Although it isn’t exactly in the red, Motorola’s reputation in the smartphone market isn’t exactly as high as it once was. It still holds the hearts of customers in emerging and developing markets, especially with its Moto E and G series, but few probably give it much attention on the high-end spectrum, save for the 2019 Motorola Razr and its 5G refresh. Next year might be no different but Motorola’s upcoming “Nio” flagship might at least not be worse than this year’s Verizon-exclusive Edge+ in one aspect.
To be fair, the Motorola Edge+ was pretty much what you’d expect from a 2020 high-end Android phone, save perhaps for the 2340×1080 FHD+ resolution. It ran on this year’s Snapdragon 865 chipset and boasted a display with a now-common 90Hz refresh rate. It had three cameras joined by a 3D ToF and definitely looked the part of a premium flagship.
The problem with the early leaks about an upcoming Motorola XT2125, codenamed “Nio”, is that it is exactly like the Motorola Edge+, although worse in some cases. It will, for example, still be using a 2020 Snapdragon 865 when it launches in 2021. Give it’s expected to arrive in March, perhaps Motorola just won’t have enough time to use the silicon, unlike, say, Samsung.
One bit of good news is that this “Nio” will also retain its predecessor’s fast refresh rate. Amusingly, Motorola was reportedly testing a 105Hz screen which doesn’t fall neatly under the usual multiples of 30 or 24. Most likely, this is just for testing purposes and the Motorola flagship will launch with a 90Hz screen, sadly not a 120Hz one.
That said, the 8GB RAM and the camera array definitely sound like a big step down for a 2021 flagship. Motorola might try to offset this with an “audio zoom” feature that is common among other brands by now. Whether this will be the pinnacle of Motorola’s 2021 lineup or if it has other surprises in store, we’ll just have to wait and hope.