Motorola Edge 40 hands-on: Looking good in leather

  • 5 min read
  • May 06, 2023

Sitting under the Motorola Edge 40 Pro - called the Moto Edge+ (2023) in the US - is the Moto Edge 40. It's what's known as a sub-flagship handset, offering a range of compelling specs, but not quite in the top tier. It's the sort of phone that's designed to offer a premium experience without the premium price - and it appears to update the Moto Edge 30 Fusion, rather than the low-spec 2022 Moto Edge 30. Exactly what this phone might be called when it launches in the US we don't know.

The Moto Edge 40 has revealed some charms however, even after a short time spent with it.

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Motorola Edge 40

First impressions

There's plenty of appeal to the Moto Edge 40 with a quality build and the option for vegan leather finishes in two colours. This phone sits just under the flagship 2023 model, offering power, great clean software and loads of potential.

Design and build

  • Leather finishes in two colours
  • 158.43 x 71.99 x 7.58mm, 172g (vegan leather)
  • IP68 protection rating

We've seen leather on the rear of some phones in the past, including the Motorola Moto X way back in 2014, but not often out of the flagship category. The option for vegan leather immediately makes the Moto Edge 40 stand out in a sea of glass-backed devices. It keeps fingerprints away and elevates the overall aesthetic of the device, giving it something of a special feel.


The camera bump is lovingly covered in this leather too, carrying two huge lenses which are more pronounced than Motorola's flagship, the Edge 40 Pro (or Edge+ 2023 if you're in the US). There are curves to the edges of the rear, meeting the curves of the screen at the edges for a high-quality finish. It's all protected with an IP68 rating, so it won't get damaged by water or dust.

The design is closely related to that of the Moto Edge 30 Fusion with the design and build much the same, but it boosts the waterproofing over the older phone which was only IP52.

The vegan leather finish is available on the Eclipse Black model (as pictured here), but we suspect the Nebula Green in leather is going to be popular too, while there's a more conventional Lunar Blue that has an acrylic back. The leather models are a couple of grammes heavier and a few tenths of a millimetre thicker, but we think that's a trade worth making.

There are stereo speakers on the Moto Edge 40, with one on the base and one set into the top of the screen, offering Dolby Atmos audio and attempting to widen the soundstage. We've not had a chance to fully test their performance, but playing a few music tracks reveals appreciable quality and volume.

First impressions are of a great handset build, with plenty of quality.

Display and hardware

  • 6.55in, 2400 x 1080, HDR10+, 144Hz
  • MediaTek Dimensity 8020, 8GB, 256GB
  • 4400mAh, 68W wired, 15W wireless

There's a 6.55-inch display on the front of the Moto Edge 40, which curves off to the left and right edges and has a punch hole for the front camera in the centre top. It's a plastic OLED type display, with a refresh rate of 144Hz. The refresh rate can be adjusted, with an auto setting, as well as 60 or 120Hz. If you want 144Hz, you'd have to select that specifically, as it's not covered by the range that auto refresh would cover.


At first glance it's a nice vibrant display with rich colours, very much like the larger sibling the Moto Edge 40 Pro. It's not the same display, however, as the flagship supports Dolby Vision and this display doesn't appear to be Vision certified, only HDR10+. Still, it will give you that HDR boost when watching content.

There's a peak brightness of 1200 nits which is impressive, and should see this phone cutting through reflections when you step out into bright sunshine. We've not tested the handset extensively enough to verify its performance, but first impressions are good.

Powering the phone is the MediaTek Dimensity 8020. This is one of the reasons this is a sub-flagship device, and often manufacturers will turn to MediaTek when they want a more affordable phone. The Moto Edge 30 Fusion offered Snapdragon 888+ hardware and the Dimensity 8020 is around the same sort of level, but it's newer. This hardware is, however, still high performing and although we haven't had the chance to fully test it, we'd expect close to flagship performance. It's backed up by 8GB RAM and 256GB storage.


There's a 4400mAh battery with 68W wired charging and 15W wireless charging. There's 68W TurboPower charger included in the box, so it will be fast to recharge your phone when you're dashing out of the house. We'll have to fully test this phone to determine what sort of stamina it offers with that display and hardware - but we'll update as soon as we can.


  • Main: 50MP, 1/1.5in, f/1.4, OIS
  • Ultrawide: 13MP, 1.12µm, f/2.2
  • Front: 32MP, f/2.4

The cameras on the Moto Edge 40 take a step down from the Moto Edge 40+, firstly losing the telephoto option, but also switch to lower resolution sensors for the ultrawide and selfie cameras. While there's still a 50-megapixel main, we're not expecting to get such impressive results out of this phone.


However, the main camera is offering a really wide aperture, wider than average at f/1.4, so there's potential that it could let in more light for night photos. It might also result in a rather shallow depth of field, however, so we'll have to fully test its performance and share the results in the future.

The ultrawide camera will also double as a macro camera, so you'll be able to get ultra close as well as ultra wide, but the lack of an optical telephoto means you'll have to use digital zoom if you want to get closer to the subject - with up to 8x digital zoom offered.

There are a range of clever functions packed into this camera, including the horizon lock for video that does and awesome job of stabilising things and is ideal for action sports for example. Video is also boosted with a video bokeh function, while there's also a VLOG mode to capture a scene and your reaction at the same time.


  • Android 13
  • 2 OS updates, 3 years security

The Motorola Edge 40 launches on Android 13 and is expected to have two OS updates and 3 years of security updates. That's not the most impressive support, meaning that this phone won't get updated as long as the flagship. The thing we like about Motorola's approach to software is that it keeps it pretty clean, close to the sort of experience you might get from the Pixel 7: indeed, this phone might be seen as something for a rival of that Google device.


That means that Google apps and services are front and centre, there's no duplication of these apps, but there are some preinstalled apps, like Facebook, Mistplay and Word Trip, while Motorola bundles in a couple of apps for Dolby Atmos, Family Space, Moto Secure and Motorola Notifications. There's also a main Moto app, but this appears to only exist to point you towards other parts of the phone.

We've not had the chance to fully explore the performance of the software, but having use the Moto Edge 40 Pro for some time, we have high hopes for this phone.

First impressions

The Motorola Edge 40 seems to step up in positioning over the Motorola Edge 30, instead looking more like an update of the Edge 30 Fusion. This makes it closer to the flagship Edge 40 Pro, which is perhaps reflected in the asking price. At this price, it's designed to undercut flagship phones without too many compromises in performance.

The biggest drawback is likely to be the lack of an optical telephoto camera. Elsewhere this is a compelling package, with what looks like a strong display, great build, that lovely vegan leather finish and waterproofing. The performance of the Dimensity 8020 is still something of an unknown and we'll be fully testing it to give you a definitive verdict as soon as we can.

The Motorola Edge 40 is available now in the UK for £529 and in Europe. A US launch of an equivalent device is expected in the near future.