The Motorola Edge 40 is a slim phone with plenty of processing power for its asking price.
|Good performance relative to its price||Vegan Leather feel is… odd.|
|Great colour choices||Curved screen won’t suit everybody|
|Clean Android UI||Camera is kind of ordinary|
Motorola’s been on a bit of a tear lately at price points you might not have typically associated the mostly-budget brand with. There’s the Motorola Thinkphone, the Motorola Razr 40, the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra… I think you get the point.
The Motorola Edge 40 sees Motorola return back down to the mid-range price point at just $699. It’s an appealing phone for that kind of money too, with generally good application performance and battery life bringing it up, although its cameras are a little more on the ordinary side, and the use of “vegan leather” may be a divisive issue as well.
The Motorola Edge 40 is the successor to last year’s Motorola Edge 30, which I’ve also previously reviewed. It turns out Motorola releases a lot of phones, but last year, I certainly liked the Edge 30 for the most part.
Motorola Edge 30 Review (Finder)
The Edge 40 features a 6.55 inch “endless display”, which is Motorola’s marketing term for saying it’s one of those phones with a curved edge screen. That almost feels like a retro throwback option, because there was definitely a period a few years back when it seemed like everyone was going nuts for curved screen designs. They’re far less common now. Some people love the style, while others find them a little more slippery in the hand or tricky to use given the way the last few millimetres of screen real estate taper away.
That 6.55 inch screen has a 2400×1080 resolution, reasonably sharp for this kind of price, but what’s impressive here is that Motorola’s managed to pack in full IP68 water resistance into the Edge 40. You just don’t see that all that often in phones at this price point. I’m not encouraging anyone to go on a phone drowning frenzy, but it’s great to see enhanced durability in mid-range phones, and especially ones this thin.
Flip the Edge 40 over, and you’ll be hit with a choice of colours. Here in Australia you can get the Motorola Edge 40 in “Eclipse Black” or “Viva Magenta”. It would appear that Motorola also manufactures the Edge 40 in Blue or Green shades, but not officially for Australia.
Motorola loaned me an Edge 40 for review in the very striking Viva Magenta colour. It’s apparently the Pantone colour of the year, if you cared. Every time a phone manufacturer does this kind of branding I’m left wondering if somewhere Pantone officials are judging smartphones of different hues in swimsuit and talent competitions, but maybe I’m overthinking this a tad.
The Viva Magenta is really nice and genuinely eye catching, but it’s also using “vegan leather”. No, that’s not leather made out of 100% genuine vegans, but instead a fancy name for textured plastic. Good for those who really don’t like leather products for sure, and it does add grip to the back of the phone too.
But still, I don’t really like it. It’s 100% a sensory matter, but the touch of vegan leather – and I’ve tested it across a number of phones over the years – always makes me feel slightly twitchy. Your tolerance may vary, but this is absolutely a phone I’d suggest you go hands-on with if you can.
Thankfully I could easily get past the vegan leather issue because Motorola sensibly provides a clear case in the box with the Motorola Edge 40 that I could drop onto the phone. That would also ensure that the vegan leather and colour finish lasted a good long time without scuffing, but then I’ve long advocated for the idea that every phone deserves a protective case anyway.
The Edge 40 uses a biometric in-display fingerprint sensor for unlocking. These can be tricky, especially in mid-range phones where accuracy can often take a dive. I’ve not had massive issues with it unlocking during my review period, thankfully.
Motorola’s track record in smartphone cameras has long been one of adequate performance, but nothing that’s really made me stand up and take attention.
That was certainly the case for the Edge 30, which featured a 50MP f/1.8 primary and 50MP ultrawide sensor, as well as a 2MP depth sensor and 32MP selfie camera at the front. For the Edge 40, the depth sensor is gone, and you get a 50MP f/1.4 primary, 13MP ultrawide and 32MP front facing camera. A slightly odd remix, but then mobile phone photography is more than just a numbers game.
