There’s an Ultra-Res mode you can use to snap 50-megapixel photos (by default, the images are pixel binned to 12 megapixels so they can take in more light and produce brighter photos), but the quality in this mode is at times awfully fuzzy, not at all what I’d call “Ultra-Res.”
Thankfully, that depth camera is put to good use, as Portrait images do deliver accurate blur effects. But this is impaired by skin tones coming out a bit too red, or poor detail when scenes are darker. That’s where this camera system really starts to fail. Even with Motorola’s Night Vision mode, low-light images are often too dim, with shoddy details and muddy colors. They’re fine, just not what you should expect out of a $1,000 phone.
The camera system isn’t the only issue. Motorola rates the water resistance for this phone at IP52, which covers it from rain, but not a full dunk in the pool. IP67, the rating that says the device can survive underwater at a certain depth for a brief time, has been the standard on every flagship phone for years. I’ve no clue why the Edge+ 2022 doesn’t offer that peace of mind.
The 5G is also confusing here. The only way to access millimeter-wave (mmWave) 5G speeds (the fastest kind of 5G) is on the Verizon-exclusive Motorola Edge+ 5G UW model. The unlocked version will only be able to access sub-6 5G (the slower but more accessible kind) on T-Mobile and Verizon, with AT&T to come at a later date (it will rely on 4G LTE if you’re on AT&T). This is weird. Most high-end phones come with robust 5G coverage out of the gate. Sure, the number of times you use mmWave will be small, but at least it’s there. Not so on the Edge+.
Then there’s the software upgrade policy. Motorola is only promising two OS upgrades and three years of security updates for this phone. A few years ago, that would be good. Now? It’s at the bottom of the pack. Samsung offers four OS upgrades and five years of security updates. Google offers three OS upgrades and five years of security updates, and even OnePlus promises three upgrades and four years. Broad software support means more features, a more secure phone, and the option to hold onto your device a lot longer.
Lastly, the Edge+ looks nice enough in its shiny blue color (it also comes in white), but I’ve noticed a weird smudge on the rear glass that doesn’t come off. I haven’t dropped the phone at all, and I’m not sure what caused it, but a case is a good idea. Oh, did I mention the frame is plastic and not the usual aluminum? The front glass is also Gorilla Glass 3 paired with Gorilla Glass 5 on the back, neither of which are as durable as the Gorilla Glass Victus you’ll find in competitors.
The Right Price
When Motorola briefed me about the Edge+, it touted a stylus for the phone, like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. But instead of sitting inside the phone, the stylus is a separate accessory that can sit in a folio case (and draw power via wireless charging). The company did not bother to send me the stylus and folio case, so I have no clue how well it performs. Just know it’s an option if you’re a stylus stan.
It’s a shame there’s not much the Edge+ brings to the table. Motorola has taken risks before, like the Moto Mods system several years ago that let you magnetically attach accessories to the back of the phone (er, now a popular feature in Apple’s iPhones). This Moto just … exists.
If your budget stretches high enough to consider a $1,000 Android smartphone such as this, I think you’re better off with the Galaxy S22 range or the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. They have better software support, markedly nicer cameras (and more of them), robust 5G, and improved water resistance. If you eventually find the Edge+ on sale for $700 or less? Go right ahead; you just won’t find yourself on the—ahem—edge of technology.