I used Motorola’s Edge 50 Pro for a week, and here’s the truth about the AI phone | Technology News


I first started hearing about Artificial Intelligence being used in smartphones many years ago. However, as a tech reviewer, I found it less convincing because the results were not as often promised by the brands. Years passed, and as Artificial Intelligence became more mainstream to the point where its impact was visible, a new type of “AI phone” set itself apart with AI layered on top of competition-beating smartphones.

As a curious tech insider, I was more interested in how Motorola wanted to bring a dash of AI to a mid-range smartphone that elevates the core end experience. And that made me interested in the latest Edge 50 Pro. I had put this device through everything I could, from gaming to taking a spin of Bangkok and using its cameras in a week.

So, is AI limited to just marketing on phones, or is it more than that? Here’s my review.

The big-screen phone

Motorola Edge 50 Pro The device comes with a vegan leather back and is IP68-rated (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/The Indian Express)

The design of the Edge 50 Pro is rather simple, I’d say, and that’s okay. There’s not much in its outward appearance that makes you jump from the seat and say “wow.” But honestly, that applies to every smartphone I’ve reviewed in the past few months. That set aside, this is a particularly light phone (weighs 186 grams) and it feels great in the hand. I am not fond of big phones, but to my surprise, the Edge 50 Pro (admittedly larger) when slid into the pocket felt as if it had no presence.

The rear has soft vegan leather (as opposed to glass), and my review unit sports this cool lavender colour perfect for Delhi’s scorching summers. It’s super thin, has a metal frame, and the look and feel of the phone feel premium in every sense. My only concern is that the back may get dirty with time, but it’s not a deal-breaker, as most people just slap a case on their device for protection. The device is also rated IP68 for water- and dust-resistance, meaning it can survive being submerged under 1.5 meters of water. So it should have no trouble having a can of Diet Coke spilled on it.

Festive offer

Curved screens aren’t for everyone

Motorola Edge 50 Pro The 6.7-inch display is big, bright, and colour-accurate (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/The Indian Express)

Then there’s that curved screen, of course. I am not a big fan of curved screens on phones. Not only are they more susceptible to cracks and harder to repair, but the content may sometimes look a little weird depending on the apps and websites you use. But again, it depends on how drastic the curves are. Anyway, the larger 6.7-inch pOLED screen feels excellent for games, movies, and everyday web browsing.

Having a larger screen has its perks; you can see more, and details will be plenty. The display has a massive 2000 nits of brightness, and it’s an advantage because when I am outdoors and need to book an Uber or check the time, the extra brightness comes in handy. The 120Hz refresh rate comes as standard here, as does the always-on display mode.

AI elevates the camera

Motorola Edge 50 Pro The camera features on the Edge 50 Pro are enhanced by AI (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/The Indian Express)

Motorola isn’t known for its camera prowess. Its camera systems often fall a step below those of the Apples and Googles of the world, and Motorola is well aware of this. However, thanks to artificial intelligence, Motorola has now managed to level up the camera system on the Edge 50 Pro. This is a use case of AI that is visible to the naked eye and, to some extent, convincing.
First up, the physical features of the new camera system include a 50-megapixel main 2.0μm camera with an f/1.4 aperture, joined by a 10-megapixel 3x optical zoom, and a 13-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera. On the front is a 50-megapixel autofocus camera.

More than providing AI-enabled editing features and integrations like what Samsung has provided with the Galaxy S24, Motorola instead opted to use AI behind the scenes to improve the camera performance. As I said at the beginning, Motorola is not at the same level as its peers in camera optics, but this time around, I feel AI, to some extent, supersedes the weaknesses the camera systems might have. The photos look much sharper and more focused, with high detail and more vivid colouring compared to what you get on a typical camera system on a Motorola phone. I must say the phone is capable of good HDR photos.

What AI does is that once you take a photograph, and in a flash of a second, the AI in the camera fine-tunes the photo, fixes colours, and removes dark areas to make a scene or a subject fuller. It’s not that the camera hardware is top-notch — it’s the AI that fixes the deficiencies of the hardware, and brightens the image after shooting and also enhances certain colours. Nothing wrong with it, because in the end, a casual photographer is only interested in the final result. I am not sure how seasoned mobile photographers would react to AI-enhanced images, but for an average user, AI only improves the photograph.

Portrait mode works well too. There’s a time-of-flight sensor on the back of the phone that gathers depth information and makes rear portrait mode photos natural and accurate. AI, of course, comes to the aid and drastically improves the shots. Night shots also saw improvements compared to my experience of using previous-generation Motorola phones. My main gripe about the Edge 50 Pro’s camera system is that there is a lag when you switch from 1x zoom to 3x zoom. I don’t know what’s wrong, but I suspect it’s a combination of the display sensitivity and how the software works. Maybe a software update can fix this issue in the future.

