1-underscored motorola edge+
CNN  — 

Motorola is returning to the fast lane of smartphones with The Edge and Edge+. While they don’t fold or get compact like the Razr, these are both flagships, so they’re not as affordable as an iPhone SE.

The Edge+, a $999 flagship with a huge 6.7-inch display, three cameras on the back and a fast processor on the side, is trying to compete with the S20+, S20 Ultra, and even the iPhone 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max. The standard Edge is similar but a little less exciting with a slightly slower processor inside. It still packs a 6.6-inch display with three cameras.

The Edge+ also supports 5G in the mmWave and sub-6Ghz networks. With that, it’s exclusive to Verizon in the U.S. with no unlocked model in sight. It lands on May 14 for $999 at full retail or $41.66 a month on a payment plan. Motorola has not announced pricing or availability for the Edge yet. If we had to guess though, it will likely fall in at about $200 cheaper the Edge+ with support for more carriers since it only packs sub-6Ghz network support. Currently, Verizon is the main carrier with mmWave, which explains why they get the Edge+ first.

A large edgeless display

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Its massive 6.7-inch display will likely be quite large in the average hand, and on the Edge+, Motorola is curving the display along the left and right edges. It’s also quite tall with a narrow 21:9 aspect ratio, which means you’ll be able to view more on timelines and websites.

This is called an “Endless Edge Display,” and as you might recall, Samsung previously did this, but stopped with the Galaxy S20 family. It looks quite stunning and gives you a true waterfall effect, but we’ll need to flush out what use-cases this gives you in a full review. We’re also interested in how the curves on the sides look to the natural eye and if we notice any light leakage.

Motorola still pairs the Edge+ with Android 10 and a light user interface, but still sticks with mostly core Google apps.

But the edges of the Edge+ (see what we did there?) are designed not to get in the way and are a bit customizable. For starters, there’s grip detection and touch suppression built-in, this way an accidental grab of the phone doesn’t do something and a hard press on the side doesn’t send you flying through the operating system. Furthermore, the keyboard, notification tray and other core functions were designed to just fit on the flat part of the 6.7-inch display. This should stop accidental touches in the first place.

And like the hideaway trays of the user interface on the Galaxy S20, you can swipe from the right curved edge to the main display to pull out an app tray. But more interesting is that you can swipe on the edge to pull down the notification tray or swipe up to enter multitasking. This is intuitive and seems pretty neat. It lets you get more out of the 6.7-inch display and aims to make it more manageable, no matter the hand size.

It’s also a well-specced display with a FullHD+ OLED panel paired with a 90Hz refresh rate that supports HDR10+. We had hoped to see a 120Hz panel on a $999 smartphone, but 90Hz will still be an improvement over the traditional 60Hz. It should be vibrant and sharp with deep blacks, especially considering an OLED panel powers it. There’s also a pinhole in the top left corner of the display that holds the 25-megapixel front facing camera.

Flagship specs

Powering that larger OLED panel will be an equally large 5,000mAh battery. It’s fast charging capable with 18 watts out of the included TurboPower brick and 15-watts from wireless charging. Motorola also added the ability to charge another device with the Edge+ on the back, but it’s a five-watt slow trickle charge. Motorola estimates that users can get up to two days of battery life, which we will put to the test.

The best news about the Edge+ is that there’s a true 2020 flagship processor inside, unlike what we saw with the Razr. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 octa-core processor with an Adreno 650 handling graphics powers the Edge+.

This is the same processor in the OnePlus 8, OnePlus 8 Pro, Galaxy S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra, so it’s safe to say that it will be zippy, and given Motorola’s light user interfaces on top of Android in the past, we expect it to really move. That processor gets more support from 12GBs of RAM, which is terrific news and should deliver a fast and efficient experience. There’s also 256GB internal storage, which should be zippy.

It’s also important to note that Edge+ is thicker than other smartphones. It’s 9.6 millimeters thick and weighs 203 grams. It feels substantial in the hand, but with the extra thickness, Motorola managed to pack a headphone jack in here.

Yes, a 2020 flagship smartphone has a headphone jack. Simply put, audio fans rejoice. There are also dual stereo speakers that are tuned by Waves, so audio is a theme.

Three cameras

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Motorola states these are the best cameras it’s put in a smartphone. We already know about the 25-megapixel lens on the front that will be great for selfies and video calls, but the stats get larger on the back.

Motorola’s Edge+ has a main 108-megapixel lens that uses Quad Pixel technology. Essentially, it can shoot at 108 megapixels, but those would be massive files, so it can push pixels together and deliver a 27-megapixel shot that is still sharp. This is similar to what we saw on the Galaxy S20 family, and we’re excited to put it to the test.

There’s also a 16-megapixel wide-angle lens that features Macro-vision and an 8-megapixel telephoto lens. So the three main cameras we’ve seen in other flagships are here, so you should be able to take close-ups with optical zoom and zoom out with an ultra-wide lens for a much wider shot. What remains to be seen, is the quality of it. Don’t worry, we’ll be putting that to the test soon enough.

Let’s Recap

So yes, on paper and from first impressions, the Motorola Edge+ feels like a true 2020 flagship smartphone. It has the tropes and we’re eager to test it out. It’s a Verizon exclusive, but we hope that’s lifted so more consumers will be able to access it, when it launches on May 14 at $999 full retail.

Later this summer, Motorola will drop the Edge. We don’t know the price or which carriers will have it, but the Edge will feature the same 6.7-inch form factor with an Endless Edge Display that tops out at HDR 10. It will also have a smaller 4,500mAh battery, a Snapdragon 765 processor with 4GBs of RAM and a 64-megapixel mains lens with a telephoto and ultrawide. Notably, it will also only support 5G sub-6Ghz networks.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication.