Motorola Edge 2022 review

Motorola looks to join the ranks of great budget phones, but it faces stiff competition

Motorola Edge 2022 cameras
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Motorola Edge 2022 does some things well, but not well enough. While there’s nothing particularly wrong with the phone (other than some underwhelming cameras), it’s hard to recommend the Edge when less expensive devices like the Pixel 6a, Galaxy A53 and iPhone SE 2022 provide better value.

Pros

  • +

    Big, bright display

  • +

    Wireless charging

  • +

    Decent graphics performance

  • +

    Three years of software updates

Cons

  • -

    Underwhelming cameras

  • -

    Costs more than rival phones

  • -

    Unimpressive design

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Motorola Edge 2022: Specs

Starting Price: $498
Screen Size: 6.6-inch OLED (2400 x 1080)
Refresh Rate: 144Hz
CPU: MediaTek Dimensity 1050
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB, 256GB
Rear cameras: 50MP main (f/1.8), 13MP ultrawide (f/2.2), Depth sensor
Front camera: 32MP (f/2.45)
Battery size: 5,000 mAh
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 10:15
Size: 6.3 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches
Weight: 5.99 ounces
Software: Android 12
Colors: Mineral Gray

The Motorola Edge 2022 represents Motorola's latest entry into the midrange phone market, as the device maker looks to lure budget-minded shoppers with a big, fast refreshing display and promises of lengthy battery life and better photos. At a different point of time, that might be enough to earn the Motorola Edge some attention.

But midrange phones are now more impressive than ever, as Google, Samsung and Apple have all produced models that can lay claim to the best cheap phone under $500. That's an awfully crowded field for the Motorola Edge to enter, let alone conquer. Is this new device up to the task? Read our Motorola Edge 20222 review to find out.

Motorola Edge 2022 review: Price and availability

T-Mobile sells a 128GB version of the Motorola Edge 2022 for $498 (opens in new tab), though customers adding a new line can get the phone for free in the form of bill credits spread out over 24 months. A 256GB version is available at Best Buy (opens in new tab) and through Motorola, where it's regularly priced at $599.

With those prices, the Motorola Edge finds itself between the $449 Pixel 6a and $599 Pixel 7, though its specs seem more comparable to the former device. You could also see Motorola's phone being pitched as an alternative to the midrange Samsung Galaxy A53, also available for $449. I reviewed the 128GB model of the Edge in its lone Mineral Gray color option.

Motorola Edge 2022 review: Design

Hold a Motorola Edge 2022 in your hand, and there will be no doubt as to where Motorola cut corners to keep the price of this phone down. The Edge features a polycarbonate frame, but it's a cheap-feeling plastic that screams out "budget phone" to anyone who will listen. On the back of the phone, a vertically-aligned camera array juts out from the upper left corner. It's prominent enough to add a little wobble to the Motorola Edge when you set the phone down on its back.

Motorola Edge 2022 cameras

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

In other words, an eye-catching phone this is not. But at least that plastic build makes it fairly lightweight at fractionally less than 6 ounces. It's quite a contrast to the Pixel 6a and Galaxy A53, both of which weigh more than 6 ounces.

Motorola Edge 2022 display

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Under-display fingerprint readers are becoming increasingly common on midrange phones, and the Motorola Edge 2022 doesn't disappoint in that regard. Even better, its fingerprint reader is pretty responsive and unlocks the phone with greater reliability than the Pixel 6a's finicky under-display sensor.

Motorola Edge 2022 review: Display

Motorola touts the edge-to-edge OLED display offered by the Motorola Edge 2022, and at 6.6 inches, you certainly get a lot of screen real estate. I think the bigger story here is the display's refresh rate, which can ramp up to 144Hz if need be. Fast refresh rates aren't always common on devices in this price range — the screens on the Pixel 6a and iPhone SE 2022 are locked at 60Hz and the Galaxy A53 tops out at 120Hz — so the Edge really stands out here.

Even better, an Auto setting for display refresh rate lets the phone optimize the refresh rate depending on what's happening on the display. In contrast, Galaxy A53 owners have to manually switch between 60Hz and 120Hz.

