Motorola Edge 30 Pro is the value flagship king (review)

The Motorola Edge 30 Pro is a value flagship. If you are willing to accept a few minor compromises, it is a no-brainer, no-risk purchase over Samsung’s S22/+.

Although that is not to take away from Samsung’s excellent S22-series (reviews here). But to make the statement that it is $250 cheaper than the S22 and $550 cheaper than the S22+. It meets or exceeds both of these devices’ specifications.

What you lose is IP68 (IP52) and a shorter OS/Security patch of 2 years (4).

What you gain is a billion colour OLED screen (16.7m), a dual 50MP plus depth camera (50/10/12), a 60MP selfie (12MP) and overall better performance with the same chipset and 4/5G modem.

Our first look

Motorola Edge 30 Pro is a king killer (first look) was our initial reaction. We want to change the king killer bit to value flagship king. Frankly, even if I had $1549 for the Samsung S22+ (8/128GB), I would have to ask why I needed to spend more than $999 for a phone with the same processor, ram/storage and a larger, better screen, camera, etc.

Pre-orders are open now at JB Hi-Fi until next Wednesday, 30 March. All pre-order customers will receive a bonus Lenovo Smart Clock with Wireless Charging Dock (valued at $109).

New Deep-Dive review format

It is now in two parts – a five-minute overview for most readers and a separate 300+ line database-driven spec including over 70 tests to back up the summary. It also helps us compare different phones and features.

Given the rain, we will update the photo segment as soon as we have some sunshine.

5-minute review Motorola Edge 30 Pro, 8./128GB, Dual Sim, Model XT2202-1, Retapac firmware

WebsiteProduct Page
Price:$999
ColoursCosmos Blue
From:Exclusive to 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, and it has grand plans to become a ‘top five’ smartphone maker.
MoreOther CyberShack Motorola news and reviews

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

This is exclusive to JB Hi-Fi but will roll out later to Motorola approved retailers (Kogan is not one). 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 issue a strong warning that you must 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.

The model XT2201-1 is global, but the firmware you need to work here is Retapac. Grey market resellers will tell you that the Motorola X30, XT2201-2 and the Edge 30 Plus or Edge 30 + are the same – they are not.

We may see the even lower-cost Edge 30 (not Pro) with the 2021 SD888 processor and possibly an Edge 30 Lite (processor unknown) soon.

First impressions

While we covered that in our first, albeit brief look, we have had more time to play! I like the rear Gorilla Glass 5 Cosmos Blue, where the colour changes from deep blue to turquoise in the light. Unfortunately, it and the camera housing are fingerprint smudge magnets.

The camera hump is not too high, but it rocks if placed on a desk. The solution is to use the bumper case to protect it and the lenses.

On the right side are the fingerprint/power button and volume rocker. These are high up, and that may limit on-handed use. The top has an earpiece speaker and a mic. The selfie is O-hole style in the top centre of the screen.

Overall a very pleasing design  (for a glass slab), and don’t let the plastic frame bother you (the Samsung S22 uses one too) – it is polycarbonate and quite strong with no flex.

Screen – 1.07 billion colourful

It is a pOLED screen (AMOLED is a Samsung trademark) with a Gorilla Glass 3 cover. It is capable of 700nits (in 2% of the screen) and 500 nits (at peak brightness). We tested about 10% below the claims. By comparison, Samsung S22/+ are a little brighter.

But the big plus is that this is 10-bit, 1.07 billion colours versus 8-bit, 16.7m on the Samsung S22-series. That means it can display 70% of the 1.7 billion colours versus 60% of 16.7m.

 Like Samsung, it is stepped adaptive 48/60/90/120 and adds 144Hz if a game demands it.

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

Processor – Qualcomm SD8 Gen 1 none better

It is the same processor as the Samsung S22-series. We can say that the Motorola Edge 30 Pro performs similarly to other brands’ SD8 Gen 1 benchmarks.

CPU Throttle – like most SD89 Gen 1 smartphones

While the SoC is 4nm, it does run hotter. It throttles 27% after five minutes, but the good news is that this is the lowest it gets. Motorola does not throttle its apps like Samsung flagships throttle 10,000 apps – user discovery prompts action, so comparisons are odorous until Samsung offers a fix.

