Motorola Edge 40 Pro Review: Motorola's best flagship in years

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Motorola Edge 40 Pro Review

Motorola Edge 40 Pro Intro


Motorola is not the first name that comes to mind when you think of top-tier phones, but this year, the company wants to change that and it's weapon of choice is the new Motorola Edge 40 Pro.

In the US, this model is sold unlocked under the name Motorola Edge+ 2023 with a slightly larger battery and slower charging speeds, but it looks and feels practically the same as the international version. Our review is based on the international version, but you can easily use it as a reference for the Edge+ 2023 model when it comes to pretty much everything except the battery life section, where the US model will obviously last a bit longer.

This incredibly sleek phone not only looks good, but packs some serious power too. It has the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip as other premium Android flagships in 2023, but spices things up with a 165Hz refresh rate and adds a few very cool features like 125W fast charging, all while keeping the price quite reasonable for a flagship.

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Clean software with buttery smooth and zippy performance
  • 125W fast charging is great
  • High quality Portrait Mode shots
  • 165Hz is a fun gimmick that gamers will appreciate

Cons

  • Iffy software update situation, only 3 years of support
  • Camera not quite on par with the best
  • No proper long-range zoom camera

With that in mind, let's see if this phone is really that special, and whether Motorola has finally fixed the biggest issue with its phones and ultimately, if it's worth buying the Edge 40 Pro.

What’s new about the Motorola Edge 40 Pro
  • Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 inside makes this a top performer
  • 165Hz 6.7" screen
  • 4,600 mAh battery is smaller than on others, but performs well
  • 125W fast wired charging and 15W wireless charging
  • Three years of OS updates, 4 years security updates

Motorola Edge+ (2023)
6.8

Motorola Edge+ (2023)


The Good

  • Lovely curved front design
  • Clean software with buttery smooth and zippy performance
  • 125W fast charging is great
  • High quality Portrait Mode shots
  • 165Hz is a fun gimmick that gamers will appreciate
  • Solid battery life

The Bad

  • Iffy software update situation, only 3 years of OS updates
  • Camera not quite on par with the best
  • No proper long-range zoom camera

Table of Contents:

Motorola Edge 40 Pro Unboxing


The Motorola Edge 40 Pro comes with a bigger box than most modern phones and you can find plenty of useful items included in the box.

What's in the box:
  • Phone
  • Silicone case
  • 125W fast charger
  • USB Type C to Type C cable
  • User Manual

It's so nice to have the charger included in the box and it's not just any charger, but a very powerful 125W one that tops up the phone fully in about thirty minutes, but even a quick 15-minute top up provides enough juice for a whole day of use.

Motorola Edge 40 Pro vs Motorola Edge+ 2023 Specs

Every bit as premium as other flagships

And before we jump into the individual features, here is an overview of the Motorola Edge 40 Pro specs and the differences between this international model and the US model which goes by the name Motorola Edge+ 2023:


The main difference between the international version and the US-specific model is that the international one comes with a smaller than usual 4,600mAh battery, while the US version gets a much bigger 5,100mAh cell. Interestingly, the two phones have the same dimensions, the US version is only slightly heavier.

The US model, however, has slower wired charging speeds: 67W vs 125W charging on the international version.

Finally, the US model is only sold in one configuration with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, while the international model comes in at 12GB of RAM, but less storage at 256GB.

And these are all the differences between the Motorola Edge 40 Pro and the Motorola Edge+ 2023.

Motorola Edge 40 Pro Design & Colors

Tapered sides make swiping so comfy!


Motorola has done a very good job with the design of the Edge 40 Pro, and you immediately notice how each of the four sides of the front of the phone are ever so slightly tapered, which makes swiping gestures incredibly pleasant.

It helps that the silicone case that Motorola includes with the phone for free does not cover the bottom part of the phone, so the common swipe up to go home gesture is uninterrupted.

For all else, this is your typical modern smartphone: Gorilla Glass Victus back, aluminum frame, solid build quality.

