Let’s be honest, when Motorola invited us to a mid-August phone launch, we were hoping to see the Motorola Razr 2022, Motorola’s exciting new flagship that has been announced -- so far -- only for the Chinese market. Instead, we saw the newest version of the Motorola Edge: a flat, mid-range Android that won’t turn heads like it's folding cousin, but is obviously a much more sensible phone, especially for today’s market.
Instead of giving us a $1,000 flagship, a successor to the Motorola Edge Plus perhaps, Motorola showed off a fancy new smartphone that costs less than half that price. The company says it has listened to customers, a common refrain among manufacturers, but we spot some sensible choices. The new Moto sacrifices some camera power but keeps the huge 5,000mAh battery from the older flagship, for instance. There are some sacrifices, but all around it feels like Moto is delivering most of what made the Edge Plus interesting.
Check out our complete hands-on look at this mid-range competitor. Competition is steep in this price range, with the Google Pixel 6a and even Samsung’s A-series phones making a strong showing. The Motorola Edge (2022) has distinct advantages over these devices, though, that will make it worth a deeper look.
Motorola Edge (2022) price and availability
There is one new Motorola Edge for 2022; no numbers or Pro or Plus or Max attached. It's set to go on sale in the coming weeks on T-Mobile first, for $498. If you’re an international reader, it can be hard deciphering Motorola’s model numbers, but here in the US it is very simple.
Motorola isn’t giving us a specific timeline, but after T-Mobile, the Edge will show up on AT&T, Verizon, Spectrum Mobile, UScellular, and Visible. No word on Dish Network’s new Boost Infinite, which will also launch this fall. Boost has offered Motorola Edge devices in the past, though.
The new Motorola Edge (2022) will also eventually be available unlocked at Best Buy, Amazon, and Motorola.com, for $499.99.
Motorola Edge (2022) design and display
What’s first striking about the Motorola Edge (2022) is that the screen size is the same as the Motorola Edge Plus, and the battery is just as large, but Moto has managed to trim almost a full ounce from the weight of the phone. That’s a major accomplishment, and the phone feels remarkably light from the moment you pick it up. It weighs less than the Google Pixel 6a, even though the screen is a full half-inch larger and the battery is bigger.
Otherwise, the Motorola Edge (2022) adopts a fairly bland design amidst smartphones today; it's unadorned. Moto is showing off only one color option: a shimmery grey. The phone is smooth like a stone, with no design notes that stand out, for better and worse.
Unfortunately, it feels light due to cheaper plastic materials. The phone felt sturdy enough, but the finish and the weight gave it a cheaper feel. Of course, the $500 Motorola Edge (2022) should feel cheaper than its $1000 Edge Plus relative, just beware the difference.
The display on the Motorola Edge (2022) is a 6.6-inch OLED with a blazingly fast refresh rate (up to 144Hz) – nearly the same as the great screen on the Edge Plus. That high refresh made sense on a phone with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, but we're skeptical that the MediaTek at this phone's core can pump pixels just as fast. It looks fantastic, bright and colorful, and seemed very responsive with touch sensors thirsting for your fingers 360 times per second.
There are Dolby Atmos speakers hidden under the display, similar to the Motorola Edge Plus. Sadly, it seems like Moto stuck both speakers on one side of the device, so if you are watching a movie in landscape mode you won’t actually get sound from both sides of the phone. If you watch in portrait, you’ll get better stereo, however.
This is an odd choice, seemingly aimed at the TikTok demographic. Motorola brags about the 10-bit color depth on the Edge (2022), and how it meets cinematic standards for color accuracy. Too bad it reproduces the sound stage so inaccurately. The audio should sound nice and accurate, but it won’t sound right.
Motorola Edge (2022) battery and performance
The Motorola Edge (2022) is at the cutting edge of battery technology for this class of phone, but its power and performance could be lacking. The phone uses a 5,000mAh battery, and you can charge at up to 30W with Motorola's Turbo Power Delivery charger. The phone can also charge wirelessly up to 15W, and can share its power wirelessly at up to 5W.
