You can be forgiven for being slightly confused about Motorola's line-up of phones. From a simple grouping aligned behind letters - Moto G, Moto E - parent company Lenovo expanded in a number of areas transforming these lettered models into families. That, along with launching models with different names in different regions, has left a lot of people scratching their heads.
The Edge is the premium line and starts 2023 with the launch of Edge 40 Pro - previously announced as the Edge X40 in China and subsequently launched as the Motorola Edge+ in the US. We reviewed the European variant of this device, but in most areas it's identical to the Edge+ (2023). This phone slots into a flagship position, with specs that are set to challenge the best while keeping the price in check.
Motorola Edge 40 Pro
The Motorola Edge 40 Pro/Edge+ offers good value for money, with an impressive display, good build quality and IP68 protection. There's plenty of power and the benefit of 125W fast charging. The cameras give a mixed performance, offering plenty of options, but not quite competing with the best when it comes to low-light shooting or zoom.
- Great display
- Fast charging with 125W charger included
- Nice portrait experience
- Some weaknesses in the camera performance
- Motorola additions make setup a little fussy
Design and build
- 161.16 x 74.00 x 8.59mm, 199.0g
- Gorilla Glass Victus, aluminium frame
- IP68 protection
Motorola's logo is one of the most distinctive in the world of mobile phones. Having been one of the first companies to cut the wire, everyone should be aware of the impact that Motorola has had on the smartphone industry. That's perhaps not been so pronounced in the era of the modern smartphone, with the Moto G - a decade ago - perhaps being its biggest moment in Android phones.
In the flagship space it's perhaps a little too easy for Moto to get overshadowed by the likes of Samsung, but when it comes to design, there's something practical that Motorola is still doing that Samsung has now dropped. Using curved edges to the phone makes this sizeable device more comfortable to hold than the likes of the Galaxy S23+ that it rivals.
Motorola curves all the edges of the device, not just to the sides, but also the top and bottom of the display too. That means there are no sharp edges on this glass and aluminium sandwich. The frame is sandblasted, while the rear is what Motorola calls velvet matte glass, a lovely finish that remains fingerprint free and feels like a smooth pebble. There's a clear case in the box, although you might want something that's more exciting to protect your phone.
The cameras fall into a neat square on the rear of the phone, while the frame gets punctuated by speakers top and bottom designed to deliver Dolby Atmos audio. The Edge 40 Pro will produce appreciable volume, but won't quite deliver the sort of bass that some gaming phones will offer - like the ROG Phone 6 for example. Moto's solution is actually clever, with the ear speaker being ported to boost the performance and help create that wide soundstage for spatial audio.
Dolby Atmos lettering is emblazoned on the edge of the phone, with the option to toggle on and off Atmos and spatial audio. From the phone's own speakers this is adjusted when you rotate the phone into landscape where we feel the audio sounds more immersive - so it's great for consuming content.
Through headphones the phone can automatically select particular Dolby Atmos modes so you can customise the sound. The duplication of a Dolby Atmos app and a spatial audio toggle is confusing, but in our experience, you'll get the most immersive sound by enabling both.
It's also welcome that Motorola has stepped up to IP68, meaning there's also flagship-grade protection for this phone too.
- 6.67in OLED, 2400 x 1080, 20:9
- 165Hz refresh rate
- HDR10+, Dolby Vision
There's a 6.67-inch panel on the Edge 40 Pro, which is a familiar size and found on previous models from Motorola sitting at the top of the Edge family. It's a great size, large, but not too wide thanks to the 20:9 aspect ratio. As we mentioned, there are curves towards the edges so it's slightly easier to grip than some with a flat surface. At the same time, some might find the responsiveness over those edges isn't quite up to the rest of the panel.
The curved edges also power Motorola's edge lights, which can illuminate for calls and notifications, so there's something a little extra to alert you to what's going on.
