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Review Roundup: Motorola’s Edge+ Offers Killer Performance, Silly Missteps

A photo of the Motorola Edge+'s front and back.

Motorola’s Edge+ is the company’s first flagship device in recent memory, and it flaunts the internal hardware that you’d expect from a $1,000 Android phone. Still, the Edge+ is going to have a hard time competing with Samsung, OnePlus, and Google devices, all because of a few silly missteps.

I want to clarify this now: reviewers are shocked by the Edge+’s performance. It runs like a $1,000 phone, and its 90 Hz display works flawlessly. But it’s a Verizon-only device with weird camera problems and an excessive edge-to-edge display. As most reviewers note, the Edge+ has issues that are hard to overlook, especially at this price point.

Before we look at what reviewers have to say, here are the Edge+’s raw specs:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor
  • 12 GB RAM
  • 256 GB Storage (No expandable storage)
  • 6.70-inch 90 Hz waterfall display, 21:9 aspect-ratio
  • 5,000 mAh Battery
  • 108-megapixel main camera, 16-megapixel ultrawide, 8-megapixel telephoto
  • 25-megapixel front camera
  • USB-C, wireless charging, and reverse-wireless charging
  • Headphone jack
  • In-display fingerprint reader + Face unlock
  • Verizon Exclusive
  • No IPX rating

Without further adieu, let’s get into it. Here’s what early reviewers think about the new Motorola Edge+.

Impressive Software, Performance, and Battery Life

A photo of the Motorola Edge+ from the front.

How do you build a flagship phone? Well, if 2020 flagships are any indication, you just stuff your phone with a 5G-capable Snapdragon 865 processor, a bunch of RAM, and a fat battery. That’s what Samsung and OnePlus are doing, and Motorola is following suit.

Specs aren’t everything, but Motorola’s bare-bones approach to the Android OS pairs nicely with the Edge+’s incredible horsepower. While manufacturers like Samsung try their best to build custom flavors of Android, Motorola chose to stick to the basics—a decision that paid off. Here’s what Chaim Gartenberg has to say about the Edge+’s OS in his write-up for The Verge:

Motorola is perhaps one of the best, if not the best, Android OEMs when it comes to taking a light touch to Google’s stock operating system. The Android experience here is virtually unchanged…the company’s suite of useful additions — like the “peek display” feature — are still here, but they’re all helpful features, and can be disabled if you’re not a fan.

In the end, the Edge+ offers what Daniel Bader at Android Central calls “one of the smoothest, most enjoyable Android experiences you can find outside a Pixel.” Other reviewers echo this claim—MrMobile describes the Edge+’s software performance as “flawless,” and Chris Velazco at Engadget says that “nothing I threw at it over my week of testing could make the Edge+ falter.”

The Edge+ is also universally praised for its battery life. Ryan Whitwam from Android Police says that his Edge+ lasts “about a day and a half” with “seven-ish hours of screen time.” Of course, the Edge+ would have a much shorter battery life while connected to a 5G network, but the scarcity of Verizon 5G towers makes it impossible to perform a real-world test.

Complaints about the Edge+’s software performance and battery-life are almost non-existent. Motorola didn’t try to do anything fancy here, and it paid off. The only notable misstep is Moto Actions, the classic karate-chop and double-twist gestures that open up the camera or flashlight. According to Daniel Badar at AndroidCentral these gestures are “buggy” and bogged down by “inconsistency.”

Maybe Motorola will try to fix its gestures in a software update. And that’s a big maybe. Motorola is notorious for its poor update practices and guarantees only one major OS update for the Edge+. Customers should expect more for $1,000.

One last note about the Edge+’s software. In MKBHD’s review, he mentions that the Edge+ has “more bloatware installed than I’ve seen on a premium phone in a long time.” Other reviewers echo his claim, and while we shouldn’t be surprised about bloatware on a Verizon phone, this misstep puts a damper on the Edge+’s nearly flawless software execution.

Fancy Camera and Fancy Display, But Something’s Off

On paper, the Edge+ should take flawless photos and have a flawless display. But in practice, reviewers say that the Edge+’s high-megapixel cameras are awkward and quirky and that its 90 Hz display is ruined by the clunky edge-to-edge “waterfall” design.

Let’s start with the Edge+ cameras. Like Samsung, Motorola chose to stick a 108-megapixel main camera in its flagship phone. But if we’ve learned anything from the Galaxy S20 Ultra, it’s that the transition to high-megapixel cameras is going to be a bumpy ride.

If cameras are your thing, then I’d suggest watching MKBHD’s review, where he shows off some of the Edge+’s camera flaws that other reviewers missed. Here’s a note that stood out to me:

With the sensor being so huge [you get a] super shallow depth of field, especially with close-up subjects… Look at this photo that I took of a sign. It looks normal at first, but the left side of the sign is sharp and in focus while the right side is a little bit blurry.

