Motorola Edge 5G UW (2021)

MSRP $699.99

“The Motorola Edge 5G UW stands tall within the crowded midrange subject, with an enormous 144Hz show, lengthy battery life, and assist for each mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G.”

Professionals

  • Crisp 6.8-inch show with a 144Hz refresh fee
  • Helps 5G NR mmWave and Sub-6GHz
  • Extraordinarily responsive touchscreen
  • Lengthy battery life

Cons

  • No wi-fi charging
  • Single bottom-firing speaker
  • Digital camera struggles in low mild

The Motorola Edge 5G UW (2021) is a Verizon-only handset (largely similar to the unlocked mannequin presently obtainable) that delivers greater than you may anticipate based mostly on its midrange pricing. It appears extra like its siblings within the 2021 Moto G lineup than its speedy predecessor, the Motorola Edge (2020), however appears could be deceiving. It packs in a super-responsive 144Hz show, a powerful foremost digital camera, and sufficient juice within the battery to maintain going for days between costs.

Whereas there’s extra good than dangerous, Motorola did stumble just a few instances right here. There’s no assist for wi-fi charging, the one speaker produces underwhelming outcomes, and the draw back of a display screen this large is that the phone will simply be too cumbersome for some folks to make use of comfortably.

The Motorola Edge 5G UW held in one hand.Jeremy Laukkonen/Digital Traits

Design

The Motorola Edge 5G UW (2021) is the Verizon-exclusive model of the second-generation Motorola Edge, and it’s a pointy departure from the primary era of the {hardware} that launched final yr. That phone had a daring curve to the perimeters of the show and 0 bezel on the edges, whereas the second era of the {hardware} appears much more like Motorola’s different 2021 phones. It includes a large 6.8-inch LED show that dominates the entrance of the handset, however the bezels are pretty chunky all the way in which round. The highest bezel is just too skinny to accommodate a digital camera sensor, so it has a pinhole cam.

The general building of the Edge 5G UW feels strong, with a silky-smooth 2.5D glass display screen with the barest trace of a curve, and a transparent plastic again that appears and feels an entire lot like glass within the hand. It weighs in at only a bit over 7 ounces, which feels deceptively mild for a phone that measures 6.5 x 2.9 x 0.35 inches. That’s possible on account of using plastic in building, but it surely neither appears nor feels low-cost in any respect.

The back of the Motorola Edge 5G UW.

A take a look at the Moto Edge 5g Jeremy Laukkonen/Digital Traits

The volume and power buttons of the Motorola Edge 5G UW.

Jeremy Laukkonen/Digital Traits

The USB-C port and speaker grill of the Motorola Edge 5G UW.

Jeremy Laukkonen/Digital Traits

The camera array of the Motorola Edge 5G UW.

Jeremy Laukkonen/Digital Traits

The amount rocker and energy button are each positioned on the appropriate fringe of the body, with the ability button pulling double obligation as a fingerprint sensor. The sensor labored flawlessly throughout my time with the phone. It by no means misinterpret my thumbprint even as soon as, and it’s extremely responsive as nicely. Faucet the sensor along with your thumb, and the response is so near on the spot that my eyes can’t inform the distinction.

The left edge is clear and naked, the highest includes a microphone, and the underside edge homes the SIM drawer, one other microphone, the USB-C port, and the one speaker grille.

The glass-like plastic again is gorgeous, but it surely’s additionally an absolute fingerprint magnet. When cleaned with a microfiber material, it catches the sunshine in a means that’s nearly a disgrace to cowl up with a phone case. Motorola calls the colour scheme nebula blue, and it’s the one shade possibility on provide for this mannequin.

The digital camera array rises from the again of the case just a few millimeters, which makes the phone a bit wobbly once you set it down with the display screen dealing with up. The three digital camera sensors are organized vertically, with a microphone and flash positioned to the aspect.

Show and audio

The Edge 5G UW includes a large 6.8-inch FHD+ LCD  show that’s a little bit of a downgrade — and likewise a little bit of an improve — from the earlier era of the {hardware}. The primary-generation Edge had a 6.7-inch OLED with a 90Hz refresh fee, whereas the Edge 5G UW (2021) has a 6.8-inch IPS LCD with a blistering 144Hz refresh fee and a barely larger pixel density.

It’s a disgrace to lose the OLED, however the quicker refresh fee and better pixel density are completely definitely worth the trade-off.

It’s a disgrace to lose the OLED, however the quicker refresh fee and better pixel density are completely definitely worth the trade-off. All the things from menu navigation to video games appears slick past perception — to the purpose the place it’s nearly tough to return to a phone with a considerably decrease refresh fee.

Sound is a very totally different matter, because the Edge 5G UW fails to impress in that space. It has a single down-firing speaker that simply doesn’t sound good. Once I fired up the sport Genshin Influence, I instantly cringed when a personality began speaking, and the speaker screeched and struggled to deal with the excessive register.

