Motorola Edge 40 Pro looks like a stellar Galaxy S23 rival — so why can’t we buy it?

Motorola Edge 40 Pro
(Image credit: Motorola)

Motorola's latest flagship phone offers up a promising assortment of rear cameras, a fast-refreshing display with ample screen real estate and specs that stack up well against the best Android phones, including the Samsung Galaxy S23. But good luck finding the Motorola Edge 40 Pro in the U.S.

Announced this past week, the Motorola Edge Pro will soon start shipping in Europe, with a Latin American release to follow in the weeks after that. Not on the schedule — at least not in any official way — is any sort of U.S. release.

With past Motorola phones, we'd shrug at the apparent snub. Motorola hasn't released a lot of flagship devices in the U.S. in recent years, and the few that have debuted here have seemed like half-hearted efforts. Take the Motorola Edge Plus 2022, which had a flagship-sized price tag — it debuted at $899 — while lacking features like a telephoto lens and protection against dunks in water. Stacked up against similarly priced phones, last year's Edge Plus just couldn't compete on features.

Based on its spec sheet, the newly unveiled Motorola Edge 40 Pro feels like a more complete phone — so much so that we're hoping Motorola releases the handset more widely so that we can see if we have a true Galaxy S23 alternative on our hands.

Motorola Edge 40 Pro — what the new phone offers

It's the Motorola Edge 40 Pro's cameras that caught my attention. Past Motorola phones have offered credible cameras — I generally like the images that the Motorola Edge Plus produced, for example — but the overall setup was usually lacking in some way. 

Motorola Edge 40 Pro

(Image credit: Motorola)

That doesn't appear to be the case with the Motorola Edge 40 Pro, which features a 50MP main shooter — exactly what you get with both the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus. The main cameras on Motorola's phone, which include optical image stabilization, is accompanied by a 50MP ultrawide angle lens that pulls double duty as a macro camera and a 12MP telephoto lens capable of a 2x zoom. That's not going to make anyone forget about the 3x zoom that the S23 can pull off, let alone the 30x Space zoom capability. But it's a step up from having no zoom at all.

Motorola also offers some camera software features that catch the eye, including Horizon Lock Stabilization for keeping action shots stabilized. The Motorola Edge 40 Pro also boasts a number of video-specific features — Video Night Vision to brighten footage captured in low light; auto-focus tracking that stays locked on the subject when you're shooting video; and Video Portrait mode for adding a bokeh effect to your videos.

The improvements don't stop with the Motorola Edge 40 Pro's cameras. While the Motorola Edge Plus offered IP52 water resistance — good enough to save the phone from splashes but little else — the new Motorola flagship offers a more robust IP68 rating. That means the phone can survive a dip into 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. 

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Motorola Edge 40 Pro Secs Compared
Row 0 - Cell 0 Motorola Edge 40 ProSamsung Galaxy S23 Plus
Starting price (Europe)€899€1,209
Screen size6.67-inch pOLED (2400x1080)6.6-inch AMOLED (2340 x 1080)
Refresh rate165Hz48 - 120Hz
CPUSnapdragon 8 Gen 2Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
Storage256GB, 512GB256GB, 512GB
Rear cameras50MP (f/1.8) main; 50MP (f/2.2) ultrawide; 12MP (f/1.6) telephoto w/ 2x zoom50MP (f/1.8) main; 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide; 10MP (f/2.4) telephoto with 3x zoom
Front cameras60MP (f/2.2)12MP (f/2.2)
Battery size4,600 mAh4,700 mAh
Charging speeds125W wired45W
Size6.3 x 2.9 x 0.34 inches (161.2 x 74 x 8.6mm)3.0 x 6.21 x 0.3 inches (76.2 x 157.8 x 7.6 mm)
Weight7 ounces (199 grams)6.9 ounces (195 grams)
ColorsInterstellar Black, Lunar BluePhantom Black, Cream, Green, Lavender

Other Motorola Edge 40 Pro specs deliver exactly what you'd expect from a flagship Android device. A Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset provides the power, and a 4,600 mAh keeps the Motorola Edge 40 Pro humming along. When it's time to recharge, Motorola promises 125W charging speeds that can fully charge the Edge 40 Pro in 6 minutes. That may be a feature that doesn't reach the U.S. even if the Motorola Edge 40 Pro does — phones like the OnePlus 10 Pro that offer ridiculous fast charging speeds in other parts of the world have those speeds capped over here due to limitations with U.S. power outlets.

The 6.67-inch pOLED panel can ramp up its refresh rate to 165Hz, much faster than the 120Hz speeds of flagship phones like Samsung's Galaxy S23 lineup. With a handful of the best gaming phones deliver 144Hz refresh rates, you'd imagine that the Motorola Edge 40 Pro would be a gamer's delight.

Motorola Edge 40 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus

The Motorola Edge 40 Pro's €899 starting price in Europe translates to around $985 in the U.S., though straight currency conversions don't always reflect what phone makers would charge in a given country. Still, between that price tag and the 6.67-inch display, the Motorola Edge 40 Pro draws comparisons to the Galaxy S23 Plus. And it's a face-off the Motorola phone might fare well in.

galaxy s23 plus screen showing blade runner 2049 trailer

Galaxy S23 Plus (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

We'd imagine the Galaxy S23 Plus would outperform the Motorola Edge 40 Pro. While both phones use a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the version inside Samsung's latest flagships is overclocked to deliver faster speeds. The Galaxy S23 Plus turned in a strong enough time on our battery test to wind up on our best phone battery life list, but between the Snapdragon silicon and 4,600 mAh battery, the Motorola Edge 40 Pro should last a long time on a charge, too. And it should definitely charge faster than the S23 Plus and its 45W wired charging speeds.

The difference in display refresh rates is interesting on paper, though we'd have to wonder if the 165Hz rate of the Motorola Edge Pro 40's display would be that noticeable next to the 120Hz display of the Galaxy S23 Plus. So really, a Motorola Edge 40 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus face-off might boild down to cameras and whether the impressive-on-paper Motorola cameras can match what Samsung has to offer. There's a reason we include two of the three Galaxy S23 models among the best camera phones we've tested, and it's not just because of hardware.

Waiting for a U.S. release

Of course, for U.S. shoppers, all this could be academic if the Motorola Edge 40 Pro — or a phone very much like it — never appears here. At least this time, Motorola is offering some cause for hope.

In announcing the Motorola Edge 40 Pro, the company included a statement that "Motorola is reinforcing its commitment to bringing premium smartphone experiences to the hands of more consumers." To that end, the phone maker says, it's planning "to expand the Edge family in North America this year."

That's a somewhat vague statement that could mean anything from a rebranded version of the Motorola Edge 40 Pro reaching the U.S. to a scaled-back release that's more like the 2022 Motorola Edge Plus. The latter would certainly be a disappointment from our perspective.

As much as we like the Samsung Galaxy S23 lineup, there's nothing wrong with a little competition to keep phone makers on their toes. Google's Pixel and flagships from OnePlus supply some of that for U.S. shoppers. We'd like to see a phone as impressive as the Motorola Edge 40 Pro join the party.

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Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.