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Motorola Edge 20 Fusion 5G – the try-harder (review)

Moto Edge 20 Fusion

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion 5G – the try-harder (review)

The Motorola Edge 20 Fusion is the last child in its premium Edge 20 range. As child three, it could just bask in the Edge 20 sunshine, but no – it gets out there and in some ways beats its siblings – the Edge 20 and Edge 20 Pro.

At $499, it is up against some tough price competition from OPPO and realme, but it wins nicely in a spec shootout.

Interestingly we have all three Motorola Edge 20 models for review, as well as the new Moto g50. All Edge have a similar look and feel, 6.7” screens and 30W Turbo Charge batteries in a good, better, best scenario. We compare all three Motorola Edge models here.

The $200 dearer Edge 20 model (review here 8.8/10) gets a 144Hz HDR10+ Gorilla Glass 3 screen, faster processor, more ram/storage, Wi-Fi 6 AX and a Telephoto lens. The Fusion wins on 5000mAh killer battery life with the same 30W charger, a 3.5mm jack, and micro-SD expansion. Frankly, this is better value with just as good a pedigree

The $899 Motorola Edge 20 Pro review is here 8.7/10.

Get ‘ready for’ Motorola Edge 20

Motorola has added ‘ready for’, an Android desktop experience on an external TV, monitor and PC. We will explore that more in-depth in a later review but suffice to say it adds (connectivity and features depend on the model – Edge 20 Pro does everything):

  • PC connection to access Android apps, use BT keyboards and mice, easy switch between Windows and Android
  • Wirelessly Miracast to a smart TV or PC
  • USB-C to USB-C wired to a smart TV or monitor
  • USB-C to HDMI wired to a smart TV or monitor

Ready for modes include:

  • Android Mobile desktop – use the Edge 20 Pro as a PC
  • TV mode – stream/display from any content source on a TV
  • Games – create a console-like experience for Android games inc a BT controller
  • Video chat – use the Edge 30 camera as a webcam and cast the image to a TV (Google Duo or similar video chat apps)

Motorola will continue to innovate and add more functionality. For now, it is a worthy competitor to Samsung DeX – Desktop EXperience. In fact, we tested with DeX station accessories!

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion 5G Model XT2139-2 5G 6/128GB Dual Sim

Australian website here
Price: $499
Colours Electric Graphite or Cyber Teal
From: Motorola online, JB Hi-Fi, Good Guys, Officeworks
Warranty: 12-months ACL
Country of Manufacture: China
Company Owned by Lenovo (Est 1984) – a multinational technology company with its main operational headquarters in Beijing and Morrisville, North Carolina. It is the world’s largest PC maker. It purchased Motorola Mobility from Google in 2014. Most of Lenovo’s smartphone business is now under the Motorola brand, and it has grand plans to become a ‘top five’ smartphone maker.
More Other GadgetGuy Motorola news and reviews here

Grey market – no Australian warranty

All genuine Australian 5G models use unique Australian 5G sub-6Ghz and 5G low-band frequencies and require local activation first. That means a grey market phone likely won’t be able to use 5G here.

We have named and shamed the major grey marketers here. If you are going to spend this much money, get a genuine ‘Made for Australia’ model.

First impression – another glass slab

While the Edge 20 has squared edges over an aluminium frame, this is back to a rounded plastic back over a plastic frame. It has the same familial Edge 20 looks except with a 3.5mm port.

Put the TPU cover back on – you won’t know the difference. So for this review, I will point out any subtle differences (usually in brackets) that may lead you to buy the Edge 20 at $200 more.

Screen – 1 billion colours AMOLED Goodness

As far as we can ascertain, the Edge 20 Pro and Edge 20 screens are the same, except for lower-cost Gorilla Glass 3 on the latter.  But the Motorola Edge 20 Fusion screen is 90Hz. Fortunately, tests show only insignificant screen colour or gamut differences. It is a great screen for the price.

Size 6.7”, 2400 x 1080p, 385 ppi, 20:9 ratio
Type Centre O-hole selfie, flat, AMOLED with toughened NEG glass (GG 3)
Refresh Fixed 60Hz or 90Hz
Colours 10-bit 1.07 billion
Gamut Claim: 450 nits (typical) up to 650 (Max adaptive)
Contrast: infinite (same)
Colour temperature: 6500°K (same)
Test:
408-437 nits over the screen, 638 nits max (slightly higher)
Delta E 4.7 (<4 is good) (3)
92% DCI-P3 (100%)
HDR10 (HDR10+)
Daylight
Viewing angle
Always on Display
Yes
Good off-angle viewing but develops a blue cast past 135°
Yes
DRM Widevine L1 HDCP 2.3 plays Netflix and Amazon FHD HDR content
Gaming Fixed 60/90Hz refresh available but more depends on the Dimensity 800U SoC

It is an AMOLED screen, albeit with a fixed 60 or 90Hz (versus adaptive and 144Hz). So, you get the daylight brightness and infinite contrast – for $499 – “Tell ‘em they’re dreamin”.

