Motorola unveils its first flagship smartphone in years

Motorola Edge Plus header MTRX

Motorola is finally re-entering the flagship smartphone market after years of absence. The new Edge Plus smartphone is the company’s first true flagship since the 2017 Moto Z2 Force. Unlike that phone, this device doesn’t focus on Moto Mods to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack. In fact, it uses three different characteristics that Motorola hopes is enough to draw people in: a curved screen, speedy performance, and fast 5G.

The curved screen in question measures in at 6.7-inches. It has a 21:9 aspect ratio, an OLED panel, and a Full HD+ resolution. It also has a 90Hz refresh rate which is always nice to see. The big story here, though, are the curves along the left and right sides of the device. Motorola says they curve almost 90 degrees and create quite an impressive visual when looking at the device side-on.

There’s been a lot of complaints around curved screens recently, but that’s a trend Motorola is hoping to buck with the Edge Plus. After all, it’s in the name.

Instead of just looking pretty, Motorola decided to make the edges functional. You can use edge lighting to light up your phone while it’s face down so you know when you’re getting a call, and a double-tap gesture along either edge can turn the edge portion of the screen off so you don’t get any accidental presses. You can also use shoulder buttons in games if you want. I’m sure Motorola has a handful of other features it hasn’t mentioned, so at the very least you might get some use out of this design decision.

The body which houses that display is kind of nice. Motorola is using glass all over this thing, and it decided to give the Edge Plus flat sides on the top and bottom. Speaking of which, the bottom houses a USB-C port and loud speaker, while the top houses a headphone jack. Right next to the LG V60, if you want a modern flagship phone with a headphone jack, you have to buy an Edge Plus.

The second big focal point with this device is its performance. Motorola pulled all the punches with the Edge Plus by including a Snapdragon 865 processor, 12GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and a 5,000mAh battery. These specs combined with the 90Hz refresh rate will likely translate into pretty fantastic performance, although I can’t say for sure since I’ve never used the phone. It’s also pretty evident that battery life will be good thanks to the large power pack and lower-in-resolution display on board.

Speaking of performance, the third big selling point of the Edge Plus is the fast 5G connectivity. Since the phone has a Snapdragon 865, it’s compatible with 5G connections. The Edge Plus will take advantage of both mmWave and sub-6GHz spectrums, although with one major catch which we’ll get to at the end.

On the back of the Edge Plus, Motorola includes an array of three cameras comprised of a main 108MP lens, a a 16MP ultra-wide lens, and an 8MP telephoto sensor. The 108MP lens is capable of shooting 108MP stills, but you’ll more than likely be sticking with the default 27MP option which combines all the data from the other megapixels to create a sharper output photo. You can also shoot video in 6K at 30 frames per second, a step down from the 8K video recording on phones like the Galaxy S20 Ultra and V60. The selfie camera weighs in at 25MP.

As for speakers, the Edge Plus has dual-firing outputs that use Waves’ technology to create the loudest smartphone on the market, according to Motorola. The device runs Android 10 with a very light skin on top, it can charge either wired or wirelessly at 15W, and it can wirelessly charge other devices at 5W.

All in all, the Motorola Edge Plus seems like a really promising re-entry for Motorola into the flagship smartphone market. So what’s the problem? Unfortunately, it’s that major catch I referenced. The Edge Plus can connect to both mmWave and sub-6Ghz spectrums because it’s a Verizon exclusive. The worst part is it’s gonna stay that way. Verizon will be the only retailer who sells the Edge Plus, meaning you’d have to somehow buy the phone from them and unlock it with a code if you wanted to use it on another carrier.

That really sucks, but Motorola’s been doing this trick for years. In fact, it just did the same thing with the rebooted Razr. But unlike that phone, Motorola likely hopes to sell a lot of Edge Pluses, and only offering the device through one carrier isn’t the way to do that.

Still, if you want to buy an Edge Plus, it’ll go on sale May 14th for $999.99. That puts it up against some of the top dogs in the smartphone world including the Galaxy S20, iPhone 11 Pro, and OnePlus 8 Pro. It should be interesting to see if it can hold its own or crack under pressure. Be sure to stay tuned for a review.




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