Motorola’s new $699 Edge smartphone is weird

Motorola has announced a new smartphone. It’s the 2021 version of its Edge smartphone from last year that debuted alongside the Edge Plus. After already introducing three new Edge smartphones this year, I suppose Motorola didn’t think it’d be enough and it should give customers yet another option.

Here’s the thing: this phone is kinda weird. It’s an odd blend of flagship specs and mid-range traits that doesn’t convey any particular message or reason to get you to buy it. It’s also extremely similar to the Edge 20 which was just announced around three weeks ago. Priced at $699, I’m not sure who this phone is for, and I don’t know if Motorola does either.

Motorola stuck to its guns and designed the Edge (2021) [as it refers to the device in its press materials] like any other Edge phone: with a shiny blue finish. The company dropped the curved edges of the 6.8-inch display (0.1-inches larger than the Edge 20 series), and that’s likely because it uses LCD instead of OLED. You’ll also find humongous camera bulges on the back, a USB-C port on the bottom, and a fingerprint reader on the right side.

The Edge (2021) won’t impress anyone with its specs. There might be a 144Hz refresh rate on that display, but it’s still LCD. Under the hood, you’ll find a Snapdragon 778G processor (just like the Edge 20) paired with either 6 or 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage. You do get a pretty big battery at 5000mAh, though, with 30W Turbo Charging. (For the record, that’s 1,000mAh bigger than what’s in the Edge 20.)

In terms of cameras, Motorola includes a 108MP sensor on the back (again, very Edge 20-esque), something more commonly found in high-end flagships. It’s paired with an 8MP ultra-wide sensor and a 2MP depth lens, specs that are incredibly common in mid-rangers. Motorola includes its Macro Vision feature to zoom closer in on tiny subjects for close-ups, portrait mode, and night mode. There’s also a 32MP selfie camera.

You also get Android 11 with Motorola’s My UX on top of it. Features like Quick Capture, three-finger screenshots, Pick Up to Silence, and more are all onboard, as are the normal list of Android 11 features. The only problem here is whether Motorola will update the software frequently. Historically, the company’s been pretty awful with update guarantees typically hovering around the two-year mark. Whether the Edge (2021) ever sees Android 13 and beyond is unclear, so keep that in mind if you’re considering this phone.

I’m not sure what Motorola’s goals and ambitions with the Edge (2021) are. It could just be trying to make carriers happy by offering another phone with both sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G. Then again, it could just be a market thing to try and appeal to different people. Regardless, it’s a really odd phone given how similar it is to the Edge 20 and how weird its blend of specs is.

Motorola says the phone will go on sale in the US on September 2nd. It’ll be available through Amazon, Best Buy, B&H Photo, and the company’s website. In the coming months, it’ll be sold through Verizon and Spectrum Mobile. For a limited time, the device will be discounted by $200 to $499.