Motorola Edge 30 – fantastic value 5G phone (review)

The Motorola Edge 30 proves you do not have to spend over a grand to get everything you want. It is currently on sale at $559 (RRP $699) at JB Hi-Fi and is one of the better phones we have tested this year.

Compared to its big brother, the Motorola Edge 30 Pro (comparison below and also on special for $799 RRP $999), all you are really missing is the Qi/reverse charging, USB-C 3.1 and a slightly slower processor.

I don’t know how Motorola can offer such incredible value (and quality) unless this is a strategy to rapidly grow market share and knock off OPPO in the #2 Android spot.

Basic Differences

 Edge 30 websiteEdge 30 Pro Website
Price$699 but currently on sale at JB for $559$999 but currently on sale at JB for $799
Screen6.5”, 2400 x 1080, 1.7b colours, 144Hz, AMOLED, 500 nits6.7” 2400 x 1080, 1.7 billion colours. 144Hz, pOLED, 700 nits
ProcessorQualcomm SD778+ 5G 6nmQualcomm SD 8 Gen 1 4nm
RAM/Storage8GB LPDDR5, 128GB UFS 3.1Same but options
Battery4020mAh 33W charger4800mAh 33W charger (68W capable) Qi Charge and reverse charge
Wi-Fi6e AXSame
USB2.0 (no Alt DP)3.1 Alt DP 1.4
Camera – Rear50+50+2 (Std, Wide/macro, Depth)Same but with dual-LED colour flash
Camera Front3260
Size159.4 x 74.2 x 6.8mm x155g163.1 x 75.9 x 8.8mm x 196g
FingerprintSide on the power buttonOptical under glass
ReviewThis articleMotorola Edge 30 Pro is the value flagship king (review)

Australian review: Motorola Edge 30, 8/128GB, Dual sim, Model XT2203-1, Software Channel Retapac

WebsiteProduct Page
Price:$699 but on special at JB for $559
ColoursMeteor Grey
From:Special prices from JB Hi-Fi (*)
Warranty:12-months ACL
Country of Manufacture:China
CompanyOwned by Lenovo (Est 1984) – a multinational technology company with its primary 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, with grand plans to become a ‘top five’ smartphone maker.
MoreOther CyberShack Motorola news and reviews

Deep-Dive review format

The five-minute overview precedes a 300+ line database-driven spec, including over 70 tests to support our findings. It also helps us compare different phones and features.

We use Fail (below expectations), Pass (meets expectations) and Exceed (surpasses expectations or is the class leader) against many of the items below. We occasionally give a Pass ‘+’ rating to show it is good but does not quite make it to Exceed.

* Better buy genuine, or 5G won’t work

This is exclusive to JB Hi-Fi, so to buy elsewhere means it is grey market.

Look for the RCM C-Tick on the box end, and under Settings, About phone, Regulatory Labels. The only memory/storage option for Australia is 8/128GB.

We strongly warn you to buy a genuine model with Australian firmware if you want to use 5G. Read Don’t buy a grey market phone to ensure you get the Australian model.

First Impressions – Love this phone – Exceed

Big, flat, 6.5″ 1.07b colour, 144Hz capable AMOLED screen; impossibly thin at 6.79mm; nice PMMA flat back (not a fingerprint magnet); good dual 50MP plus 2MP depth camera (the camera humps sticks out); and great battery life. What is not to like?

I have the Edge 30 Pro here to compare. Side-by-side, the Pro version looks more premium with a subtly iridescent Glass back and rounded edges, but they both look pretty damned good. Weight up what you need versus desire. Do the Pro’s extra features justify the price difference? Because in everyday use, the Edge 30 will do everything you need.

Screen 6.5” 2400 x 1080, 1.07b colours, 144Hz AMOLED – Exceed

Superb colour accurate (Wide gamut) and colourful 1.7 billion colour screen.

Is it a better screen? Technically, it wipes the floor over the Samsung S22/+.

Processor – Qualcomm SD788+ 5G – Pass+

The Qualcomm 7-series are the Goldilocks processors – just right. They have many of the previous flagship 8-series features, and this performs like an SD865. It should be suitable for most games too.

It does throttle with 25% speed loss after 15 minutes, although not as badly as the Edge 30 Pro that, after software updates, is now at 27%. Motorola has not quite yet nailed thermal management as OPPO has with the same processors.

Comms – Wi-Fi 6E, BT 5.2 and NFC – Pass+

Wi-Fi 6 5Ghz performs quite well, reaching the maximum speeds of -21dBm (great) and 2401Mbps (great) up to 2m from the router. However, this speed drops off to -49/1729 at 10m. Still, that is better than most and very usable.

It only has USB-C 2.0 implementation, so you cannot use it to mirror the screen on a TV (except via Chromecast).

4G and 5G Phone – For all city, suburb, regional, and rural use – Exceed

Not only does it have two 5G capable sims but dual ringtones as well. It found the four closest towers at better than usable signal strengths. It has all 4G and 5G sub-6GHz and Low-band support.

Battery – At least a day if note more – Pass+

We use a range of tests to ascertain endurance. The results are a little at odds, meaning that battery life depends heavily on the screen refresh rates and load.

While the 1080p video loop on 19 hours and 38 minutes at 60Hz refresh is excellent, the PC Mark 3.0 Modern Office tests at 9 hours and 8 minutes is lower than we expected.

In part, that is the 4020mAh battery (most have 5000mAh now). But that also means the 33W charger takes just over an hour to fill.

Sound – Stereo but a bit odd – Pass(able)

It gets reasonably loud at 83dB. But the sound signature is almost indescribable. There is a bit of late bass, then a dip, then a slow build to high-mid and then a dip. We suspect the Moto Crystal Talk AI is interfering with the signature as it certainly has clear voice but nothing else. It is a similar issue with the Edge 30 Pro.

Let’s just say that if you want to listen to music, use BT earphones and take advantage of the vast selection of Qualcomm aptX codecs.

You can read more, including our test tracks – How to tell if you have good music (sound signature is the key – guide.

Build – Pass+

Gorilla Glass 3 on the front is a little old hat – but it is very acceptable for the price. A plastic frame does not bother me, and PMMA (acrylic glass) is fine for the back. It is nice and slim, feels excellent in hand and is a keeper.

IP52 water resistance is a poor joke but again all you can expect at the price.

It comes with the 33W charger, buds and a bumper cover.

But the warranty is only one year, and you can find two years for similar OPPO phones.

Android – almost pure – Exceed

It ships with Android 12 and Motorola’s overlay My UX 3.0. You can reasonably expect Android 13 and two years of updates.

Android is almost pure, and the MY UX adds things like a camera app and Moto gestures. See the table at the end for all features.

Missing – no deal breakers

  • No microSD and slow USB-C external data transfer rates
  • A better IP rating would make this a killer device
  • 3.5mm jack – no deal breaker

Motorola Edge 30 camera – Pass+

It is an interesting choice to use the 50MP Samsung S5KJN1 as the primary wide sensor and the 50MP Omnivision OV50A as the secondary ultra/wide sensor. We would have expected two of the same sensors, but it works.

In theory, it is a decent 50+50+2MP camera setup. We know the 50MP Samsung S5KJN1 sensor and what to expect. More than 100 smartphones use it, including a few Motorola g-series, Samsung Galaxy A13/23, TCL 30-series, realme 8/9i, Vivo 21T, OPPO A96 and several 2022 models coming here.

The key difference between this and the identical Edge 30 Pro setup is the Qualcomm SoC. This has about 20 trillion AI instructions per second versus 27 trillion on the Edge 30 Pro.

