Motorola has a new version of its $700 Edge smartphone, bringing better cameras, a more modern processor, and an updated design.
As with last year’s Edge, the new model doesn’t quite offer the best hardware Android has to offer, with a Snapdragon 778 5G processor, 6GB RAM and 128GB storage, or 8GB RAM / 256GB storage, but those sacrifices might be worth it for the decidedly midrange price tag.
Despite that, the new Edge does feature the 108-megapixel camera that was one of the marquee features on the Edge Plus, along with a larger 5,000mAh battery and mmWave 5G — both of which were also offered on the Edge Plus but were downgraded to a 4,500mAh battery and sub-6GHz-only specs on last year’s Edge.
The display is a 6.8-inch LCD display with a 144Hz refresh rate, but calling the new phone the Edge (with no numbering to help distinguish it from the 2020 model) is actually a bit of a misnomer, given that the 2021 model ditches the “endless edge” waterfall display that gave the original Edge and Edge Plus their names. That said, given that the curved screen was by and large a gimmick on last year’s models, it’s not much of a loss.
Cameras are the aforementioned 108-megapixel main camera, along with an 8-megapixel f/2.2 ultrawide that offers Motorola’s “Macro Vision” feature, and a 2-megapixel depth camera. A 32-megapixel front-facing camera rounds out the proceedings.
Still missing on the spec sheet is any form of wireless charging, although the new Edge does add some extremely basic IP52 water resistance (which, while better than nothing, is basically just enough to protect from the odd bit of rain).
It’s not quite the same hardware as the trio of Edge 20 models that Motorola released internationally earlier this summer (which, among other differences, feature smaller 6.7-inch displays) although it most closely resembles the middle-of-the-road Edge 20 in specs. The Edge 20 does beat the North American model Edge in a few areas, however: it features an 16-megapixel ultrawide and an 8-megapixel 3x telephoto camera as its other two rear cameras.
The latest version of the Edge is also definitively a successor to last year’s regular Edge model — not the premium flagship Edge Plus hardware that aimed to challenge high-end phones from Samsung and OnePlus. For now, there’s no word on Motorola as to whether it’ll be trying again at competing in the crowded high-end Android market in the US.
Pricing for the 2021 Edge also matches last year: it’ll technically be sold for $699.99, but Motorola is once again offering a “limited-time” discount right from the start to drop the price down to a more wallet-friendly $499.99. The company isn’t saying how long that price will be offered at this time, although if it’s anything like last year, sales won’t be too hard to come by. It’ll be available in the US unlocked from sellers like Best Buy, Amazon, and Motorola’s website, with carrier versions from Verizon and Spectrum mobile planned “in the coming months.” A release in Canada is also planned for the future.