Motorola Edge 20 Pro review: a phone on the edge of interesting
© Provided by T3 Motorola Edge 20 Pro review
This Motorola Edge 20 Pro review could be a good place to start if you’re on the hunt for a phone that comes at a more palatable price than the most premium flagships. Some of the best phones you can buy sit within the mid-range market, and this one doesn’t look out of place.
While it won’t be topping T3’s guide to the best Android phones you can buy, it does deserve a spot there. Motorola has pulled out all the stops with this one – packing a high-end chipset, a high-quality display and fantastic battery life – but admittedly there’s nothing that makes it really stand out against the crowd.
Originally named the Edge because of the ‘endless edge’ on its curved screen, Motorola surprisingly did away with that this time around, opting for a flat display instead. I couldn’t tell you what the thinking behind that was. Anyway, let’s get to it. Here’s the full Motorola Edge 20 Pro review.
Motorola Edge 20 Pro review: price and availability
Launched back at the end of July, the Motorola Edge 20 Pro is available to buy now and will set you back £649.99 in the UK and AU$899 in Australia – it’s Motorola’s flagship device for 2021.
It’s not yet on sale in America but we expect to see the phone hit the shelves later in the year. Take a look at the widgets on this page to see the most recent prices from across the web.
Motorola Edge 20 Pro review: Edge 20 vs Edge 20 Pro
Alongside the Motorola Edge 20 Pro, two other phones were announced: the cheaper mid-range Motorola Edge 20 and the even more affordable Motorola Edge 20 Lite. While all three have large 6.7inch screens, 5G and Wi-Fi 6 – if you want the best performance, design and camera system then stick to the Motorola Edge 20 Pro.
If you only really care about the screen and you’re willing to make some sacrifices elsewhere then the Motorola Edge 20 actually features the same 144Hz HDR10+ OLED display as the Pro version of the phone.
The camera system is largely the same as well, there is one lens that is different though. On the Edge 20, you don’t get the Pro’s periscope telephoto lens with 5x optical zoom. Instead, it has a telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom. There’s also a smaller battery in the cheaper model of the phone, and a more basic chipset.
Motorola Edge 20 Pro review: design and display
Straight out of the box, you can tell the Motorola Edge 20 Pro sits at the top of their range of smartphones. Available in Midnight Blue or Blue Vegan Leather, it’s got an air of class to it that most Motorola phones lack. I got my hands on the Midnight Blue version which has a matte reflective finish.
Weighing just 190g it’s very light but it measures 163 x 76 x 7.99 mm which is massive – that makes it a little tricky to use one-handed, especially with hands as small as mine.
Both the front and back are made with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 so while it’s going to be a relatively sturdy phone, it’s not the toughest you can get. Unlike other recent flagship phones, the Motorola Edge 20 Pro is only IP52 which means it isn’t fully waterproof either. You’ll have to be careful not to have any accidents with this handset.
The back of the phone features a three-lens camera module, it does stick out a fair amount so it won’t sit flat on the table and it’s actually a little bit annoying to use if you’re not holding it.
The power button on the frame doubles up as a fingerprint sensor to unlock the display. It generally worked well but it was placed too far up the phone to where your thumb naturally sits which meant I kept missing it. If that starts to drive you up the wall you do get the choice to use facial recognition to unlock the phone as well.
Above the fingerprint scanner, there are two volume controls and on the opposite edge is a tiny dedicated Google Assistant button which is a pretty handy little feature to have. There’s no 3.5mm headphone jack here though so if you’re still using wired headphones, it’s time to upgrade.
The edge to edge 6.7inch OLED display looks excellent, it’s only interrupted by the discreet hole punch style camera. With FHD+ resolution of 2400 x 1080p, the screen is sharp, bright and colourful. Because it has a refresh rate of 144Hz, scrolling and swiping through the user interface feels silky smooth and flicking through web pages is just as satisfying, yet it’s mobile games that benefit the most, everything is just so fluid and slick. I’m not entirely sure why Motorola went above and beyond with 144Hz over the usual 120Hz but I can’t deny it feels fantastic.
Watching video was a pleasure as well thanks to the HDR10+ support which enhances the colour and contrast to boost your overall viewing experience. All in all the display is one of the best I’ve ever seen on a Motorola phone and I don’t actually have anything bad to say about it.
Motorola Edge 20 Pro review: camera
Motorola claims that this is their most powerful camera system yet. It’s made up of a 108MP main camera, a 16MP ultra-wide-angle lens and an 8MP 5x telephoto lens, as well as a 32MP selfie snapper on the front.
