Motorola Edge 40 Pro vs Galaxy S23 Ultra

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Motorola Edge 40 Pro vs Galaxy S23 Ultra

Intro


The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is the most popular Android flagship phone out there, but while it's packed full of features, it also costs a pretty penny and is one giant phone. That is where the new Motorola Edge 40 Pro comes in.

It is the first truly exciting flagship phone from Motorola in years, but unlike the big and bulky Galaxy, it offers the same power in a much thinner and more elegant looking package. The Motorola also comes at a significantly lower price, but is it really as good as it sounds?

We compare these Android flagship phones looking at the camera quality, battery life, performance, so you know which one is the better choice for you.

Galaxy S23 Ultra: save with a trade-in at Amazon

The Galaxy S23 Ultra with 256GB of storage is available at Amazon. The smartphone isn't discounted right now, but you can trade-in a suitable device to get up to $401 off as an Amazon Gift Card.

Galaxy S23 Ultra (1TB): up to $525 off with a trade-in

You can get up to $525 enhanced trade-in credit for a new Galaxy S23 Ultra at Samsung.com when you trade in your old phone. This is the 1TB configuration.
$1094 99
$1619 99
Expired

Motorola Edge 40 Pro vs Galaxy S23 Ultra in a nutshell:
  • Motorola is thinner, lighter and way more compact
  • Galaxy has S Pen inside
  • Galaxy has nearly 10% bigger battery
  • Galaxy has four rear cameras, including long-range zoom
  • Motorola has cleaner software with cool gestures
  • Motorola has much faster charging speeds

Table of Contents:

Design and Display Quality

The Motorola is more compact and lighter


Just look at the sheer size of the Galaxy S23 Ultra compared to the Motorola Edge 40 Pro! What a massive phone, and the numbers back it up, the Galaxy is nearly 15% heavier, it has sharp corners making it less comfortable to carry in your front pocket, it's just a bit too big.

The Motorola is a far slimmer and lighter phone, and this is not to be underestimated.

Both come with an aluminum frame and glass on the front and back, but the soft touch finish on the Motorola is more memorable (but also more slippery).

The physical buttons on the Edge 40 Pro don't feel as clicky as the Galaxy, which is something we noticed, particularly with the power button.

As for practicality, both phones come with an IP68 water and dust protection rating, which is kind of expected for a flagship these days.

Finally, you do have the S Pen built in the Galaxy S23 Ultra, and for those of you who love the S Pen, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is the obvious choice.


Display Measurements:



The Galaxy S23 Ultra comes with a 6.8-inch screen, while the Motorola features a 6.7-inch screen, but these numbers don't fully tell the story about the difference in size. The display on the Galaxy is much wider and overall the screen area is considerably bigger.

Both screens get plenty bright during the day, so it's good to see that Motorola is keeping up, but it does not get nearly as dim as we'd like at night, so if you use your phone a lot in bed at night, the Galaxy is easier on the eyes.

For biometrics, both use an in-screen fingerprint scanner, but the technology is slightly different. The Galaxy relies on Qualcomm's ultrasonic fingerprint scanner technology, while Motorola bets on an optical fingerprint reader. Both do a fine job, and actually the Motorola is slightly faster.

Performance and Software

Let's call it a draw?


Both phones have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip inside, which has become the de facto Android flagship processor for 2023.

Samsung has a slightly tweaked version of that chip that can hit higher max clock speeds, but that difference is really negligible, and you should not really care too much about this.

Both phones come with a base version that features 256GB of storage, a welcome step up from the 128GB storage we used to get just last year.

However, it's really odd that Samsung chose to cut some corners and equip that base model with just 8GB of RAM, while Motorola has not cheapened out and even the base version has 12GB RAM.

Performance Benchmarks:


Geekbench 6 SingleHigher is better
Motorola Edge 40 Pro1861
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra1971
Geekbench 6 MultiHigher is better
Motorola Edge 40 Pro4815
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra5115
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Motorola Edge 40 Pro3663
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra3828
3DMark Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Motorola Edge 40 Pro2918
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra1951

As you can see in benchmarks, the Motorola is actually better optimized for gaming as it throttles less and later, but mostly the numbers are similar for all else.

The two phones also may run on Android 13, but the interface on top of it is quite different. Samsung's One UI is filled with features and you can see how it offers more than Motorola's skin. Motorola, however, bets on a clean look with some really clever gestures that you easily get used to. We honestly wish Samsung also had the twist-to-start-camera gesture or the double chop to launch the camera.

The big promise that Samsung makes is that it will update its phones for 4 years with major OS updates and 5 years with security updates. Motorola, on the other hand, has had a spotty record with software updates, which is particularly troublesome when you are buying an expensive phone like this one. Still, the company promises three years of OS updates for the Edge 40 Pro, so that's kind of okay.

Camera

The quad camera system on the Galaxy is more versatile, but Motorola does a decent job


We had our doubts about the Motorola Edge 40 Pro camera, but once we started shooting we found a surprising similarity to the look you get with the Galaxy S23 Ultra camera.

Sure, some smaller features are missing and the processing is slightly different, but we are happy to see that Motorola can hold its footing in the camera game.

