Motorola wants back in on the flagship phone arms race. After several years of staying out of the scuffle — all the while committing to the semi-premium Moto Z series and its roster of mediocre Moto Mods — the company is finally delivering a $1,000 phone that it believes will take the fight to the Samsung Galaxy S20, OnePlus 8 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro. It’s called the Motorola Edge Plus. And to Motorola’s credit, the Edge Plus does have just about everything you could ask for in a flagship phone in 2020, between its wraparound 6.7-inch, 90Hz OLED display, massive 5,000-mAh battery and quad-lens camera array that even borrows the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s centerpiece 108-megapixel primary sensor.
Motorola Edge Plus release date and price
The Motorola Edge Plus, like many phones released this year, was planned to be revealed at MWC 2020. When that show was shut down in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, Motorola held off publicly launching the phone until April 22. Edge Plus will cost $999 (around £812 / AU$1,581) and will arrive in the US on May 14 exclusively through Verizon for $41.66 per month for 24 months. Customers trading in phones can get up to $550 off the list price. The handset will be available in May in a handful of EU countries, including Italy and some Scandinavian nations, at a starting price of €1,199. Around the same time, it should go live in India, UAE at Etisalat and du and in KSA at stc. The phone will come in two colors: Thunder Grey and a pinkish Smoky Sangria.
In shifting away from the Z-series design, Motorola has furnished the Edge Plus with many elements from leading flagships, taking a few leaves out of Samsung’s book in particular – the screen curving over the sides looks unmistakably like the ‘waterfall’ edges of the Samsung Galaxy S20 and Samsung Galaxy Note 10 lines of phones. And the result is that the Motorola Edge Plus is a handsome device with a flagship polish we haven’t previously seen from the brand. The curved display edges make the phone a little easier to handle than its 6.7-inch screen would suggest; especially given the phone’s outsized 9.6mm thickness. If anything is awkward, it’s the placement of the volume rocker and power button high up on the phone’s right side. The 203g of weight is about average, and while the phone felt thick, it didn’t feel terribly hefty. It doesn’t have an IP water- and dust-resistance rating. Those curved sides mean the microSD card/SIM slot is relocated to the bottom of the phone, to the left of the USB-C port. To the right of the port is the main speaker; its sound is combined with the output from a second speaker out of the top of the phone for stereo audio, with both speakers tuned by audio company Waves. Dimensionally, the phone measures 161.1 x 71.4 x 9.6 mm and it also has a 3.5mm audio jack.
The 6.7-inch Full HD+ OLED display complements the high design polish: it’s large, sharp, and the ‘Endless Edge’ sides are very attractive. They also curve in a complete semi-circular arc, meaning the edges don’t flatten at all. The display’s 21:9 aspect ratio makes this phone feels narrow, meaning some people may find it awkward to use one-handed.
Like many other flagship smartphones in 2020, you can set the Edge Plus to light up its sides when receiving notifications. The Motorola Edge Plus display’s 90Hz max refresh rate is a welcome feature. One feature that’s somewhat rare in other smartphones is present in the Edge Plus’ display: it can create two virtual ‘shoulder buttons’ on the top edge of the smartphone while you’re holding it sideways to play games.
Front and rear cameras
The Motorola Edge Plus has a traditional triple rear camera setup. The big highlight of the show is the 108MP main camera, which can use ‘pixel binning’ tech that reduces the megapixel count while effectively expanding the size of each pixel to let in more light, though at a cost of less sharp images. The phone also has an 8MP telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom and a 16MP ultra-wide camera, as well as a time-of-flight depth sensor to enable bokeh effects in portrait shots. The main shooter can also capture video in 6K UHD.
The Motorola Edge Plus also has a long-exposure mode that enables you to drag the shutter speed out to as much as 32 seconds, and there are some improvements to the Z-series’ Night Vision photography mode, too. The Edge Plus also packs a 25MP front-facing camera, which can also use pixel binning. The Front camera only records Full HD videos at 30fps.
Software, processor, and battery
The refined design of the Motorola Edge Plus isn’t the only thing ‘flagship’ about it. The phone’s specs are top-tier, from its Snapdragon 865 chipset to the 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, which is expandable up to 1TB via microSD. In addition, the Edge Plus sports Android 10, launching with the latest version that packs Dark Mode and other enhancements. Motorola is also introducing a My UX hub in the Moto app that allows users to customize fonts, colors, icon shapes, and fingerprint sensor animations. One can also create a custom theme that reflects even inside the notification drawer.
Another feature that the company is touting for the Motorola Edge Plus phone is the Waves-tuned dual stereo speakers. Motorola says the Waves MaxxAudio Mobile suite will provide a superior audio output on the phone. As mentioned, the Edge Plus is 5G capable and works on both sub-6 and mmWave frequencies. The Edge Plus packs a 5,000mAh battery, which Motorola claims will last for up to two days. Unfortunately, the Edge Plus maxes out at 15W charging, which has been the case with previous Motorola phones. The company claims any more wattage would require a thicker device, and it’s possible that it would up the price as well. But it does support wireless charging and can donate its own power to other devices via reverse wireless charging.