Back when smartphones were still taking over the global market, the term “smartphone wars” was thrown around all the time to see who would gain global market share of what was then the hottest tech commodity on the planet. Every company involved threw its best cards on the table, wins were made, losses were more common, and at the end of it all, Samsung and Apple seemingly reigned supreme and set the standards for a lot of smartphone trends we still see today. In fact, today the dominance of those companies may have changed a little, but their influence remains the same, especially in America where a lot of key tech trends for the rest of the world are determined anyway (why do you think you all like iPhones so much?). But Apple and Samsung are hardly the only smartphone makers out there, and anyone with a good eye for phones has probably hated the lead they have over second stringers like Sony, LG and even Motorola. And while we already covered Sony’s latest attempt to take back some fanfare, today we’ll focus on the latter two with the new Moto Edge+ flagship, and the impressive LG velvet Upper Mid -Ranger.
Starting with Motorola’s new Edge+ , the first flagship phone the company has had in over 4 years! It looks like a hybrid between last year’s Galaxy S10 and Huawei Mate 30 and it’s all the better for it. It’s curves fall off to the side just like the Mate 30’s but perhaps it’s just me but they do look better somehow. So does the screen which looks amazing in a time where screens are honestly an almost unmatched field for Samsung phones. It’s a 90Hz refresh rate panel that doesn’t match the Galaxy S20 or OnePlus 8 Pro’s 120Hz but for most people this likely won’t matter too much. Add in the support for both major standards of 5G , a 108MP camera that’s pretty much the same as the S20 Ultra’s , some admirable software enhancements for the edge sensors and headphone jack and you have a package that likely won’t steal all the fans away , but offers a compelling and attractive enough alternative to the usual Samsung’s and even Googles of this world that in all honest this phone seems like it’s worth getting. My only complaint is it’s price tag, which matches Samsung and everyone else but does get undercut by the still expensive OnePlus 8 pro, and considering that Motorola was out of the flagship game for a while, people may be hesitant to buy this gem of a phone (especially with it’s sucky carrier deals in the US). Hopefully Motorola does have some success with this though (and we can find one even in South Africa soon), partially for variety’s sake and partially because well, I personally really like this phone.
Then there’s the LG Velvet. Now for those of you who may know, I currently own an LG V30. And if you had told me to buy any of their other flagships for the past 3 years, I would’ve been justified to refuse as nearly all of them were non impressive iterations on my current phone. The V40 added an extra front and back camera, the V50 added 5G and a false foldable mode, and the V60 is delightfully pragmatic but essentially brings nothing new to the table at all. Simply put, LG phones have been boring the last few years, and even their designs (which while not ugly, are unimpressive by today’s standards) haven’t faired much better either. Thankfully the company realizes that, and they’re betting on their yet-to-be unveiled Velvet upper mid-range phone to give them a shot in the arm in popularity. Not too much is known about the phone besides that it looks sleek and more futuristic that it’s predecessors, will have 5G , a slightly slower Snapdragon 765 processor and a lower price tag to boot and delightfully keeps the headphone that LG has been proud of for years (and some android manufacturers seem to want to bring back this year). It also brings in a new “Raindrop” camera system who’s details we don’t know about too much yet (but we hope to soon). Either way as we said before, the design here is the biggest talking point, and it has most of us just breathing a sigh of relief that LG can still innovate. Here’s to hoping the Velvet pays off.
And there they are, two pretty different phones showing new directions for struggling companies. With COVID-19 out there they might even take longer to get here, but if they do, we’ll make sure to try and get our hands on at least one, and hopefully by then both companies would have made a bit of a comeback to the limelight. Until that happens, we’ll just have to wait and see.