According to analysts, Motorola is doing pretty well in the United States. The brand’s success can be attributed to their strong lineup of affordable budget and mid-range 5G phones, which make up most of their smartphone portfolio. Motorola doesn’t really compete at the premium smartphone tier where Samsung and Apple dominate, but they’ve started to release a few phones right below that tier. Last year marked Motorola’s return to flagship smartphones with the first-gen Edge series, and today, the company has unveiled a follow-up for the U.S. market: the Motorola Edge (2021).
The Motorola Edge (2021) is the successor to the standard Edge model from 2020 rather than the flagship-tier Edge+. Compared to the Motorola Edge (2020), the new phone features updated hardware and software without a bump in price. The Motorola Edge (2021) is also quite similar to the Motorola Edge 20 that recently launched in Europe, but the North American model has a bigger battery and display while the European model has a higher-resolution wide-angle camera and a 3X zoom telephoto camera instead of a depth sensor. Despite these trade-offs, the Motorola Edge (2021) is still a respectable upper mid-range smartphone, especially if you pick it up at its pre-sale price.
Motorola Edge (2021) – Specifications
The new Motorola Edge is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 778G, a 6nm chipset with an octa-core CPU and the Adreno 642L GPU. The chipset has an integrated 5G modem and is paired with a connectivity module that supports 6GHz Wi-Fi (ie. Wi-Fi 6E). The device is configured with either 6 or 8GB of RAM and 128 or 256GB of internal storage. The large 5,000mAh battery keeps the device running, and it can be charged through Motorola’s 30W TurboPower charger.
On the front, the Motorola Edge (2021) has a large 6.8-inch LCD panel with a full HD+ pixel resolution and up to 144Hz refresh rate. The display has a hole-punch cutout in the center for a single 32MP front-facing camera. This camera uses 4-in-1 pixel binning to produce 8MP selfies, and Motorola says that HDR capture has been enabled for the dedicated portrait mode.
On the rear, the phone has a triple camera setup comprised of a 108MP main camera, an 8MP ultra wide-angle camera that doubles as a macro camera, and a 2MP depth sensor. The phone can record regular video at up to 4K resolution, slow motion video at up to 960fps, and features “Audio Zoom” to focus the microphone wherever the phone is recording.
A new camera feature debuting on the Motorola Edge (2021) called “low-light AI selfie” identifies areas in photos needing a boost in details, shadows, and colors. This feature analyzes a single frame in contrast to the Night Vision mode which stacks 8 frames into one shot. It also works pre-capture in the viewfinder, so you can preview what the shot will look like before taking it. Other camera features include auto-smile capture, smart composition, shot optimization, and dual capture camera. Dual capture camera has been upgraded to allow for capturing from any two camera simultaneously; previously, it only supported simultaneous capture from the main front-facing and rear cameras.
Software-wise, the Motorola Edge (2021) runs Android 11 out of the box, with a promised 2 years of OS updates and 2 years of bi-monthly security updates. It features Motorola’s skin on top of Android 11, with added features like the My UX app for customization and gesture configuration, Moto Power Touch which launches an app tray upon a double-tap of the power button, and Motorola’s “Ready For” which lets users turn their phone into a mobile desktop. “Ready For” has received a big upgrade with the launch of the Motorola Edge 20 series and Edge (2021) as it can now work wirelessly, allowing you to project your phone’s display or desktop mode UI to another screen. A new “Ready For PC” app for desktop has also been released, letting you access your apps and PC files on the same screen.
Lastly, Motorola touts the enterprise readiness of its new phone. The company says it has preloaded Lenovo ThinkShield for mobile, received ioXt certification, and meets Android Enterprise Recommended requirements. The company is also integrating a new OEM configuration app which will let sysadmins manage OS and security update configs, control features like “Ready For”, and manage additional security policies.
|Specification||Motorola Edge (2021)|
|Build||IP52 dust and water rating|
|Dimensions & Weight||169 x 76 x 8.85mm
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G
|RAM & Storage||
|Battery & Charging||
|Port(s)||USB 2.0 Type-C port|
Pricing and availability
The Motorola Edge (2021) will go on pre-sale starting next Monday, August 23rd, before going on general sale starting September 2nd. The phone will be available unlocked in a Nebula Blue color through Amazon, Best Buy, and B&H Photo in the U.S. It will cost $699.99, but Motorola is running a special sale that knocks $200 off the asking price (bringing it down to $499.99) for a limited time. In the coming months, the phone will be offered by Verizon and Spectrum Mobile in the U.S., and it will also be coming to Canada.
Correction: The original version of this article stated that the Motorola Edge (2021) has an OLED panel. We regret this error.