Quantity isn’t a problem, because the speaker is greater than loud sufficient, but it surely’s disagreeable at max quantity. At decrease volumes, it’s hole and tinny. When you by chance block the grille of the one bottom-firing speaker, the sound is muffled into nothingness.

The Motorola Edge 5G UW with Verizon Adaptive Sound and iPods Pro.Jeremy Laukkonen/Digital Traits

Whereas the speaker itself is a disappointment, the listening expertise is totally totally different if you happen to join a Bluetooth speaker or earbuds. The Edge 5G UW helps Verizon Adaptive Sound, which is Verizon’s model of spatial audio. I related my AirPods Professional and my Pixel Buds to check the characteristic, and it makes an enormous distinction. The bass enhance mode is much like the Pixel Buds bass enhance possibility, however Verizon Adaptive Sound gives you with a variety of presets and a customizable equalizer as nicely.

Digital camera

The Edge 5G UW includes a 108MP foremost digital camera sensor, which is a large improve over the earlier era of the {hardware}. That’s backed up by an 8MP ultrawide digital camera and a 2MP depth sensor. Round entrance, you’ll discover a respectable 32MP selfie shooter.

The 108MP foremost sensor turns in extraordinarily robust outcomes given respectable lighting, with good shade and wonderful particulars. Pictures additionally turned out fairly good in blended lighting situations, like panorama pictures that included vibrant swaths of sky and deep shadows on the bottom. In decrease lighting situations, like dim mild inside, I seen extra noise than I’d like. The identical is true of evening mode pictures, which got here out loads vibrant even in comparatively darkish situations, however on the worth of numerous grainy noise.

The entrance digital camera works nicely sufficient for selfies and video chat, but it surely doesn’t flip within the sort of outcomes I anticipated simply from the uncooked numbers. I seen numerous grain in pictures taken in something lower than good lighting, however particulars got here out fairly good. Portrait mode washes out each colours and particulars, softening and lightening every thing.

The digital camera comes with a variety of enjoyable and helpful choices past portrait mode. Spot shade enables you to choose one shade and have every thing else within the shot rendered in grayscale, cutout enables you to seize photographs of individuals with the background robotically minimize out, and twin seize enables you to snap a shot with the primary digital camera and selfie cam on the identical time — simply in case that’s one thing you ever wished to do.

Software program and efficiency

The Edge 5G UW ships with Android 11, and it’s fairly near a inventory expertise. Motorola provides some performance on high, with the identical deal with gestures that it’s had for some time, however most issues work the way in which you’d anticipate.

The most important factor to beat if you happen to’re coming from a inventory Android expertise is that dragging up from the underside brings up the app switcher as a substitute of the app drawer. To get the app drawer, you must drag up from simply barely above the underside of the display screen. You can even entry Assistant by dragging up from the bottom-left or bottom-right corners of the display screen.

The gesture controls mean you can carry out helpful duties like grabbing a screenshot by tapping the display screen with three fingers.

An important change Motorola makes to inventory Android is the addition of movement and gesture controls. These controls could be toggled off if you happen to don’t like them, however the gesture controls mean you can carry out helpful duties like grabbing a screenshot by tapping the display screen with three fingers, turning the flashlight on with a chopping movement, and opening the digital camera with a fast twist of the wrist.

Navigation is snappy and silky {smooth}, and apps launch quick. General efficiency is superb, leaning on the Snapdragon 778G chip and your alternative of 6GB or 8GB of RAM. The unit I examined got here with 6GB, which was sufficient to have a dozen apps open with zero slowdown when swapping between them.

The Edge 5G UW turned in some respectable benchmark outcomes that dovetail completely with my hands-on expertise. It scored a hefty 13,249 general within the Work 3.0 benchmark, which is nearly twice the rating I noticed earlier this yr after I checked out Motorola’s cheaper 5G possibility, the Motorola 5G Ace. I additionally ran a few 3DMark gaming benchmarks, and the Edge 5G UW doubled the efficiency of its lower-priced sibling there as nicely.

The Motorola Edge 5G UW playing Genshin Impact.Jeremy Laukkonen/Digital Traits

For a little bit of hands-on testing of gaming efficiency, I used the Edge 5G UW to run by my Genshin Influence dailies. Whereas I want the desktop model of the sport for something severe, it appears and performs nice on the Edge 5G UW. I used to be capable of knock out my dailies with out challenge and even log a while within the Moonlight Merriment occasion. My solely grievance is that the one bottom-firing speaker will get blocked when gaming in panorama mode.