Motorola Edge 2022 display

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

As wide a view as the display offers, I wish the colors were a bit more vibrant, especially considering that the Motorola Edge 2022 uses an OLED panel. Watching Elvis on HBO Max, the singer's bright clothes and cars looked decent enough, but a lot of nuance was lost during scenes shot at night. The same thing happened when I watched the Cocaine Bear trailer on YouTube — it was very hard to make out details on the titular bear, and darkly-lit scenes were too dim on the Motorola display.

Motorola Edge 2022 display

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

You can fix the issue somewhat by changing the display settings. In Natural mode, the Motorola Edge captured 119.4% of the sRGB color spectrum. (The Galaxy A53 reaches 123% in its natural setting while the iPhone SE, with its LCD panel, gets to 115%.) Switching to the Motorola Edge's Saturated mode boosted the percentage to 181.2%.

That switch comes at the expense of color accuracy, as the Motorola Edge's Delta-E rating in Natural model is a very good 0.21 versus 0.31 in Saturated mode. (Numbers closer to zero are better.) When set to Natural, the Motorola Edge 2022 is one of the more accurate displays, matching the iPhone SE's 0.21 rating and nearly hitting the 0.2 achieved by the Pixel 6a. The Galaxy A53 is the least accurate at 0.31.

Motorola Edge 2022 display

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

While the colors of the Motorola Edge screen didn't impress me, the brightness certainly did. With adaptive brightness turned on, we measured peak brightness of 995 nits with a light meter. Among the best midrange phones, only the Pixel 6a comes the closest to matching that with a 778-nit reading. Going outside on a bright sunny day, I could scale down brightness to 70% before I had a hard time making out the Motorola Edge's screen.

Motorola Edge 2022 review: Cameras

The Motorola Edge 2022 comes with three rear camera sensors, but before you get too excited about that, understand that the third one is a depth sensor there to help with portrait photos. The more important cameras include a 50MP main shooter and a 13MP ultrawide lens with a 120-degree field of view. To put that figure in context, the Pixel 6a's 12MP ultrawide lens has a 114-degree field of view.

Motorola Edge 2022 cameras

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Comparisons between the Motorola Edge 2022 and Pixel 6a seem apt since we rate the latter phone as the best camera phone you can get for less than $500. If Motorola is serious about taking the budget phone fight to Google, we'd like to see the latest Edge produce photos that are hopefully on par with what you can get from a Pixel 6a.

The result of that challenge? The Motorola Edge 2022 cameras can keep pace with the Pixel 6a shooters — to a point. In unchallenging conditions with the right lighting, Motorola's cameras perform just fine. But darken the scene or tap into the phone's different shooting modes, and the odds of getting a great shot become a little longer.

This photo of a sushi platter taken outside on a sunny day represents the Motorola Edge 2022's best effort to top the Pixel 6a. Motorola's shot is well-composed and the 50MP camera did a great job calling out the white of the rice in the tekka maki and sake maki. Because the Pixel 6a shot uses a color temperature, the rice looks a tinge more off-white (and not especially appetizing).

But the color of the fish is richer in the Pixel 6a photo, and the Motorola Edge had a bit more trouble subduing the sun's glare off the right side of the tiled table. In the end, these are two pretty evenly matched shots.

Sunlight proved a bit too challenging for the Motorola Edge in this statue of some frollicking frog children. (I don't commission the statues, I just photograph 'em.) The second frog from the right is almost completely washed out by the sun, and you also can't make out the details in the face of the frog to her left. The lighting is so much more even in the Pixel 6a's shot — resulting in a much better picture — that you'd hardly realize the photos were taken at the exact same time of day.

Moving indoors, the Motorola Edge 2022 struggles with color in this shot of some lasagna taken in the evening with overhead lights providing the majority of the lighting. While the warm tone of the Motorola picture makes the lasagna look well-baked, the color of the tomatoes in the nearby side dish is very skewed — they almost look purple, while the wine in the glass looks pitch black. The Pixel 6a has a lighter touch on the colors, and it's a far superior shot.

