Motorola Edge 40 review: class and style for not a lot of money

Motorola Edge 40 review: class and style for not a lot of money

Motorola Edge 40 Intro

Note: the Motorola Edge 40 is an international model, not available in the US. Motorola launched the Motorola Edge 2023 for the States, which is mostly the same phone.

After launching the Edge 40 Pro (a.k.a. Edge+ 2023)— Motorola's return to flagship form — it also gave us the Edge 40. Some corners were cut, but it retains the lovely design, a super-fluid screen, and a snappy processor.

It cuts out a telephoto camera and doesn't have a super-high-res selfie snapper (though, it's still 32 MP), so obviously the Motorola Edge 40 is made for those that don't insist on cutting edge camera hardware and would rather save a few bucks instead.

Otherwise, we have a "clean Android experience", which is a Moto staple, a beautiful design, and a price-tag that's sure to rival Google's Pixel 8.

Motorola Edge 40

Motorola Edge 40

The Good

  • Thin, solid, premium design and feel
  • 144 Hz OLED screen with nice colors and customizable profiles
  • Speakers sound pretty good for thin form factor
  • Dependable battery life, fast charging

The Bad

  • Camera oversharpens a bit, colors can be hit and miss. Digital zoom is weak.
  • Performance is adequate, but you don't have power on tap

What’s new about the device

  • Curved screen on the lower-price Moto Edge
  • MediaTek Dimensity for more power on a budget
  • No "depth" camera, portraits didn't suffer

Table of Contents:

Motorola Edge 40 Unboxing

The Motorola Edge 40 (or Edge (2023)) comes with a full setup in the box — the phone, a USB C data cable, and fast charging brick. Plus, a bonus smell of perfume for some reason. We also get a really nice case — it's thin and transparent. It won't provide much protection but it does cover the phone's corners and has a tiny lip for those of you that like to put the device face-down.

We didn't get a headset in the box, but — apparently — certain markets will also get this in the package (worth noting, some markets will not get the case, so yes — it's a bit confusing).

Box contents:
  • Motorola Edge 40
  • USB C data and charging cable
  • Fast charging wallplug
  • Thin, transparent case
  • Booklets and SIM tool

Motorola Edge 40 Specs

The budget midranger take actually packs a good punch

Motorola didn't go with a lower-tier Snapdragon processor. This time around, they went out and got a MediaTek Dimensity, which is the top-tier series of the MediaTek company. You won't see us complain!

The MediaTek Dimensity 8000 series is a step below the flagship 9000 series and built on an older 6 nm process (the chip itself is a fresh model from April 2023) — we'll see how that affects performance and energy efficiency down the line. The 256 GB storage is quite OK for the majority of use cases out there. The lack of a microSD port may irk some powerusers. Though the phone can't record 4K 60 FPS (it taps out at 4K 30), so you can't fill it up with massive clips too quickly.

Motorola Edge 40 Design & Colors

Putting the class in classy!

We love to see that Motorola decided to try something different with the materials here. Instead of being another glass sandwich on the market, the Edge 40 has a leathery back. It's definitely faux leather (vegan leather, Motorola says), but it has a very distinct soft feel and a lot of grip to it. The phone is thin and the tapered sides of the screen make it feel very smooth and snugly-built. It's a pleasure to show off and even the black version we have here doesn't look boring. Subtle and stylish, but not boring.

The control buttons on the side have a shallow movement to them and the click feels more on the cheap-ish side. As is common, we don't have a headphone hack, but we do have stereo speakers in the common setup — bottom boomer and earpiece tweeter. And, of course, we have IP68 rated protection for dust- and water-resistance.

Moto Edge 40 is available in 3 colors:

  • Eclipse Black
  • Nebula Green
  • Lunar Blue

If you are not a fan of the vegan leather, the Lunar Blue color actually has an acrylic back — we wouldn't say that's the better option as it will feel more plasticky, but it's there if you want it.

Motorola Edge 40 Display

The screen on the front is a 6.55-inch pOLED panel with a resolution of 1080 x 2400. That's a 20:9 super wide aspect ratio, and the resolution makes up for a sharp image of 402 pixels per inch. It's HDR10+ compliant and rated for 1,200 nits of peak brightness which is quite impressive for a device that's supposedly "budget".

What's even crazier is that it has a 144 Hz refresh rate. Now, higher-end phones — like the Edge 40 Pro — already reach upwards of 165 Hz, but we have to be honest, that's kind of overkill. In fact, anything north of 120 Hz is overkill for most people out there. Yet, Motorola decided that Edge 40 owners deserve to get their own spec for bragging rights so there it is — you've got the refresh rate that a pro gamer would consider "usable"... on your phone. Yes, it's very smooth, responsive, and a pleasure to scroll through.

