Motorola’s latest Edge phone aims to be a $499 5G disruptor

Motorola’s latest Edge phone aims to be a $499 5G disruptor

Motorola today announces its latest smartphone for the US market. And while I wish it was the sleek new Razr 2022 – currently only available in China – we’re seeing another entry in the company’s Edge lineup. Edge phones are designed to offer several flagship-level features at an affordable price. (Meanwhile, Motorola’s Edge Plus competes directly in the premium, more expensive segment.)

With the 2022 edition of the Edge, Motorola is zeroing in on familiar strengths: a 144Hz OLED display, long battery life, comprehensive 5G support, and camera upgrades.

Priced at $499 for a limited time, Motorola won’t say how long, before an eventual jump to $599, the company describes this phone as one of its thinnest and most compact Edge devices yet. It has a 6.6-inch FHD Plus OLED screen with a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz. That screen can go up to a maximum brightness of 1300 nits in its “high brightness” mode and it supports HDR10 Plus.

The Edge 2022 comes in only one color: gray.

Motorola has switched to a MediaTek chip for the 2022 Edge. Specifically, it’s the MediaTek Dimensity 1050 SoC, which runs Sub 6 and millimeter wave 5G, including C-band spectrum. The Edge also has Wi-Fi 6E on board.

The phone will come in two configurations: the base model has 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM, with an upgraded version offering 256GB and 8GB, respectively. All versions come with 100 GB of Google One cloud storage for 12 months. The phone has a hefty 5,000mAh battery with 15W wired charging and the ability to provide 5W of juice to other devices via wireless power sharing. It’s IP52-rated for water and dust resistance though, so that’s one department where Motorola decided to cut costs.

The 10-bit HDR OLED display supports a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz.

Camera-wise, the Edge’s main sensor is a 50-megapixel pixel-binding camera (producing 12-megapixel files) with optical image stabilization and Motorola’s “fully instant” phase-detection autofocus. There’s a 13MP ultra-wide (which doubles as a macro camera) and a depth sensor; The latter always seems like wasted space to me, but it is what it is. Motorola believes that its camera software features — automatic night vision, dual capture mode, super slow motion, and more — can help spark Edge owners’ creativity. The front selfie camera uses a 32-megapixel sensor.

We’re still printing the camera specs right on the phone, from what I see.

A bottom view of the Motorola Edge 2022.

The new Edge will ship with Android 12 with the slight touch of Motorola’s My UX software tweaks. It’s still mostly stock, but the company continues to push its Ready For Wireless and Ready For PC capabilities similar to Samsung DeX. You can get a PC-like experience by using Edge with a larger screen or by mirroring Edge apps to your own computer while maintaining uninterrupted phone use. Motorola promises three years of Android OS updates for the 2022 Edge, plus four years of bi-monthly security patches.

Motorola’s My UX is still a mostly clean version of Android.

You can get a desktop-like experience when using Edge with a large screen.

The latest Edge will arrive first on T-Mobile “in the coming weeks” before availability expands to Verizon, AT&T, Spectrum Mobile, US Cellular and Visible. Amazon and Best Buy will sell an unlocked model. It comes in a single “mineral gray” color, which has a bluish cast in some highlights, and the company ships it in plastic-free packaging.

Sometimes I miss the colored plastic of old Motorola phones.

Motorola seems pretty comfortable with its third-place position in the US smartphone market. To me (and maybe you), all of the company’s modern phones are starting to look pretty similar and are a far cry from the colorful Moto X and Moto G of yesteryear, but they seem to be selling quite well for the company, thanks to their smooth screens, competent cameras, and good enough performance for the price.

For us gadget nerds, Motorola says it’s still fully committed to the foldable device category, even if the company isn’t ready to confirm whether or not the latest Razr is destined for the US.

Photography by Chris Welch/The Verge

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