REVIEW: Motorola Edge 20 – More Than Just A Thin Smartphone
Motorola’s Edge 20 smartphone, sitting in the middle of its new range, may have a skinny form factor and price point – but its features and performance are anything but.
First impressions: Motorola wasn’t kidding about how thin this thing is. While most companies looking to make more “compact” or “portable” phones shrink the size, Motorola keeps a full-sized 6.7-inch display and reduces the thickness. The result: a skinny smartphone with a svelte 6.99mm profile (a little thicker with the free included case – really, why do more flagship manufacturers not give you these?), which is also a lot lighter than a hefty flagship like my Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.
There are three buttons worth speaking of – Google Assistant button on the left, and volume rocker plus power button with integrated fingerprint scanner on the right. The back of the phone has a lovely glossy design with a noticeable camera bump, though not as chunky as those on some other phones I could mention.
Display and Performance
The Edge 20’s FHD+ screen is, to put it simply, gorgeous: I was astonished at how crisp and vibrant the OLED display was. It’s buttery smooth, as well, thanks to its blistering 144Hz refresh rate – higher even than the 120Hz on the S21 Ultra, which sells at more than twice the price. I was also impressed by the sound; for a slim phone with one mono speaker, it can pump out some serious volume, and at decent quality all things considered.
I couldn’t fault the performance, either: it was nice and zippy while I used it, with minimum fuss, powered as it is by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G chipset. The 4000mAh battery isn’t amazing, though, so keep it in mind if you’re concerned about lifespan; that said, the 30W fast charging does help.
Features and Camera
Unfortunately, the Edge 20’s push for thinness has come with costs: some popular features usually found on mid-tier phones have been jettisoned. That means no microSD slot and no 3.5mm headphone jack (boooo), though Motorola has at least been kind enough to include a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle in the box, which is more than we can say for some companies out there.
One of the more interesting features Motorola is touting with the Edge 20 range is its Ready For platform, which can connect to PC via USB, as well as wirelessly to Miracast displays (the 20 Pro can also connect via a wired HDMI output), in which case it gives you a number of options including TV and game modes.
When plugged into a PC, you get a desktop in the style of Samsung Dex, which can also be used to transfer files to and from the phone. One really handy function of Ready For is the ability to use the phone as a webcam when plugged in via USB, with both the front and rear cameras available for 1080p video. This is a fantastic idea, and one more phone makers should look into.
Wireless Miracast connection was more of a mixed bag – while I definitely got it to work, the interface and navigation were a touch on the clunky and unintuitive side, and the “air mouse” feature, a la Magic Remotes, was a bit of a pain to use. Still, it’s got potential, and I’d like to see what Motorola does with it going forward.
The 108MP rear camera array performs well, with zoom levels as low as 0.5x and as high as 30x – though I wouldn’t go higher than 3x, as image quality really suffers after that. Daytime shots are crisp and clear at up to 3x zoom, while night photography is decent enough, though starts to suffer at above 1x zoom.
At $699, the Motorola Edge 20 has absolutely no business being this good. The screen, the performance, the sound, the camera – all punch well above their weight, and despite a few bugbears (including falling victim to a couple of flagship pitfalls), it’s well worth the price.
- Svelte profile
- Beautiful 144Hz FHD+ OLED display
- Decent performance
- 30W fast charging
- Ready For has potential
- $699 price point
- No microSD slot or 3.5mm jack
- Wireless TV connection is clunky
- Battery only 4000mAh