My hopes were high when Motorola returned to the Android flagship space two years ago with the $999 Moto Edge+, an excellent, aluminum and glass smartphone with no-compromise specs. The $699 Moto Edge that launched alongside it was slightly detuned, but was still on brand – featuring the same premium design and OLED display with extreme curved edges. What followed last year was a lot more perplexing.
The $549 ($699 unlocked) Moto Edge (2021) landed with middling specs, an all-plastic build, and a completely flat LCD screen. Without leading-edge features or a curved-edge OLED display, the Moto Edge naming left me confused. And in my review, I found this handset to be underwhelming. Which brings us to today’s Moto Edge+ (2022), a phone with flagship specs, a beautiful glass back, and a flat OLED screen.
It’s now available unlocked for $899, but also on Verizon as the awkwardly named Moto Edge+ 5G UW (with mmWave 5G) for $849 – which is the handset I’m reviewing today. So, is Motorola back on the flagship saddle? Does this smartphone push all the right buttons? What’s still missing? Let’s dive in.
Hardware and design
At first glance, the 2022 Moto Edge+ has more in common with its lackluster predecessor than the original Moto Edge+, but there’s great news in the details. While the overall design is similar – including a flat display, triple-lens camera pod, plastic frame, and capacitive fingerprint sensor built into the power / lock key – the Moto Edge+ redeems itself with a gorgeous frosted glass back, and minimal bezels around a proper OLED screen.
You also get excellent stereo speakers, wireless charging, Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, and a 50MP main shooter with OIS. Add a 50MP ultrawide with macro and a 60MP punch-hole selfie camera with 4k video to the specs, and you have my attention. Our Cosmos Blue review unit looks quite striking, but it feels even better in hand. The other colorway is Stardust White, and honestly, it’s just as hot.
The camera bump is more oval and protrudes less this time around, but it’s still home to the dual-LED flash and third mic. It lacks the multi-layer design of last year’s Moto Edge, but retains the trio of raised lenses (the third shooter in the back is a 2MP depth sensor). A Motorola logo in the back completes the package. In addition, the Moto Edge+ (2022) is water (splash) and dust resistant, thanks to an IP52 rating.
You’ll find the volume rocker and the aforementioned power / lock button (with an embedded capacitive fingerprint scanner) on the right side, but nothing on the left. Both controls are pretty far up the right edge, making them slightly harder to reach one-handed. It’s a minor niggle, but it’s worth mentioning. Finally, there’s a speaker, USB Type-C port, and SIM tray along the bottom, plus a secondary mic on top.
The Moto Edge+ (2022) boasts a perfectly flat 6.7-inch FHD+ (2400 x 1080 pixels, 393ppi) OLED screen with HDR10+ support and an ultra-smooth 144Hz refresh rate. It’s a lovely display, with punchy colors, deep blacks, wide viewing angles, and minimal bezels. You can set the refresh rate to 60Hz, 144Hz, or auto – which dynamically switches between 60, 90, 120, and 144Hz. Plus, it’s bright enough to read in direct sunlight.
When it comes to imaging performance, the 2022 Moto Edge+ is a mixed bag. On the plus side, this phone packs solid camera specs – including a 50MP f/1.8 1.0-micron main shooter with omni-directional PDAF and OIS (hurray!), a 50MP f/2.2 0.64-micron 114-degree combination ultrawide / macro lens with AF, and a 2MP f/2.4 1.75-micron depth sensor. In front, there’s a 60MP f/2.2 0.6-micron selfie camera.
Unfortunately, Moto’s image processing still needs a lot of work. While the Moto Edge+ takes pictures that are roughly on par with its predecessor, it lags significantly behind the flagship competition – especially when shooting in low light or zooming in. Sure, OIS and 4-to-1 pixel binning helps, but the small pixels on the ultrawide and selfie camera plus the lack of a dedicated telephoto shooter are handicaps.
Besides the standard pro, portrait, and night photography modes, the Moto Edge+ also includes Moto’s usual shooting modes – like cinemagraph, spot color, dual capture, and more. While these are pretty cool, this phone is missing a few critical features. The camera interface still lacks zoom presets, so quickly zooming in to 2x or 5x is a chore, and the front shooter doesn’t support night mode for some unknown reason.
Moto’s video modes are odd. The main camera supports 8k, 4k, and 1080p at 30fps, but only 1080p at 60fps. In fact, 4k 60fps isn’t available on any shooter, and the ultrawide is limited to 1080p 30fps. On the plus side, both the selfie camera and macro support 4k and 1080p video capture at 30fps. Additional modes include HDR10+ (main, 4k 30fps), slow-mo (main, 1080p 240/120fps), and time lapse (8k, 4k, and 1080p at 30fps).
