Monday, June 24, 2024
Smart Phones

Motorola Edge 2023 review: so stylish!


Motorola Edge 2023 Intro

After launching the Edge 40 earlier this year, Motorola finally brought it over to the States, under the name Motorola Edge 2023. Well, mostly — it looks the same and feels the same, but it has some slight differences, like a small nudge in display size, and a different processor inside.
With an MSRP of $599.99, the Motorola Edge 2023 will be facing some stiff competition — a Pixel 7 costs the same, an iPhone 14 is only $100 more. But, at the current Black Friday promos, the Edge 2023 is down to $349.99 and we feel that’s a very reasonable price point.
But let’s dive deeper — what does the Motorola Edge 2023 have to offer and why do we feel that $600 may be a bit of a steep asking price? Performance, camera, battery life and more:

Here are our top 3 deals on phones this Black Friday:

About the rating: PhoneArena has introduced a new scoring system where we use the full range of 1-10 in order to rate devices more accurately and fairly, all the while battling the “Review score inflation” phenomenon.

What’s new about the device

  • Curved screen
  • Faux leather back
  • No depth camera on the back, but portrait performance is good

Table of Contents:

Motorola Edge 2023 Unboxing

The Motorola Edge 2023 comes with its fast charger in the box, which is nice to see — especially with a phone that supports a specific fast charge tech. Otherwise, you will find a nice USB C cable and some booklets along with the phone inside the box.

Motorola Edge 2023 Specs

Not for the heavy user

The Motorola Edge 2023 looks and feels great. However, its internals aren’t as premium as the exterior would suggest:

In terms of storage and battery, we have some great specs here. The processor is an oddball, especially if you are buying this phone for the MSRP of $599.99, but that’s all on paper. Let’s keep exploring.

Motorola Edge 2023 Design & Colors

Thin, pretty, delightful to hold

 

We’ve already seen this exact design on the Motorola Edge 40 earlier this year, but that one was not available in the US. The Edge 2023 is basically the Edge 40 with very minor changes, made for the US market.

So, what are we working with? Incredibly thin body that feels very balanced weight-wise. If you have the gall to carry this without a case, you will feel all warm and fuzzy inside every time you hold the phone. The good news is that the faux leather back makes it extremely grippy, so using it without a case is not a far-fetched thought.

The buttons on the side aren’t the best — they have a weak click to them and don’t have a lot of travel, so they don’t feel very premium. That aside, the rest of the device does.
The Edge 2023 is IP68 rated for dust- and water-resistance, so minor accidents shouldn’t be alarming. The front glass doesn’t seem to be Gorilla Glass — Motorola only lists it as a curved glass with anti-fingerprint coating. And yeah, it feels nice and it stays clean.

You can have the Motorola Edge 2023 in any color you wish — as long as you want it in black. That’s right, no extra paintjobs, but we are perfectly happy with the understated and stealthy Eclipse Black with its leather look.

Motorola Edge 2023 Display

With a 6.6-inch screen, the Edge 2023 feels quite spatious with lots of real estate for multimedia or split screen apps to take up. The resolution is 1080 x 2400 pixels, which makes for about 399 pixels per inch. That’s quite sharp and the display looks very crisp.

It’s an OLED panel with a 144 Hz refresh rate, so animations look extremely smooth, too. And its colors look pretty on point — you can choose between a punchy Saturated mode or a more toned-down Natural with a warm look, and we do enjoy the latter a lot.

Motorola phones have generally moved away from an Always-on feature recently. Instead, it goes all in on Peek Display — basically, just bump your phone slightly to see your notifications — it doesn’t fully light up, just shows you whats up with a few white-on-black icons. We presume it’s a battery-saving choice, but if you are used to looking at your phone’s lockscreen from across the desk, without needing to touch it, you won’t get that here.
Of course, Dark Theme and Night Light, which filters out the blues after sunset, are present here as they are standard on any modern smartphone out there we can think of.

The peak brightness is listed at 1,200 nits and the Edge 2023 display is HDR10+ compliant.

