Motorola is Back in the Flagship Game with the Edge+

Motorola's tries to make a statement with top-tier Android phone specs

Motorola is finally getting serious about competing in the flagship handset game with a big-screen, 5G handset that could turn the heads of premium Android handset buyers willing to spend almost $1,000 for a smartphone.

Motorola Edge+
Motorola Edge+.  Motorola

Motorola quietly launched what may be its most exciting Android phone in years, the 6.7-inch, 5G Motorola Edge+ on Wednesday.

The details: The handset manufacturer actually launched a pair of Android phones: The $999.99 Edge+ and the $699 Edge. But it's the Edge+ most people will be talking about.

The display: Dubbed "Endless Edge," the 6.7-inch OLED screen runs basically edge to edge, even curving over the sides. It's a 21:9 aspect ratio screen, which means the device is a bit narrower than the competition, potentially making it easier to hold. The edges include some functionality like swipe in for app short cuts and, when the phone is face down, the edges will light up with in-coming call notifications and a battery life indicator. It's also a 90Hz display, which means somewhat smoother graphics for apps and games. OnePlus is currently the smartphone refresh rate champ: its OnePlus 8 Pro has a 120 Hz screen. The Edge+'s 10-bit display also supports HDR10+.

There are, by the way, no large notches on the display. Instead there's a drill-through hole for the selfie camera. The fingerprint reader is under the screen.

Motorola Edge+
The Motorola Edge screen is 6.7-inches and has a 90 Hz refresh rate.  Motorola

The cameras: Motorola is pushing the envelope on the resolution side, at least. In addition to the 25 MP front camera, there's a 108 MP main camera (though it probably shoots at 27 MP via Motorola's Quad Pixel shooting mode), an 8 MP telephoto (3X optical zoom), and a 16 MP ultra wide. There'a a built-in macro mode for getting super-close to your subjects, optical image stabilization on both the main and telephoto cameras, and a time-of-flight sensor to help with auto-focus on low-light shots. The camera system supports portrait mode (background blur) for both stills and video, the latter of which could add a real pro look to your video shoots.

The components: The Motorola Edge+ runs Qualcomm's Snapdragon 865 mobile CPU, Micron DDR5 memory (12 GB), and a 5,000 mAh battery. It also supports wireless and fast charging with an 18W charger.

Motorola Edge
Motorola Edge lowers the processing power, camera pixel count, and price.  Motorola

The other option: Motorola also launched the 6.7-inch Edge phone, a 5G handset running Qualcomm's last-generation Snapdragon 765. It also lowered the triple camera specs to 64 MP, 16 MP ultra wide and 8 MP for telephoto. The Endless Edge OLED screen still offers the same curves and 90 Hz refresh rate as the Edge+.

Coming soonish: While the Motorola Edge arrives in the U.S. later this year (May in Europe), the Edge+ goes on sale in the U.S. with Verizon on May 14.

Bottom line: As a brand, Motorola has a long and storied cellphone history with consumers. However, it's been more or less out of the flagship game for a while, focusing instead on an oddball collection of mid-tier handsets that accept snap-on backs to extend their capabilities. The Edge+ is different. It's clearly designed to compete with Android flagships from Samsung, OnePlus, and LG, and for the attention of potential Apple switchers. The design, specs, and capabilities do sound exciting, but we can't recommend them until we test one.

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