The Motorola Edge's problems with color become even more evident when we test out the phone's Night Vision feature. There's a visible blue cast in this shot of a stuffed Kermit the Frog doll enjoying a late-night Rusy Nail that adds a haze to the Motorola photo. I've seen better night mode shots than what the Pixel 6a produces, but at least it manages to let the contrasting colors shine through — Kermit's green felt, the red apples, the orange flowers. And you won't see a weird blue haze in the Pixel 6a shot like you do in what the Motorola Edge produces.

You can't see it because of how we have to crop photos to get them to fit in our comparison tool, but the ultrawide lens on the Motorola Edge 2022 does capture a little bit more of the scene than the Pixel 6a does, thanks to its wider field of view. That doesn't translate into a better photo, though, as the Motorola shot darkens the blue sky and loses some of the detail on the left side of the Christmas tree — problems not in evidence in the Pixel 6a's shot. Both cameras add too much of a fisheye effect in their ultrawide shots for my tastes.

Motorola Edge 2022 sample image

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

There is one feature to the Motorola Edge's ultrawide camera that I want to call out. It supports macro shots, so that when you switch into Macrovision mode on the Motorola Edge, you're capture the photo with the camera's ultrawide lens. Macro shots aren't my cup of tea, but I have to admit this close-up of flowers blooming on a bougainvillea bush is very clean and detailed — so much so, you can make out patterns on the fuchsia bougainvillea leaves.

The Motorola Edge doesn't have a dedicated telephoto lens — not many phones in this price range do — but I wanted to test out the phone's digital zoom, especially when compared to the Super Res Zoom feature that Google's Pixel phones use to zoom in digitally with less noise and visual artifacts.

When I zoom in at 2x, the Motorola Edge captures a credible picture of my local city hall, with none of the noise or fuzziness you'd see on a cheaper camera phone. But look carefully at the lettering on the building and the detail on the brickwork in the Pixel 6a shot compared to what the Motorola phone produces. Google's phone takes a sharper, more detailed picture using its zoom feature. As adequate as the Motorola Edge zoom is, it's no match for what the Pixel 6a can do.

We have a similar issue with the portrait shot of my daughter that the Motorola Edge captured. It's a pretty good image, and I even like how the Moto phone lightened up her face, even if it made her complexion overly pink. My issue is with the bokeh effect — the Motorola Edge blurs a chunk of her hair on the left side of the shot and doesn't completely blur the decorative plates on the wall behind her. The bokeh effect in the Pixel 6a's effort is much more consistent, even if my daughter's facer has a darker cast and the overall shot is less colorful.

Motorola equipped this year's Edge with a 32MP front camera, and it certainly does the job on this selfie, despite some issues with the sunlight peaking through the orange tree behind me. It manages to accurately capture the texture of my face as well as the colors in my beard, and there's none of the oversmoothing we see on display in the Pixel 6a's shot. You can take self-portraits with confidence using the Motorola Edge 2022.

The Motorola Edge 2022 cameras can keep pace with the Pixel 6a shooters — to a point. Darken the scene and the odds of getting a great shot become longer.

Selfies aside, though, the other pictures taken by the Motorola Edge struggled to keep up with the Pixel 6a output. Maybe that's an unfair comparison given how Google's handset sets the standard for budget camera phones. But this is the arena Motorola wants to compete in, and right now, its cameras are coming up short.

Motorola Edge 2022 review: Performance

Motorola has been turning to MediaTek to supply the silicon for its midrange and budget models, not always to good effect for users. Recent reviews of Motorola G series phones like the Moto G Power (2022) and Moto G Power (2022) cite laggy launch apps and sluggish performance. So it was with some trepidation when I noticed that a MediaTek Dimensity 1050 chipset provides the power for the Motorola Edge 2022.

Motorola Edge 2022 display

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

My fears turned out to be unfounded. The Dimensity chip inside the Motorola Edge gives the phone enough oomph to launch apps quickly, switch between them without lag and generally run without hiccups. When I played PUBG Mobile on the Motorola Edge, the graphics — while not as sharp as they look on more powerful phones — rendered well-enough. More importantly, gameplay went ahead with no stutters or lags.

