Motorola Edge 40 review

In our Motorola Edge 40 review, we find a phone with surprising gaming capabilities and a sleek look, but there are issues in terms of the camera and battery.

Picture of the Motorola Edge 40 on a desk with a black screen for review

Our Verdict

The Motorola Edge 40 is an ideal mid-range phone for both business and pleasure, with competent gaming performance thanks to the MediaTek Dimensity 8020 chipset. There are concessions in the form of a middling camera and slightly below-average battery life for the price point, but it’s still plenty capable of keeping up with the big hitters in the mobile market.

While not the biggest name in the industry in the year 2023, Motorola is still putting out powerful devices across multiple price ranges to compete with Apple, Samsung, and the rest of the market leaders. The Motorola Edge 40 is one of the company’s modern Android devices, lining up neatly alongside other mid-range mobiles with its own list of exciting features and specialties.

For those that don’t know, the Motorola Edge line is a step up from the lower-range Moto models, offering higher-quality visuals and more processing power. It’s still not the top of the range – that’s the Edge 40 Pro – but it’s something of a flagship model for Motorola, showcasing how it can still keep up with the major players and constant innovation. It almost does exactly that, however, a slightly sub-par camera and worse-than-average battery life detract from the overall package.

Despite Motorola clearly marketing the phone to professionals, it’s actually quite a gaming wonder, with the P-OLED screen practically popping with color across all the games we could throw at it. Not only do the games look good, but they perform consistently too, making the Edge 40 a bit of a dark horse when it comes to a mid-range handset for gaming. But is it one of the best Motorola phones? Read on to see our thoughts.

Pros:

  • Professional design and feel
  • Dazzling display
  • Fast wired and wireless charging
  • Competent chipset

Cons:

  • Lower-than-average battery life
  • Disappointing back cameras
  • Faux-leather hard to clean

Price and availability

The Motorola Edge 40 is readily available via multiple retailers and the manufacturer’s site in the UK and Europe but isn’t currently available in the U.S.A through official means. There’s only one model of Edge 40 but you can pick your color from the selection of Eclipse Black, Nebula Green, and Viva Magenta.

  • Eclipse Black – 8GB RAM and 256GB Memory – £529
  • Nebula Green – 8GB RAM and 256GB Memory – £529
  • Viva Magenta – 8GB RAM and 256GB Memory – £529

Specs

Battery Li-Po 4400 mAh + 68W wired and 15W wireless charging
Display 6.55-inch 144Hz P-OLED (1080 x 2400)
CPU MediaTek Dimensity 8020
RAM 8GB
Storage 256GB
Front camera 32 MP
Back cameras 50 MP (f/1.4) OIS and 13 MP (f/2.2) AF
Weight 167g
Dimensions 158.4mm x 72mm x 7.6mm
Colors Eclipse Black, Nebula Green, and Viva Magenta

Features

The Motorola Edge 40 looks and feels like a professional phone. And guess what? It has all the features of one, too. The basics are all there: water resistance, fingerprint sensor, and all the Google workflow bits and pieces ready to go. It’s a simple installation to get up and running, and from there you can find a plethora of options to personalize your device with apps and tools.

Still, if you do just want to have some fun with this device, it’s got you covered there, also. With the MediaTek Dimensity 8020 chipset, you can game and stream to your heart’s content in glorious HD. The chipset and P-OLED screen work in tandem to make for cinematic visuals, assisted by Dolby Atmos technology. The size of the device also suits gaming, with even my outsized hands wrapping around the device with ease. It’s all work and all play with this handset, which you do first is up to you.

If you are a gamer, there’s further good news in that the Edge 40 comes with Motorola’s Gametime software pre-installed, giving you the option to forgo notifications while engaging in a game. With 256GB storage, you can certainly make the most of Gametime by loading up the Edge 40 with countless titles. I tried to see how many I could install as a little test, but they just keep on downloading, with plenty of space left for pictures and messages.

Picture of the back of the Motorola Edge 40 for review

One of the big draws of the Edge 40 is just how rapidly it charges. With enough wattage to boost you over 50% in less than ten minutes, it feels like you can take it anywhere provided you bring along the charger lead. Sure, the actual battery life isn’t as capable as some other models at a similar price point, but it really depends on whether you value battery capacity or quick charging more.

There are a couple of caveats in the features department, though. If you want to listen to anything, you need wireless headphones as there’s no headphone jack. There isn’t a zoom function on the selfie camera either, so despite the quality of the front-facing lens, it’s a struggle to frame images exactly how you want them. Still, outside of that and a couple of other potential issues, the Edge 40 is what I like to call an all-rounder, with nearly everything you expect in a smartphone in the year 2023.

Camera

While Motorola isn’t exactly known for its high-quality device cameras, there’s enough here to keep you snap happy, providing you’re not expecting the same sort of quality you might get from a similarly priced camera, of course. Between the two cameras – the main 50mp camera and a 13mp ultrawide in support – there are plenty of options to control the quality of your images, though things take a bit of a turn in low light.

