With the launch of the Motorola Edge, the company once known for its budget handsets re-introduced itself as a competitor to companies at other price points too. What could this mean for brands putting out mid-range and premium smartphones?
Two smartphones that might feel the Motorola Edge’s presence on the market more than most are the Samsung Galaxy S20 and iPhone 11, the newest flagships from two of the top dogs making smartphones right now, Samsung and Apple.
The Samsung Galaxy S20, launched in February 2020, is one of the best Android smartphones available, with 5G connectivity, a top-tier Samsung screen and a cutting-edge chipset.
Before that we saw the iPhone 11 in September 2019, which proved very popular with its stylish design, great cameras and more affordable price compared to some other iPhones.
To help you decide which phone is best value, and which is best for you, this comparison will put them head-to-head in all the areas that really matter in a handset.
Motorola Edge vs Samsung Galaxy S20 vs iPhone 11 price and availability
The Motorola Edge undercuts the Samsung and Apple phones at £579 / €599 (roughly $650, AU$1,020). If you’re looking for the most affordable phone, then this is the one for you.
The priciest of these phones is the Samsung Galaxy S20, which will set you back $999 / £899 / AU$1,499. That’s for a 5G model, but if you want a 4G-only device there’s one in certain regions for £799 / AU$1,349 (roughly $1,000).
Between those sits the iPhone 11, though that actually has a few different prices depending on the storage version you opt for. It will set you back $699 / £729 / AU$1,199 for 64GB of storage, then $749 / £779 / AU$1,279 for 128GB of storage and $849 / £879 / AU$1,449 for 256GB. Whatever option you pick, it’s more affordable than the S20 but pricier than the Edge.
It’s worth pointing out that while the Galaxy S20 and iPhone 11 are available in most regions right now, the Motorola Edge is only going to reach the UK in May and the US sometime after that.
Design and display
The Motorola Edge is the biggest of the three phones – its 161.6 x 71.1 x 9.3mm dimensions make it longer and thicker than the Samsung Galaxy S20’s 151.7 x 69.1 x 7.9mm or the iPhone 11’s 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm, although the latter is evidently a little wider.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 is actually the lightest though at 163g, whereas the Motorola Edge comes in at 188g and the iPhone 11 is 194g.
The fact that the Motorola Edge is in the middle there is curious given that while the Samsung and Apple phones have glass fronts and backs and metal frames, the Edge’s back is actually made of plastic, which is typically lighter.
The iPhone 11 has a Lightning port for charging and data transfer, but you get USB-C on the Samsung Galaxy S20 and Motorola Edge. The latter phone is the only one to have a 3.5mm headphone jack though, so fans of wired headphones might prefer it.
It’s worth noting also that the Samsung Galaxy S20 and iPhone 11 are IP68 rated for water resistance – a rating not shared by the Motorola Edge.
Now on to the displays – the iPhone 11 has the smallest, at 6.1 inches diagonally, and it’s also the most low-res at 828 x 1792 pixels. The biggest display is on the Motorola Edge, at 6.7 inches, but with a 1080 x 2340 resolution it’s not the most high-res. That award goes to the Samsung Galaxy S20 with its 6.2-inch screen and 1440 x 3200 resolution.
The screens aren’t all the same aspect ratio – the iPhone 11 and Motorola Edge both have a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, while the Samsung Galaxy S20 is longer at 20:9. The latter two phones have their displays broken up by punch-hole cut-outs, the S20’s in the top-center, and the Edge’s in the top-left, while the iPhone 11 has a rather large notch.
The iPhone 11 has a flat screen with fairly large bezels, whereas the Samsung Galaxy S20 and Motorola Edge both have curved screens. While the S20’s display is lightly tapered at the edges, the Motorola Edge has a screen that drops almost 90 degrees around the edges, so it’s really living up to that name.
Finally, if you’re a fan of high display refresh rates, you’ll prefer the Samsung Galaxy S20 with its 120Hz screen. That’s followed by the Motorola Edge at 90Hz and then the iPhone 11 at a ‘standard’ 60Hz.