Connectivity

True to the title, the Edge 5G UW helps 5G NR mmWave and Sub-6GHz on the Verizon community. After all, it’s additionally nonetheless suitable with older requirements like 4G LTE if you happen to dwell and work in an space the place Verizon hasn’t completed constructing out its 5G infrastructure. The realm the place I examined the Edge 5G UW suits that description, with considerably spotty 5G reception, however the speeds I noticed have been about twice what I’m used to measuring on 4G. That’s fairly much like the expertise I had with the Motorola 5G Ace I examined earlier this yr, which solely helps sub-6GHz. When you do have entry to Verizon’s mmWave community, it is best to see some fairly nice speeds from the Edge 5G UW.

Rounding out its wi-fi connectivity, the phone additionally helps NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, and Wi-Fi 6. Wi-Fi connectivity is strong and quick, with assist for Wi-Fi calling. I used to be capable of ship and obtain calls over Wi-Fi, obtain and stream video games, and stream music and movies with none points.

For bodily connectivity, the phone has a USB-C port to attach equipment and facilitate speedy charging. Motorola’s lower-priced midrange phones and budget-range handsets include headphone jacks, however the Edge 5G UW doesn’t have one.

Battery and charging

Motorola advertises the Edge 5G UW as having a two-day battery, and that isn’t simply advertising and marketing. You might feasibly drain it quicker with some fairly intense utilization, however I discovered that my comparatively mild use truly let me go three days between costs. Once I left it to loop YouTube movies over Wi-Fi, with the display screen at half brightness and the mobile radio off, the Edge 5G UW ran for simply shy of 24 hours earlier than shutting down.

The Motorola Edge 5G UW outside with a golf app.Jeremy Laukkonen/Digital Traits

Whereas the battery measurement and battery life are excessive factors, the general charging state of affairs isn’t as optimistic. The Edge 5G UW does assist speedy charging to the tune of 30 watts, which is an enchancment over numerous the opposite phones within the present Motorola lineup, and also you’ll get a 30W charger packed proper within the field.

Different producers provide quicker charging on this worth vary, however 30W is completely serviceable in my expertise. I used to be capable of cost the Edge 5G UW from lifeless to one hundred pc in about 90 minutes. Wi-fi charging isn’t supported in any respect, although, which is disappointing.

Worth and availability

The Motorola Edge 5G UW (2021) is accessible completely from Verizon, with a launch date of October 14. Pricing begins at $700 for the 256GB, although it’ll be on sale for $550. Motorola, Amazon, Greatest Purchase, and B&H additionally promote the unlocked mannequin for $700, although there’s a $600 promotion worth as of this writing.

Our take

The Motorola Edge 5G UW is a strong midrange handset that excels in some areas and never as a lot in others. It misplaced the flowery curved-edge OLED show that the earlier mannequin had, however the IPS LCD it does have appears implausible and boasts a very spectacular refresh fee. General efficiency is nice, battery life is exceedingly lengthy, and the digital camera efficiency is respectable sufficient in most lighting situations. This is among the greatest inexpensive 5G phones of the yr, with the next refresh fee and greater battery than different handsets in that class.

Verizon Adaptive Sound provides an additional dimension if you happen to join Bluetooth headphones or a speaker.

The underside-firing speaker may use an improve, however Verizon Adaptive Sound provides an additional dimension if you happen to join Bluetooth headphones or a speaker. I’d additionally want to see wi-fi charging in a phone at this worth level, and the digital camera efficiency does undergo in low mild, all of which does maintain this phone again a bit. This specific mannequin can also be locked to Verizon, which is a hitch if you happen to’re married to a unique service, however Motorola does provide an unlocked model if you happen to’re on board with every thing else and that’s your one dangle up.

Is there a greater different?

On the promotional $550 worth level, this is among the greatest choices on the desk, although the calculus adjustments a bit as soon as issues revert to the $700 MSRP. When you’re on the lookout for a phone with an exceptionally quick refresh fee on the show, that’s very true. The Samsung Galaxy A52 is one respectable possibility, because it affords a 6.5-inch AMOLED with a refresh fee of 120Hz and prices about $500. It does have a barely slower processor and a weaker digital camera array, but it surely’s a particularly strong possibility at that worth. Your subsequent best choice is the Google Pixel 5a. You received’t get the high-refresh display screen, but it surely has a beefed-up battery and nice digital camera capabilities, particularly in low mild.

How lengthy will it final?

Apart from the usual one-year guarantee, Motorola is ready to supply two main Android updates together with bimonthly safety updates for 2 years, which suggests the Edge 5G UW could be anticipated to stay updated for about that lengthy. The construct high quality is nice, so it’s more likely to preserve working simply nice nicely previous that, however you received’t have the ability to depend on safety updates previous yr two, and inside three years, you’ll be one model of Android behind the handsets that shall be obtainable at the moment.

Must you purchase one?

Sure, it is best to contemplate choosing this phone up, with a few caveats. The extraordinarily enticing $550 worth level is technically an introductory worth, with the potential that the phone shall be again at its $700 MSRP for the unlocked mannequin after the launch window. The competitors will get loads stiffer the additional that worth climbs, so regulate that if you happen to’re shopping for later.

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