The Motorola Edge Plus is Motorola’s first genuine flagship in years, boasting top specs, a gorgeous display, and a trio of rear cameras. With 5G connectivity on tap as well, the phone checks all the boxes to be a serious contender against heavyweights from Samsung, Apple, and OnePlus.
Unfortunately for Motorola, the pricey Edge Plus is launching into a market in which smartphone sales are plummeting – and worse, its limited availability makes it hard to get in the US and elsewhere.
Which is a shame. While the Edge Plus is expensive for a Motorola phone, costing as much as a baseline Samsung Galaxy S20 (in the US at least), it keeps up with its rivals in almost every category – and offers a few unique extras to boot.
Motorola veterans will especially appreciate the brand’s iconic Android skin, which has been faithfully translated to the new phone, along with the traditional Moto Actions: it’s nice to be able to open the camera app with a quick double wrist-twist and take advantage of the triple rear camera, especially the whopping 108MP main shooter, although its 16MP ultra- wide camera and 3x telephoto aren’t bad, either.
The zoom capabilities are on par with those on some other flagships, though not to the length of the best top-tier handsets, making it one of the few obvious areas where the Motorola Edge Plus doesn’t quite outperform the best smartphones out there.
However, as mentioned, in the US at least it’s the same price as the Galaxy S20 – and that means it’s more affordable than the Galaxy S20 Plus or Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, while packing the same powerful Snapdragon 865 chipset, 12GB of RAM, and 5G connectivity.
It can connect to both sub-6 and mmWave 5G networks, which should make it even more attractive for customers of multiple carriers. Sadly, though, this is where the phone’s availability undercuts its value – it’s only sold through Verizon in the US, with no plans to release an unlocked version, and global availability hasn’t been announced beyond vague plans to release in the UK.
Motorola’s close ties with Verizon have kept its Moto Z-series phones from being sold outside the carrier in the US, but that product line became something of a novelty with its Moto Mod compatibility. Locking the Motorola Edge Plus to Verizon may doom it to the same niche status, which would be great for Motorola fans that stayed with the carrier, but not for folks signed up with Sprint, T-Mobile, or MVNOs.
The 5,000mAh battery is another strong feature of the Motorola Edge Plus. We easily got over a day’s use out of the phone before needing to recharge, and that was while running on higher settings: we were able to eke out even more battery life if we tuned the refresh rate down to 60Hz, dialed down the resolution, and lowered the brightness.
The phone’s weakness here is its charger: the 15W Turbo Charger included in the box recharges at about 1% a minute, meaning it’ll take the better part of two hours to fully recharge from empty. Other handsets come with faster chargers can do the same in half the time, or less: we managed to recharge the OnePlus 8 from 10% to full in around 30 minutes.
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