The camera app is pure Google Camera 8.4 features (not all features are supported)

  • Wireless Mic Support
  • New Auto Exposure Feature
  • HDR Enhanced and HDR + Option
  • Astrophotography Mode
  • Night Sight
  • Google Lens
  • Bar code and QR code
  • Framing hints option for better photos
  • Social share feature that helps to share photos instantly up to social media apps
  • 4K video recording resolution is available
  • Video Stabilization – EIS on front and back primary lenses/sensors
  • New video stabilisation options like cinematic pan, standard mode, active pan mode & more
  • Many others like photosphere, panorama, and time-lapse
  • Lens Blur, Slow Motion, Playground, RAW support, and more
  • It is the same that runs on Google Pixel phones.

Camera Summary

  • 1X Day Primary sensor – the colours are excellent with good dynamic range. Good details in the background, shadows, and highlights.
  • 5X Day: Primary sensor – forget it
  • 10X Day: Primary sensor: as per 5X
  • Ultra-wide: Second 50MP sensor: Excellent colour and details, although you can tell it is a different sensor to the primary.
  • 50MP – 1X no AI post-processing is better on detail and has slightly more natural colours
  • Macro: The 50MP UW sensor takes excellent macro shots.
  • Indoor office light: Colours are fine, but the background focus is off.
  • Bokeh Depth: A 2MP sensor helps for bokeh shots. But it has slightly softened the foreground and sharpened the background and has issues with definition around the ‘dog’s black ears.
  • Dark <40 lumens: The standard (not night mode) is quite good with excellent details, although there is quite a lot of noise.
  • Night mode loses some of the detail, saturates the colour, and removes a lot of noise
  • Selfie: The 32MP selfie has natural skin tones and details and a range of filters to enhance any image.
  • Video (we are not video experts): You can shoot at 1080p@30fps with some OIS (optical image stabilisation

CybeShack’s view – Motorola Edge 30 has amazing value and features

We had to remind ourselves that this is a $559 device (RRP $699) with features we expect to pay at least $200 more for. On that basis alone, it gets our unreserved buy recommendation.

There is a lot to like – perhaps it is the Goldilocks of the Motorola Edge 30 series – just right.

Competition

Pretty well all phones now over $300 are 5G. So, you can actually spend as little as $299 and get a decent, boring, but entirely functional phone. And remember that you don’t have to buy an expensive 5G plan – 4G is fine.

While all three competitors are excellent, the Motorola Edge 30 (now $549) is the category leader.

Motorola Edge 30, 8/128, dual sim

BrandMotorola
ModelMoto Edge 30
Model NumberX2203-1
Price Base8/128
   Price base$699 (JB special $559)
Warranty months12-months ACL
 TierUpper mid-range with lower=premium features
WebsiteProduct Page
FromJB-Hi-Fi exclusive
Country of OriginChina
CompanyOwned by Lenovo (Est 1984) – a multinational technology company with its primary 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, with grand plans to become a ‘top five’ smartphone maker.
Test date1-20/7/2022
Ambient temp9-15°
ReleaseApr-22
Other models not for Australia (Don’t buy)Don’t buy anywhere except JB Hi-Fi. Avoid other colours, RAM/Storage.

Screen

Size6.5″
TypeAMOLED
Flat, Curve, 2D, 3DFlat
Resolution2400 x 1080
PPI401
Ratio20:9
Screen to Body %86.70%
Colours bits10-bit 1.07 billion colours
Refresh Hz, adaptiveAuto, 60 or 144Hz. Auto steps from 48/60/965/120/144Hz dependent on content
Nit typical/test500 (tested 482)
Nits max/test700 (Tested 702)
ContrastInfinite
sRGB100% (Tested 96%)
DCI-P370% of 1.07 billion colours
Rec.2020 or otherNatural and saturated plus temperature adjustment
Delta E (<4 is excellent)<2
HDR LevelCapable of HDR10+ playback scaled to screen capability
SDR UpscaleNo
Bluelight controlYes
PWM if known250Hz quite low
Daylight readableYes, but it lacks enough brightness for direct sunlight
Always on DisplayYes
Edge displayNo
AccessibilityAll Android 12 features
DRML1 for HD HDR playback – No FHD HDR yet
GamingUp to 240Hz finger touch response and 13ms G-t-G
Screen protectionGorilla Glass 3
CommentExcellent 10-bit, 1.07 billion colour screen with greater subtleties in colour than Samsung S22/+. Adaptive stepping usually sits at 48 or 60Hz.

