Android & iOS App & Software Review

Motorola Edge Plus (2023) review: a little sharper

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The Motorola Edge Plus is a high-end cellphone with quite a bit going for it. It’s simply lacking one essential factor: a cause to purchase it over a Samsung or Google. 

It’s one of the best flagship cellphone Motorola has put out in a number of years, and at $799, it’s priced effectively for its prolonged record of flagship-tier options — like a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, an IP68 score, and a devoted telephoto digital camera. Motorola hasn’t gotten all of these issues fairly proper on current high-end units, and it’s wonderful to see the corporate filling in these gaps. On prime of that, there’s a pleasant, huge display, a stabilized 50-megapixel important digital camera, sturdy construct high quality, and a boatload of built-in storage. 

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That’s all excellent news in case you’re Motorola otherwise you’re deeply all for Android telephones, however “a lot improved” isn’t very helpful to somebody who simply needs one of the best cellphone they will get for his or her cash. And the Edge Plus isn’t fairly that gadget. Positive, it undercuts the $899 Google Pixel 7 Professional. That additional hundred pays for some helpful upgrades, although, together with a sharper display, an extended telephoto lens, and a greater total digital camera system. Samsung’s $799 Galaxy S23 is in play, too, although it has a a lot smaller 6.1-inch show — that’s a optimistic for a few of us, however most favor a much bigger display.

There’s additionally the small matter of availability: the Edge Plus isn’t being bought by any of the three main wi-fi carriers within the US, and folks on this nation are inclined to get their telephones from their provider. Meaning no “free cellphone” offers for the Edge Plus. Motorola gives a trade-in program and financing via Affirm, however people who find themselves accustomed to handing their previous cellphone to their provider and strolling away with a shiny new Samsung Galaxy something-something in all probability received’t discover that too interesting.

Motorola might have corrected lots of the issues it acquired mistaken in earlier generations, however within the course of, it made a cellphone that fails to face out. C’mon, Motorola, we all know you’ve acquired it in you! You’re the corporate that gave us Moto Mods and a cellphone with a stunning walnut again panel. As a substitute, the corporate is sticking with the curved display and the cellphone’s namesake edge notification lights as its distinctive worth proposition. They’re wonderful, however the curved display is annoying. There’s a great cause why most different cellphone producers have moved again towards flatter sides. 

The namesake curved edges are again, for higher or worse.

All of it begins with a giant show. The Motorola Edge Plus (2023) — that’s certainly its full, authorized identify — features a 6.67-inch OLED with a prime refresh fee of 165Hz. That’s quite a bit of hertz. It makes for very clean scrolling and on-screen animations, although it isn’t noticeably higher than the extra widespread 120Hz shows. The display’s 1080p decision is sweet sufficient to maintain photos sharp, even stretched throughout such a giant canvas, however the 1440p shows on the Pixel 7 Professional and OnePlus 11 look just a bit extra crisp.

It’s a handsome show, if not one of the best in its class, however I do have one main gripe with it: the curved edges. They make it onerous to get a safe grip on the edges of the cellphone, and I don’t assume they make the display really feel any extra immersive than a flat show. In addition they make it onerous to faucet an icon that’s positioned somewhat too near the curve, which I encountered making an attempt to faucet the tiny circles in Lightroom’s picture picker. There are the aforementioned Edge lights, which blink and pulse alongside the edges with completely different patterns once you get a notification, name, or an alarm. 

They’re good in case you prefer to put your cellphone screen-side-down for privateness — they’re seen alongside the “edges”… oh, you get it. However I don’t discover them very helpful, particularly since Motorola’s “Peek” lock display notifications sort of accomplish the identical factor. They’re nothing new, however I’m all the time reminded how a lot I like them after I use a Motorola cellphone. The best way it really works is that notifications seem on-screen as app icons — solely by long-pressing them will you see their full contents. You additionally get app-specific fast actions, too.

Briefly, I don’t want a means of previewing cellphone alerts with out broadcasting them to everybody round me as a result of Peek notifications already inform me all the things I have to know with out giving an excessive amount of away. Personally, I’d relatively have the notifications all the time seen with an always-on show than the Edge lights, however sadly, there is no such thing as a AOD right here.

The Edge Plus comes with a full IP68 score for mud and water resistance.

