Hands-on: Motorola Edge with Snapdragon 765G
The Motorola Edge is Motorola’s sub-premium mid-range handset. It sits below the more expensive and more powerful Motorola Edge+ that is designed to compete with Android flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S20. The Motorola Edge is targeted at that next tier of handsets down range including devices such as the LG Velvet. Like the LG Velvet, the Motorola Edge is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G but features high-end looks and finish. If you’re getting sick of coughing up top dollar for high-end smartphones, the Motorola Edge could be what you’re looking for.
The Motorola Edge centers on a 6.7-inch 2340x1080 FHD+ OLED display with a 90 Hz refresh rate. Although not 120 Hz as is the case on some top-tier Android flagships, this is still a noticeable step up from 60 Hz panels, particularly when scrolling through apps like Twitter, Facebook or a webpage. It also supports HDR10+ content and, when combined with its relatively powerful stereo speakers, makes for an excellent content viewing experience regardless of price. Its dramatic waterfall display with almost 90° curvature looks futuristic and has excellent touch rejection and we didn’t experience any undesired touch inputs during use.
The Motorola Edge keeps things ticking along nicely with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G mated to 6 GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 128 GB of expandable storage. The Snapdragon 765G, fabricated on a 7 nm process, combines two high-performance Arm Cortex-A76-based cores with four high-efficiency Arm Cortex-A55 cores, which gives more than adequate performance for everyday use and multitasking. Its Adreno 620 GPU is not quite as competitive but will be more than adequate for most 3D games, if not delivering the high frame rates possible on competitive e-sports titles like Fortnite or COD.
This is all kept juiced by a large 4,500 mAh battery that is the same size as Samsung has packed into its flagship Galaxy Note20 Ultra flagship. Motorola claims up to two days charge on it, which is backed up by a 15 W quick charger. While you won’t see that sort of battery life with heavy use, you will certainly get a full day out of it. As a cheaper device, it unsurprisingly skips wireless charging which is hard to begrudge.
The Motorola Edge uses a very competent triple rear camera set-up supplemented by a time-of-flight sensor. The main rear camera is a 64 MP module with f/1.8 aperture and quad-pixel binning for an effective pixel size of 1.6 µm, which goes a long way to capturing more light (but also potentially more producing more image noise). Its ultra-wide angle and macro vision camera uses a 16 MP module and has an f/2.2 aperture and a 117-degree field of view. The telephoto shooter uses an 8 MP sensor with f/2.4 aperture and supports 2 x high-res optical zoom and 10x digital zoom.
As you can see from the photos embedded below, the Motorola Edge produces high-quality photos. In addition to RAW photo support, it also offers a Night Vision mode and modes for long exposure shots. It is a versatile camera setup that will keep most users quite happy and even those who want to dig deeper into photo processing with applications like Photoshop. When you look at how much more you need to pay for a Snapdragon 865-powered flagship device with better camera optics (including Motorola’s own Edge+), you are still getting a more than acceptable overall imaging result for much less.
The Operating System and Usability:
The Motorola Edge comes preinstalled with Android 10 and we are using the most recent update that includes the August 1 security patch. Motorola’s Android skin is called My UX, but it is in all respects a stock Android device, which is a massive plus in our view. In our recent experience with the Exynos 990-powered Galaxy Note20 Ultra and the Snapdragon 865-powered Oppo Find X2 Pro, which both feature relatively heavily customized Android skins, system lag in certain apps was noticeable at times. By comparison, the bloatware-free My UX running on the Motorola Edge feels much smoother and delivers a more consistent software experience. At the same time, My UX gives users the opportunity to tap right into the customization features built into Android 10 to make it your own should you want to customize it further.
This new class of Snapdragon 765-powered Android handsets like the Motorola Edge provides a genuine alternative to high-end Android flagship smartphones. One of the key advantages that the Motorola Edge offers over its competition is a near stock Android OS that offers an almost flawless Android user experience as a result. In all other key areas it also delivers thanks to its excellent display, its high-quality audio experience and its very good cameras. It also offers a contemporary design with looks that would easily pass for something much more expensive. It might not offer absolute top shelf performance, but it is more than good enough across all departments that it poses a serious question about the value of paying more for a Snapdragon 865-powered handset.