Motorola Edge 2022 testing results

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That said, benchmarks are not kind to the Motorola Edge 2022 and its Dimensity 1050 chipset. The phone's single-core result on Geekbench 5 of 751 looks respectable next to the 745 turned in by the Exynos 1280-powered Galaxy A53. But the Edge trails the Pixel 6a's 1,057 score on that same test. Multicore numbers give the Motorola Edge a bigger lead over the Galaxy A53 — 2,193 to 1,888 — though it's well behind the Pixel 6a's 2,918 result.

Graphics are a different story, perhaps explaining my good-not-great experience with PUBG's visuals on the Motorola Edge. In 3DMark's Wild Life Extreme test, the Motorola Edge posted 11 frames per second result, trailing the 13 fps and 41 fps results turned in by the Galaxy A53 and Pixel 6a, respectively.

Motorola Edge 2022 display

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Real-world testing was a bit more encouraging. We use Adobe Premiere Rush to transcode a video, timing the results. The Motorola Edge finished the task in 1 minute and 3 seconds — not as fast as the Pixel 6a's 49-second time, but better than the 1:58 seconds it took the Galaxy A53. The iPhone SE 2022 dusts all those phones with a 27-second time, but it benefits from a fast A15 Bionic chipset.

Motorola Edge 2022 review: Battery life and charging

Given Motorola's reputation for producing long-lasting phones and the beefy 5,000 mAh battery inside the Motorola Edge 2022, I was expecting big things in terms of battery life. And to a certain extent, the phone delivered.

On our battery test in which we set a phone's display to 150 nits and then have it surf the web over cellular until it runs out of power, the Motorola Edge lasted 10 hours and 15 minutes. That's just above the average time for a smartphone on our test.

Motorola Edge 2022 testing results

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We recorded that time with the Motorola Edge's display rate set to Auto, so the phone adjusts refresh rate automatically. Switching to 60Hz mode extended battery life by a little more than half-an-hour, while locking the phone on a 144Hz display drained the battery much faster, as you would expect. In that instance, the Motorola Edge lasted a little more than 9 hours.

I may have been hoping for longer battery life from the Motorola Edge 2022, but it clearly outlasts comparable phones. The Galaxy A53, which has the same sized battery as the Edge, could only hold out for 9 hours and 49 minutes at its faster refresh rate. The Pixel 6a couldn't reach the 6.5-hour mark on our test.

Motorola Edge 2022 charging port

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Support for 30W charging helps the Motorola Edge's battery get to 53% after 30 minutes. In that same time, the Galaxy A53 reached the 46% mark. The Motorola Edge also supports wireless charging, something neither the Galaxy A53 nor the Pixel 6a offers.

Motorola Edge 2022 review: Software and special features

The Motorola Edge 2022 is still running Android 12 as of this writing, understandable as its arrival came around the same time as Android 13's release. It's unclear when Android 13 is arriving for this phone, but it's safe to say that Motorola does not have a history of prompt Android updates.

At least, Motorola is taking steps to address one of our frequent criticisms about its software support with the Motorola Edge 2022. It's committed to three years of Android software updates, which means you should be able to hold on to this phone through Android 15. That would match the promised software support for the Pixel 6a. Additionally, Motorola promises four years of bi-monthly security updates for the Motorola Edge.

Motorola Edge 2022 review: Verdict

The Motorola Edge 2022 has a "not quite there" feel to it, with every one of the phone's stronger points affixed with some sort of asterisk. Yes, the Motorola Edge's screen is nice and big, and we're never going to complain about a 144Hz refresh rate on a midrange phone — but I wish the colors were a little bit more vibrant. Battery life lasts longer than the competition — but not as long as we've seen from other Motorola phones in the past. The cameras produce OK shots — though they struggle with color, and low-light photography can be a crapshoot versus the Pixel 6a

The biggest issue with the Motorola Edge 2022 is that it costs more than the phones from Google, Samsung and Apple that it's going toe-to-toe with... and it's more expensive than all three while being better than exactly none of them. The Pixel 6a takes better photos. The Galaxy A53 has the more attractive display. The iPhone SE delivers the better performance.

There's nothing especially wrong with the Motorola Edge 2022, but there's nothing especially right about it either. At a time when phone makers are really bringing their A game to the midrange space, you've got better options all around you.

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.