Motorola Edge 50 Ultra VS Edge 40 Pro: A price hike, but at least it sounds justified

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Intro

Motorola is still trying to figure out which naming scheme to choose for naming its flagship phones. This year the company has gone with the name Motorola Edge 50 Ultra, which is a bit confusing given that it is the direct successor of the Motorola Edge 40 Pro from 2023.

On top of the name inconsistency, Motorola has also refrained from saying anything about a Edge 50 Ultra counterpart for the US market, which leads us to think there might not be one. On the other hand, the Edge 40 Pro did release in the United States under the Edge Plus (2023) moniker.

In Europe, the Edge 40 Pro went for a starting price of €899, but the Edge 50 Ultra will cost you €999. Thankfully, it seems the new iteration comes with plenty of upgrades to justify that €100 price hike. Below we will look at the improvements in question.

Keep in mind, however, that the Edge 50 Ultra is not out yet, so we haven’t had the chance to put it through our dedicated battery, performance, and display tests. In other words, what we are comparing below is based on the information Motorola has officially given about its latest premium phone.

Motorola Edge 50 Ultra vs Motorola Edge 40 Pro differences:

Table of Contents:

Design and Size

A more stylish and thoughtful design
The Edge 50 Ultra and Edge 40 Pro come in overall the same size, with the new model being ever so slightly shorter and lighter. Motorola has finally made the camera island on the back panel fitting for a flagship phone, compared to the one on the 2023 model, which makes it look cheap in my opinion.

Speaking of the back panel, the Edge 50 Ultra drops the glass of its predecessor and replaces it with two new materials: wood and vegan leather (silicon). I was quite impressed with the vegan leather option during my time with the mid-range Edge 50 Pro, as it did not attract fingerprints, had a harder time slipping out of my pocket or hands, and was more comfortable to hold.

Both phones have aluminum frames, which helps with the weight, but is not as tough as some of the stainless steel or even titanium phones that are catching on lately. Also, both come with an IP68 water and dust resistance rating.

As for the colors, here are the ones you can pick from:

Edge 50 Ultra colors:

  • Forest Grey (silicone/vegan leather)
  • Peach Fuzz (silicone/vegan leather)
  • Nordic Wood (wood)

Edge 40 Pro colors:

  • Interstellar Black
  • Lunar Blue

Thankfully, Motorola has kept its traditional stellar unboxing experience with the Edge 50 Ultra, so, just like with the Edge 40 Pro, you get a bunch of goodies inside the box. That includes a 125W charger, USB C cable, protective case, and even a nice aroma as you open it up.

Display Differences

The Edge 50 Ultra and Edge 40 Pro are great displays for watching content. That said, the Edge 50 Ultra has a somewhat higher resolution and almost double the peak brightness levels (2500 nits vs 1300 nits). Even the mid-range Edge 50 Pro managed to beat the Edge 40 Pro when we tested its display.

What last year’s flagship has over the new one, however, is support for Dolby Vision HDR content on top of its HDR10+, while the Ultra only supports the latter. Another small difference is that you have a 165Hz display refresh rate on the Edge 40 Pro vs the 144Hz on the Edge 50 Ultra, but almost no one will notice this.

Protection-wize, you get Gorilla Glass Victus, which is alright, but not on the same level as the S24 series’ Gorilla Glass Armor or iPhone’s ceramic shield, so it’s better to cover that display with a screen protector.

Both phones come with fast and accurate under-display fingerprint sensors, as well as face identification, which is less secure.

Performance and Software

It’s up in the air
Last year Motorola added the best Android chipset, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, to its flagship phone. Things are similar this time, with the Edge 50 Ultra rocking the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3.

Notice that I am saying “similar.” That’s because the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 (notice the “s” after the “8”) is not the same as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. The difference is that the one inside the Edge 50 Ultra comes with more efficiency cores and without the extra performance of the 8 Gen 3, so it probably won’t match something like the Galaxy S24 series, for example.

On the other hand, this should help the Motorola Edge 50 Ultra be considerably more power-efficient compared to its predecessors and the competition. And, even though it might not show the same results during our benchmark performance tests, it will still be a very capable piece of silicon.

Another part that should contribute to the overall better power-efficiency of the Edge 50 Ultra is its LPDDR5X memory, which is also about 33% faster compared to the LPDDR5 on the Edge 40 Pro.