Complaints about curves apart, the Edge Plus is a well-built gadget. It’s made with sturdy aluminum rails and Gorilla Glass Victus on the entrance and the again panel and comes with an IP68 score for full mud resistance and good safety in opposition to water immersion. It’s flagship via and thru. 

Really, I do have yet another grievance. The again panel’s glass has a slight matte texture. I like the way it seems however hate the way it feels in my hand. It truly makes the cellphone extra slippery than clean glass — the matte texture doesn’t have the identical “stickiness” in opposition to your pores and skin — and the Edge Plus will fortunately slide proper onto the ground in case you’re not cautious. I’ve seen it occur. Fortunately, the factor is constructed like a tank, so there’s extra hazard to your ground than the cellphone, however you’ll actually need to put a case on this one.

On the coronary heart of the Edge Plus is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, which you’ll discover in most different high-end Android telephones this 12 months. It’s a strong chipset, and it’s paired right here with 8GB of RAM. It handles processing-intensive duties simply, like a number of rapid-fire portrait mode photographs and 3D sport graphics. 

There’s no MicroSD slot, however with half a terabyte of area, you received’t miss it

It’s additionally straightforward on the battery; the Edge Plus’ huge 5,100mAh cell simply lasts a day of average use and even manages a full day of heavy use while not having a top-off. There’s additionally a beneficiant 512GB of built-in storage, which is effectively above the 128GB that’s extra widespread at this worth level. There’s no MicroSD slot, however with half a terabyte of area, you in all probability received’t miss it.

There’s extra excellent news on the battery entrance. The Edge Plus helps very quick 68W wired charging; Motorola claims that simply 9 minutes on the charger with a low battery will present sufficient energy to get via a full day. It’s nonetheless round half-hour to get from 0 to 100% — it’s an enormous battery, in spite of everything, and charging slows down towards the tip — however that’s quite a bit quicker than your common Android flagship. There’s additionally 15W wi-fi charging. When you want energy quick, plug it in. When you’re after most comfort, plop it down on a wi-fi charger. It’s good having choices.

When you want energy quick, plug it in. When you’re after most comfort, plop it down on a wi-fi charger

Software program is normally a powerful level on Motorola telephones, and it nonetheless is on the Edge Plus — however with one observe. First, the nice: it ships with Android 13 and is scheduled to get three OS upgrades and 4 years of safety updates. That’s an additional 12 months of help than Motorola has beforehand promised for its flagships, and it’s incredible information. You’d get an additional 12 months of safety updates from a Samsung or Google flagship, however 4 years is at the very least affordable.

All the things I like about Motorola’s tackle Android remains to be right here, too. There are distinctive gesture controls you’ll be able to allow, the aforementioned Peek notifications, and a common pleasantness with out advertisements stuffed on the backside of the climate app or nonsensical app drawer group (taking a look at you, Samsung).

However this time round, Motorola has contracted with an organization referred to as Iron Supply to inject steered apps into the onboarding course of. It needs you to inform it some primary demographic info like your age so it will possibly counsel some apps for obtain. It feels icky, and it didn’t counsel something useful to me. Thanks, however no thanks.

The Edge Plus helps sub-6GHz 5G on all three main US carriers. There’s no ultra-fast mmWave, however that’s not likely a priority because it’s onerous to search out anyway. When you’re on a smaller provider or MVNO, it’s a good suggestion to check Motorola’s compatibility list before you purchase — it really works on a lot of them, however Enhance, Ting, US Mobile, and Xfinity Wi-fi are amongst people who don’t help it in any respect, and several other extra don’t have sub-6GHz 5G help.

Three rear cameras and so they’re all price your time.

The Edge Plus’ digital camera system stunned me time and again as I put it via the wringer. Low-light portrait mode photographs, transferring topics in dim mild, macro closeups of a flower on a windy day — these are all difficult conditions for a cellphone digital camera, and as a rule, the Edge Plus rose to the event. It nonetheless suffered from some inconsistency, but it surely’s truthfully higher than I believed it could be.

There’s a 50-megapixel important digital camera, for starters, with an f/1.8 lens and optical stabilization that does four-pixel binning for 12-megapixel photos. That’s accompanied by a 50-megapixel ultrawide that doubles as a macro digital camera and a 12-megapixel f/1.6 telephoto digital camera for 2x optical zoom. On the entrance, there’s a 60-megapixel f/2.2 selfie digital camera. No scarcity of pixels right here.