The Edge 50 Pro also holds up well in shooting videos. It does so by using AI to always keep the subject in the centre, for example.

By looking at the camera samples below, you can decide for yourself how convincing the Motorola Edge 50 Pro’s camera system is.

Motorola Edge 50 Pro camera sample Motorola Edge 50 Pro camera sample (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/The Indian Express)
Motorola Edge 50 Pro camera sample Motorola Edge 50 Pro camera sample (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/The Indian Express)
Motorola Edge 50 Pro camera sample Motorola Edge 50 Pro camera sample (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/The Indian Express)
Motorola Edge 50 Pro camera sample Motorola Edge 50 Pro camera sample (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/The Indian Express)
Motorola Edge 50 Pro camera sample Motorola Edge 50 Pro camera sample (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/The Indian Express)
Motorola Edge 50 Pro camera sample Motorola Edge 50 Pro camera sample (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/The Indian Express)
Motorola Edge 50 Pro camera sample Motorola Edge 50 Pro camera sample (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/The Indian Express)
Motorola Edge 50 Pro camera sample Motorola Edge 50 Pro camera sample (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/The Indian Express)
Motorola Edge 50 Pro camera sample Motorola Edge 50 Pro camera sample (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/The Indian Express)

Capable performer but Samsung-level Gen AI features missing

Motorola Edge 50 Pro The device lacks any productivity-oriented AI features (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/The Indian Express)

I tested the Edge 50 Pro with a Snapdragon 7 Gen 3, a brand-new chipset that may be a step below the flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 but is powerful enough for day-to-day tasks. Throughout the testing, I couldn’t pick up a fault with the performance. My review unit came with 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, while the base model comes with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage.

I spent a lot of time playing the new Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile and the Edge 50 Pro performed smoothly and snappily. I could run most applications I use daily, from LinkedIn, and Apple Music to Audible, without any issues. Most phones these days are already fast, so you don’t need a flagship chip to power a smartphone. However, it’s important to choose a phone and a brand that promises assured Android operating system updates for a few years.

In this case, Motorola will give 4 years of security updates and 3 years of Android OS updates on the Edge 50 Pro. This is comparable to Motorola’s competitors such as Xiaomi, and OnePlus in the smartphone space. However, devices like Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are assured to receive 7 years of security and feature drop updates. Even Samsung is promising seven years of updates for its Galaxy S24 series.

The Edge 50 Pro ships with Hello UI, which is based on Android 14. The user interface is nearly stock, so it’s simple and snappy. Motorola did make minor changes to the UI and added some themes, colour accents, as well as gestures. On top of that, Motorola is also adding a Gen AI-based AI Wallpaper generator. So, you can create wallpapers using artificial intelligence. All you need to do is capture a photo using the phone’s camera or use a preloaded picture in a gallery to create a brand new wallpaper using artificial intelligence in about 30 seconds.

However, I was disappointed to see the lack of Gen AI features that are useful. For example, on the Samsung Galaxy S24 (review), I could transcribe an entire recorded meeting with AI now, or circle the item to “search” it on Google. I would like to see such unique features that take advantage of AI on the Edge 50 Pro, but they don’t exist – at least for now.

Technically, all Android phones are AI devices because chatbots such as ChatGPT and Gemini use the cloud for processing your queries. However, eventually, smartphones will be judged purely based on whether they support AI features at the core level, with Large Language Models (LLMs) running on the device instead of the cloud.

Battery life on a smartphone is a non-compromise for me, and I think it’s the same for you as well. Given that we spend a lot of time gaming and streaming on our smartphones, having a long battery life is not a pro feature but a necessity. The Edge 50 Pro ships with a 4500mAh battery. With general everyday use, I was able to keep the phone running a full day or even more without having to plug in the charger. If you disable the always-on mode, you can stretch the battery life for even more hours. As for charging — the included 125W power plug will top the device off in a few minutes. The device also supports 50W of wireless charging as well as 10W of reverse wireless charging.

Should you buy the Motorola Edge 50 Pro?

Motorola Edge 50 Pro A non-flagship yet premium-looking smartphone (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/The Indian Express)

The Edge 50 Pro may not be a flagship, but it feels close to a premium smartphone. I feel this phone combines AI, a powerful processor, and speedy RAM to deliver a great mobile device under Rs 35,000. Yes, its AI-enhanced cameras are also respectable but don’t come close to the iPhone 15 and Pixel 8.

I would like to see more Gen AI features on the Edge 50 Pro in the future via a software update. That would make the Edge 50 Pro a lot more interesting device than what it is today. Maybe phone companies need the magic of AI to differentiate their devices from others.



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