MKBHD also mentions that the Edge+’s viewfinder “sharpens the crap of whatever you’re taking a photo of,” so you can’t really tell if your photo is in focus until you look at it in your photo gallery.

Evidently, MKBHD got sick of these weird camera quirks, because he didn’t mention the Edge+’s video capabilities. The Snapdragon 865 processor supports recording up to 8K, but according to Android Central, Motorola says that it “didn’t feel the need to go up to 8K.” Instead, the phone is limited to 6K recording.

And then there’s the OLED display. Reviewers say that it looks great and holds a consistent 90 Hz refresh rate. And despite the Edge+’s huge 21:9 aspect ratio, Chris Velazco from Engadget calls it “one of the more comfortable big phones I’ve tested this year.”

That’s cool, but every reviewer hates the edge-to-edge waterfall design. It looks cool, but in the words of MrMobile, “they make using the phone harder.” Here’s a full quote:

Recently we’ve seen companies like Samusng and LG turn away from [curved displays] because they make using the phone harder. You just can’t avoid touching the edges of the screen when they’re also the edges of the phone. So every time I fire up the camera the [Edge+] zooms or refocuses when I don’t want it to, or the notification shade drops when I’m not expecting it.

Most reviewers agree that the edge-to-edge display is a pain to use. And just to be clear, this display is a lot more dramatic than what you’ll find on a Galaxy S8 or S9. It goes so deep into the phone that Motorola had to push its volume and power buttons off-center, toward the backside of the device’s edge.

Some reviewers overlooked it, but the edge display holds a small floating control bar that gives you quick access to apps. You can double-tap this control bar to turn the edge display on and off. Interestingly, you can also use map intuitive “shoulder buttons” to the edge display while gaming, as noted by MrMobile.

Acceptable Build Quality, Kick-Ass Speakers

A photo of the Motorola Edge+'s display.

Most reviewers stop after talking about the Edge+’s software performance, battery life, cameras, and edge-to-edge display. But a few people have made some interesting points about the Edge+’s build quality and speakers.

Let’s start with the bad news: Motorola may have cut some corners building its flagship phone. In a Tweet by David Ruddock, you can see that Motorola painted over the Edge+ metal frame. I know that it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but the paint on this frame will chip away after a short fall, or after dancing in a bag with a pair of car keys. It’s a stupid compromise that doesn’t make sense on a $1,000 phone, and it makes me wonder if there are any other build quality issues that reviewers haven’t noticed yet.

While we’re on the subject of build quality, I want to mention that the Edge+ doesn’t have an IPX water-resistance rating. I doubt that people will think about water-resistance while shopping at the Verizon store, but it’s frustrating to see a $1,000 device without an official IPX rating.

Now for the good news. Motorola packed some excellent speakers into the Edge+. Here’s a quote from Chaim Gartenberg at The Verge:

The stereo speakers are also excellent: they’re loud and clear, even at high volumes, to the point where I would skip the hassle of using a Bluetooth speaker while making dinner just to rely on the Edge Plus.

Audio is more important than most people realize, so it’s good to know that Motorola nailed the speakers in its flagship phone.

The Gist: Motorola Should’ve Stuck to the Basics

A photo of the Motorola Edge+.

In all, Motorola crafted a fantastic phone that’s full of silly mistakes. The Edge+ performs like a dream but is packed with Verizon’s bloatware. It has a beautiful 90 Hz OLED display but leans too hard into the uncomfortable “waterfall” aesthetic. Its cameras are loaded with high-resolution sensors but are way too difficult to use.

Every time reviewers praise the Edge+, they’re praising it for its simplicity. And every time they ridicule it, it’s because Motorola tried to do something fancy. This isn’t to say that Motorola should avoid innovation. But the company needs to understand that innovation without direction just creates problems.

Here’s a quote from Chirs Velazco from Engadget. In my eyes, this quote is a sign that Motorola’s attempts to make the Edge+ unique are either misguided or uninspired:

Motorola told me earlier this year that the Edge Plus — like the Razr before it — is a design-first phone… What Motorola means by “design-first” this time is that it defined what it wanted out of its Endless Edge display and built the rest of the phone around it.

It’s an interesting quote, and I hope that Motorola reflects on its design philosophy before manufacturing another flagship. The Edge+ isn’t a loser, and some people may like it enough to eat the $1,000 price tag. But similarly priced devices from Apple, Google, OnePlus, and Samsung offer performance that’s comparable to the Edge+, along with better cameras, better displays, better build quality, and more consistent update schedules.

Reviews Cited: AndroidCentralAndroid PoliceEngadgetThe VergeDavid Ruddock (Twitter)MrMobile (YouTube)MKBHD (YouTube)

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »