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Home / Reviews / Smartphones / Motorola Edge 50 Fusion hands-on review: colour me interested

Motorola Edge 50 Fusion hands-on review: colour me interested

New entry-level Edge promises Pantone approved colours

Motorola Edge 50 Fusion hands-on verdict

Initial Stuff Verdict

Good looks, great screen, fast charging and a keen price. The Motorola Edge 50 Fusion could shake up the sub-£400 phone class.

Pros

  • Colourful designs and unique materials
  • Huge battery and rapid charging
  • Main camera has a very capable sensor

Cons

  • Will performance be up to snuff?
  • Plenty of affordable rivals with strong photography skills

Introduction

After taking a generation off, Motorola has brought back the Fusion name. The Edge 50 Fusion is the new baby of the bunch, sitting below the Edge 50 Pro and Edge 50 Ultra, but sharing more than a few features with both. That includes a slim and colourful design, top-tier water resistance, and a Pantone-validated display/camera combo. Plus it’s even more affordable this time around, so has the potential to majorly shake up Stuff’s best cheap phones list.

With Google, Samsung and Apple’s most affordable options now duking it out in the £450-£500 range, it has the potential to turn the heads of anyone looking to tame their mobile bill. But it’s not like rivals including Nothing Phone 2a and Redmi Note 13 Pro haven’t had the same idea.

I’m not ready to give a final verdict just yet, but after an extensive hands-on session ahead of the official reveal, I have a good idea how it’s shaping up against the increasingly tempting alternatives.

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Design & build: shrinky pinky

If you crave gadgets with a bit of colour, the Edge 50 Fusion will feel right at home in your pocket. The Hot Pink vegan suede colour is exactly that, being exactly as vibrant in reality as it looks in my hands-on photos. The texture is unique, too, being softer than the vegan leather Marshmallow Blue model but hopefully just as durable. The Forest Blue is a more familiar plastic composite.

All three have IP68 dust and water resistance, which is an excellent showing for an affordable phone. Gorilla Glass 5 up front should mean it survives accidental scrapes and scratches, too. When held side-by-side with the Edge 50 Pro or Edge 50 Ultra you can tell this is the cheapest of the bunch, but I still think there’s a premium feel here that’s missing from some rival budget phones.

This is a fairly skinny phone at just 7.9mm, excluding the camera bump, and a reasonably light one at 175g. The way the panels curve into the central frame really accentuate that slimness, as do the svelte power and volume keys. There’s still a 6.7in screen in there, so we’re not exactly in compact phone territory any more.

There’s a fingerprint sensor built into the display, though I didn’t get the chance to test its accuracy or speed.

Screen & sound: ahead of the curve?

Motorola hasn’t skimped on the Edge 50 Fusion’s screen, opting for a 6.7in pOLED panel that curves in at the sides. Most flagships might be ditching curves in favour of flat glass, but there’s no denying this helped the phone fit more comfortably in my hand.

It ticks all the boxes you’d expect, including HDR support, a 144Hz refresh rate, Full HD+ resolution and 10-bit colour. I thought colours were punchy, images and text looked crisp at arms’ length, and brightness was pretty decent too. I could still read the screen easily enough when outdoors in bright sunlight, although it was admittedly dimmer than the Edge 50 Ultra I was also trying at the time.

The Pantone validation apparently only applies to the Natural colour preset, which this phone didn’t default to out of the box; with it enabled, colours were definitely more subdued and not as overly vivd. I definitely think I’d swap into this mode as a first priority if I was buying an Edge 50 Fusion.

I didn’t get a chance to properly test the stereo speakers, which have been given the Dolby Atmos seal of approval. If they’re as clear and loud as the Edge 50 Pro, you won’t need to go running for a pair of headphones just to watch YouTube or scroll through Tiktok.

Cameras: LYT it up

What’s this? An affordable phone that hasn’t tried to shoehorn in a macro snapper and claim it has a “three camera setup”? Bravo Motorola! The Edge 50 Fusion has two rear lenses, and I think it all the better for it. That’s because Moto has gone for a particularly capable main sensor – Sony’s LYTIA LYT-700 – with a 50MP pixel count, optical image stabilisation and a fairly wide f/1.88 aperture.

LYTIA sensors use a stacked CMOS design that bodes well for low-light image quality, and pixel binning everywhere else to capture plenty of detail. It’s backed up by a 13MP ultrawide, with macro focus for extreme close-ups, and there’s a 32MP selfie cam up front.

I wasn’t able to take my sample snaps away with me, so can’t say how well it stacks up against the current affordable camera champions. Colours seemed fairly accurate, as did exposure and white balance, though I didn’t get to try it in a variety of lighting conditions. I’m intrigued to see how the Pantone-validated skin tones compare to the Google Pixel 7a’s Real Tone portraits.

I did think the camera app could’ve been a little more responsive when taking portraits, but that may have been because my test unit was running non-final firmware.

Software experience: hello again

The Edge 50 Fusion has the same stripped-back UI as the rest of the Edge family, with just a handful of Motorola-badged apps alongside Google’s own. They mostly add additional features rather than double up on Android’s defaults, too. Family Space lets you silo off certain apps when you lend your phone to a little one, Moto Unplugged restricts you to certain apps for a bit of a digital detox, and Ready For makes pairing to your computer a breeze.

There’s a refreshing lack of bloatware. Affordable phones are more guilty of forcing unwanted apps on you than any other, but Motorola has resisted the urge. That means almost all of the phone’s storage is set aside for your own apps, pics, videos and music. Thumbs up.

Aside from a few different fonts and extra customisation options, the interface feels very much like stock Android 14, which is no bad thing.

Performance & battery life: snap to it

With a Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 chipset under the hood, I’m expecting the Edge 50 Fusion to deliver punchy enough performance for the price. It’s paired with either 8 or 12GB of RAM and 128, 256 or 512GB of storage, though not every option will be available in every country.

During my demo it felt responsive enough, opening apps reasonably quickly and not leaving me waiting whenever I demanded the onscreen keyboard – a real bugbear I have with cheap phones. The Stuff website scrolled smoothly, and I could have a handful of apps open at once without it needing to reload when swapping between them. Standard stuff for the mid-range and above, sure, but not always a given for this sort of money.

I didn’t get to try out any games, but given Qualcomm’s track record with smooth gameplay I’m expecting it to cope just fine with most mobile titles. The most demanding 3D games will surely default to lower detail settings, which might put dedicated gamers off, but the 2D Gacha-style titles I put far too much time into every morning during breakfast should be right at home.

Battery life is also an unknown right now, but a few factors bode well for the Edge 50 Fusion’s longevity. There’s a sizable 5000mAh battery, which only has to power a mid-range chipset and 1080p display. Motorola reckons over 30 hours of typical use is achievable, which should mean only needing to plug in once per day; I’ll see if that’s the case when I get hold of a review unit.

68W wired charging is nice and nippy for a budget-minded handset, and Motorola includes one in the box. It should manage a complete refuel in about an hour.

Motorola Edge 50 Fusion initial verdict

Motorola Edge 50 Fusion hands-on homerscreen

As this year’s entry point to the Edge range, the Fusion appears to get plenty right on first inspection. It looks and feels like a pricier phone, the display is especially easy on the eyes, and there’s a sizeable battery underneath that should translate to plenty of time away from the mains.

Performance is a bit of an unknown right now, although the same chipset has proved perfectly capable in rival phones on sale for a similar price. I’ll want to take a closer look at image quality to see how it stacks up against the €349 competition, as processing has been a Motorola weak spot in the past.

As affordable all-rounders go, though? The Edge 50 Fusion is shaping up to be quite the contender.

Motorola Edge 50 Fusion technical specifications

Screen6.7in, 2400×1080 pOLED w/ 144Hz
CPUQualcomm Snapdragon 7s Gen 2
Memory8/12GB RAM
Cameras50MP w/ OIS + 13MP ultrawide w/ macro focus rear
32MP front
Storage128/256/512GB on-board
Operating systemAndroid 14
Battery5000mAh w/ 68W wired charging
Dimensions16x73x7.9mm, 175g
Profile image of Tom Morgan-Freelander Tom Morgan-Freelander Deputy Editor

About

A tech addict from about the age of three (seriously, he's got the VHS tapes to prove it), Tom's been writing about gadgets, games and everything in between for the past decade, with a slight diversion into the world of automotive in between. As Deputy Editor, Tom keeps the website ticking along, jam-packed with the hottest gadget news and reviews.  When he's not on the road attending launch events, you can usually find him scouring the web for the latest news, to feed Stuff readers' insatiable appetite for tech.

Areas of expertise

Smartphones/tablets/computing, cameras, home cinema, automotive, virtual reality, gaming

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