1/13

Portrait mode at 85mm equiv.

On a excessive degree, I just like the Edge Plus’ publicity selections and shade processing. Pictures typically look wealthy and alluring with out going overboard on HDR or saturation, even when the HDR dances proper as much as the sting of unhealthy occasionally. 

The primary digital camera mode is sweet, however portrait mode is surprisingly succesful, too. Your default possibility there’s the 2x telephoto, which Moto has positioned as a portrait-mode-first sort of lens. Lens choices are marked as equal focal lengths: 50mm (the 2x telephoto), 35mm (important digital camera), and 85mm (a digital zoom from the telephoto). Portrait photographs from the primary digital camera are good, and topic separation is plausible — if not as spectacular because the Samsung S23 collection.

The telephoto lens isn’t stabilized, however its f/1.6 aperture is quick sufficient (and Motorola’s processing is sensible sufficient) to get sharp portrait photographs from it, even in dim mild or with a transferring topic. There’s a good bit of lag because it churns via pictures, however I used to be stunned by the variety of occasions after I thought, “There’s no means I’m getting something usable right here,” and really acquired some good pictures.

A portrait mode picture from the 2x telephoto lens in very low mild. It’s a darker publicity however surprisingly sharp.

This portrait mode picture can be from the 2x telephoto (labeled 50mm within the digital camera app). A pointy portrait picture of a transferring topic in indoor lighting is not any straightforward feat.

Motorola has additionally performed the correct factor by letting the ultrawide digital camera double as a macro cam relatively than together with a low-res, devoted sensor. Meaning you should use autofocus, which is a giant assist in case your topic is transferring in any respect and also you care about, you understand, truly getting it in focus. It’s the distinction between a macro digital camera you utilize as soon as and overlook about and one that you simply truly like utilizing each every so often.

The Edge Plus information as much as 8K / 30p video; dropping all the way down to 4K permits both 30p or 60p recording. At 4K, you should use stabilization at both body fee, however HDR is simply out there at 30p. And in case you go all the way down to 1080p decision, you should use one thing referred to as horizon lock to maintain your shot degree. It does a powerful job of eliminating side-to-side roll-in clips, nearly such as you’re utilizing a gimbal, although it does make it seem like sure particulars are fluttering a bit on the display. There’s additionally a satisfactory portrait video mode. It’s not all the time certain what to blur and what to depart in focus, but it surely’s an admirable v1 try on the function. General, video clips taken in vibrant mild are good, and low mild high quality is appropriate. 

There’s quite a bit to love about this cellphone, but it surely wants one thing to like.

Samsung and Google don’t make it straightforward on would-be opponents hoping to crack into the US flagship cellphone market. They make nice telephones, and so they have sturdy relationships with carriers. Motorola definitely has the identify recognition and a powerful presence within the price range class, but it surely’s a complete completely different sport on the prime.

That’s why a cellphone that’s “a lot improved” doesn’t carry a number of weight with regards to high-end telephones: there are just a few superb, established alternate options inside placing distance of the Edge Plus that overshadow Motorola’s newest providing. For $100 extra, there’s the $899 Google Pixel 7 Professional, with a extra versatile 5x telephoto lens, a higher-res display, and a greater total digital camera. Heck, there’s the $599 Pixel 7, too. When you don’t thoughts sacrificing a telephoto lens and settling for a 6.3-inch 90Hz display, it can save you fairly a bit of cash there.

I believe there’s a spot for this gadget with the Motorola trustworthy

Then there’s the Samsung Galaxy S23 for a similar $799 because the Edge Plus. When you can dwell with a a lot smaller display, you’ll get a 3x telephoto lens and one of the best portrait mode within the sport proper now. Plus, all of these alternate options include 5 years of safety updates — yet another than the Edge Plus.

The Edge Plus is nearer than ever to being a real flagship contender, but it surely wants one thing to push it into the highlight. The muse is there: wonderful battery life, a beautiful huge display, a great digital camera system that’s often nice, and user-friendly software program. And I believe there’s a spot for this gadget with the Motorola trustworthy in search of an upgrade-worthy cellphone proper now. However with out that little additional one thing — and Edge lighting ain’t it — and particularly with out the massive provider freebie offers, this technology of the Edge Plus is destined to stay overshadowed.

Images by Allison Johnson / The Verge

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