Every time we get a chance, we talk about how the 'Edge' name was stripped of meaning for a few generations of Motos. But since the 30 Ultra came out last year, Motorola has been bringing back curved displays and the Edge 40 has one too.
Gently bent towards the sides, the OLED display is covered by glass made by Japanese manufacturer NEG, Motorola told us - so it's not Gorilla Glass on this one. The curvature allows it to have a minimal visible black border on the sides, and the top and bottom bezels are nicely slim too. Add to that the smallish selfie camera cutout and we get a very posh-looking facade.
Towards the bottom of the display is where you'll find the fingerprint sensor and you'll get the usual complaint you hear from us when we're faced with such a low placement. Sure, you'll get used to it, but a centimeter higher would have been better. Then again, the Edge 40's relatively compact size and low weight make the suboptimal reader location less of a threat to its safety than it would be on a bulkier and a more top-heavy handset, so perhaps we'll file this under 'half-complaints'.
That's probably a good time to talk about what we think is one of the main selling points of the Edge 40 - it's not as big, and certainly not as heavy as most of the phones in the class. At 171g for one of the faux leather colorways (167g for the smooth plastic ones), it's more than 30g ligther than a Galaxy A54, and more than 20g lighter than either a Pixel 7a or a Nothing Phone (1). Only the Xperia 10 V is lighter, at 159g, while the Xiaomi 13 Lite will balance a scale that has the Edge 40 on the other end.
We mentioned faux leather and that's what two of the four existing colorways of the handset have their backs covered with. Those include the Eclipse Black of our review unit, a pale Nebula Green, and Viva Magenta - Pantone Color of the Year 2023. The only variant with a smooth back goes by Lunar Blue.
We have sort of mixed feelings about the faux leather, especially about the black variant (and possibly limited to the black variant). Ours had a tendency to get pretty filthy, easily accumulating dust and grime and cleaning it wasn't as easy as wiping it with a cloth. A damp cloth did help, though, so there's that.
Now, the photo below may be a worst case scenario of sorts, but it did happen. The lighter colorways would be less eager to advertise dirt - the black one just provides a lot of contrast.
But there's a silver lining. The finish is nicely soft and pleasant to touch, and it's also quite grippy. Ultimately, we'd say the faux leather variants would be the way to go as opposed to the Lunar Blue, and the Viva Magenta does look pretty appealing, though sadly it's not available in all markets.
There's a slightly elevated camera island in the top left corner, the two camera modules sticking out from it even more in a two-stage fashion. The phone will wobble, yes.
Not only that, but it's also exhibiting an unusual behavior because of the grippiness of the back finish. Since the back is touching the table in two points - the bottom left corner (grippy), and the edge of the bottom camera (no grip at all), it will tend to rotate around the bottom left corner, if you just try and slide it on a table.
There are more positive tactile experiences to be had when handling the Edge 40 other than the soft back and general lightness. The aluminum frame adds to the premium experience and so does the reassuring click of the power and volume keys on the right.
Also part of the Edge 40's upmarket appeal is its IP68 rating. It had been a while since Motorola's last dust and water resistant phone and this year we have both the 40 and 40 Pro being able to survive up to 1.5m under water for up to 30 minutes. We just wish they had opted for a contrasting color for the gasket on the SIM card tray, so we could more naturally segue from ingress protection to SIM card compatibility. Which we did anyway.
So the Edge 40 only takes a single physical nano SIM card - at least the version we have for review. Dual SIM capability is still on the table, only the second line needs to be an eSIM. There does appear to be a variant of the phone that takes two actual nano SIMs, though.
All in all, we're generally fans of the Edge 40's design and build. We appreciate the softness of the back's material for the pleasing feel and the secure grip and are willing to look past a dirty spot or two. The pocketability of the handset is also most appreciated.