The Motorola Edge Plus is a high-end telephone with rather a lot going for it. It’s simply lacking one essential factor: a motive to purchase it over a Samsung or Google.
It’s the very best flagship telephone Motorola has put out in a number of years, and at $799, it’s priced properly for its prolonged checklist of flagship-tier options — like a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, an IP68 ranking, and a devoted telephoto digicam. Motorola hasn’t gotten all of these issues fairly proper on latest high-end units, and it’s glorious to see the corporate filling in these gaps. On prime of that, there’s a pleasant, huge display, a stabilized 50-megapixel important digicam, sturdy construct high quality, and a boatload of built-in storage.
That’s all excellent news should you’re Motorola otherwise you’re deeply excited about Android telephones, however “a lot improved” isn’t very helpful to somebody who simply needs the very best telephone they’ll get for his or her cash. And the Edge Plus isn’t fairly that system. Certain, it undercuts the $899 Google Pixel 7 Professional. That additional hundred pays for some helpful upgrades, although, together with a sharper display, an extended telephoto lens, and a greater general digicam system. Samsung’s $799 Galaxy S23 is in play, too, although it has a a lot smaller 6.1-inch show — that’s a optimistic for a few of us, however most desire a much bigger display.
There’s additionally the small matter of availability: the Edge Plus isn’t being bought by any of the three main wi-fi carriers within the US, and folks on this nation are likely to get their telephones from their service. Which means no “free telephone” offers for the Edge Plus. Motorola gives a trade-in program and financing by way of Affirm, however people who find themselves accustomed to handing their previous telephone to their service and strolling away with a shiny new Samsung Galaxy something-something in all probability received’t discover that too interesting.
Motorola could have corrected lots of the issues it received unsuitable in earlier generations, however within the course of, it made a telephone that fails to face out. C’mon, Motorola, we all know you’ve received it in you! You’re the corporate that gave us Moto Mods and a telephone with a stunning walnut again panel. As a substitute, the corporate is sticking with the curved display and the telephone’s namesake edge notification lights as its distinctive worth proposition. They’re wonderful, however the curved display is annoying. There’s an excellent motive why most different telephone producers have moved again towards flatter sides.
All of it begins with an enormous show. The Motorola Edge Plus (2023) — that’s certainly its full, authorized title — features a 6.67-inch OLED with a prime refresh price of 165Hz. That’s rather a lot of hertz. It makes for very clean scrolling and on-screen animations, although it isn’t noticeably higher than the extra frequent 120Hz shows. The display’s 1080p decision is nice sufficient to maintain pictures sharp, even stretched throughout such an enormous canvas, however the 1440p shows on the Pixel 7 Professional and OnePlus 11 look just a bit extra crisp.
It’s a handsome show, if not the very best in its class, however I do have one main gripe with it: the curved edges. They make it laborious to get a safe grip on the perimeters of the telephone, and I don’t suppose they make the display really feel any extra immersive than a flat show. In addition they make it laborious to faucet an icon that’s positioned just a little too near the curve, which I encountered attempting to faucet the tiny circles in Lightroom’s picture picker. There are the aforementioned Edge lights, which blink and pulse alongside the perimeters with totally different patterns while you get a notification, name, or an alarm.
They’re good should you prefer to put your telephone screen-side-down for privateness — they’re seen alongside the “edges”… oh, you get it. However I don’t discover them very helpful, particularly since Motorola’s “Peek” lock display notifications form of accomplish the identical factor. They’re nothing new, however I’m all the time reminded how a lot I like them once I use a Motorola telephone. The best way it really works is that notifications seem on-screen as app icons — solely by long-pressing them will you see their full contents. You additionally get app-specific fast actions, too.
Briefly, I don’t want a method of previewing telephone alerts with out broadcasting them to everybody round me as a result of Peek notifications already inform me the whole lot I have to know with out giving an excessive amount of away. Personally, I’d moderately have the notifications all the time seen with an always-on show than the Edge lights, however sadly, there isn’t a AOD right here.
