Motorola Edge 50 Pro is a very workable mix of style with substance, and value - Hindustan Times

Motorola Edge 50 Pro is a very workable mix of style with substance, and value

Apr 08, 2024 11:36 AM IST

A genuine alternative to significantly more expensive flagship phones, the Motorola Edge 50 Pro now makes it a mid-range troika of choice for buyers, other two being the OnePlus Nord CE4 and the Nothing Phone (2a)

It has been in process for a few years and not for the lack of trying, Motorola’s attempts to carve a prominent place for itself in India’s smartphone market haven’t exactly given the expected returns. That could change now though, because the Motorola Edge 50 Pro is exactly that sort of a product and proposition, which makes you sit up and take notice. That’s always a good point in the search for actual sales. Here is a phone that has been priced in the higher echelons of what we categorise as mid-range Android phones, but to be fair, it looks, feels and performs more like a flagship phone alternative, than a mid-range Android phone. A generous dollop of artificial intelligence too. A possible winner?

The Motorola Edge 50 Pro. (Vishal Mathur/ HT Photo)
The Motorola Edge 50 Pro. (Vishal Mathur/ HT Photo)

Some eccentricities to get through first. Pricing of modern-day smartphones is usually a factor of the basic specs, including memory and storage (processors and display sizes tend to remain the same across variants). With the Edge 50 Pro, the charger becomes a factor too. As a result, your choice is between splurging 31,999 for the 8GB RAM and 128GB storage option with a 67-watt charger in-box, or 35,999 for the 12GB+256GB option with a 125-watt charger. Both variants can theoretically utilise the 125-watt capabilities, but the lower spec variant must make do with a different charger that’s leaves some headroom. That’s something unique to wrap your head around.

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Also read:Turf wars: OnePlus Nord CE4 counters Nothing’s pitch for new-age 25k phones

Competition for this phone will include the Nothing Phone (2a). And indeed the OnePlus Nord CE4, s another phone powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7 Gen 3 chip. As we had noted then, and similar observations bear out here as well, the Motorola Edge 50 Pro holds performance quite well with multi-tasking and even gaming. It’s as close a mid-range chip has come to flagship-esque performance, and that is where value is for those seeking maximum bang for the bucks they’re spending. Without having to outlay for a significantly more expensive Android flagship phone.

However, in direct comparison, the Motorola Edge 50 Pro will find itself taking smidgen more time for data intensive read and write tasks, because Motorola has used the UFS 2.2 storage standard, instead of UFS 3.1 that OnePlus has used (and is par for the course too, now). Though Nothing Phone (2a) didn’t. It may not matter much to most users, however for the power users, that might be a bit of a sore point. It really isn’t a matter of cost for Motorola either – Indian tech company Lava’s Blaze Curve (this is priced around 17,999) also has UFS 3.1 storage modules for the 128GB variant they sell.

Also read:Nothing’s resolute personality and value recipe defines an affordable Phone (2a)

Observed with gaming, there is some heating in the upper half of the back panel that’s quite apparent after about half an hour. That’s with graphics settings toggled to high, and for games that do have the option, reducing the visual goodies can lead to a slight improvement in keeping thermals in check. The result in that situation would be, gaming performance is smoother, for longer. However, the phone really doesn’t exhibit any tendency of elevated thermals with regular usage (including extensive camera usage), and that’s what will matter for most users.

Battery life isn’t always consistent, from what I noticed over the period of a week, after the first handful of days of the phone settling into a rhythm. There are times when battery usage is in small sips, but at other times, the same apps result in more profound battery consumption. For instance, a 100% charged battery dips to 79% after 55 minutes of screen time. Work this out at the same rate, and that is just around 5 hours of screen time on a single charge. Adequate for most days, but premium phones these days last much longer.

Over the years, Motorola phone cameras have flattered to deceive. Despite ticking off optical hardware specs, real-world photography performance has always fallen a bit short of competition, irrespective of pricing. At its core, image processing algorithms that simply fell behind, when competition also relied on competence of camera makers to take the photography experience forward. Motorola’s response this time is more consolidated, with hopes resting on AI. The company is insistent that this is camera’s performance and colour reproduction accuracy is validated by Pantone, an American company renowned for their colour matching system.

Also read:Xiaomi 14 is a true flagship phone underlined by Leica’s photography expertise

What do we really make of the promise? I feel this is a camera system that’s definitely a step forward from Motorola phones that have preceded it. There’s good detailing, very little of the enthusiastic noise reduction we often see in phone cameras (it softens details unnaturally) and there is a very pleasant colour tone that makes the final photo output quite likeable. Lower light scenarios deliver better details and colour too (comparative to before) because of the wider aperture on the main camera. Having said that, dynamic range feels underwhelming in some photos, and if you switch to the 3x telephoto lens, there is perceptible colour shift as well.

AI has a much greater say in the photos you finally see in your gallery. There’s a profound image enhancement engine at play, with a medley of multiple exposures, colour tones and layering to work with. Image stabilisation too, quite useful for videos too. That should theoretically help with finer details as well as software-driven bokeh, and our experience illustrates the results are what Motorola would have aimed for, and what customers would desire.

Also read:AI’s chip wars are just getting started

A lot of work has gone into evolving the Hello UI, which is a medley of elements very pleasing to the eye. The clean spaces, fonts, colours and even the customisation options that get topped off with AI generated theming, give the Motorola Edge 50 Pro sort of that premium user experience that could put many a flagship phone to shame. If you are using a Windows PC, there’s the Smart Connect app too (it does more than Microsoft’s default Phone app) that pairs your phone quite nicely with the desktop or laptop – dropping files between the two devices, a combined clipboard to copy text, notifications and even app access.

Motorola couldn’t have started 2024, and its next chapter, any better than the proposition out forward by the Edge 50 Pro. You also must factor in a very impressive OLED display, the IP68 water resistance rating, 50-watt wireless charging and the standout Luxe Lavender colour, to complete the checklist that’s pretty much has everything ticked off. Including the pricing. Truly a flagship alternative, and if you’re considering the Nord CE4 or the Phone (2a) and are leaning towards spending that little extra for the Motorola Edge 50 Pro, I wouldn’t at all hold that against you.

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    Vishal Mathur is Technology Editor for Hindustan Times. When not making sense of technology, he often searches for an elusive analog space in a digital world.

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