Even on a gloomy day, the camera system did quite a good job at picking up plenty of detail although admittedly it did struggle to boost darker areas of the shot, and sometimes colours came out looking pretty bland. This wasn’t so much of an issue on a sunny day though.
Point-and-shoot photos looked alright on the whole. But when it came to macro shots up close, they fell a little flat. In low light, you can’t expect to take impressive shots either. When I took some Night Vision photos, they all came out lacking sharpness.
The high-res optical zoom produces usable, clear shots at 5x zoom and it can go right up to a 50x Super Zoom. While you might use up to 10x zoom, I’m not sure I see the point in the 50x zoom even if it does show you more than the human eye can see. The shots come out too grainy to use for anything.
Motorola Edge 20 Pro review: performance and battery
Under the hood, the Motorola Edge 20 Pro packs in the high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 chipset – it’s not the absolute best Qualcomm CPU out there but it’s still very good going. Paired with 12GB RAM and 256GB of storage it’s sure to do well. There’s plenty of space for apps and files, but if you need more then there is a MicroSD card slot to expand it.
I had tonnes of apps open at once and the Motorola Edge 20 Pro took it all in its stride. There are faster phones out there yet this is certainly up there with some of the top dogs. You’ll definitely get away with using this for gaming as well.
To test out the phone’s performance more quantitatively I used Geekbench 5’s benchmark test, the Motorola Edge 20 Pro managed to score 973 in single-core and 3,116 in multi-core. That’s not far off other similarly priced handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G and it’s actually better than some much more pricey phones including the Oppo Find X3 Pro. Motorola has pulled it out of the bag with this one.
With both 5G and Wi-Fi 6 support, you’re guaranteed the fastest internet speeds if your area and broadband router allow for it. If not, then at least you’re set up for the future.
Powering the phone is a 4,500mAh battery, it lasted the whole day and then some. In fact, it still had juice left at the end of the day. I watched videos, scrolled through social media and played a game here and there. When I ran a video on full brightness over the space of two hours, the battery level dropped by 12% which suggests it would have lasted almost 17 hours of playback in total. That’s comparable to some of the most expensive flagship phones you can buy.
In the box, the phone comes with a 30W charger which only took about an hour and 15 minutes to charge the phone from empty to 100%. Unlike with more expensive handsets, there’s no wireless charging here, unfortunately.
Android 11 is the brains of the operation and Motorola’s version of it is one of the best there is. Clearly laid out with easy access to Google’s suite of apps, it looks smart and simple without being overly colourful or childish. What’s more, is that the handy gesture controls make the phone even more efficient to use. You can twist your wrist twice to open the camera, touch the screen with three fingers to take a screenshot or to enable Do Not Disturb just flip the phone over – these can all be switched on or off according to what you want and need.
The Motorola Edge 20 Pro is compatible with Motorola’s Ready For technology which lets you project the phone’s display onto a PC or desktop. It comes with the Ready For cable included in the box, although you can do it wirelessly as well. You’ll even be able to hook up a Bluetooth mouse or keyboard to it. In everyday terms, that means you can check your emails, edit documents, display photos or watch videos on a much bigger screen. I’m not sure it’ll replace a laptop but it’s still another handy feature worth knowing about.
Motorola Edge 20 Pro review: verdict
The Motorola Edge 20 Pro might be Motorola’s flagship handset for 2021 but it doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles you can get elsewhere.
Despite that, the fast performance and long-lasting battery do make it a pretty convincing piece of kit. Plus if you’re someone who enjoys playing mobile games, then the massive display and 144Hz refresh rate are sure to make it an enjoyable experience.
I wouldn’t say that this is by any means the perfect mid-range phone, and it’s definitely towards the pricier end of mid-range, but the Motorola Edge 20 Pro pleasantly surprised me with how well it performs across the board.
Motorola Edge 20 Pro review: also consider
For a similar price, you can get your hands on a much more stylish phone like the OnePlus 9. Not only does it look the part but it plays the part too, it performed ever-so-slightly better than the Motorola Edge 20 Pro. It’s a lovely combination of speed and beauty.
As things stand, the best phone for most people is still the iPhone 12, it costs just a little bit more than the Motorola Edge 20 Pro but packs in loads of power and it has a really fantastic camera system. The screen is only 60Hz though, something to bear in mind if you play a lot of mobile games.