Processor

Brand, ModelQualcomm SD788+ 5G
nm6nm
CoresOcta-core (1×2.5GHz + 3×2.4 Hz+ 4×1.8GHz)
ModemX53
AI TOPSEstimate 20
Geekbench 5 Single-core828
Geekbench 5 multi-core2863
LikeSimilar to Exynos 2100 and Qualcomm SD865
GPUAdreno 642L
GPU Test
Open CL2587
LikeSD865
Vulcan3307
RAM, type8 LPDDR4X
Storage, free, type128GB (97GB free) UFS 3.1 with Performance Booster  2.0
micro-SDNo
CPDT internal seq. Read MBps1150 (reflects UFS 3.1)
CPDT internal seq. write MBps565 – excellent
CPDT microSD read, write MBpsN/A
CPDT external (mountable?) MBps30/22 OTG only
CommentFast internal storage but slow USB-C 2.0 external storage
Throttle test
Max GIPS278,413
Average GIPS231,639
Minimum GIPS204,355
% Throttle25%
CPU Temp50°
CommentGamers will be concerned, but it is typical of the high-end Qualcomm SD that needs lots of thermal management. Moto has issued firmware updates to the 30 Pro that suffered 27% throttling.

Comms

Wi-FI Type, modelWi-Fi 6E AX VHT160
Hot spot supports WPA2 and 3 (important for older devices)
Test 2m -dBm, Mbps-21/2401
Test 5m-33/1921
Test 10m-49/1729
BT Type5.2
GPS single, dualDual <3m accuracy
USB typeUSB-C 2.0 480Mbps
Alt DP, DeX, Ready ForNo
NFCYes
Ultra-widebandNo
Sensors
   AccelerometerYes combo
   GyroYes combo
   e-CompassYes
   Barometer
   Gravity
   Pedometer
   Ambient lightYes
   Hall sensor
   ProximityYes
   Other
CommentExcellent speeds although a little variable – tests are best of three

LTE and 5G

SIMDual Sim
   ActiveBoth 5G capable, both active except when one is in use
Ring tone single, dualDual ring tones – excellent
VoLTECarrier dependent
Wi-Fi callingCarrier dependent
4G Bands1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12 ,13, 17, 20, 26, 28, 32, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 66
CommentAll Australian and most world bands
5G sub-6Ghzn1, 3, 7, 8, 20, 28, 38, 40, 41 66, 78
CommentAll Australian 5G sub-6 and low bands
mmWaveNo
Test Boost Mobile, Telstra
   UL, DL, ms25.7/26.5/27ms
   Tower 1 -dBm, fW or pW-77, from 4.2 to 20pW
   Tower 2-88 from 1.6 to 4.2pW
   Tower 3-90. approx 1pW
   Tower 4-94, approx 1pW
CommentGood strong reception and found four towers – suitable for city, suburbs, regional and rural use. Dual ring tones are a bonus.

