.
Unfortunately, the reality of Quad Pixel in terms of low light capability isn’t quite all it’s hyped up to be. It’s not bad by any means, but then neither are the results particularly impressive. Other contemporary phones do much better in low-light situations.
In terms of video, the rear main camera can shoot in 8k at 24fps, and 4K at up to 60fps. It also does slow motion at up to 960fps in FHD. The ultra-wide/macro camera can do 4K at up to 60fps. HDR10+ mode is only available in 4k at 30fps using the main camera. This all adds up to a reasonably capable phone for shooting video, but though the resulting footage looks fine, the experience of shooting isn’t great. While filming, the video stutters and looks like it’s recording at a very low framerate. It doesn’t show up in playback, but it did make me think there was something wrong every time I hit record.
Overall, the Edge+ gets all the basics down when it comes to photography.
Overall, the Edge+ gets all the basics down when it comes to photography. It has decent cameras, a usable default camera app, and all the shooting modes I expect in a modern phone with a few extra tricks here and there. However, it also has its share of problems that made using the camera a decidedly disappointing experience for me. With every shot, I couldn’t help but think how I’d rather be taking it with a Galaxy, an iPhone, or a Pixel.
Battery life is one of the high points of the Edge+. Using it alongside my Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with both phones operating on similar power settings and performing similar tasks, the Edge+ drained at a significantly slower speed. It seems Motorola’s claims of increased efficiency in terms of GPU performance might be partially responsible for this, and I’d trust the Edge+ to get me through a day without needing to have its battery topped up mid-way.
The Motorola Edge+ (2022) will be available today, March 24th. Unlocked it will retail for an MSRP of $999. That’s a little steep for what the Edge+ is, and it looks like Motorola knows this, as they’re currently offering a $100 discount. At around $900 the phone is much more competitive.
The Edge+ is a fine phone. It’s powerful, has a great screen, excellent battery life, fantastic speakers, and it looks absolutely beautiful. However, the camera is merely OK, and merely OK isn’t good enough in a phone at this price point. Its poor cellular reception is also a big problem, as is its lack of water resistance. With all that in mind I can only conclude that, while this is an excellent phone when considered on its own, it’s not a phone I could easily recommend over the competition.
Is there a better alternative?
At its steep MSRP, the Edge+ is only a few hundred bucks away from the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, even closer to the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max, and is more expensive than the Google Pixel 6 Pro. All three of those flagship phones are a significant upgrade over the Edge+, particularly in terms of camera systems. If you don’t care about taking photos, then the Edge+ holds its own against those other phones in other respects but doesn’t do much to stand out.
How long will it last?
The powerful hardware inside the Edge+ means that this is at least a phone that won’t go out of date too fast. However, the lack of waterproofing is a major risk that might very well curtail its lifespan unless you’re careful with it and keep it safely in a protective case. I’d expect the Edge+ to remain relevant for several years, barring any unfortunate accidents involving bathtubs, sinks, or heavy rain showers. Motorola promises three years of security updates, which means it will probably receive two android version updates. For comparison, that’s only half of what Samsung promises.
Should you buy it?
No. You can, but only if you’re a serious fan of Motorola, or you want to stand out with a less common smartphone. If you’re not so much of a rebel, you’d probably be better off with a more mainstream option.
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