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Motorola’s latest Edge phone aims to be a $499 5G disruptor

Motorola is today announcing its latest smartphone for the US market. And while I wish it were the sleek new 2022 Razr — currently only available in China — we’re instead looking at another entry in the company’s Edge lineup. The Edge phones are designed to offer several flagship-tier features at an accessible price point. (Motorola’s Edge Plus, meanwhile, directly competes in the premium, more expensive bracket.)

With the 2022 edition of the Edge, Motorola is concentrating on familiar strengths: a 144Hz OLED display, lengthy battery life, comprehensive 5G support, and camera upgrades.

Priced at $499 for a limited time — Motorola won’t say how long — before an eventual jump to $599, the company describes this phone as one of its thinnest and most compact Edge devices yet. It has a 6.6-inch FHD Plus OLED screen with a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz. That display can boost up to a peak brightness of 1,300 nits in its “high brightness” mode, and it supports HDR10 Plus.

The 2022 Edge comes in just one color: gray.

Motorola has switched over to a MediaTek chip for the 2022 Edge. Specifically, it’s the MediaTek Dimensity 1050 SoC, which works with both Sub 6 and millimeter wave 5G — including C-band spectrum. The Edge also has Wi-Fi 6E on board.

The phone will come in two configurations: the base model has 128GB of storage and 6GB RAM, with a step-up version offering 256GB and 8GB, respectively. All versions come with 100GB of Google One cloud storage for 12 months. The phone has a sizable 5,000mAh battery with both 15-watt wired charging and the ability to provide 5 watts of juice to other gadgets via wireless power share. It’s rated just IP52 for water and dust resistance, however, so that’s one department where Motorola decided to cut costs.

The 10-bit OLED HDR display supports a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz.

As for the camera, the Edge’s main sensor is a pixel-binned 50-megapixel camera (that produces 12MP files) with optical image stabilization and Motorola’s “all-instant” phase detection autofocus. There’s a 13MP ultrawide (that doubles as a macro camera) and a depth sensor; the latter always seems like wasted space to me, but it is what it is. Motorola believes its camera software features — auto night vision, dual capture mode, super slo-mo, and more — can help spark the creativity of Edge owners. The front-facing selfie camera uses a 32-megapixel sensor.

We’re still printing the camera specs right on the phone, I see.

A view of the bottom of the 2022 Motorola Edge.

The new Edge will ship running Android 12 with the light touch of Motorola’s My UX software tweaks. It’s still mostly stock, but the company continues to push its Samsung DeX-like Ready For Wireless and Ready For PC capabilities. You can get a PC-like experience by using the Edge with a larger display or mirror the Edge’s apps on your own computer while maintaining uninterrupted use of the phone. Motorola is promising three years of Android OS updates for the 2022 Edge, plus four years of bi-monthly security patches.

Motorola’s My UX is still a clean, mostly stock take on Android.

You can get a desktop-like experience when using the Edge with a large display.

The latest Edge will arrive first on T-Mobile “in the coming weeks” before availability expands to Verizon, AT&T, Spectrum Mobile, US Cellular, and Visible. An unlocked model will be sold by Amazon and Best Buy. It comes in just the one “mineral gray” color, which has a blueish hue in some lighting, and the company is shipping it in plastic-free packaging.

Sometimes I miss the colorful plastic of Motorola’s old phones.

Motorola seems quite comfortable with its third-place position in US smartphone market share. To me (and maybe you), the company’s modern phones are all starting to look pretty similar and are a far cry from the colorful Moto Xs and Moto Gs of yesteryear, but they seem to be selling fairly well for the company, thanks to their smooth displays, competent cameras, and good-enough performance for the price.

For us gadget nerds, Motorola says it’s still fully committed to the foldables category — even if the company isn’t ready to confirm whether or not the latest Razr is US-bound.

Photography by Chris Welch / The Verge

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