Dec 3rd, 2021

Despite Motorola moving into third-place when it comes to phone shipments, the company continues to struggle meeting expectations. Whether it’s software updates or under-delivering on value, we’re longing for the days when Moto was a powerhouse.

Things seem to be on the uptick, at least in the hardware department, as the Motorola Edge 5G UW looks to offer an excellent experience for just $550. There are some quirks about the phone, but let’s take a deeper dive into what the Edge 5G UW offers and whether it’s worth your hard-earned cash.

Motorola Edge 5G UW Specs

  • Display: 6.8-inch FHD+ Max Vision
  • Refresh Rate: 144Hz
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB / 256GB
  • Front Camera: 32MP Quad Pixel
  • Rear Cameras: 108MP (main) / 8MP (Ultra wide) / 2MP (Depth)
  • Battery: 5,000mAh w/ 30W TurboPower
  • Extras: Side-mounted fingerprint scanner / IP52 / Ready For-compatible

Motorola Edge 5G UW Review: Design

Before diving too deep into the design. If you find yourself wanting to pick up the Motorola Edge 5G UW, do yourself a favor and grab a case. This thing is an absolute fingerprint magnet, and you’ll be wiping it clean multiple times throughout the day just to make it seem less gross.

Motorola seems to have nailed the mixture of a curved back paired with a flat-display. We honestly wish more companies would take notice because the Edge 5G UW is extremely comfortable to hold. However, usability takes a bit of a hit because of the extra-tall aspect ratio, meaning finger gymnastics are in your future with this one.

The Nebula Blue color is stunning, so if you heed our advice, grab a clear case. The way that the light shimmers and glistens off the back of the phone is sublime, and it’s something that we definitely appreciate in a world of boring color choices.

Instead of opting for an in-display fingerprint scanner, Motorola opted for one that is embedded into the power button. While it’s great to see other phone makers push the envelope with ultrasonic scanners, they still don’t come anywhere close to a “standard” fingerprint reader. And with this being embedded in the power button, your phone can be unlocked and ready to go as soon as you pick it up.

Going back to the tall design, this may be a bit of a frustration for some, but the volume buttons do feel a bit too high up on the phone. We understand the premise of having all of the buttons on one side of the device, but Motorola could have moved the volume rocker to the left side and we wouldn’t be mad about it.

Motorola Edge 5G UW Review: Performance

Over the past month or so, I’ve been switching between the Pixel 6 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro, and Galaxy Z Fold 3. Those are all flagship-level phones, so coming to a “budget” phone (comparatively), I’ve been quicker to notice hiccups. But honestly, I didn’t run into a single time where the Edge 5G UW gave me pause or caused some sort of frustration.

The decision to use an LCD panel instead of OLED definitely hurts in the battery life department. But Motorola made up for that by packing a 144Hz refresh rate into this phone. The FHD+ resolution is fine, but to be frank, I didn’t notice it was at a lower resolution compared to the other phones I’ve been using. The screen is crisp and clean, and looks just amazing. Maybe my eyes are deceiving me, but I really enjoyed just looking at the phone’s display.

But what about actual performance? Well, after using the Pixel 5 and its 765G with stock Android until the Pixel 6 arrived, it’s clear that Qualcomm has tuned the 700-series of chipsets quite well. It definitely helps that Motorola still runs a clean skin atop of Android, which adds even more confusion into the lack of software updates.

As I alluded to before, there wasn’t anything that the Edge 5G UW couldn’t handle. Most of the work that I do is on the computer, but I do some research from time to time or grab my phone to get thoughts for an article out of my brain. Then, I’ll sit back and play a couple of games, before switching back over to Twitter or Reddit. Not one time did I experience a slow-down with the Edge 5G UW. It was really an enjoyable experience.

Motorola Edge 5G UW Review: Cameras

This is one area where I was certain that I was going to be disappointed. But guess what. Motorola delivered here too. Sure, the phone lacks Google’s processing prowess, and I’ve been spoiled by using both the iPhone 13 Pro and Pixel 6 Pro. However, the fact remains that Motorola’s camera performed quite well in my time with the phone.

If I had any major complaints about the camera, it would actually be for the app itself. Switching between the wide-angle and ultra-wide cameras took longer than I anticipated. I’m not sure what’s going on here, but it was definitely something that was noticeable. Perhaps Motorola can clean things up with a future software update, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

Motorola Edge 5G UW Review: 5G UW

To be frank, we understand the premise between Motorola and Verizon wanting to highlight 5G Ultra Wideband. However, not one time in my usage was I actually able to access the faster network speeds. This isn’t a knock on Motorola, by any means, but is further confirmation that 5G UW network availability simply sucks. It’s impossible to find, and if you do manage to find it, it’s likely not in an area that you can truly take advantage of it.

Motorola Edge 5G UW Review: Battery

This thing is a tank. More and more smartphones are being released with at least 5,000mAh batteries (except for the ones that cost $1,800), and we’re here for it. The Edge 5G UW handled all of my browsing, games, and everything else with room to spare at the end of the day.

Of course, taking the phone out to snap a bunch of pictures drained the battery quickly. But that’s to be expected, so unless you’re planning an all-day trip outside and want to snap a bunch of photos, you can leave the portable charger at home.

Motorola Edge 5G UW Review: Should You Buy It?

On many fronts, the Motorola Edge 5G UW impressed me. The phone was reliable, lasted all-day, felt good in the hand, and offers a solid camera performance. It even offers fast 30W charging speeds, which not even Samsung’s flagship phones provide, so that’s a definite win.

For the most part, I have no qualms with this phone, and definitely would recommend it to anyone looking for a sub-$600 phone. Of course, that’s only if you can’t spring the extra $50 for the Pixel 6.

Motorola Edge 5G UW

Motorola Edge 5G UW Rating: star_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_empty (4 / 5)

The Good

  • Comfortable design
  • Gorgeous display
  • All-day battery life (and then some)
  • Software interface is still great

The Bad

  • 5G UW is impossible to find
  • Don’t expect many software updates
  • Camera app is too slow switching between lenses

 

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