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You've got two color profiles to pick from — saturated or natural. One brings out the aggressive, punchy colors that OLED is capable of, the other is for people who prefer more grounded and easy colors. Plus a slider lets you fine-tune between colder or warmer white point, we liked it just fine in the default middle.

There isn't an always-on display feature per se, Motorola has a "Peak display" here. It reacts when you move the phone or touch the screen and shows you a very stylish clock face, plus any awaiting notifications. You can interact with them by tapping and swiping a notification towards the fingerprint scanner. The phone will unlock and send you straight into the respective app.

Also, Motorola pulled out the edge lighting feature here that will color the curved sides of the screen when you are getting a call or a notification — specifically for those that like to leave their phone face-down, this will create a nice glow light around it whenever a message is coming through.

Display Measurements:

And lastly, the aforementioned fingerprint scanner — it's an optical sensor underneath the screen. We found it to be quick to scan and unlock and very rarely would it give us an error and ask for a second scan of the finger.

Motorola Edge 40 Camera

Is the budget flagship that much worse?

So, we don't have a telephoto camera here for optical zoom, but Motorola was cool enough to give us digital zoom when in Portrait Mode. So, we can still choose between 24, 35, and 50 mm style framing and at those steps, we'd say the phone manages to pull off digital zoom well enough for it to work.

This is no doubt helped by the dense resolution of the main camera sensor — it has 50 megapixels to work with, and an aperture of f1.4, which is quite wide even for flagship smartphones. The results? Ahem:

Main Camera - Day

During the daytime, the Motorola Edge 40 is capable of taking pretty good photos. Dynamic range is quite wide, especially once HDR kicks in (and auto HDR pretty generously steps in most of the time). Though, with a slight drop in light, that can all slow the shutter speed down annoyingly.

In any case, we quite like the colors and exposure in the photos from the main cameras. They have a dramatic contrast, some very nice natural bokeh thanks to the F1.4 lens aperture, and colors that are close to reality, yet slightly saturated for effect. The details are a bit too oversharpened in some places — we definitely think Motorola can dial that down a bit as softer photos will look much more realistic and pleasant. Otherwise — these photos are instantly ready to share.

Main Camera - Low-light

Night time photos are also surprisingly good. Again, the shutter slows down here, so a steady hand is advised. But all that said, we were quite surprised by the dynamics and colors. Some oversharpening can be caught here, depending on the scene (for example - the third photo with the tree), however since low light photos are naturally softer, we feel like things balance out here.

Zoom Quality

Zoom quality is nothing to write home about. At 2x, the Edge 40 does hold it together — thankfully so, since there is a 2x mode for portrait shots — but things quickly deteriorate the further in you go. And Motorola knows this — the Edge 40 is capped at 8x zoom, for good reason.

Portrait Mode

The Portrait Mode works pretty well in daytime — subject separation seems to be on point and the bokeh is convincing. Also, the sharpening doesn't seem to be over the top here. Nice. However, the bad news is that Portrait Mode completely falls apart in night time:

Ultra-wide Camera

Similar to the main camera, the ultra-wide can take some pictures with nice colors and dynamics. However, it would sometimes jump around in exposure or oversaturate things wa-a-ay too much (like the second day sample — that's one of the tame ones!). It's definitely a bit more finnicky. The good news is that the ultra-wide camera held it together surprisingly well for nighttime photos.


The selfie camera needs a lot of lights — the first two photos are indoors, yes, but with the sun shining bright through my large window. When I took the phone outside at a time close to dusk, it slowed down the shutter speed so much that you can see actual ghosting within the photo. Not great — packing a 32 MP sensor for selfies sounds great on paper, but there's very little room there, so we assume those 32 million pixels are quite tiny, thus not very good at collecting the light they need quickly. A 12 MP selfie camera would probably have been better here.

Video Quality

Video Thumbnail

For video, the Edge 40 holds things together quite well — dynamics are still wide, colors look good. Its stabilization is not as good, so no action shots with this one. Also, interestingly, we kind of like the Edge 40 video at night better than the Pixel 7. The latter tried to hold dynamics together a lot, so it kind of flattened the lights around the fountain. The Edge 40 did let some highlights burn out, but at least we got a more dynamic, constrast-y representation of the scenery.