Main Camera - Day




The Edge 40 Pro has a 50MP main camera, while the Samsung bets on an insane 200-megapixel sensor, but as you can see above the actual results between these two are quite similar. You get vibrant colors, images with a good amount of saturation and a look that we can say is definitely at least slightly exaggerated. 

Zoom Quality




The Motorola, however, is no match for the Galaxy when it comes to the telephoto cameras. It comes with just a single 2X zoom camera, while the Galaxy features two telephoto shooters, one a 3X camera, and the other a 10X zoom camera.



At 5X you can see detail on the Motorola start to look bad, while the Galaxy is holding up way better.


At 10X zoom, the quality on the Edge 40 Pro is so poor we would not want to use the phone, while the Galaxy with that native camera is absolutely killing it in terms of detail and clarity.

Ultra-wide Camera




The Galaxy has a slightly more consistent processing with the ultra-wide camera, but you can clearly see some similarities in the second shot.

Selfies




One area where the Motorola disappointed us was the selfies. These images lack detail and have an annoying fake look (and that is with the face beautify option turned off!). The Galaxy has way more detail and an overall more pleasing picture.

Video Quality


Video Thumbnail

Both phones support 8K 30fps video recording with the same field of view as 4K video, which is great (earlier phones cropped in heavily with 8K).

Still, because of the large file sizes with 8K video and the yet uncommon 8K TVs or monitors, we'd rather stick with 4K video. Both phones shoot 4K at 30fps or 60fps, but Samsung wins in terms of quality. The Galaxy S23 Ultra has amazing video stabilization and while the Motorola also does a decent job, you can see some wobbly artifacts at the edge of recordings. Another issue we noticed on the 4K video recordings out of the Edge 40 Pro is the slight overexposure, which robs the image a bit of quality.

Audio Quality and Haptics


Both phones are equipped with dual loudspeakers. The main speaker is a bottom firing one on both, but while the Galaxy has its secondary speaker embedded in the earpiece, the Motorola has a upward-firing second speaker.

The quality is quite comparable on the two, they get quite loud, and we would rank both a solid B. Some phones with better loudspeakers are the iPhone 14 series which have more depth in the lower frequencies, so you get at least some bass, but the best loudspeakers on a phone currently belong to the Asus Rog Phone 7 Ulimate.

Read more: Asus Rog Phone 7 Ultimate Review

In terms of haptics, both do a fine job, but again these are B tier vibration motors. We have seen the OnePlus 11 set a new standard for tight haptics, and the iPhone series have long had the outstanding Taptic Engine.

Battery Life and Charging

Surprisingly good battery life out of the Motorola!


Given a nearly 8% smaller battery size on the Motorola, we expected it to be a bit of a compromise when it comes to battery life, but real life use has served us a surprise as this phone has solid battery performance.

Is it as good as the excellent Galaxy S23 Ultra?

Maybe not quite, but we would say that both phones last a bit more than a day, and with moderate use you can expect a day and a half out of those batteries.

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:


Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Motorola Edge 40 Pro13h 28 min
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra18h 57 min
Video Streaming(hours)Higher is better
Motorola Edge 40 Pro14h 21 min
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra8h 54 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Motorola Edge 40 Pro5h 6 min
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra7h 13 min

In our benchmark tests, the Motorola scored lower than the Galaxy on the web browsing test which loads the same script and scrolls around a set of webpages, but surprisingly, the Motorola scored way above most phones we have tested on the second test for YouTube video streaming. That test runs the same playlist on both phones, and we will investigate what led to that extraordinary score of the Motorola, but so far we leave you with the results as they are.

One area where the Motorola just flat out kills the Galaxy is charging speeds. First, you do get the charger included in the box for free with the Edge 40 Pro, while a charger is NOT a luxury that Samsung provides in the box.

The big news is the charging speeds. 120W charging on the Motorola vs 45W max charging speeds on the Galaxy. And in reality, it takes around 1 hour and 10 minutes to fully top up the Galaxy, while the Motorola charges fully in just 25 minutes. This means that you can skip the nightly charge, and even 10 to 15 minute top up gives you enough juice for a full day of use on the Motorola. Impressive stuff.

Both phones also support wireless charging, but at much slower speeds. The Motorola maxes out at 15W for wireless charging, while the Galaxy is even slower with up to 10W speeds.

Specs Comparison



Summary and Final Verdict



So what is the grand conclusion? Has Motorola finally managed to make that Android super-phone that we have long expected from the legendary brand?

Well, mostly yes! The Edge 40 Pro is the best Motorola phone we have used in a few years, it has incredible performance, and will be appreciated most by the people who know the value of a well designed phone that does not weigh a ton, yet has great gaming performance. And yes, the much cheaper price of the Motorola should not be overlooked.

What the Motorola is not is a super high end camera phone, and while it does plenty well in most conditions, the camera is not quite on the level of the Galaxy S23 Ultra.

The Galaxy, on the other hand, packs everything and the kitchen sink. Want an S Pen? Go with the Galaxy. Want killer battery life? Galaxy for you. Want advanced features and options? Samsung has you covered. And it also has the longer software support.

So which one would YOU pick between these two?

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