Our Motorola Edge Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus face-off will help you decide which is right for you
Motorola may be back in the flagship smartphone game, but the new Motorola Edge Plus has its work cut out for it to top one of the best Android phones, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus.
On paper, it’s a close battle: both the Edge Plus and S20 Plus have massive displays, top-tier Snapdragon 865 processors with 5G modems, sophisticated quad-lens rear cameras, big batteries and oodles of RAM. But it’s the execution of these oft-requested features that separates these two handsets, and leads us to a clear winner.
To find out which phone is worth spending $1,000 (or more) on, here’s our full Motorola Edge Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus comparison.
Motorola Edge Plus vs. Galaxy S20 Plus: Specs
Motorola Edge Plus vs. Galaxy S20 Plus: Pricing and carriers
While the Motorola Edge Plus carries a clear price advantage over the pricier Samsung phone, the Galaxy S20 Plus benefits from wider carrier availability. The Edge Plus costs $999 and comes with 256GB of storage, while the similarly-specced S20 Plus starts at $1,199 but goes up to $1,349 if you spring for the 512GB version. Both devices support microSD cards for expandability.
The Edge Plus is only available through Verizon, while the S20 Plus can be purchased from any major carrier or even purchased unlocked. Although the Edge Plus’ $200 price advantage certainly shouldn’t be dismissed if you’re already a Verizon subscriber, the fact you have to be a Big Red customer to own it in the first place ultimately makes Motorola’s flagship less accessible, cheaper though it is.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus
Motorola Edge Plus vs. Galaxy S20 Plus: Design
The Edge Plus and S20 Plus are almost exactly the same height, but the Galaxy feels larger in the hand. That’s because Samsung’s device is a tenth of an inch wider, which makes a huge difference when you’re trying to wrap your palm around a big phone like this.
And even though the Edge Plus is half an ounce heavier, that’s not an unwelcome heft — Motorola’s flagship is still better for one-handed use, because it’s slimmer.
In fact, the Edge Plus is a more distinctive-looking phone overall, with its steeply-curved display, satin glass back and intricate rear camera array. It also benefits from a headphone jack, which is sorely lacking on the S20 Plus (as it is on most high-end phones these days). Motorola’s phone features much more powerful stereo speakers, too, delivering the loudest and clearest sound we’ve ever heard from a smartphone.
Still, the S20 Plus has a few advantages, even if it doesn’t take the design round overall. For one, it’s rated IP68 water resistant, meaning you can submerge it in up to 5 feet of water for up to a half hour, and it should continue to work. The Edge Plus has no resistance against submersion, which is pretty disappointing for a device that costs so much. Additionally, the Edge Plus’ nearly 2 millimeters of added thickness makes it pretty chunky compared to Samsung’s offering, and that will only be exacerbated once you slap a case on Motorola’s phone.
Winner: Motorola Edge Plus
Motorola Edge Plus vs. Galaxy S20 Plus: Display
Although both Edge Plus and S20 Plus tout 6.7-inch screens, the latter feels much roomier. That’s because the fringes of the Edge’s screen curve dramatically around the sides of the phone, and aren’t facing you most of the time.
But the S20 Plus’ screen is a bit better in some other ways. First, it’s a quad-HD panel to the Edge Plus’ full-HD resolution. It also has a higher, 120Hz peak refresh rate compared to the 90 Hz limit on Motorola’s phone (though you’ll need to downscale the S20 Plus’ resolution to full HD to use the phone at its maximum refresh rate). Samsung’s panel gets brighter, too.
How much brighter? The Edge Plus topped out at 550 nits as measured by our light meter, while the S20 Plus’ panel reached a very impressive 847 nits. That definitely helps with outdoor viewing on Samsung’s device. The S20 Plus also has a penchant for bolder hues, as it covered 162.5% of the DCI-P3 color space to the Edge Plus’ 134.5%.null
On the flip side, colors on the Motorola’s panel are a bit more accurate. The Edge Plus achieved a Delta-E score of 0.29, compared to the S20 Plus’ 0.36. Numbers closer to zero are better in this particular test, though it’s important to point out that both of these phones offer a selection of display profiles that allow you to customize the appearance of on-screen content to your liking.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus
Motorola Edge Plus vs. Galaxy S20 Plus: Cameras
Whether you choose the Edge Plus or Galaxy S20 Plus, you’ll get a quad-lens rear camera that combines an ultra high-resolution sensor with telephoto and ultrawide optics, as well as a time-of-flight sensor for improved effects that rely upon depth.
On Motorola’s device, that comes in the form of a 108MP, ƒ/1.8 shooter that employs quad-pixel binning to produce 27MP shots with optimized exposure, sat next to a 16MP ultrawide lens and an 8MP telephoto with 3x optical zoom.
On Samsung’s handset, interestingly it’s the telephoto lens that pulls in the most pixels, at 64MP. The primary, ƒ/1.8 wide-angle camera captures 12MP shots, and the ultrawide lens is also rated at 12MP. The S20 Plus’ telephoto can achieve lossless zoom but not in the traditional sense, as it simply crops into that wealth of pixels to achieve a crisp 3x shot, rather than relying upon any unique focal length advantage within the lens itself.
Specs and numbers are one thing, though; results are quite another. And while the Edge Plus’ 108MP main optic might give Motorola’s new flagship an advantage on paper, the shots it delivers are often less impressive than those the S20 Plus serves up. Take, for example, this close up on a small statue; the Edge Plus’ shot is universally darker, with limited focus that doesn’t even paint the dog’s fur in full detail, and a fuzziness to the bokeh that makes it look as if the camera was nudged right at the moment the shutter button was pressed.