Processor – Dimensity 800U keeps costs in check

The Motorola Edge 20 Fusion comes with MediaTek Dimensity 800U (vs SD778G). This chip is on the OPPO A94/95, OPPO Reno6 Z, vivo 21, realme 7 and about 40 phone brands/models we don’t see here. Why? It is a cost-effective, reasonable mid-range chip with an integrated 5G modem and AI accelerator.

SoC MediaTek Dimensity 800U 7nm
4×2.4GHz, 4×2.0GHz
Test:
GeekBench single/multi-core: 581/1757 (similar to an SD720G)
(767/32740 similar to an Exynos 990)
GPU Mali-G57 MC3 (Adreno 642L)
Test:
Open CL: 2034 (2199) Video processing is not much slower than the Edge 20 Vulcan:  2056 (2225)
Modem and Other Integrated (Qualcomm X53 5G)
2.4 TOPS (6th Gen AI 13 TOPS) The 800U TOPS figure is not confirmed.
RAM
Storage
6GB LPDDR4 (8GB LPDDR4)
128GB UFS 2.2 (94GB free) – microSD to 1TB (128GB UFS 2.2/no microSD)
Test: Sequential read/write
Internal:  643/309 (689/380)
External 1GB Orico USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 iMatch: 37 /14 (29/10) – slow USB-C 2.0 figures
Throttle 15-minute test Max: 174,179 (221,267) GIPS, Average: 167,211 (204,893) –  11% (13%) loss over 15 minutes
CPU temp reached 50° (50°).

The key difference between the Edge 20 and Fusion is raw CPU power and AI processing speed (TOPS). The device runs smoothly with no lag – this SoC is fit for its purpose.

Comms – all you need

Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 5 AC 1×1 MU-MIMO 433Mbps (Wi-Fi 6E AX 2400Mbps)
Test
-dBM/
Mbps
Signal Strength 5Ghz – distance from Netgear RAX200, AX11000, 12 stream router
-dBm lower is better, and Mbps higher is better
2m: -34/390 (-33/2400)
5m: -61/350 (-52/2400
10m: -68/250 (-62/864)
Bluetooth BT 5.0 (5.2)
GPS Single accuracy <10m (dual accuracy <2m – excellent)
NFC Yes PayWave (same)
USB-C USB-C 2.0 480Mbps/65MBps half-duplex achieving a maximum of about 30MBps (same)
Sensors Combo Accelerometer ad Gyroscope, e-Compass, Proximity, Ambient Light, Fingerprint sensor on the power button (same)

It is similar to all phones in this bracket.

LTE and 5G – covers all 4G and 5G bands

SIM Hybrid Dual sim either 5G or 4G or both (if using 5G, it is always active) with dual ringtones. Or use one as microSD to 1TB
Support VoLTE – carrier dependent – generally yes
Wi-Fi calling – carrier dependent – generally yes
Tests  
UL/DL 36/17Mbps/30ms (24/19Mbps/35ms)
LTE Band 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 26, 28, 32, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 66
This a world phone
5G n1, n3, n5, n7, n8, n20, n28, n38, n40, n41, n66, n77, n78
This supports n78 sub-6Ghz (all carriers) and Telstra n5, Optus n40 and Vodafone n28 low-band. (Edge 20 and Pro have no n40 Optus support).
Test Using a Boost Mobile (Telstra retail network) sim at 1km line-of-sight from Telstra tower.
Expressed as -dBm (lower is better) and Femtowatts (fW) or picowatts (pW) where higher is better. Tower (nearest to furthest)
1: -81/4pW (-84/4pW)
2: No (-91/1.3pW)
3: No (-97/200fW)
The MediaTek modem and antenna system are strictly for city and suburban use. It’s the same with any Dimensity 800U.

It has n40 for Optus low-band 5G ‘Low-band repurposes 3G and eventually 4G bands’ to give wider 5G coverage at the lower 4G speeds. That is a plus over both its Edge brothers.