The Edge 40 Pro display is great, it's nice and vibrant, with the option to turn down the saturation if you want something a little more neutral; It's a great-looking display, boosted by the 1300 nit brightness to help it cut through reflections on sunny days. This also puts some oomph into HDR content, with HDR10+ and Dolby Vision both supported - if you can find content that supports it.
The same applies to that highlighted 165Hz refresh rate for the display. It's a good headline, but you might not be able to find any content to take advantage of that. To use the 165Hz mode it needs to be selected manually and it locks into that refresh rate, whereas there's an auto mode that will adapt up to 120Hz, which gives some parity to the likes of Samsung's adaptive refresh rate.
It's a great-looking display and the 20:9 aspect is lovely for watching movies on the move and there's really very little to complain about here.
Hardware and performance
- Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, 12GB, 256/512GB
- 4600mAh, 125W wired, 15W wireless
There's a flagship hardware load-out for the Moto Edge 40 Pro, landing on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the latest hardware from Qualcomm. We've been impressed by the power of the phones running on this platform that we've seen in 2023 and the Edge 40 Pro is no different. It offers a slick and smooth performance, no matter what you throw at it.
The hardware is positioned towards the top of the phone near the camera and you'll feel some warming at that end of the phone under intensive loads - like sustained gaming - although in typical casual use, the phone will stay cool. There's the option of 256 or 512GB storage, with the system taking up 17GB.
While the 4600mAh battery may not sound huge, the performance is pretty good, getting through a day of mixed use without a struggle. Naturally, the battery life will depend on how you use the phone, but there's the reassurance of having 125W charging. That will bring your phone back to full life in about half an hour and we've found this to be really beneficial - you can give your phone a decent top up in the time it takes to have a shower, so you're never caught short.
That 125W charger is in the box so you don't need to go out and buy it as an optional extra, which makes the price of the Edge 40 Pro even more attractive. There's support for 15W wireless charging too, while you get 5W reverse wireless charging which you can use to give your headphones a quick charge on the move, for example.
It's worth noting that if you buy the Moto Edge+ (2023), the battery is 5100mAh, bringing greater endurance, but only offer 68W charging. The difference in capacity is likely to allow for more cooling space for the faster charging on the Moto Edge 40 Pro.
- Main: 50MP, 1/1.5in sensor, 1.0µm, f/1.8, OIS
- Ultrawide: 50MP, 0.64µm, f.2.2
- Telephoto: 12MP, 1.22µm, f/1.6, 2x optical
- Front: 60MP, 0.61µm, f/2.2
The camera selection on the Motorola Edge 40 Pro is a combination of two predecessors, the Edge 30 Ultra and the Edge 30 Pro (called the Edge Plus (2022) in the US). You get a 50-megapixel main camera, looking to use pixel binning to produce 12-megapixel images, with the option to shoot at the full 50-megapixels if you wish. You can have high resolution automatically toggle on particular conditions and we found it typically turned on for landscapes in good light.
There's little visual difference between these images when viewed at normal sizes but, on closer inspection, you'll find more detail in the 50-megapixel version, so there's the potential for larger presentation or cropping - but with the files being three times the size of the normal, you might want to consider how much storage shooting at 50-megapixels would entail.
In good lighting you'll get some lovely results, full of colour and vibrancy, with options in the camera app for a level and grid to help composition. There's also a suite of AI functions that aim to improve your images. This isn't unique to Motorola, but there are a number of options you can tweak to your preference. The ultrawide doubles as a macro camera thanks to the high-resolution sensor and produces decent images, with the colour output from the ultrawide generally matching the main camera, which is great for consistency across photos.
The low-light performance, however, doesn't quite compete with the best. In murky conditions the Edge 40 Pro can produce images that are a little gloomy; in night shooting the light levels will be boosted, but that's accompanied by noise and over-sharpening, with mottling on solid colours like skies. The Edge 40 Pro competes but struggles against the Samsung Galaxy S23+: both are bettered by the Pixel 7 Pro that produces low-light shots that are more natural and much cleaner.