Within the mid-range, the Motorola Edge 40 shoots acceptably well, but rarely in a way that stood out from the pack. Motorola’s at a disadvantage here, because it’s competing against phones like the Pixel 6a and its impressive computational approach to photography. It’s far from being a bad or overly disappointing phone, but equally there’s not too much here that’s all that enticing.
Perhaps that’s to meet a price point, or perhaps Motorola’s still lagging behind the competition when it comes to truly optimising its hardware. Most everyday users will be mostly fine with the Edge 40’s shooting prowess, but you can do a little better if photography is a core smartphone feature for you.
Motorola Edge 40 Sample Photos
The Motorola Edge 30 ran on a Snapdragon 778G+ processor with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. Here Motorola hasn’t so much remixed as it’s hit upon a new recipe, swapping smartphone processor camps entirely. The Motorola Edge 40 runs on a MediaTek Dimensity 8020 with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
Historically MediaTek was the brand of choice (at least for phones released in Australia) for budget sensibilities, always running second best to the Snapdragon alternatives at that price point. There’s only a tiny smattering of phones as far as my research shows that run on this platform globally to date, and it’s certainly the first one here in Australia. So how does it compare as a CPU option?
Here’s how it compares using Geekbench 6’s CPU test:
Yes, I know, the Pixel 7 has an RRP that’s a tad higher, but then it’s due for a refresh any day now, so bargains dropping it to these kinds of price points are likely. While the Edge 40 can’t stand up to the Pixels – and it would be even more marked if I included the iPhone SE 2022 in the equation – it’s still holding up pretty well within that price space.
That’s even more marked using 3DMark’s Wild Life Extreme benchmark:
In day to day app usage and for a mid-range phone, the Edge 40 has been perfectly pleasant to use, generally responsive and with the benefit of Motorola’s generally-light touch on generic Android launcher style, which I do prefer. You’ve still got your classic moto actions for flashlights and camera launching, too. Motorola would prefer to install the Booking.com app on the phone by default though. I’d prefer they didn’t, just because I prefer to pick and choose my own booking apps, thanks Motorola.
The Motorola Edge 40 is a thin and light phone by design, but that does mean that it’s got less space to pack in battery cells than some of its competitors. In the Android world it’s fast becoming the norm to have a 5,000mAh battery pack under the hood, but the more slender frame of the Motorola Edge 40 only allows for a 4,400mAh capacity instead.
Battery usage is always variable, and to give some comparative context, I run every phone I review through the same basic YouTube streaming test, running a 1080p video at maximum brightness and moderate volume for an hour from a full battery. Less than 90% isn’t good for demonstrating all-day battery life, but every percentage point above 90% can mean quite a lot.
Taking that same crop of phones, here’s how the Motorola Edge 40 compares:
94% isn’t disastrous by any stretch of the imagination, but it does put the Edge 40 at a slight disadvantage compared to phones like the Pixel 7a or Samsung Galaxy A54.
Where the Edge 40 redeemed itself was in the way it charges. You do get a charger in the box, and it’s a meaty 68W unit to boot. Charging up with that does make the Edge 40 noticeably warm, but it does work very fast indeed. Also impressive is the fact that the Edge 40 is one of the lowest cost phones to incorporate wireless charging into the mix. It’s only at 15W, but for the most part wireless charging is a slower option. It’s still a very nice inclusion.
Motorola Edge 40: Alex’s Verdict
The Edge 40 is a real competitor for Motorola at this price point; while it’s not quite as fast as the Pixel 6a, which still remains my number one pick in this space, it’s got better charging options and a much more distinct sense of style to it that I think will appeal to a wider audience. While it ain’t for me, I can also see some folks being very keen on the feel of that vegan leather, too.
Motorola Edge 40: Pricing and availability
The Motorola Edge 40 is available in Australia now for $699 outright. You can pick one up using the Amazon button below!
(yes, that’s an affiliate link. This site has a server to feed, you know…)
Motorola Edge 40: Alternatives
At this price point, you could opt for the Google Pixel 7a
Or the Samsung Galaxy A54
If your funds can stretch higher, consider the Motorola Razr 40:
Or if you can get it at the right price (bearing in mind the Pixel 8 is due pretty soon), the Google Pixel 7.