Battery – two days

Battery
Charger
5000mAh (4000)
5V/3A/15W, 9V/3A/27W and 10V/3A/30W QC 3.0 (same)
Charger 0-100% charge – 1 hour 30 minutes (<60 minutes)
Using 5V/3A standard USB charger and cable – 3 hours (3.25 hours)
Tests
Adaptive screen rate unless shown
100% load everything on, battery drain –  5 hours (4.5 hours)
PC Mark Work 3 battery test: 18 hours 36 minutes (10 hours 26 minutes)
GFX Benchmark T-Rex: 503 minutes 8.38 hours and 3820 frames
(341.7 minutes, 5.7 hours and 6113 frames)
GFX Benchmark Manhattan 3.1 60Hz:  573.2 minutes 9.55 hours and 1877 frames
(Out of Memory error – would not run)
Idle drain screen-off: 250mA about 30 days (about 22.5 days)

The 5000mAh battery is a major benefit, and with prudent use, you will see two days. Even though it comes with a 30W charger, it seems to default to about <20W.

It can use any USB-C PD charger but won’t charge any faster.

Sound – mono

Speakers Mono earpiece and down-firing speaker. It is not fair to measure the sound signature on a mono speaker system. The primary use is for clear voice. It is not for music or movies with no bass or mid before 1000Hz and no treble after 10kHz. There is no sound stage.
Amp MediaTek mono
BT codecs Codecs SBC and AAC
(missing SBC, AAC Apple, aptX, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, aptX TWS+, LDAC Sony Hi-Res)
Presets Bass, Balanced, Treble, Vocal, Flat – make absolutely no difference for in-built speaker but does help in BT Headphone use.
( Movie, Music, Game, and Podcast – makes absolutely no difference over the in-built speaker).
Mic Two – top, bottom for effective noise cancellation (2)
3.5mm Yes (No)
Tests dB
Anything over 80dB is excellent
Media – 63 (75)
Ring – 75 (70)
Alarm – 75 (75)
Earpiece – 52 (55)
Hands-free – adequate noise cancelling but not quite loud enough
Headphone The BT 5.0 drove our reference Sony WH-1000xM4 in SBC and AAC modes and provides clear sound and adequate volume. (Edge 20/Pro has all Qualcomm aptX codecs as well as LDAC)

This is a typical mono setup you find in this price bracket. MediaTek cannot provide Qualcomm aptX codecs, so both the speaker and headphone experience are lacking compared to the Edge 20/Pro.

 Build

Size/Weight 163 x 76 x 8.25 mm x 185g (163 x 76 x 6.99 mm x 163g)
Colours Cyber Teal and Electric Graphite – vacuum paint deposit on PMMA (a.k.a. acrylic glass).
Build Front: Toughened (Gorilla Glass 3)
Frame: Plastic (Alloy)
Back: PMMA rounded (flat)
IP 52 – some dust ingress protection and dripping water 3mm per minute (same)
In the box Bumper cover (same)
30W charger (same)
USB-c to USB-C cable (same)
3.5mm buds (same)

IP52 means so little that it is hardly worth quoting. If water resistance is important, then you need to look at at least IP67.

Android 11 – Excellent light touch over Android

Android Google Android 11
Security patch date: 1 July 2021 (September review)
UI MY UX – a light overlay that adds value to Android
Google Clean Android install. All standard apps, Google Lens and Assistant. Dedicated Google Assistant key.
Bloatware Mostly productivity and utilities
Update Policy Edge 20 Series will receive at least two Android OS upgrades (12 and 13) and bi-monthly security patches.
Security Fingerprint in the power button: Test 10/10
FaceID: 7/10
Motorola ThinkShield offers business-grade hardware and software security protection against malware, phishing, network attacks, and more threats.

Motorola offers a reasonably competitive upgrade/update policy, and MY UX adds considerable value to stock Android.

Missing – in comparison to some competitive handsets

IP rating IP52 is a joke
Qualcomm No BT aptX codecs, which means SBC lower quality sound
108MP Not sure it can shoot at that high resolution or if it discards pixels

Camera – 108MP snapper – or is it?

The Motorola Edge 20 Fusion uses the same primary 108MP Samsung S5KHM2 sensor as the Edge 20 and Pro.

But the MediaTek Dimensity 800U SoC states it can only handle a maximum of 64MP. We tested it, and it has high res setting that does produce a 9000×12000 pixel (108MP) image of about 15MB. When you enable 108MP, a notification from the camera app pops up “Processing Service is on. Camera is performing an image processing service.” It does not happen on 12MP binned. There is no AI processing (not expected).