We do have one complaint though: the power and volume keys! They are way too close to each other, way too tiny, and the power key wobbles a tiny bit on our unit and does not feel nearly as clicky as on other phones. For a button that is supposed to be pressed literally thousands of times, this should be mentioned.

Also, don't forget that this is still a bigger phone. Motorola has done a great job making the Edge 40 Pro one hand use friendly with the narrow body and the curved sides, and it is also much lighter than a Galaxy S23 Ultra or iPhone 14 Pro Max. But it's still a tall phone with a 6.7-inch screen.

Motorola Edge 40 Pro Display



Speaking of that screen, we have a 6.7" OLED panel with a 1080 x 2400 pixel resolution. This is not quite as sharp as 1440p screens on some phones, but the difference is negligible in our opinion.

Motorola treats us to an absolutely buttery 165Hz refresh rate, more than most other flagships and everything indeed feels so smooth.

You have a punch hole front camera that does not take up much space either.

Display Measurements:




As you can see above, the screen did well in our lab tests, scoring over 1,000 nits of max brightness, so it is easy to see outdoors on a sunny day.

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You can pick between a "Saturated" and "Natural" color modes, and while we usually recommend the "Natural" mode, in this case we went with saturated colors as the natural looked way too bleak.

One minor complaint here is the rather high value for minimum brightness, which means that if you use your phone in bed in the dark, the screen might appear a bit too bright. 

For biometrics, we have an optical type fingerprint scanner that does an excellent job: it is fast, reliable, we had no issues with it.

Motorola Edge 40 Pro Camera

Better than we expected, but not quite great


Making a great smartphone camera is no easy task, and that is why we had our doubts whether the Motorola Edge 40 Pro will have a camera worthy of its price tag.

Thankfully, the camera system here clears the bar with mostly pleasing colors, fast speed and a reliable performance, even if it is not as good as the best camera phones out there.

You have a 50-megapixel wide camera, which uses quad-pixel binning, meaning that you effectively get 12-megapixel shots out of it. Those who want to get the maximum 50MP resolution, however, can select the high-res mode. This is nice to see, but we would prefer to have that option easily accessible in the photo mode rather than having to switch to an entirely different mode, but that's just us.

You also have a 50-megapixel ultra-wide camera (again, it uses pixel binning and captures 12MP photos) and a 12-megapixel 2X zoom camera.

Main Camera - Day



During the day, the colors out of the Motorola look quite similar to what you get from a Galaxy, which is to say you get vibrant colors, proper exposure and a good amount of detail.

One issue we saw in daytime photos, however, was how the phone tends to lift up the shadows way too much, and images lose a bit their natural dynamic look because of that.

Zoom Quality



Having a 2X zoom camera is great for portrait mode shots, but as you can see above you don't really get a ton more detail compared to just the digital zoom on the Galaxy S23 Ultra.


At 5X zoom, we see the detail starting to fall apart on the Motorola.


And finally, 10X zoom is just too much for the camera on the Edge 40 Pro as at this level of zoom detail is missing badly.

Portrait Mode



You have three options for portrait mode: 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm. Having three different focal distances for portraits is great and these are exactly the most popular ones for portrait shots, so Motorola has done a really good job with this.

The Portrait Mode effect seems to work very well, notice how it cuts me out from the bacgkround very accurately, you don't see any artifacts, job well done.

Ultra-wide Camera




The utlra-wide camera again captures decent looking shots.
 
As with so many phones out of China, we have a ridiculous amount of processing on images shot on the front camera of the Moto 40 Pro. The skin is artificially smoothened and you have this fake, plasticky look to selfies that is just this... fake (and that's with the face beauty effect at OFF, imagine the processing if you enable that additional effect).

Video Quality


Video Thumbnail


You can record up to 8K video at 30fps on the Moto Edge 40 Pro and with no crop at that, which is great to see.

However, because of the sheer size of the files and convenience, we think most people should stick with 4K that can be recorded at either 30fps or 60fps.

The quality as you can see is mostly good, and unlike cheaper phones, the Edge 40 Pro actually has quite good video stabilization. One annoyance, however, is that once you start recording at 1X, you cannot switch to the ultrawide camera during the recording. If you want to record 4K video with the ultra-wide camera, you have to first select that camera before hitting the record button, a quite ridiculous limitation.