Motorola Edge 40 Performance & Benchmarks

Doesn't even need the best chip

The Motorola Edge 40 is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 8020 — that's a very new SoC by MediaTek, introduced in April of 2023. It's not a top-line processor, rather around the upper midrange, built with MediaTek's latest features like 4K HDR video capture, AI video upscaling of SDR to HDR, a HyperEngine gaming optimizer, among others. It is octacore, built on a 6 nm process, and ticks at up to 2.6 GHz.

We like what MediaTek has been doing with its higher-end chips recently, and the performance of the Motorola Edge 40 is no disappointment. Obviously, it doesn't have the raw power of even 2022's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. It performs somewhere between slightly-worse-than to equal-to Google's Tensor G2, so this effectively makes the Edge 40 a viable Pixel 7 competitor. It's in the same price bracket, more or less, and offers similar performance but slightly worse cameras. But packaged in a really nice design.

Performance Benchmarks:

Geekbench 6
SingleHigher is better
Motorola Edge 401111
Google Pixel 71452
Motorola Edge 40 Pro1861
Samsung Galaxy S232023
Geekbench 6
MultiHigher is better
Motorola Edge 403572
Google Pixel 73318
Motorola Edge 40 Pro4815
Samsung Galaxy S235180
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Motorola Edge 401262
Google Pixel 71854
Motorola Edge 40 Pro3663
Samsung Galaxy S233807
Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Motorola Edge 401257
Google Pixel 71521
Motorola Edge 40 Pro2918
Samsung Galaxy S232079

Notice that, although the 3DMark stress test gave us a low score, there was no major drop in performance between loop 1 and loop 20. So, the phone won't throttle on you — the performance you get with a fresh, cool device is the same performance you will have after 20 minutes of gaming.

As for storage, we only get the 256 GB option and no room for microSD card expansion. That's quite a lot of storage and it's UFS 3.1 — not the fastest standard out there (latest is UFS 4.0), but it is the flagship speed of yesteryear, so it's good enough.

We have 8 GB of RAM on board, which is pretty much baseline for today's standards. We did catch the phone closing some apps in the background, but things were pretty quick to load back up.

Motorola Edge 40 Android version

The Edge 40 ships with Android 13 on board. Motorola promises 2 years of major OS updates and 3 years of security patches, which is not ideal. Indeed, if we are looking at this as a Pixel 7 competitor, this is where it loses.

Assuming the updates are timely, the roadmap should look something like this:

Motorola Edge 40 for the next few years:
  • Ships with Android 13 in mid-2023
  • Android 14 update in late 2023
  • Android 15 update in late 2024
  • Security updates continue until mid-2025

Due to the slightly awkward time of when the Edge 40 was launched and when Google pushes out a new Android build — we doubt the Edge 40 will get Android 16 in 2024, as it will probably launch in the second half the year which will put it beyond the 2-year update plan promised by Motorola.

Still, it's a fairly affordable high-tier phone that should serve you well for at least 3 years, so it's not too bad.

The user interface is mostly stock Android — simple, fun, and snappy. Motorola did put a My UX suite in there for some light customization — special icon shapes, some themes, color accents, as well as gestures. Actual gestures — you twist the phone to launch the camera or perform a chopping motion to activate the flashlight.

Have no fear, pressing the power button twice quickly also opens the camera. Our one complaint for our time with the Motorola Edge 40 is that the UI bugged out for some reason and all those neat quick gestures stopped working. We could turn them off and on, we could try them out in the tutorial mode, but they didn't work in real usage, even after a restart. We had to erase all app data from the reset menu and it magically fixed itself (and reset all our settings midway through using it).

Let's write it off as a freak accident. Otherwise, the software feels stable and doesn't have a lot of quirks.

Motorola Edge 40 Battery

Slim body, major battery gains

Motorola Edge 40
( 4400 mAh )
Motorola Edge 40
14h 28m
Average is 15h 13m
8h 48m
Average is 9h 58m
5h 1m
Average is 7h 29m
Charging speed
30 min
0h 55m
Full charge
Ranks #29 for phones released in the past 2 years
Wireless Charging
30 min
Full charge

The slim body of the Motorola Edge 40 still manages to pack a 4,400 mAh cell — not the largest by today's flagship standards, but definitely impressively big considering how thin and light this phone feels.