It is a mystery, but 12MP binning mode is no big issue as most people want AI to brighten the scene and saturate the colours.

The other sensors are an 8MP Ultra-wide (16MP) and a 2MP depth (the others use AI).

We also managed to find all the sensor models used, giving us some confidence in the setup.

On the plus side, Motorola’s move to MY UX from pure Android has allowed it to focus on adding more depth and features to the camera app – it shows. Where Motorola traditionally took ‘capable’ shots, it is now up there with the best – its camera app and AI expertise can only get better.

Camera summary – 108MP bragging rights but overall, it is pretty good

 Camera  Primary
108MP
bins to 12MP
Ultra-wide and macro
8MP
Depth/mono
2MP
Selfie
32MP bins to 8MP
Sensor Samsung S5KHM2 S5K4H7 OV02B1B OV32B40
Focus Super PDAF Contrast AF FF AF
Aperture f-stop f/1.9 f/2.2 f/2.4 f/2.2
Pixel size um .7 bins to 2.1um 1.12 1.75 .7 bins to 1.4um
FOV° and cropped (71.1°) 119   (62.7°)
Stabilisation EIS for video EIS
Flash Single LED     Screen fill
Zoom     3X optical
15X digital
30X hybrid
 
Video Max [email protected] not stabilised [email protected]  [email protected]
Features Macro
Slow-motion
AR Stickers
Dual Capture
Spot Colour
Super Slow Motion
Timelapse
Hyperlapse
Portrait
Other features:
High-res digital zoom (up to 20x)
Video stabilisation
Audio Zoom
Video snapshot (up to 9 MP)
    Group Selfie
Live Filter
Dual Capture
Spot Colour
Night Vision Cinemagraph
Portrait (w/ HDR and Face beauty)
Artificial intelligence: 
Auto Smile Capture
Gesture Capture
Shot Optimisation
Low Light AI Selfie
Other features:
Burst shot
Timer
Assistive Grid
Watermark
Leveler
RAW photo output
Selfie animation
Face beauty
HDR
Active photos

Daylight, outdoors

Macro

Indoors Office Light (400 lumens)

Low light (room with less than 100 lumens)

Selfie

I keep getting asked why I don’t use selfie shots – it is to prevent ID Theft. Results are fine and you can select group selfies (crops to make a wider field of view). Again best used in day or office light as it struggles in low light.

Video

[email protected] is barely acceptable due to the lack of EIS and AI struggles to keep up with processing. the sweet spot is [email protected] and it is stable, clear and colourful day and office light.

GadgetGuy’s take

The Motorola Edge 20 Fusion is a class-leading device in the $499 segment. That is despite its 108MP camera hobbled to 12MP (most 48MP bin to 12MP as well).

The MediaTek 800U is a decent chip found in several competitors at similar prices.

And that begs the question – do you need to spend $200 more for the Edge 20 – let alone $400 for the Pro?

If $499 is all you have, then the is no better. If it is a stretch then 5G phones start from $349 and frankly there are some excellent devices – Samsung A22 128GB $349, vivo Y52 128GB $379, OPPO A54 64GB $399, realme 7 128GB $439, OPPO A74 128GB $449. Even Motorola’s new g50 at $399 offers compelling value and features.

If you see enough difference and value, then go to the $699 Edge 20. But then why not go the whole hog and get the Edge 20 Pro with the works for $899?

Rating explanation

From September 2021, we have adjusted our ratings to give us more ‘headroom’ to recognise exceptional features and performance. Until now, 8/10 was considered a ‘pass’. It is now 6/10. If you compare the Edge 20 Fusion with older smartphone reviews, reduce them by two points.

The Motorola Edge 20 Fusion starts at a pass mark. Add the partial (no USB-C cable) implementation of ‘ready for’, its two Android version upgrades, 6.7″ AMOLED, a better than average camera (although not perfect), incredible battery life, excellent phone reception and support from Motorola Australia, and it is more than a match. It is only the IP52 rating that disappoints. If you have $499 to spend, there is no competition. It gets the tick.

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion 5G

The Motorola Edge 20 Fusion is the $499 value pick of the year with a 108MP snapper, AMOLED screen and strong battery.

Positives

Great 6.7” 90Hz AMOLED screen

Solid SoC performance

Excellent 2-day battery life

Good all-around camera and a 108MP sensor -unheard of at this price

Android Upgrade policy – 2 upgrades and 2 years of updates

Covers all 4 adn 5G sub-6Ghz and low-bands for Australia

Negatives

Mono – use headphones instead

IP52 is not enough

Its a city/suburbs phone

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