Battery

mAh4020
Charger, type, supplied33W 5V/3A/15, 9V/3A/27W, 11/3A/33W, 12V/2.5/30W
Supplied USB-A to USB-C cable supports <3W.
 PD, QC levelPD capable – Overcharge protection may influence results
Qi, wattageNo
Reverse Qi or cableNo
Test (60Hz)
   Charge % 30mins27%
   Charge 0-100%1 hour and 6 minutes
   Charge Qi, WN/A
   Charge 5V, 2A5 hours 51 minutes
   Video loop 50%, aeroplane19 hours and 38 minutes @60Hz
   PC Mark 3 battery9 hours 58 minutes
Accubattery 18 hours
   GFX Bench Manhattan batteryWould not run
   GFX Bench T-Rex337 minutes (5.62 hours) 6415 frames
   Drain 100-0% full load screen on4 hours and 6 minutes
   Watt full load1350-1721mA
   Watt idle Screen on311mA
   Estimate loss at max refreshProbably about 30% less battery at 144Hz
   Estimate typical useHeavy users will need a daily top-up. Typical users may get two days.
CommentIt is a smaller battery than the typical 5000mAh crop, so battery life is reduced by about 35%. The SoC and AMOLED screen are efficient, and if we had selected 60Hz instead of Auto, we might have seen a few more hours.

Sound

SpeakersTop forward, up-firing and bottom down-firing stereo.
TuningNo
AMPQualcomm Aqsitic sound
Dolby Atmos decodeDolby Atmos decode to 2.0 speakers
Hi-ResNo
3.5mmNo
BT CodecsSBC, AAC, aptX (HD, Adaptive, TWS, LDAC, LDHC (V1/2/3)
MultipointCan connect to two devices
Dolby Atmos (DA)Yes – auto, movie, music, voice and games mode
EQNo
MicsDual with noise cancelling
Test dB – all on EQ flat DA off
   Volume max83
   Media (music)80
   Ring82
   Alarm82
   Notifications75
   Earpiece55
   Hands-freeDual mics and some noise-cancelling with adequate volume.
   BT headphonesExcellent left-right separation and DA makes quite a difference with DA content.

Sound quality

Deep Bass 20-40HzNil
Middle Bass 40-100HzNil
High Bass 100-200HzVery late start and a slow build to 300Hz
Low Mid 200-400HzSlow build to 300hz the dips to 500Hz
Mid 4000-1000HzBuilds from 500Hz to 1kHz
High-Mid 1-2kHzFlat
Low Treble 2-4kHzFlat
Mid Treble 4-6kHzFlat
High Treble 6-10kHzdecline to flatten 7kHz
Dog Whistle 10-20kHzDecline from 7Hz to 20Hz
Sound Signature typeOne of the oddest, almost indescribable sound signatures. It has a little upper bass, poor low-and-mid-mid, strong high-mid (clear voice 1-4kHz) and some low-treble for some crispness. We tested with and without Dolby Atmos, and it was worse still with the latter. We suspect it is to do with Moto’s Crystal Talk AI to clean up voice between 1-4kHz, and it does that at the expense of all else.
   SoundstageOnly as wide as the phone, and DA settings don’t add any wider sound stage. Left and right separation is good.
CommentThe sound signature is poor with no low/mid/high-bass, no real mid and the only flat section is low-and-mid-treble. Fortunately, the headphones do take advantage of Dolby Atmos! But conversely, the voice is crisp!

Build

Size (H X W x D)159.38 x 74.236 x 6.79 mm
Weight grams155
Front glassGorilla Glass 3
Rear materialPMMA
FramePlastic
IP ratingIP52 is low level water resistant
ColoursMeteor Grey
Pen, Stylus supportNo
In the box
   Charger33w
   USB cableUSB-C to USB-C 3W capable cable
   BudsYes – USB-C
   Bumper coverYes
CommentIt has a charger in the box (Samsung does not), buds and a bumper cover. Well made.

OS

Android12 – almost pure Android
Security patch date1-Jun-22
UIMy UX 3.0
Personalise: Styles, Wallpapers, Layout
Display: Peek Display, Attentive Display
Gestures: Power Touch, Quick Capture, Fast Flashlight, Three-finger screenshot, Pick up to silence, Screenshot toolkit, Media controls
Play: Gametime Audio
OS upgrade policyTwo upgrades
Security patch policyRegular security patches for at least two years
BloatwarePure Android – all Google Apps. You can uninstall Facebook.
CommentMy UX 3.0 adds value to pure Android
Security
Fingerprint sensor location, typeUnder glass optical
Face IDYes 2D only
OtherLenovo ThinkShield
CommentThinkSheild is more for enterprise use