No matter what, the Moto Edge+ records stabilized video with stereo audio, and supports audio zoom. The resulting photos and videos are fine but not spectacular. Images are reasonably sharp given enough light, and exposure is generally accurate, but colors are somewhat muted. Low-light performance is poor for a flagship, despite pixel-binning and OIS, and zooming beyond 3x quickly results in a significant loss of detail.
Reception and audio
For this review, I used the 2022 Moto Edge+ 5G UW on Verizon’s 4G and 5G networks – primarily in San Francisco – without any issues. Calls sounded loud and clear, and data speeds matched my expectations. Verizon’s mmWave 5G (Ultra-Wideband) network continues to deliver astonishing performance, while sub-6GHz 5G (Nationwide) coverage now benefits from the deployment of C-band, which this phone supports.
On the audio front, the 2022 Moto Edge+ returns to form with a fantastic sounding pair of stereo speakers (earpiece plus bottom edge) plus Dolby Atmos support. Verizon’s handset comes with Verizon Adaptive Sound instead, which is garbage, but (thankfully) trivial to disable. In addition, the Moto Edge+ supports digital audio devices over USB Type-C, plus aptX HD and LDAC codecs for lossless audio over Bluetooth.
Performance and battery life
The 2022 Moto Edge+ packs Qualcomm’s mighty Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC, and delivers blazing performance to match. While it juggled my usual collection of apps without breaking a sweat, it’s also ideal for gaming – especially with that 144Hz screen. The unlocked model comes with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, but Verizon’s 5G UW version features either 8/128GB or 12/256GB. Either way, there’s no microSD support.
Other specs are pretty standard for a modern flagship. You’ll find sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G (on Verizon’s handset) onboard, plus CAT 20 LTE, dual-band WiFi 6e (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.2 (LE), NFC, and A-GPS/ GLONASS / GALILEO / LTEPP / SUPL positioning – not to mention the usual suite of sensors. The side-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor is quick and accurate, and so is face unlock. As a bonus, haptics feel great.
When it comes to battery life, the Moto Edge+ doesn’t quite match its predecessor – you can blame the slightly smaller 4800mAh cell and more power-hungry chip. Still, the efficient OLED display and Moto’s clean software allow this handset to keep on ticking for almost two days on a full charge. It supports 30W wired fast charging (brick included) and 15W Qi-compatible wireless charging – plus 5W reverse wireless charging.
Moto phones always feature wonderful software, and the 2022 Moto Edge+ is no exception. It runs Motorola’s familiar lightweight skin, now on top of Android 12. This means you get a near-stock Android experience with a few useful customizations thrown in to make life easier – little things like the double chop hand gesture, which turns the flashlight on and off. Read more about these features in my original Moto Edge review.
Moto’s Ready For is back with the Moto Edge+, and lets you connect your handset to an external screen (using a cable or WiFi), transforming it into a game console, desktop PC, or video chat system – think Samsung DeX, but in Moto land. It even lets you use your phone while casting videos to the external display, or use a computer to remote control your handset (complete with file transfer and copy / paste support).
As for security updates and OS upgrades, Motorola is still promising two years of each. My only gripe is with the ridiculous amount of pre-installed bloatware the 2022 Moto Edge+ 5G UW comes with. This includes a boatload of crappy – and unnecessary – Verizon apps (like Voicemail and Message+), plus Amazon Shopping, which is arguably more useful. And sadly, these apps can only be disabled, not uninstalled.
Is the Moto Edge Plus worth buying?
There’s no doubt the Moto Edge+ (2022) is a well-rounded smartphone. It offers a striking design, a beautiful display, superb audio, top-notch performance, solid battery life, and a delightful user experience. But glossing over the middling cameras, it’s the value proposition that’s a tough sell. Without a metal frame or a telephoto shooter, this handset basically falls into the affordable flagship category – think $599 Google Pixel 6 or OnePlus 9.
Yet at $899 (and even $849 on Verizon), the Moto Edge+ isn’t affordable. It competes directly with the bonafide flagships like the $899 Google Pixel 6 Pro and $799 Galaxy S22 – both better phones in terms of specs and materials. So, unless you’re a Verizon customer who can get a special discount, it’s hard to recommend the 2022 Moto Edge+. Check out the Google Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro instead, or wait for the upcoming OnePlus 10 Pro.