The iPhone 11 has two rear cameras, specifically a 12MP main and 12MP ultra-wide one. Round the front there’s also a 12MP snapper used for taking selfies.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 has more cameras – there’s a 12MP main, 64MP telephoto (for 3x optical zoom) and 12MP ultra-wide snapper, with a 10MP selfie-cam on the front.
There’s even more shooters on the Motorola Edge – it has a 64MP main, 8MP telephoto (2x optical zoom), 16MP ultra-wide and Time-of-Flight (ToF) camera on the back, with a 25MP front camera.
So the Motorola Edge has the most high-res main camera, but the Samsung Galaxy S20 has the better zoom potential. However resolution isn’t the only key feature of a camera, and both Samsung and Apple use large sensors on their cameras which can be just as useful for taking great pictures.
In addition, post-processing software is important for optimizing pictures taken, and while Apple and Samsung have proven software, we’ve only seen Motorola smartphones take okay pictures in the past, due to the brand’s other recent phones all being mid-range or lower. We’ll need to test the Edge thoroughly to see how it competes.
Specs and features
The iPhone 11 has Apple’s A13 Bionic chipset, which is generally regarded as the most powerful smartphone chipset available at the time of writing, and is the same as you’ll find in the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 has the Snapdragon 865 chipset if you’re in North America or certain other parts of the world, but the slightly inferior Exynos 990 processor in Europe and Asia. The Snapdragon and Exynos chipsets are the best available from Qualcomm and Samsung respectively, so while they won’t quite reach Apple’s A13, they’ll come very close.
Finally, the Motorola Edge has the Snapdragon 765G chipset, which is a decent mid-range processor, optimized particularly for gaming (hence the ‘G’ in the name), although it’s the weakest of the bunch here.
The Motorola Edge additionally has 4GB or 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. That storage is the same as in the Samsung handset but the RAM there is 8GB. The Apple device has the most variation in storage with 64GB, 128GB or even 256GB of space, but only ever 4GB of RAM.
The Motorola and Samsung phones both run Android 10, and while the latter has Samsung’s One UI laid over the top, the former has a nearly stock version of Android, with the only difference being ‘MyUX’ which lets you customize the design of the user interface. The iPhone 11, meanwhile, has iOS 13, which you’ll only find on Apple phones.
The iPhone 11 is the only phone of these three that can’t take a microSD card for expanded storage, though.
In terms of battery capacity the Motorola Edge wins with a 4,500mAh power pack, although its larger screen might see that power drained quicker. Then the Samsung Galaxy S20 has a 4,000mAh battery and the iPhone 11 comes last with a 3,110mAh pack.
The Motorola Edge doesn’t have wireless charging though, so it’s limited to 18W fast charging. The iPhone 11 has that as well as wireless charging, and the Samsung Galaxy S20 has 25W fast charging, 15W wireless charging, and 9W reverse wireless charging, so you can use it as a power pack to juice up other devices.
An important accessibility feature some may care about is that the iPhone 11 uses Face ID for security, but the Motorola Edge and Samsung Galaxy S20 both rely primarily on in-screen fingerprint sensors. They also have facial recognition, but it’s less secure than Apple’s implementation.
Some may prefer using their face to their hands to unlock their phone, others prefer fingerprint, and it’s mainly down to preference.
The Motorola Edge certainly undercuts its competitors here, with a price that’s noticeably below the iPhone 11 or Samsung Galaxy S20, but it’s a less powerful phone as a result. Saying that, its large screen may make it appealing to some.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 is a premium Android smartphone with a top-end chipset, Samsung’s proven screen technology, and cameras that are both great and versatile. If you’re not working with a particularly limited budget, it may be a better phone for you.
However if you’re an Apple fan you’ll likely prefer the iPhone 11 with its iOS operating system and Apple software tricks, and it’s not the priciest device in this line-up either, which is something you can rarely say about comparison guides with Apple products in them.
All in all the best phone of these three depends largely on your budget, and which features you prefer in a new smartphone.