Thanks to the fact that the MediaTek 8020 is not a powerhungry monster, we do see some very good endurance numbers, especially in mid-tier tasks like watching video:

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:

Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Motorola Edge 4014h 28 min
Google Pixel 713h 56 min
Motorola Edge 40 Pro13h 28 min
Samsung Galaxy S2315h 21 min
Video Streaming(hours)Higher is better
Motorola Edge 408h 48 min
Google Pixel 79h 13 min
Motorola Edge 40 Pro14h 21 min
Samsung Galaxy S238h 6 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Motorola Edge 405h 1 min
Google Pixel 74h 43 min
Motorola Edge 40 Pro5h 6 min
Samsung Galaxy S236h 7 min

In most cases, the Edge 40 has as much juice as your typical Google Pixel 7 or even the Galaxy S23 with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. When we amp it up for some 3D Gaming, the flagship processor inside the Galaxy does manage to be much more efficient and gives it more juice than the competition. Overall, the Motorola Edge 40 performs well — it's classy looks barely scream "gaming phone", and for any else smartphone-centric task, it lasts more than fine.

As for charging — the included 68 W power plug will top the device off in 55 minutes. Naturally, you get a day's worth of battery with just 10 minutes on the fast charger (charging slows down as the battery gets more power), so even if you forget to plug your phone overnight, you can have it charged while making your morning coffee.

Motorola Edge 40 Audio Quality and Haptics

We were very pleasantly surprised by the speakers of the Edge 40. It proudly flaunts a Dolby Atmos branding on its aluminum frame, and the speakers do create a somewhat soundstage with detailed mids and even bass. Now, don't get us wrong — there are physical constraints here, so it doesn't sound boomy, thick, or deep. However, when listening to music, all instruments are audible and it's hard to get a tinny distortion-type sound from it (though, it may occur now and again).

That said, the Edge 40 speakers do great for video binging on your favorite platform, be it YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, or *insert new viral app that the author is too old to know about here*.

The haptics are... OK. We've been spoiled by Android phones clicking and clacking with very confident feedback (to the point where it may even become annoying) in recent years. The Motorola Edge 40 gets close to that, but you can feel a bit of vibration raspiness behind it all. This is all nitpicking, we'd say the haptics are fine — not outstanding, but quite fine.

Motorola Edge 40 Competitors

The Motorola Edge 40 is definitely a good pick-up for users that only want the core smartphone features in a stylish package. That is to say — it won't please powerusers or gamers, but it works just fine as a handset, communicator, and dare we say — camera.

Though, to be fair, the Edge 40 is not a Galaxy S23 killer or an end-all-be-all of "budget flagships". Each device here has its strengths and weaknesses.

The Pixel 8 will give you better pictures from the camera. Though, we do think the Edge 40 takes nice Portrait Mode photos, the Pixel 8 wins out in all other scenarios thanks to Google's excellent post-processing.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 has a lot more going for it than the Motorola Edge 40, obviously. A third — telephoto — camera on the back, a more powerful processor, an arguably better screen (though, we have no complaints with the Edge 40's display). And yes, the S23 will also get you better photos than the Motorola Edge 40. But also, its MSRP is north of the Edge's asking price.

So, in the context of these competitors, the Motorola Edge 40 is an alternative with slightly worse cameras and lower performance headroom. In return, you get a very stylish design, dependable battery life, and very fast charging.

Motorola Edge 40 Summary and Final Verdict

Is there place in the market for the Motorola Edge 40? We'd say there is — we fell in love with it just for its design. The clean Android experience with just a pinch of Motorola optimization is always a great thing to experience and has its fans for a reason (admittedly, we hope the small bugs we experienced will be ironed out or were just an offshoot).

The camera definitely falls in the "good enough" category — yes the oversharpening can be annoying and getting the exposure right is sometimes a slight minigame in its own right. Key word here — sometimes. We feel confident in rocking the Motorola Edge 40 as a daily driver and wouldn't mind taking shots for memorabilia or social media with it.

Yes, it doesn't have the raw power of the Snapdragon (note: the Motorola Edge 40 Pro does), but at the price point, it's a really easy sell. The Moto Edge 40 is available in Europe for €599 MSRP (it seems to be perpetually discounted though), whereas the Pixel 8 is €799.

If you are shopping for it in mid 2024 — know that it has about a year of official software support on its ticket. But if you find it at an awesome discount, it can still be worth it.

Final word — we'd say it's a solid choice for the person that wants a dependable smartphone, not for gaming, photography, massive multitasking, or extreme poweruser scenarios. Just a dependable, good-looking, smartphone.

 *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.


  • Thin, solid, premium design and feel
  • 144 Hz OLED screen with nice colors and customizable profiles
  • Speakers sound pretty good for thin form factor
  • Dependable battery life, fast charging


  • Camera oversharpens a bit, colors can be hit and miss. Digital zoom is weak.
  • Performance is adequate, but you don't have power on tap

PhoneArena Rating:


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