Motorola Edge 40 Pro Performance & Benchmarks

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 power!


We were very happy with the fast and smooth performance of the Motorola Edge 40 Pro.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip inside, 12GB of RAM, and support for 165Hz refresh rate all come together nicely and everything feels buttery smooth and zippy.

Performance Benchmarks:


Geekbench 6
SingleHigher is better
Motorola Edge 40 Pro1861
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max2423
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra1971
Google Pixel 7 Pro1412
Geekbench 6
MultiHigher is better
Motorola Edge 40 Pro4815
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max6306
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra5115
Google Pixel 7 Pro3303
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Motorola Edge 40 Pro3663
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max3382
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra3828
Google Pixel 7 Pro1836
Motorola Edge+(2022)1983
3DMark
Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Motorola Edge 40 Pro2918
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max2327
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra1951
Google Pixel 7 Pro1292
Motorola Edge+(2022)1403

Benchmark results only confirm our real-world experience with the phone.

The 3D Mark Wildlife Extreme test that runs for 20 minutes straights simulating a real gaming session typically shows other phones throttling quite a lot after 5 or 10 minutes of gaming. The throttling on the Edge 40 Pro only starts after 10 minutes and it is quite minimal, so this phone actually has a fastest prolonged gaming performance than a Galaxy S23 Ultra or a OnePlus 11, an impressive achievement, considering how thin and lightweight it is.

It's also nice that even the base model of the phone comes with 256GB of fast UFS 4.0 storage. 256GB is just enough storage for most of our needs, while 128GB may not be enough for heavier users after just a few months.

Motorola Edge 40 Pro Android version and Software



The Edge 40 Pro software is mostly great in that it is as clean as it gets and as zippy as it gets.

No bloatware, no unneeded apps.

The features that Motorola adds on top of the interface are mostly the gestures, which are really cool. Twist the phone to launch the camera, double chop to start the flashlight, and even simply things like lift to wake work as they should right out the gate.

And lock screen notifications are just so well done! You can read them easily, dismiss them, all with just one easy gesture.

At the same time, there are a few annoyances that have left us frustrated. Our biggest complaint has to be that the font used throughout the system looks broken in some languages, and there is no easy way to change it. This is an absurd thing to see on a phone in 2023.

Smaller complaints include the less optimized UI than say a Galaxy phone. We are used to having the screen brightness slider come to the bottom of the screen where it's easy to reach and adjust the brightness, but not on the Motorola Edge 40 Pro where it stays at the top. 

Motorola Edge 40 Pro Battery

Color us surprised

Motorola Edge 40 Pro
( 4600 mAh )
Motorola Edge 40 Pro
Browsing
13h 28m
Average is 15h 18m
Video
14h 21m
Average is 10h 6m
Gaming
5h 6m
Average is 7h 41m
Charging speed
125W
Charger
98%
30 min
0h 32m
Full charge
Ranks #9 for phones released in the past 2 years
Wireless Charging
15W
Charger
0%
30 min
0h
Full charge

When we saw that the Edge 40 Pro comes with a 4,600mAh battery, which is some 8% smaller than the 5,000mAh battery on most other flagship Android phones, we thought to ourselves that Motorola had prioritized the sleek design rather than a giant battery.

But after using this phone for a while, we can say that battery life has been surprisingly good.

This phone often lasted a day and a half between charges, it doesn't overheat,  it's all good.

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:


Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Motorola Edge 40 Pro13h 28 min
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max19h 5 min
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra18h 57 min
Google Pixel 7 Pro14h 19 min
Video Streaming(hours)Higher is better
Motorola Edge 40 Pro14h 21 min
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max11h
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra8h 54 min
Google Pixel 7 Pro9h 39 min
Motorola Edge+(2022)8h 33 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Motorola Edge 40 Pro5h 6 min
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max8h 39 min
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra7h 13 min
Google Pixel 7 Pro4h 11 min
Motorola Edge+(2022)5h 16 min

On our web browsing test where we load up a script with webpages and it scrolls around to simulate a typical browsing session, the Motorola scored on par with the Google Pixel 7 Pro, in the "good" category.

