Last year, Motorola returned to the high-end phone market with the Edge Plus, a device that was a mostly middling affair. It later followed it up with the more affordable and compelling Edge. The company's newest phone, announced today, falls somewhere in between those two devices. It’s not quite a flagship, but nor is it entirely a mid-range device either. Internally, the 2021 Edge features up to 8GB of RAM, up to 256GB of internal storage and a Snapdragon 778G processor.
That’s a step down from the Snapdragon 865 Motorola included with the Edge Plus, but what the 2021 Edge has going for it over its predecessors is a 6.8-inch display with a 144Hz refresh rate panel. Both the 2020 Edge and Edge Plus were limited to 90Hz, which should make the new model feel more responsive even with its mid-range processor.
Motorola also reworked the camera module on the 2021 Edge. The phone now features a primary 108-megapixel sensor that uses pixel-binning technology to improve performance in low-light situations. Supporting the main camera is an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera with a lens that features a 119-degree field of view. Rounding out the camera array is a 2-megapixel depth sensor. For selfies, there’s a 32-megapixel shooter that can also take advantage of pixel binning.
The 2021 Edge comes with support for a variety of global LTE and sub-6GHz bands. It also comes with WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2 and NFC connectivity, as well as C-band support, which will come in handy as Verizon (Engadget’s parent company) and AT&T use the spectrum in their ongoing 5G build-outs. Speaking of Verizon, the carrier plans to offer a mmWave model later in the year.
Powering everything is a 5,000mAh battery Motorola says should provide up to two days of uptime. On the software front, the phone will ship with Android 11 and the company’s My UX skin. Motorola plans to support the phone with two major platform updates and two years of bi-monthly security patches.
What you won’t find on the 2021 Edge is support for wireless charging or robust waterproofing. It’s only IP52-certified. Most high-end phones these days feature either IP67 or IP68 water resistance.
Like it did with the Edge, the company plans to sell the 2021 model at a $200 discount for a “limited time.” Motorola hasn’t said how long the phone would cost $500. Pre-orders for the unlocked model open on August 23rd, with general availability to follow on September 2nd. Verizon and Spectrum Wireless will start selling the phone at a later date.