I found in my tests that unless in proper lighting, pictures using either of the front cameras can be a little underwhelming. As you can see from the picture below, anything in the right light is fine, but some of the snaps I took during a gloomy evening seem just a touch grainy. It’s not enough to stop you from uploading your pictures to socials, but if you want the crispest of the crisp, it’s probably not a Motorola for you. Pricing-wise, it’s pretty close to the Google Pixel 7. While there are other issues with the Pixel, if you’re looking for the best pictures in this price range, that’s likely the place to go. Still, it’s plenty good enough to take personal snaps of my sweet fluffy boy, as you can see below.

Picture of Floyd the Dog taken with a Motorola Edge 40 for phone review

If you’re a selfie taker, you can take some high-quality front-camera snaps thanks to the improvement of Motorola’s camera technology in the Edge 40. I did a quick test comparing the quality of a selfie taken on the Edge 40 and one on my iPhone 13, and the Edge 40 is a clear winner.

Design

In terms of design, the Motorola Edge 40 looks and feels professional as they get. It’s an understated device, with no real way to differentiate it from countless other mid-to-high-end phones from other non-Apple manufacturers, but the devil is truly in the detail. The back of this device is actually faux-leather, adding another touch of class to what already feels like a Tuxedo-wearing handset. It is worth saying that this material is a struggle to clean, so we still recommend picking up a case.

This device is the ideal size to use either just one or both hands, so you don’t feel your fingers cramp up even into a long gaming session. However, outside of the massive screen, the Edge 40 doesn’t exactly feel as if it’s designed for gaming. It can handle it, and it can look incredibly pretty while doing so, but there are no special triggers or gaming-specific buttons.

Display

The P-OLED screen on the Motorola Edge 40 is dazzlingly clear, with a smooth-as-butter 144Hz refresh rate. The display is one of the outstanding features of this phone, and if you’re someone who spends a lot of time streaming with your mobile device, the quality here is as good as you’re going to get for the mid-range price. Every pixel pops, and as someone who has used Apple phones consistently for the last few years, this is the factor that most makes me think about making the permanent switch to Android.

Close up for the display example on a Motorola Edge 40 for review

One thing that is worth pointing out is that the phone comes with adaptive brightness, which tends to make it randomly dim and light back up again if you’re using it inside. I turned the option off, but if you do the same, don’t make the same mistake I did and test just how bright the Edge 40 can get. It’s headache-inducing.

Battery Life

When it comes to the Motorola Edge 40’s battery life, it falls just slightly short of competitor brands. In our tests, the device managed just over two days with occasional use, and around nine hours of intensive use. This is less than the souped-up version, the Edge 40 Pro, plus mid-range models from other makes such as the Sony Xperia 10 V and ASUS ROG Phone 6.

However, while it might not hold charge well, the Edge 40 is at least quick to get back to full battery. Motorola has the 0-100% charge rate at 39 minutes, and our test found it to be almost just that, though slightly over at 41 minutes. So, if you’re not concerned about having to charge on the go, the Motorola Edge 40 is still worth considering despite a slightly disappointing battery life.

Performance

While Motorola might not be one of the bigger names in the mobile gaming sphere, there’s more than enough to love with the performance Edge 40. The crystal clear P-OLED makes any game you load up shine, from the glittering animations of Marvel Snap to the high-octane action of something like Need for Speed: No Limits.

Picture of the Motorola Edge 40 running Need for Speed mobile game

In my short time with the phone, there was nothing I could throw at it to make the frame rate dip noticeably. While you’re not going to make full use of the 144 Hz screen in more-demanding games, performance is consistent across various genres, even in particularly busy on-screen moments. There’s no slowdown with multiple apps open too, so you can seamlessly jump from game to game to YouTube to game and not lose out on performance.

While Qualcomm leads the way at the high-end, the mid-range is more competitive., The MediaTek Dimensity chipset in the Edge 40 is more than powerful enough to play your favorite mobile titles in glorious HD. How it holds out in the future is harder to tell, but you can be confident that any of the chart-topping games from the Google Play Store at the time of writing have no problem running on this Motorola.

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Should you buy the Motorola Edge 40?

All-in-all, the Motorola Edge 40 is a powerful mid-range smartphone that is ideal for professionals and those who want to play games and stream content on the go. Its beautiful display is the clear standout feature, with the P-OLED screen promising crystal clear video and gameplay, while the 144 Hz refresh rate keeps everything feeling zippy.

There are some this phone isn’t the right pick for, though. If you’re an avid picture taker, there are plenty of alternative models from different manufacturers that handle photography better and have more in-built options for taking shots. It’s also quite plain, no matter which color you opt for, so if you’re looking for something with a bit of flare or a conversation starter, it probably isn’t the Edge 40.

If the Motorola Edge 40 isn’t for you

Check out some alternatives below that might suit you better.

Google Pixel 7a

If you want to stay around the mid-range price but require the niftiest camera possible, the Google Pixel 7a is a solid option. It also competes handily in terms of performance, so if the Edge is a little plain for you, it’s well worth looking into the Pixel.

Samsung Galaxy A54

If you have concerns over the camera quality and battery life of the Motorola Edge 40, the Samsung Galaxy A54 is a strong competitor that answers those issues. The Samsung is slightly heavier and lacks wireless charging, but otherwise, it answers most of the issues that might put you off the mid-range Motorola. If you’ve got a slightly higher budget, though, be sure to take a look at our Samsung Galaxy S23 review.