Motorola Edge (2022) hands-on: Lessons learned from past mistakes
It doesn't look different, but don't judge a book by its cover.
From the looks of things, Motorola isn’t changing its formula any time soon. This Fall, Motorola is bringing us another Edge device that’s aimed squarely at the mid-range segment where Motorola continues to flourish, as the company so avidly pointed out in the presentation at a press event in New York City.
The Motorola Edge (2022) will be launching in a single Mineral Gray colorway and retailing for $498 when it launches on T-Mobile "in the coming weeks," but Motorola didn't give a specific date. T-Mobile will even be offering the phone for free to anyone who activates a new line, potentially making this one of the better mid-range Android phones (opens in new tab) available this Fall.
That’s followed by an unlocked model that will sell for $1 more at $499 for a limited time. Canadian customers will also get the chance to purchase it later this year.
Like last year's Motorola Edge (2021) (opens in new tab), Motorola will be raising the price of the unlocked phone to $599 after a period of time, although the company wasn’t specific on when that promotional period would end. Other carriers like AT&T and Verizon, as well as stores like Best Buy and Amazon, will also sell the new phone.
For the price, Motorola’s spec list on the Edge (2022) is quite respectable. At the heart of the phone is the MediaTek Dimensity 1050, and a choice of either 6GB or 8GB of RAM will accompany the SoC. Users get a choice of 128GB or 256GB of storage, and Motorola is throwing in a year of 100GB Google One storage for free with the purchase of every Motorola Edge (2022).
Motorola is upgrading the display to a 6.6-inch 144Hz OLED panel with HDR10+ support, and it even includes a 360Hz touch response rate to further help reduce touch latency over previous generations. A pair of Dolby Atmos-tuned speakers reside on the body, and a 5,000mAh battery powers the entire experience. That, combined with the MediaTek chipset, should all but guarantee two-day battery life for most folks.
Motorola is packing in its standard 30W fast charging, and is actually including 15W wireless charging for the first time in an Edge device. You can also use the 5W reverse wireless charging to wirelessly charge a pair of earbuds (or another phone, if you want to show off).
As is expected from a Motorola phone, the Edge (2022) supports the full gamut of 5G connectivity, including the honor of being the very first phone to support Power Class 1.5 on the T-Mobile 5G network. That, complete with full support for sub-6 and mmWave 5G, should ensure that the Edge (2022) never feels slow when downloading or streaming.
Perhaps the biggest improvement year-over-year is Motorola’s promise to deliver three years of major OS updates to the phone, accompanied by four years of security updates every other month. Considering it launches with Android 12, that means users can expect to see Android 15 on the phone in roughly three years.
This is a sort of commitment we haven’t yet seen from the company, even on phones it sells for twice the price. It’s a refreshing take from a manufacturer that has long relied on users upgrading every year, or every other year, for far too long.
Coupled with this more sustainable mindset is more eco-friendly packaging, which is 100% plastic-free, and is made of 60% recycled paper materials. Additionally, Motorola is committing to carbon offsetting the entire manufacturing, packaging, and shipping process to ensure it’s “doing its part to help the environment.”
Now, for the camera upgrades. While last year’s Motorola Edge (2021) left a lot to be desired in the camera department, it looks like Motorola has been hard at work fixing up its software to deliver a far more impressive experience.
Automatic scene detection will now automatically switch modes, so photos taken in dark areas will use night mode, and super close-up shots will switch over to the 13MP macro camera. That macro camera also doubles as an ultra-wide angle camera, and its 2μm-effective pixel size — which is achieved by quad-pixel binning — produces substantially better results than we’ve seen with any recent Motorola phone.
The main 50MP camera might not sound as impressive on paper as the 200MP shooter that Motorola just debuted on the X30+ last week, but again, the results seem to speak for themselves during my brief hands-on time in New York.
Motorola is utilizing OIS on this sensor — another first for an Edge device — and that likely contributes to much cleaner, clearer low-light photos than we saw last year. It’s also got all-pixel PDAF, which has historically resulted in much better, faster, and more accurate focusing.
I had a lot of issues with blurry photos on the Motorola Edge (2021), and I’m feeling confident that Motorola fixed the issue with this inclusion.
The same dual capture mode from last year can be found here in all its glory — that’s where you can take video with the front and back cameras at the same time — and Motorola is debuting a better color pop mode that works better than before, too.
Hold the camera up and frame your subject, press and hold to select a color to isolate, and use the slider to modify the intensity of the color. What you’re left with is a black and white photo that has a single, lovely color throughout the image.
Motorola’s Ready For solution is also getting a bit of an upgrade this time around, with better support for cross-device integration. That includes shared clipboards and dragging and dropping content between the Motorola Edge (2022) and supported Lenovo PCs.
Six of one, half-dozen of the other
Last year’s Motorola Edge (2021) was a disappointment in so many areas, and it seems to me that Motorola has learned its lesson with that phone. While it’s still doing the weird promotional pricing scheme that it launched last year, the Motorola Edge (2022) feels far more worthy of a $500 price tag than the 2021 model ever did.
This year, we’re getting what seems like a much better display all-around, a much better chipset powering the experience, a much better camera (and accompanying software), and a commitment to software updates like we’ve not seen before from the company. To me, it feels like Motorola actually tried this time around instead of phoning it in. Pun fully intended.
The one downside that I can see at the moment is that the phone is only IP52 water and dust-resistant. While IP67 or 68-level of water and dust resistance isn’t expected at this price range, a few phones do offer it for folks who place stronger importance on that spec over others.
But that’s probably the only area where it looks like Motorola could seemingly improve at this particular price range. That, in and of itself, is a testament to how far Motorola has come in just a few months. Even this year’s Motorola Edge+ (2022) (opens in new tab) was a device that left a lot to be desired, especially at its high $999 price point.
Curiously, Motorola removed the side-mounted fingerprint sensor for an under-display solution. While this might give it a more modern look to the phone, it removes a pivotal feature that was Motorola-exclusive previously: Power Touch.
With many previous phones, Motorola’s side-mounted fingerprint sensor was also used as a gesture reader, and double tapping — not double pressing — would pull up a small menu that you could use to quickly launch apps or system functions. That’s now gone, and it’s sad to see it go.
But, if that’s the one feature that had to be sunset to achieve what Motorola appears to be delivering with the Edge (2022), I’m more than OK with sacrificing it for the greater good.
Right now, this feels like the best phone Motorola has made in quite some time, and it’s doing it all at a very impressive price. Stay tuned for our full review of the Motorola Edge (2022) in the coming weeks.
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