Motorola Edge 30 rear camera

Rear PrimaryWide
  MP50MP bins to 12.5
   SensorSamsung S5KJN1
   FocusPDAF Omni Directional
   f-stop1.8
   um1 bins to 2
  FOV° (stated, actual)73.4-86°
   StabilisationOIS
   Zoom10x digital
Rear 2Ultra-Wide and Macro
   MP50 bins to 12.5
   SensorOmnivision OV50a
   FocusAF
   f-stop2.2
   um.64 bins to 1.28
  FOV (stated, actual)118 (114°)
   StabilisationNo
   ZoomNo
Rear 3Depth
   MP2MP
   SensorOmnivision OV2b1B
   FocusFixed
   f-stop2.4
   um1.75
  FOV (stated, actual)N/A
   StabilisationNo
   ZoomNo
   Video max4K@60fps. 1080p with OIS
   FlashDual
   Auto-HDRYes
Dual Capture
Spot Colour
Night Vision (RAW)
Auto Night Vision (RAW)
Cinemagraph
Portrait
Cutout
Live Filter in Photo mode
Panorama
AR Stickers
Pro Mode (w/ Long Exposure)
   QR code readerVia Google Lens
   Night modeAI

Motorola Edge 30 Front camera

  MP32MP bins to 8MP
   SensorOmniVision OV32B40
   FocusFixed
   f-stop2.4
   um.7 bins to 1.4
  FOV (stated, actual)69.7-82.1
   StabilisationNo
   FlashScreen fill
   Zoom10x digital
   Video max4K@30fps
    FeaturesDual Capture
Spot Colour
Auto Night Vision (RAW)
Cinemagraph
Portrait
Live Filter in Photo mode
Group Selfie
Pro Mode (w/ Long Exposure)
Comment1X Day Primary sensor – the colours are excellent with good dynamic range. Good details in the background, shadows, and highlights.
5X Day: Primary sensor – forget it
10X Day: Primary sensor: as per 5X
Ultra-wide: Second 50MP sensor: Excellent colour and details, although you can tell it is a different sensor to the primary.
50MP – 1X no AI post-processing is better on detail and has slightly more natural colours
Macro: The 50MP UW sensor takes excellent macro shots.
Indoor office light: Colours are fine, but the background focus is off.
Bokeh Depth: A 2MP sensor helps for bokeh shots. But it has slightly softened the foreground and sharpened the background and has issues with definition around the ‘dog’s black ears.
Dark <40 lumens: The standard (not night mode) is quite good with excellent details, although there is quite a lot of noise.
Night mode loses some of the detail, saturates the colour, and removes a lot of noise
Selfie: The 32MP selfie has natural skin tones and details and a range of filters to enhance any image.
Video (we are not video experts): You can shoot at 1080p@30fps with some OIS (optical image stabilisation)

Motorola Edge 30 ratings

Features8.5
It has everything you need (bar Qi wireless charge)
Value9.5
Excellent price, especially if you can pay less than RRP
Performance9.5
Good SoC, but throttling makes it less desirable to gamers.
Ease of Use8.5
Good upgrade policy, and My UX adds some value to stock Android.
Design8
It is a glass slab with no distinguishing features
Rating out of 108.8
CommentExceptional value and performance

Motorola Edge 30 5G

RRP $699 but on sale at $549 at JB (exclusive)
7.4

Features

8.5/10

Value

9.5/10

Performance

9.5/10

Ease of Use

8.5/10

Design

0.8/10

Pros

  • Great FHD+ 1.07b 144Hz AMOLED screen
  • Thin, light and premium finish
  • Phone signal strength is excellent
  • Great battery life and charging speeds (33W charger inbox)
  • The camera is excellent, but video is so-so

Cons

  • IP52 is barely adequate
  • Missing optical zoom
  • No micro-SD (no flagship has this anyway)


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