Complaints about curves apart, the Edge Plus is a well-built system. It’s made with sturdy aluminum rails and Gorilla Glass Victus on the entrance and the again panel and comes with an IP68 ranking for full mud resistance and good safety in opposition to water immersion. It’s flagship by way of and thru.
Truly, I do have another criticism. The again panel’s glass has a slight matte texture. I like the way it appears however hate the way it feels in my hand. It really makes the telephone extra slippery than clean glass — the matte texture doesn’t have the identical “stickiness” in opposition to your pores and skin — and the Edge Plus will fortunately slide proper onto the ground should you’re not cautious. I’ve seen it occur. Fortunately, the factor is constructed like a tank, so there’s extra hazard to your flooring than the telephone, however you’ll actually need to put a case on this one.
On the coronary heart of the Edge Plus is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, which you’ll discover in most different high-end Android telephones this yr. It’s a robust chipset, and it’s paired right here with 8GB of RAM. It handles processing-intensive duties simply, like a number of rapid-fire portrait mode pictures and 3D sport graphics.
There’s no MicroSD slot, however with half a terabyte of area, you received’t miss it
It’s additionally simple on the battery; the Edge Plus’ huge 5,100mAh cell simply lasts a day of average use and even manages a full day of heavy use while not having a top-off. There’s additionally a beneficiant 512GB of built-in storage, which is properly above the 128GB that’s extra frequent at this value level. There’s no MicroSD slot, however with half a terabyte of area, you in all probability received’t miss it.
There’s extra excellent news on the battery entrance. The Edge Plus helps very quick 68W wired charging; Motorola claims that simply 9 minutes on the charger with a low battery will present sufficient energy to get by way of a full day. It’s nonetheless round half-hour to get from 0 to one hundred pc — it’s an enormous battery, in any case, and charging slows down towards the top — however that’s rather a lot sooner than your common Android flagship. There’s additionally 15W wi-fi charging. If you happen to want energy quick, plug it in. If you happen to’re after most comfort, plop it down on a wi-fi charger. It’s good having choices.
If you happen to want energy quick, plug it in. If you happen to’re after most comfort, plop it down on a wi-fi charger
Software program is normally a powerful level on Motorola telephones, and it nonetheless is on the Edge Plus — however with one word. First, the great: it ships with Android 13 and is scheduled to get three OS upgrades and 4 years of safety updates. That’s an additional yr of assist than Motorola has beforehand promised for its flagships, and it’s implausible information. You’d get an additional yr of safety updates from a Samsung or Google flagship, however 4 years is at the least affordable.
Every thing I like about Motorola’s tackle Android continues to be right here, too. There are distinctive gesture controls you possibly can allow, the aforementioned Peek notifications, and a normal pleasantness with out adverts stuffed on the backside of the climate app or nonsensical app drawer group ( you, Samsung).
However this time round, Motorola has contracted with an organization referred to as Iron Supply to inject steered apps into the onboarding course of. It needs you to inform it some fundamental demographic info like your age so it could possibly counsel some apps for obtain. It feels icky, and it didn’t counsel something useful to me. Thanks, however no thanks.
The Edge Plus helps sub-6GHz 5G on all three main US carriers. There’s no ultra-fast mmWave, however that’s not likely a priority because it’s laborious to seek out anyway. If you happen to’re on a smaller service or MVNO, it’s a good suggestion to examine Motorola’s compatibility checklist before you purchase — it really works on a lot of them, however Enhance, Ting, US Mobile, and Xfinity Wi-fi are amongst those who don’t assist it in any respect, and several other extra don’t have sub-6GHz 5G assist.
The Edge Plus’ digicam system shocked me time and again as I put it by way of the wringer. Low-light portrait mode pictures, shifting topics in dim gentle, macro closeups of a flower on a windy day — these are all difficult conditions for a telephone digicam, and as a rule, the Edge Plus rose to the event. It nonetheless suffered from some inconsistency, however it’s actually higher than I believed it might be.
