Last month Motorola stepped back into the premium smartphone market in Australia after a long absence with an all new 5G Motorola Edge so where does this device sit and is it worth an investment.
In Australia there are two premium markets, a top end market and a value premium market which is where the Edge sits alongside the new TCL 10 Pro and the Samsung A series devices,
The issue for Motorola and several other brands such as LG with their new Velvet offering and TCL with their 10 Pro, is that the premium smartphone market has changed dramatically since these devices were being conceived, Samsung for one is rolling out an all new $1,849 Note 20 Ultra which sets a new benchmark for premium smartphones.
But, let’s get one thing clear the Motorola Edge is manufactured by a reputable brand that has a remarkable track record in the smartphone market, and while this device has a lot of premium technology including big battery, unique audio output from some impressive stereo speakers 64 Megapixel camera and 5G it’s sub $1,000 price tag means that you get real value but not the top end features of a premium Apple or Samsung offering.
For example, you get Qualcomm second best 765 processor and for some it’s hard to pick the difference between the premium 875 and the 765 Qualcomm processor because the Edge delivers impressive processing with apps performing well and little if any lag.
In a sub $1,000 smartphone a number of things have to really stand out and design is one of them. The Edge looks impressive though it is only available in one colour Solar Black.
The aluminium body and the “Endless Edge display,” with the left and right edges curving around at such an extreme means that there’s not really any side bezel.
This design has allowed Motorola to introduce additional features, such as a virtual trigger buttons for gaming and Moto Edge Touch for app shortcuts.
The screen itself is a 6.7-inch OLED panel, which might sound huge, but as the aspect ratio is 19.5:9 it’s actually taller.
That makes reaching across the panel really easy with a thumb. It’s nicely proportioned.
For me I really liked the feel in the hand factor with the Edge feeling fractionally smaller width wise but taller and more comfortable than an Apple iPhone in the hand.
The Edge display panel is capable of a 90Hz refresh rate, which is very much flavour of flagship devices today.
What you do get is fingerprint access via the display.
The Edge is not a flashy bells and whistles device like an Oppo or Realme smartphone, it’s a lot more mature with a camera array running down the top left of the back of the device and because it’s black it’s hardly noticeable, though it is slightly raised.
The better design would have been to make the lenses and sensors flush with the back similar to what TCL has done with the Pro 10 device.
On the inside is a 64-megapixel main sensor that is configured to use software and quad-pixel binning to produce lower-resolution images with better colour and less image noise.
The default shooting mode is 16-megapixels though it can shoot at the full 64 megapixels depending on the quality that you want.
There is a 16-megapixel ultrawide-angle / macro camera and a front-facing camera.
After shooting several difficult pictures such as straight into a rising sun I came away impressed at the quality achievable with this device even when compared to the Samsung S20+ camera.
While questions have been raised in the past about Motorola cameras in the sub $500 models this camera is up there with some of the iPhones that are more expensive than the Edge.
What I was impressed with was the 4,500mAh battery which lasted me two days despite constant use.
One benefit is that this device is built around the performance of the Qualcomm 765 process which appears to draw less power, this couple with the adaptive battery technology built into the device that automatically closes down apps that are not being used, thus saving power.
What should have been in this device is wireless charging support.
This is a key omission because a lot of people are today doing video calls using vertical wireless chargers which continually charge the device while it is being used for a video call.
It also avoids the need for cables when doing a call.
Also missing is real waterproofing, something that it shares with the Edge Plus which is a Motorola device that at this stage is not being launched in Australia.
In my 5G Tests I saw speeds of around 195bps down and 165Mbps up on the Telstra network where 5G was available.
This was nothing close to the 250-300Mbps that I have got on a $2K Samsung S20+
What is a standout with the Edge is it’s 24bit audio which has to be via the loudest, most powerful stereo speakers in a smartphone ever?
The speaker technology coupled with the software from the GRAMMY Award-winning Waves who got their GRAMMY for audio excellence in recording studios and by delivering advanced audio software for sound engineers, music, film and TV producers and broadcasters.
These speakers are a big reason for buying this device, as music and video content has never sounded better.
This is a flagship premium smartphone which at sub $999 delivers where it’s supposed to deliver. It looks good feels good and performs well compared to some other devices in its class.
What Motorola has to come to grips with is that when one aspires to get back into a brutally competitive market, you need bells and whistles and simple features such as wireless charging and premium waterproofing should have been standard in this device.
Having said that there are some who don’t want to go to the expense of buying a wireless charger or need top end waterproofing instead of the built-in splash protection.
The audio capabilities of this device are a standout and if you are a ‘Commuter’ and listen to music this is the device for you.It also has processing power ample for most functions as well as good storage and above all great communication capabilities.
Well worth an investment.