Motorola launches the Edge S, a budget flagship 5G phone with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 870
Motorola today launched the Motorola Edge S, an affordable flagship smartphone with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 870 chipset. At a starting price of just CNY 1999 (~$309), the Edge S is one of the best value-for-money smartphones on the market. When it launches internationally, it’ll no doubt be priced a bit higher because of import/export costs, GMS licensing, IP rating certification, etc. but it’ll still be one of the cheapest budget flagships on the market. We’ll of course cover the device’s launch when it releases outside of China, but for now, here’s a preview of what to expect.
Under-the-hood, the Motorola Edge S is the first phone to feature the Snapdragon 870. Announced earlier this month, the Snapdragon 870 is essentially a Snapdragon 865++. It features a faster “Prime” core clocked at 3.2GHz and presumably the same GPU speed improvements as the Snapdragon 865+, but in all other aspects, it’s the same chipset powering the majority of 2020’s Android flagships. Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 888 definitely benchmarks higher than the Snapdragon 865 and, by extension, it likely outperforms the Snapdragon 870, but you won’t be missing out on much by choosing a phone with the Snapdragon 870 over one with the Snapdragon 888.
The Snapdragon 870 will be paired with 6 or 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 128 or 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage, the latter of which is expandable with an up to 1TB microSDXC card. More importantly, the Snapdragon 870 is paired with a discrete Snapdragon X55 modem, which allows the Motorola Edge S to connect to sub-6GHz 5G networks.
What else do you get with the Motorola Edge S? It has a 6.7-inch LCD panel at a 2520×1080 resolution, making it quite tall. Unlike the other two devices in the Motorola Edge series, the Edge S doesn’t have a curved display, but it does offer a higher than normal refresh rate at 90Hz. A Full HD+ LCD at 90Hz is definitely a step down from the Quad HD+ OLEDs at 120Hz found in a few flagships from 2020 and 2021’s Galaxy S21 Ultra, but it’ll likely satisfy most users out there.
Powering the whole device is an ample 5,000mAh battery which can be recharged using a 20W wired charger. No fast wired or even wireless charging is definitely one of the big compromises here, but that’s what we’d expect given the low price. Fortunately, the 3.5mm headphone jack was not cut from the device. Also, for those of you who like physical fingerprint scanners, you’ll be happy to know there’s a side-mounted scanner.
The triple cameras are also pretty standard: A 64MP main image sensor is joined by an 8MP ultra wide-angle sensor and a 2MP depth sensor. Underneath the dual hole-punch cutouts on the front are two cameras: a 16MP main and an 8MP ultra wide-angle image sensor.
The software experience is where things get interesting. The Motorola Edge S runs Android 11 out-of-the-box and is the first phone from Motorola to support the company’s new desktop mode software, which we exclusively detailed early last month. Motorola is selling a dock that you can use to connect your phone to an external display like a TV or monitor. Given Motorola’s track record, we don’t expect this device will get an OS update beyond Android 12, though.
|Specification||Motorola Edge S|
|Dimensions & Weight||168.38 x 73.97 x 9.69mm|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 870|
|RAM & Storage||6/8GB LPDDR5|
128/256GB UFS 3.1
Expandable with an up to 1TB microSDXC card
|Battery & Charging||5000mAh|
20W wired charging
No wireless charging
|Security||Side-mounted fingerprint scanner|
|Front Camera(s)||16MP main + 8MP wide-angle|
|Port(s)||USB Type-C (DisplayPort Alternate Mode output)|
|Audio||3.5mm headphone jack|
The Motorola Edge S is on pre-sale in China, but it will very likely debut internationally in the near future under the Moto G100 name, according to Evan Blass. Blass also reports that the Moto G10 and Moto G30 may also arrive alongside the Moto G100. This will undoubtedly make Motorola’s Moto G lineup even more confusing, but it’s hard to argue against the value on offer.