Motorola Edge 2023 Camera

50 megapixels of “It’s fine…”

With a 50 MP main camera, a 32 MP selfie camera, and a 13 MP ultra-wide camera, the specs sheet of the Motorola Edge 2023 seems like it wants to convince you that it’s the king of sharp pictures. But you will mostly end up with oversaturated photos with a lot of software oversharpening. We could let this go if the phone’s MSRP was lower than $600… but again — at that price (or less) a Pixel or a-series Pixel just smokes it.

Main Camera – Day

You can spot the super-saturated sky, the oversharpening in the leaves. Also, take note down in the portraits, how highlights in the dog’s fur were burnt out — this phone doesn’t deal too well with dynamic ranges.

Main Camera – Low-light

Night shots can end up looking quite bright and vibrant, so long as you stand still for a good couple of seconds. The phone manages to pull a lot of color from dark scenes and they end up looking quite share-able. Since night photos are inherently softer in detail, the oversharpening here kind of balances out with that.

Zoom Quality

There’s no zoom camera on the Motorola Edge 2023 — you get digital zoom that tops out at 8x. And it’s not great — there are no enhanced Super Res algorithms working here. Details quickly get washed out and the photo starts looking as a painting when you zoom in. But, at something modest like 2x zoom, it’s OK. Well, the oversharpening and aggressive noise reduction are still there, but it’s as OK as a 1x shot.

Portrait Mode

The Portrait Mode won’t floor you, but it’s definitely not bad. Edge detection seems to work out fine — the dog’s fur did trick it in a couple of spots, but even then, the phone didn’t mess up all that much. The bokeh in the background looks convincing enough. Yet, the portraits suffer from the oversharpening and highlight burnout again.

Ultra-wide Camera

The ultra-wide camera has the same software tunings behind it, working to amp up the colors and sharpen details a bit too much. However, funnily enough, fine details look better when taken with the ultra-wide. We guess since the 13 MP sensor and ultra-wide lens inherently take softer photos, that kind of balances out against the software sharpening.

Night shots can definitely end up looking hazy around the edges of the image, but generally the phone holds it together.

Selfies

Under sunlight, selfies look fine, with a good amount of color and life to them. Again, we have to point out the oversharpening, at the risk of sounding like a broken record. Once we get a bit of shade or we go indoors, there seems to be some noise-reduction kicking in, and washing out tinier face features.

Video Quality

Video Thumbnail

With video recording, the camera has a nice warm cast and a striking contrast. Unfortunately, its dynamic range isn’t great, and you can see sun spots turn into burnt-out highlights. And the details still look a bit jagged. The clip above uses comparisons to Pixel 8 for reference.

Motorola Edge 2023 Performance & Benchmarks

Why, why, why, Dimensity?

OK, we’ve been badmouthing the MediaTek Dimensity 7030 whenever specs about the Edge 2023 came up, but we do want to make it clear — for day to day tasks, app switching, split screen, the phone actually holds up pretty well. If you want a stilysh handset that will keep you connected to the world and act as a cool accessory, the Edge 2023 can deliver that.

We did try gaming on it, and it ran, sure, but it wasn’t the best experience. Now, obviously, app developers are pretty good at optimizing their games for as wide an audience as possible, and we won’t say that the popular games are unplayable. For example, Call of Duty: Mobile runs just fine, even if we did perceive frame drops regularly. However, there’s definitely some input lag going on, as aiming and moving just didn’t feel precise or pleasing. This issue is present even on simpler games like Mighty Doom.

But casual day-to-day performance has been just fine for us.

Performance Benchmarks:

The good news is that the Motorola Edge 2023 comes with 256 GB of storage which is plenty enough for most people. Chuck your photos and videos on the cloud for backup and you can generally last this phone’s lifetime with that amount of storage. With 8 GB of RAM, it’s definitely not going to compete with the top-tier phones of today, who are pushing 12 GB and 16 GB limits nowadays. But we can’t sit here and say that 8 GB is “a little”. Some laptops still have 8 GB of RAM. And Android works just fine with 8 GB of RAM.

The USB Type-C port on the bottom is only a USB 2, so it’s stuck in the past when it comes to tranfer speeds via cable.