But then on our YouTube video streaming test where we play the same playlist on all of the phones, the Motorola Edge 40 Por scored an absolutely insane battery life. We will be doing some additional digging as to why that is, but this is a really impressive score.

Finally, on the 3D Gaming test, the phone scored nearly 50% lower than an iPhone 14 Pro Max or a Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Motorola Edge 40 Pro Charging Speeds



A 120W charger in the box is a luxury few other phones have, and charging speeds are indeed insane on the Edge 40 Pro.

A full charge takes around 25 minutes, and even a quick 15-minute top up gives us more than 80% of charge. Impressive speeds!

You also have support for 15W wireless charging, which we guess is nice, but who needs wireless charging when you have such fast wired charging speeds?

Motorola Edge 40 Pro Audio Quality and Haptics


The Edge 40 Pro even has the Dolby Atmos logo stamped on the top and it uses a dual loudspeaker setup with one speaker firint upwards and one bottom-firing speaker, for a slightly better defined stereo effect.

Audio quality is quite good for a smartphone, but you don't get quite the depth of the base of the iPhone 14 Pro series, and of course, the Motorola loudspeakers are no threat for the current king of smartphone speakers which is the Asus Rog Phone 7 Ultimate.

There is no 3.5mm headphone jack on board.

In terms of haptics, nothing ground-breaking here. The vibration feedback is quite nice but not quite as tight as on the OnePlus 11 or iPhone 14 series.

Motorola Edge 40 Pro Competitors


This being a full-fledged flagship, its competitors are the best phones out there.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra runs on essentially the same chip and offers similar performance, but it has a more capable camera, more refined software, longer updates and the S Pen, but is admittedly also way more expensive.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max is another rival with best in class battery life, longer software support, the advantages of the Apple ecosystem, but also a higher price.

Realistically, the Pixel 7 Pro is the closest rival to the Moto Edge 40 Pro as both are priced very similarly. Both come with three years of software updates, both feels similarly clean in their software approach, but the Pixel offers a slightly better camera quality and its updates arrive much earlier. The Motorola, on the other hand, has the faster performance, way faster charging and just plain looks cooler.

We should also mention the OnePlus 11, which runs about the same hardware as this Motorola phone, but comes at a cheaper price and the camera quality, update situations and even charging are very similar. 

Motorola Edge 40 Pro Summary and Final Verdict



Motorola has made its best flagship in years: the Edge 40 Pro definitely feels fast, it defies expectations with longer than expected battery life, and even the camera is quite solid.

But we feel Motorola should have done more to convince users it will actually support this phone. The number one complaint against Motorola phone is not about their design or performance, it's about the lack of timely software updates and support. The three years of major Android updates no longer cut it as Samsung and OnePlus have stepped up to four years, plus users need to know Motorola will actually deliver these updates on time.

The excellent Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip is a massive boost for the whole Android ecosystem and the Motorola Edge 40 Pro benefits from this incredible chip. If you want something different, appreciate its sleek design and unique features like the slight curves all around for easier scrolling or the Moto gestures, or just want a super smooth gaming phone, we think you will like the Edge 40 Pro.

The slight deficits in the camera department prevent us from recommending this to photo buffs specifically, but if you are not one of them, you should definitely take a closer look at this exciting new phone.

 *Disclaimer: You may notice review scores have changed on PhoneArena! Since September 20th, we have started using a new scoring system. Learn more about the new PhoneArena Smartphone Review Rating system here.

Pros

  • Lovely curved front design
  • Clean software with buttery smooth and zippy performance
  • 125W fast charging is great
  • High quality Portrait Mode shots
  • 165Hz is a fun gimmick that gamers will appreciate
  • Solid battery life

Cons

  • Iffy software update situation, only 3 years of OS updates
  • Camera not quite on par with the best
  • No proper long-range zoom camera

PhoneArena Rating:

6.8

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