There’s a 50-megapixel important digicam, for starters, with an f/1.8 lens and optical stabilization that does four-pixel binning for 12-megapixel pictures. That’s accompanied by a 50-megapixel ultrawide that doubles as a macro digicam and a 12-megapixel f/1.6 telephoto digicam for 2x optical zoom. On the entrance, there’s a 60-megapixel f/2.2 selfie digicam. No scarcity of pixels right here.
On a excessive stage, I just like the Edge Plus’ publicity decisions and colour processing. Photos usually look wealthy and alluring with out going overboard on HDR or saturation, even when the HDR dances proper as much as the sting of dangerous every now and then.
The principle digicam mode is nice, however portrait mode is surprisingly succesful, too. Your default possibility there’s the 2x telephoto, which Moto has positioned as a portrait-mode-first form of lens. Lens choices are marked as equal focal lengths: 50mm (the 2x telephoto), 35mm (important digicam), and 85mm (a digital zoom from the telephoto). Portrait pictures from the principle digicam are good, and topic separation is plausible — if not as spectacular because the Samsung S23 sequence.
The telephoto lens isn’t stabilized, however its f/1.6 aperture is quick sufficient (and Motorola’s processing is sensible sufficient) to get sharp portrait pictures from it, even in dim gentle or with a shifting topic. There’s a good bit of lag because it churns by way of pictures, however I used to be shocked by the variety of instances once I thought, “There’s no method I’m getting something usable right here,” and really received some good pictures.
Motorola has additionally carried out the suitable factor by letting the ultrawide digicam double as a macro cam moderately than together with a low-res, devoted sensor. Which means you should use autofocus, which is an enormous assist in case your topic is shifting in any respect and also you care about, you already know, really getting it in focus. It’s the distinction between a macro digicam you employ as soon as and neglect about and one that you just really like utilizing each infrequently.
The Edge Plus information as much as 8K / 30p video; dropping right down to 4K permits both 30p or 60p recording. At 4K, you should use stabilization at both body price, however HDR is barely out there at 30p. And should you go right down to 1080p decision, you should use one thing referred to as horizon lock to maintain your shot stage. It does a formidable job of eliminating side-to-side roll-in clips, nearly such as you’re utilizing a gimbal, although it does make it seem like sure particulars are fluttering a bit on the display. There’s additionally a satisfactory portrait video mode. It’s not all the time positive what to blur and what to depart in focus, however it’s an admirable v1 try on the characteristic. General, video clips taken in shiny gentle are good, and low gentle high quality is suitable.
Samsung and Google don’t make it simple on would-be opponents hoping to crack into the US flagship telephone market. They make nice telephones, they usually have sturdy relationships with carriers. Motorola actually has the title recognition and a powerful presence within the funds class, however it’s a complete totally different sport on the prime.
That’s why a telephone that’s “a lot improved” doesn’t carry numerous weight in the case of high-end telephones: there are a couple of superb, established options inside placing distance of the Edge Plus that overshadow Motorola’s newest providing. For $100 extra, there’s the $899 Google Pixel 7 Professional, with a extra versatile 5x telephoto lens, a higher-res display, and a greater general digicam. Heck, there’s the $599 Pixel 7, too. If you happen to don’t thoughts sacrificing a telephoto lens and settling for a 6.3-inch 90Hz display, it can save you fairly a bit of cash there.
I feel there’s a spot for this system with the Motorola devoted
Then there’s the Samsung Galaxy S23 for a similar $799 because the Edge Plus. If you happen to can stay with a a lot smaller display, you’ll get a 3x telephoto lens and the very best portrait mode within the sport proper now. Plus, all of these options include 5 years of safety updates — another than the Edge Plus.
The Edge Plus is nearer than ever to being a real flagship contender, however it wants one thing to push it into the highlight. The muse is there: glorious battery life, a stunning huge display, an excellent digicam system that’s sometimes nice, and user-friendly software program. And I feel there’s a spot for this system with the Motorola devoted searching for an upgrade-worthy telephone proper now. However with out that little additional one thing — and Edge lighting ain’t it — and particularly with out the large service freebie offers, this era of the Edge Plus is destined to stay overshadowed.
Images by Allison Johnson / The Verge