Motorola Edge 2023 OS / Android version

The Motorola Edge 2023 ships with Android 13 out of the box, slightly reskinned with the Motorola UI. Moto fans know to expect what is often referred to as “vanilla Android”. There’s no plethora of new features or software spaghetti to sift through. It’s mostly the clear Android experience with just a couple of Motorola’s signature features on top. These are usually found and configured within a Moto app that’s pre-installed on the phone.

So, what’s unique? You have physical gestures — chop motion with the phone to launch the flashlight, twist it to launch the camera. Attentive Display will stay on while you are looking at it. Edge Lights will make the screen glow on its sides when it’s face down and you have an incoming message. Dolby Atmos settings for the nice-sounding speakers, and Moto Gametime, which lets you customize your gaming experience, lock brightness, block notifications, et cetera.

Currently, Motorola still commits to two years of Android updates and three years of patches — which isn’t great as the industry leaders are pushing for 4 or more years of updates. Anyway, this means the Motorola Edge 2023 will get:
  • 2024 – Android 14
  • 2025 – Android 15
  • 2026 – security patches

Motorola Edge 2023 Battery

Not a champ, but certainly dependable

Using the Motorola Edge 2023 day to day, it definitely didn’t feel like it was draining too fast. The phone would comfortably last us a day and percentage phobia was not an issue.

Looking at our benchmark tests, we can see it certainly isn’t a champion in this category:

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:

But that’s fine. We wouldn’t try to push it to 2-day battery life, but for a single day on a charge, it lasted just fine. Plus, it’s all mitigated by the fact that it charges up quite quickly:

Motorola Edge 2023 Charging Speeds

The Motorola Edge 2023 supports fast charging and comes with its wallplug in the box. It ouputs 68 W of power and can top off the slim handset quite quickly:

PhoneArena Charging Test Results:

30 minutes gets you from 0% to 68%, which should certainly last you a day. And if you happen to have a wireless charger on your work desk, you basically wouldn’t need to worry about battery.

PhoneArena Wireless Charging Test Results:

Motorola Edge 2023 Audio Quality and Haptics

The Edge 2023 has stereo speakers, like most phones midrange and up nowadays. Surprisingly, they can sound pretty good, especially considering how thin the phone is. It gets plenty loud, and the sound is meaty. It does have a tendency to distort when at maximum, and there’s still a tinge of honky midrange, but again — with the way this phone is shaped, we don’t think it’s possible to avoid at least a little bit of tinny sound.

The haptics also feel great. They are quick, strong, and precise, giving you very satisfying feedback when tapping away in the interface.

Motorola Edge 2023 Models

There is also a Motorola Edge 2023+ available, which is a bit higher spec. It has a Gorilla Glass Victus front panel, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, and 512 GB of storage. It’s capable of 8K video and has a USB 3.2 port for super-fast transfer speeds. By all means, the Edge 2023 and Edge 2023+ are very different monsters, dressed in the same stylish clothes though.

Motorola Edge 2023 Competitors

Our mind immediately goes to the Google Pixel 8, which has a regular price of $699. OK, that’s $100 more than the Edge 2023’s MSRP, but you get a lot more phone for it. Or, if you need an exact match — the Pixel 7 is still available, at $599 (regularly discounted to $399), and again… it just has the better performance and better camera.
What the Motorola Edge 2023 has going for it is its looks and its speakers. We kind of like its display more than on a regular Pixel, too — it just looks a bit punchier, a bit contrasty-er in real life.
Then, there’s the recently-released Galaxy S23 FE, which brings the S23 feel for a lower asking price. Again, it’s $599, but powered by the last-gen Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which will run laps around the Dimensity 7030 inside the Motorola. We have an inkling to expect a bettery camera performance, but we haven’t had our hands on an S23 FE yet, so we can’t say — stay tuned.

Motorola Edge 2023 Summary and Final Verdict

Again, at full price, we can’t see how the Edge 2023 can win against its contemporaries. It may turn out that it will either be discounted often, or its official price will drop in a short while.

That said, let’s assume you pick up the Motorola Edge 2023 for $350 — the price it’s listed at right now, during the Black Friday deals period. At that price point, it’s a pretty fair ask! Yes, the camera is mediocre by today’s standards, and it’s not a gaming device. But the style it oozes, the beautiful screen, the fast charging, and the speakers — they are good. Use it as an essential handset and it will serve you very well for your $350!



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