For a processor, Motorola went with MediaTek instead of Qualcomm. I wouldn’t expect a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 series chip on this device if Motorola wants to keep costs down, but it’s very interesting that Moto didn’t even use a Snapdragon with a “7” in it’s moniker. The MediaTek Dimensity 1050 chip can handle 5G modem duties on all of the big US carriers and their various configurations, though.
I think Motorola made the right sacrifices with the Motorola Edge (2022), keeping the large battery and faster charging but dropping the flagship-level chipset. The 5,000mAh battery may actually last through the two days Motorola promises, if you don’t pump the screen at its highest refresh levels and brightness.
For performance, Motorola was demonstrating the phone being taxed fairly hard. We saw the phone playing a racing game, attached to a Bluetooth controller, and streaming video to a television set. Everything was running smoothly without hiccups. The phone can also attach to external monitors for a more desktop-like look, but I wouldn’t compare this with Samsung’s more robust DeX option, which offers something similar.
Motorola Edge (2022) cameras
There are some strange decisions with the camera system on the Motorola Edge (2022), but these could possibly be wise choices. First, the main camera is a 50MP shooter, but it uses quad-pixel technology to compare data from groups of four pixels each to create a smaller but higher-fidelity image. You get a 13MP finished image, which promises to be much more sharp with higher dynamic range; from what we’ve seen of similar implementations. We will have to test the camera to find out.
There is a smaller sensor on the back as well, for ultra-wide shots, and it also does a fine job with macro photography. This is the second smartphone this month – after the OnePlus 10T – to eschew the long telephoto lens you’ll find on a Galaxy S22 Ultra and instead opt for super-close macro photography.
Motorola Edge (2022) software
Motorola is also bragging about its “clean” version of Android 12 on the Motorola Edge. There are some added features that Moto brands part of its “My UX” design, but these were hardly noticeable. The newest phones are being launched with Android 13, of course, and Samsung is already Beta testing Android 13 on devices on the market. Still, Motorola will launch the Edge with Android 12, and it will be “clean.”
Motorola is also guaranteeing that the Edge (2022) will get software updates and OS upgrades for next three years, and will receive bi-monthly security updates for the next four years. So, it should get Android 13 eventually, and maybe even Android 14 and higher.
While many manufacturers are reducing packaging and taking baby steps toward environmental friendliness, Motorola is going much further with the Motorola Edge. According to the company, every part of the Motorola Edge (2022)'s production will be carbon offset.
Making greener packaging is a baby step compared to improving the environmental impact of smartphone production. Deloitte insights reported this summer that emissions from smartphone production are much higher than expected, and represent a majority of the environmental impact of a smartphone.
There have been minor phone makers that have completely offset the environmental impact of a phone, but not a major manufacturer. Neither Samsung nor Apple have ever completely offset the carbon footprint of a device, making this a great step toward making the industry more sustainable.
Maybe we weren’t hoping for a mid-range, $500 phone with a nice screen and a huge battery, but Motorola has delivered the phone we need, if not the phone we want. At this price range the competition is getting fierce, which only proves that Motorola was smart to focus on this price range and not attempt another attack at the highest-end of the US market.
The Motorola Edge (2022) may not have the crazy Google camera features of the Google Pixel 6a, but we hated the Pixel’s battery life and charging sluggishness, and those are features that Moto tackles directly. Motorola gives the Samsung mid-range a run for its money too with a dazzling display and a “clean” version of Android – ahem.
It doesn’t fold in half, but more people are likely to buy this new Motorola Edge (2022) than any cutting-edge device. We’ll be excited to spend more time with this phone in the weeks to come. Who knows, maybe it'll find a place in our roster of the best Motorola phones. We'll be putting the Motorola Edge (2022) through its paces to find out.