If there’s one feature which justifies the ‘Pro’ label, it’s the 5x zoom camera. This is so powerful that when you look into the lens, it appears way further back than the phone’s 8mm thickness actually allows.
Powerful zooms like this are great. When you switch to 5x, you don’t just get what seems like a cropped view of the main camera. You instead start to notice photo opportunities you simply wouldn’t pick up at 1x. Objects you didn’t spot visually suddenly become apparent. If you like to get creative with smartphone photography, the Edge 20 Pro is a versatile tool.
Is it a match for the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, the emperor of phone zooms? Not even close. The Edge 20 Pro’s zoom lens is attached to a sensor with a meagre 8MP resolution. If you try to use digital zoom to get to, say, 30x magnification, your photos will look like trash. Image quality quickly falls apart in lower light, too, even under the shade of tree cover.
Because the sensor is pretty tiny, detail turns mushy whenever the zoom needs to ramp up its light sensitivity. Still, in daylight you can capture zoomed images far better than 95% of phones in the £600 region. Despite some shortcomings, it’s probably our favourite Edge 20 Pro feature.
The other two rear cameras are your standard 1x cam, powered by a 108MP Samsung sensor, alongside a 16MP ultra-wide. This wide-angle camera is decent, a cut above the 8-megapixel ones seen in a lot of mid-range phones. In fact, if any bit of the setup could be better, it’s the one part that sounds most capable on paper: the 108MP primary sensor. While it can capture great images (and the high resolution means it can handle 2x and 3x zoom passably well), the Edge 20 Pro isn’t a low-light star. And that’s an issue when cheaper phones like the Google Pixel 4a 5G and OnePlus Nord 2 5G are.
The Edge 20 Pro does have a “night” mode which brightens up images well. However, you don’t get the dramatic shadow detail and dynamic range boost that the best offer. This could be down to Motorola’s software. Or it could be thanks to the Samsung HM2 sensor, which just isn’t in the same league as the great HM3 chip Samsung stuck in the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Either way, it’s an obvious weak point in a fairly camera-led phone.
Colour handling is occasionally inconsistent, too. Sometimes images look like sharper, more vital versions of the ultra-wide’s take on a scene. That’s what you want. A few times its pictures looked significantly cooler, though, and less charming as a result. The main cam’s lens is also a little susceptible to flare when you shoot into the sun, in a scene that demands a lot of the Motorola Edge 20 Pro’s HDR processing. This looks like a translucent red splodge. While the effect can appear neat, sometimes you just wish it would go away (a reminder: it only pops up in specific lighting situations). This camera may not be the flagship killer it can seem on paper, then, but it is a lot of fun to use.
Video recording is a similar story. The Motorola Edge 20 Pro can shoot footage at up to 8K resolution, but this mode isn’t all that usable because it’s non-stabilised. Film handheld and it’ll look a mess. It uses a sensor crop too, rather than trying to distil all 108MP of data on-the-fly. Use it with a tripod and the footage sure is detailed, but you’ll want to stick to 4K most of the time.
The 32MP selfie camera is also just OK. It tends to leave fine facial detail looking fuzzy in anything but very good lighting, despite the use of pixel binning. This is where four sensor pixels are taped together to improve low-light performance. You can use the night mode to improve things quite dramatically, but this takes a couple of seconds and some rivals get to this level of performance more quickly using Auto shooting.
Motorola Edge 20 Pro image gallery