The software update situation is still as bad, though, with only 3 years of Android updates and 4 years of security patches. Honestly, for a flagship phone this is a bit unacceptable in 2024. After all, there are many users who pay a premium for a flagship with the intention of keeping it for more than just 3 or 4 years, as modern phones allow this slow update cycle.

Camera

A more comprehensive camera system on the Ultra
The Edge 40 Pro had an overall good camera system, but it definitely had quite some way to go before it came close to the best of its competitors. The Edge 50 Ultra promises to remedy that with a much more capable telephoto camera, and hardware improvements throughout the whole camera system.

On top of that, Motorola has also implemented AI into the mix, to elevate the camera performance from the software side as well.

The camera-related AI features include Action Shot, which is the phone’s ability to adjust shutter speed and ISO in low-light environments to capture as much light as possible. There’s also Auto Focus Tracking, which helps keep subjects moving fast inside the frame clear to see when recording videos. And, lastly, Auto Enhance, which actually comes from a master in photo editing software, Google. None of these are available on the Edge 40 Pro.

Here’s a quick look at the full Edge 50 Ultra camera specs:

  • Main (wide): 50MP, f/1.6 aperture, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)
  • Ultra-wide: 50MP, f/2.0, Autofocus
  • Telephoto: 64MP, 3X Zoom, f/2.4, Autofocus, OIS
  • Front: 50MP, f/1.9, Autofocus

And now a quick look at the full Edge 40 Pro camera specs:

  • Main (wide): 50MP, f/1.8 aperture, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)
  • Ultra-wide: 50MP, f/2.2, Autofocus
  • Telephoto: 12MP, 2X Zoom, f/1.6
  • Front: 60MP, f/1.2

One area where the Edge 40 Pro beats the Edge 50 Ultra when it comes to camera performance is the ability to record 8K 30FPS video. The Ultra goes only as high as 4K 60FPS, but we suspect it will look much better than that on the 2023 model.

Audio Quality and Haptics

During our review of the Edge 40 Pro last year we were overall satisfied with its dual speakers, but it definitely did not come close to the likes of the Asus Rog Phone 7 or the iPhone 14, for example. Motorola’s Edge 50 Pro mid-ranger that was announced alongside the Edge 50 Ultra this year also had a similar level of audio quality.

We are hoping that Motorola has equipped its ultimate flagship for 2024 with better speakers compared to last year’s flagship and this year’s mid-ranger, but we will have to wait and see.

Haptics weren’t anything mindblowing on the Edge 40 Pro, and that will likely remain true for the Edge 50 ultra too. Motorola is yet to focus its attention towards a more capable vibration motor.

Battery Life and Charging

Faster wireless charging
We can’t tell you for certain how different the battery life will be on the Edge 50 Ultra, but given the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 and its additional power-efficiency cores, we expect it to fare better than the Edge 40 Pro. Not to mention the improved LPDDR5X memory, which is not only faster but also consumes less power.

There is a slight difference in terms of battery capacity, with the 2023 model rocking a 4600mAh battery vs the 4500mAh on the Ultra, but that is an insignificant difference.

Charging should remain overall similar given the battery size is not too different in this comparison. That will be true only for the wired charging, though. The Edge 50 Ultra takes the cake with its 50W wireless and 10W reverse-wireless charging.

The only other phone that matches these wireless charging specifications is the OnePlus 12 that came out in the beginning of this year.

Specs Comparison

The Motorola Edge 50 Ultra vs Motorola Edge 40 Pro specs comparison is quite colorful. You will notice several improvements throughout the whole spec sheet, including the camera system, display, chipset, and more.

Arguably, the most notable upgrades that come with the Edge 50 Ultra are the higher display brightness, the new telephoto camera, and the chipset. There’s also the faster wireless charging, although not many have a wireless charger that supports such power output, so it is hard to address it as a big advantage.

Summary

We can’t wait to do a proper comparison between these two Motorola’s once the Edge 50 Ultra comes out. For now, it seems that for €100 you are actually getting quite a bit more than the edge 40 Pro, especially when it comes to the camera system and the AI-ready chipset.

There’s also the brighter display, much-improved design, and the higher base storage that are pretty welcome upgrades in 2024.

Something we definitely think Motorola should address, though, is the whole software support situation. Only 3 years of Android updates was something that could (and did) slide in 2023 for a starting price of €899, but not in 2024 for a phone that starts at €999.

Stay tuned for our full comparison with sample images and video, as well as test results for the battery life, charging, performance, and the display!


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