Motorola Edge hands-on: A return to (mid-range) form?

After years of lackluster updates, Motorola might finally be responding to customer feedback.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

I’ve been rather critical of Motorola’s recent phones. But it seems like the company may have taken that criticism to heart because with the new Edge 2022 (not to be confused with the Edge+ from earlier this year) it feels like we’re finally getting a phone with good specs for a decent price and significantly better software support.

The new, non-plus, Edge gets a big 6.6-inch OLED screen featuring a 144HZ refresh rate similar to its more expensive sibling, along with a sizable 5,000 mAh battery, 6GB or 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage. As for its cameras, you also get a familiar 50MP main sensor paired with a lower-res 13 MP ultra-wide cam (which can also shoot macros) and a depth sensor to help with portrait-style shots. The phone also supports 30-watt fast charging, 15-watt wireless charging and even reverse wireless charging for sharing juice with other devices.

The front of the phone boasts a 32MP selfie cam with an RGBC filter designed to improve color richness.
Sam Rutherford/Engadget

And while Motorola’s decision to go with a MediaTek Dimensity 1050 processor instead of a more typical Qualcomm chip is a bit unusual, you still get compatibility for both sub 6Ghz and mmWave 5G, including the new C-band spectrum. So while it’s not quite as premium as the Edge+, it’s not far off.

But to me, the most important upgrade is that for the Edge, Motorola is committing to at least three major Android updates and four years of regular security patches. Previously, software support (or lack thereof) was one of Motorola’s biggest weaknesses compared to other phone makers. The more expensive Edge+ from this spring is only slated to receive two years of Android updates and three years of security patches, while Moto’s less expensive G-series phones fare even worse, often only receiving only one major OS upgrade.

That said, there are a few specs that could be improved. The Edge’s IP52 rating for dust and water resistance means it’s not designed to handle more than a light splash, which is kind of weak for a mainstream mid-range phone. I also find the lack of a true third rear camera a bit disappointing. I’d like to see either a dedicated macro cam or some kind of telephoto option.

But here’s the thing, with a launch price of around $500 ($498 on T-Mobile or $499.99 unlocked), those shortcomings aren’t nearly as annoying as they would be on a more expensive handset. The Edge+ also lacks a telephoto cam but has a full retail price of $1,000 (though Moto has dropped the cost of that phone to just $750 in recent months). And while the non-plus Edge is set to get a price bump down the line, even at its full $600 listing, it still feels like you’re getting a good deal.

The 2022 Edge features a 50MP main camera, a 13MP ultra-wide cam and a bonus depth sensor for assisting with portrait-style photos.
Sam Rutherford/Engadget

In my short time with the Edge Plus so far, there are other small things to appreciate. For a phone with a battery this big, it’s surprisingly light, weighing just under six ounces. The display also has a peak brightness of 1,300 nits, which is similar to what you get on the more expensive Galaxy S22. And while I’m still not sure how much of an impact the new RGBC color filter is having on the quality of the Edge’s selfies, with the phone featuring a 32MP sensor in front, there aren’t any concerns about resolution.

It’s still too early to say if Motorola’s increased attention to software support is here to stay. But after years of being frustrated by phones that felt like they were abandoned after a year or two, it’s nice to finally see the company respond to feedback. And between its specs and a very attractive launch price, the Edge is shaping up to be a good value when it goes on sale sometime in the “coming weeks.”