That criticism applies to the front camera of the Edge 40 Pro, which struggled to create clean images in low light, but is perfectly pleasant in normal lighting conditions and can give you some nicely flattering images. It's a 60-megapixel sensor, but don't be fooled by the high resolution, it's of little real use. Yes, you can crop in really closely on yourself - and perhaps you might want to take photos from some distance, while previewing the image and then later crop them, but otherwise we'd just ignore the resolution. The portrait on the front camera works nicely, however, with the option to adjust the results at the time of capture, although you can just as easily tweak it in the Google Photos app after the fact. You also get 4K/60fps video on the front camera, which is nicely stabilised.
Stabilisation across video is good and the results from video are also great, offering 8K/30fps and 4K/60fps, with the option to shoot in HDR10+, but only up to 4K/30fps. There's an interesting Horizon Lock feature that will use the sensor's resolution to keep your video level no matter how much the camera rotates, it's really clever and will avoid your video sloshing around like you're on the ocean, ideal for action videos.
Finally we come to the telephoto. This is a 2x optical lens, positioned as a portrait lens, which you'll switch to when you punch the "portrait" mode button. This takes you in a little closer (50mm) and nicely blurs the background and we've got some great shots from it. You can also opt to shoot portrait on the normal camera (35mm), or go closer (85mm).
In that 2x position, the results are great, and this is where you also start the telephoto functions. It's perhaps a little tame when compared to the 3x or 5x optical lenses you'll find elsewhere and the performance of zoom beyond this point isn't great, with over-sharpening and a loss of colour and saturation not really delivering competitive results. Pick up the Pixel 7 Pro - which is a similar price - and the zoom is better at all lengths, although the Edge 40 Pro will focus at closer distances with that zoom lens and advantage it does have over the Pixel.
Overall, it's not a bad camera, but it's not the strongest system there is. Many will happily use this camera, but it feels as though the low light and zoom performance needs to be stronger to compete with the best.
- Android 13
- 4 OS updates, 5-years security updates
Motorola moved to a close-to-stock experience over a decade ago and that still persists today. It's not quite stock with some Motorola app additions that aim to boost the experience. These additions are a little needy during setup, adding extra steps and trying to get you to sign-up for emails and so on. Even after setup you might find that you're nudged to tinker with some of Motorola's additions when you just want to get on with enjoying your phone.
But you escape the sort of duplication and bloat that you'll get elsewhere, such as from Samsung or Xiaomi. There are some nice additions with live wallpapers and a good lock screen experience, without having to uninstall a whole load of junk. There are great customisation options that are subtle, without having to delve into duplicate theme stores as you'll find on some rivals.
Within the software you'll find an effective game mode that you can use to lock controls so you don't swipe our of games, as well as giving you screen capture options.
We found the phone to run nice and smoothly, with no problems coming from the software in the time we were using it. The phone is supported with three major OS updates and 4-years of security updates, which means it will see you well into the future too.
The Motorola Edge 40 Pro is a good affordable flagship phone, offering many attractive features. We're taken by the design, the large display with curved edges sitting neatly into the hand, with a quality to the build backed up by IP68 protection.
The display is excellent and there's no shortage of power, boosted by decent battery life and fast charging - with the charger included in the box. That makes for a great day-to-day experience of living with this phone.
The camera makes a lot of promises with a plethora of high-resolution lenses, but doesn't deliver in all areas. The zoom performance isn't great and the low-light shooting could be better, but in typical daily use, the camera offers pleasing results, especially when it comes to portraits.
Motorola delivers a flagship experience in the Edge 40 Pro that will challenge some phones are that are much more expensive, so it represents good value for money. But it's not the only phone in this space, with strong competition from the likes of Google. There's more recent hardware in the Edge 40 Pro however, and that fast charging might just convince you to say Hello Moto when you choose your next smartphone.