The S20 Plus’ ultrawide camera delivered a more impressive shot of a backyard on an overcast day, though I do prefer the warmer grays of the sky in the Edge Plus’ example. Nevertheless, details are simply sharper through the S20 Plus’ lens, blades of grass and leaves on trees are more exquisitely exposed and colors are generally more vivid, though not unrealistically so.
Turning our attention to both phones’ 3x telephoto lenses and this pink tree, it was actually the Edge Plus that delivered the sharper, more impressive result here, punching up the colors of the leaves while ensuring details, like the siding of the house in the background and the blue street signs to the right, were rendered with greater precision.
Using both phones’ respective night modes, the S20 Plus delivered a generally brighter shot of this cozy fireplace scene with more warmth and improved fidelity within the logs themselves. The embers beneath are also a bit sharper through the Samsung phone’s lens. That said, there’s a haziness to the way the S20 Plus fills in those darker areas that isn’t quite right, compared to the deeper blacks the Edge Plus conveys.
Finally, comparing the Edge Plus’ 25MP front-facing camera to the 10MP one inside the S20 Plus, I was shocked at how much better the Galaxy’s rendition was. I cannot stress enough how totally wrong the colors are on the Edge Plus’ version; my skin is definitely not that orange. Plus, Motorola’s camera muddied up the fabric in my green sweater, blew out the sky behind me and allowed the background bokeh to bleed into the sides of my winter hat.
The Edge Plus’ cameras are decent when the stars align, but if you want the finest camera experience on an Android flagship, and the best chance at a great photo, the S20 Plus is the easy answer here.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus
Motorola Edge Plus vs. Galaxy S20 Plus: Performance
You’ll find comparable performance in Motorola and Samsung’s flagships, given that they both incorporate Snapdragon 865 processors and 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM. These are some of the fastest phones on the market today, and the benchmarks bear that out.
In the system-wide Geekbench 5 test, the Edge Plus delivered a multicore score of 3,350 points, compared to 3,076 for the S20 Plus. That seems like a significant difference, though both devices admittedly feel evenly quick in regular use and when playing demanding games. In fact, the S20 Plus actually squeaked past the Edge Plus in GFXBench’s Aztec Ruins Vulkan test for high-tier phones, clocking 21 frames-per second to Motorola’s 20 fps.
Ultimately, the differences in performance are slight because the hardware underpinning these phones is so similar. You’re guaranteed a stellar experience with whichever you choose, so this round ends in a draw.
Motorola Edge Plus vs. Galaxy S20 Plus: Battery life and charging
At 4,500 mAh, the Galaxy S20 Plus’ battery is big — but the Edge Plus’ is even bigger. Motorola has shoehorned a gigantic 5,000-mAh power pack into its first flagship in years, and it helps the device last decently long on a charge.
The Edge Plus clocked an average of 10 hours and 55 minutes in Tom’s Guide’s custom battery test, where devices endlessly load webpages over a data connection until their batteries run dry. The S20 Plus endured 10 hours and 31 minutes. Both phones were set to their 60Hz display modes to last as long as possible; if you ratchet the refresh rate up, you certainly won’t see the same kind of longevity.
When it comes to charging, both devices can do it with or without wires. However, the S20 Plus comes with a quicker-charging adapter — 25 watts to the Edge Plus’ 18 watts. Because of that, and because the S20 Plus’ battery is smaller to begin with, it charges much more quickly than Motorola’s device. The Galaxy reached 55% from empty after just a half hour in our testing, while the Edge Plus made it to only 28% in tandem with its stock brick.
Winner: Motorola Edge Plus
Motorola Edge Plus vs. Galaxy S20 Plus: Software
Android 10 is a fixture on both these flagships, though the experience is quite different on each. Whereas Motorola has gone for a clean, straightforward Android experience on the Edge Plus, the Galaxy S20 Plus employs Samsung’s One UI interface, which reorganizes many of stock Android’s UI elements and adds some features here and there.
Ironically, in Samsung’s ambition to simplify Android, it’s actually devised an interface more complicated and overwhelmed with frivolous features, at least to me. On the flip side, One UI actually feels a bit more elegant than Motorola’s software in certain places; Samsung’s camera app is a good example of this, as it allows you to reorganize the flow of camera modes, so that your preferred shooting methods are within easy reach. The Edge Plus’ camera software doesn’t provide the same level of customization.
Samsung also commits to two years of major Android version upgrades for its flagship phones and security patches on a monthly basis, while Motorola thus far has only promised an update to Android 11 and security patches every other month. If you’re spending $1,000 or more on a new phone, you should at least have the peace of mind your device will be supported for years to come, and the Edge Plus drops the ball in that regard.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus
Motorola Edge Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: Verdict
For anyone who happens to be on Verizon and is looking for a premium smartphone with 5G connectivity, the Motorola Edge Plus is a respectable choice and actually a solid value at $999. However, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is simply better overall.
True, the Galaxy S20 Plus is $200 more expensive. But when you compare the Motorola Edge Plus vs. the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus, Samsung’s phone has better cameras; a richer, brighter display; a water-resistant design; a faster charging battery; and software that’s ironically likelier to be frequently updated, in spite of the fact the Edge Plus’ version of Android is closer to stock.
While the Edge Plus sports a clear audio advantage and lasts a bit longer on a charge thanks to its 500 mAh-larger battery, those advantages don’t outweigh the drawbacks. And last but certainly not least, you can get the S20 Plus through any carrier — or through no carrier at all.
Motorola has delivered a solid Galaxy S20 Plus alternative for Verizon customers, but the Edge Plus is surely no S20 Plus replacement.