Comms – fast and full USB-C implementation

Excellent Wi-Fi speeds out to 10metres (the maximum distance of 5Ghz)  but is slightly variable. Sometimes it would swap to the 2.4GHz band, and I suspect this is just an early firmware issue. These generally exceed the Samsung S22/+ speeds.

The USB-C 3.1 port supports Display Port 1.4 for audio and video streaming and Moto’s Ready For Android desktop. You can use Miracast as well, and it also supports Chromecast for screen mirroring.

4/5G – excellent antenna strength for regional use

It has all 4G and 5G sub-6GHz and Low-band support. Note that international grey market versions don’t support Optus n40 – another reason to buy genuine.

It found the closest four towers (Samsung S22/+ only found two). It has excellent signal strength and should be a good city, suburbs and regional use phone.

Battery – 4800mAh is plenty for a day

First, it comes with a 30W charger and fills in around an hour. It is also 68W capable if you buy a USB-C GaN 65W or more charger and a 5W USB-C cable (the supplied cable only handles 3W).

The 68W charge time reduces by 15 minutes to 44 minutes. That beats the hell out of the Samsung S22/+ 25W charger that takes 1 hour and 36 minutes. Samsung has an optional 45W charger, which reduces the time by about 10 minutes.

It is also 15W Qi wireless compatible and charges in about 4.75 hours. It has reverse 5W charging for smartwatches etc.

We had a mixed bag of results – some excellent and others variable.

The not so good was 100% load screen-on drain time of just 2 hours and 15 minutes. The Samsung S22 (with its undisclosed throttling) achieved 4 hours and 32 minutes. But we expect it would be similar to the Motorola Edge 30 Pro if the throttling were off.

The video loop is an excellent 14 hours (Samsung 12 hours), and PC Mark 3.0 is 11 hours and 19 minutes (Samsung 9 hours and 9 minutes).

Conversely, GFX Bench T-Rex was 5.5 hours and 6646 frames, and Samsung was 11.5 hours and 3353 frames (again due to Samsung throttling by up to 56%).

So the moral here is we expect the Motorola results are accurate. Battery life is a hard call. If you are a power user, it will last around 12-15 hours. A typical user will get 18-24 hours.

Sound – not so good speakers but excelent USB and BT

It is an extreme analytical sound signature (bass/mid recessed; treble boosted) – crisp but not pleasant for most music. Apart from sounding muddy and dull (as there is no bass), it has no character, directionality or verve.

We tried with and without Dolby Atmos EQ, and the white noise generator gave the same results. 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.

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

Fortunately, the supplied USB-C earphones are great. It has an abundance of codecs from SBC and AAC to most aptX and LHDC – excellent. Our test headphones worked on all Codecs.

Hands-free was excellent.

Build

Never mind about the plastic (polycarbonate) frame as the Samsung S22 has one too. It is very well-made and should be a keeper. Warranty is 1-year (same as Samsung) which we think should be longer – OPPO and Google offer 2-years.

Android – almost pure

It ships with Android 12 and Motorola’s overlay My UX 3.0. You can reasonably expect Android 14 and two years of updates.

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

Missing

  • No microSD storage expansion (no other flagship has one anyway), but you can mount an external USB-C SSD as storage. Samsung S22/+ cannot
  • No 3.5mm jack (get over it and use Bluetooth)
  • IP52 is low for a flagship

These are not deal-breakers as it is $250 cheaper than the S22.

Motorola Edge 30 Pro Camera

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

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

  • Daylight and office light: Natural colours, fast focus, OIS steady
  • Ultra-wide gets very grainy on zoom
  • Night Mode: good detail and colour, albeit with a little noise
  • Video – 4K@60/30fps is underwhelming with variable colours and details. 1080p with OIS is superb, and the three mic setup gives excellent voice recording.
  • Macro is excellent (as it should be with a 50MP sensor)
  • Boken is excellent
  • Selfie – 60MP bins to 15MP, but the sensor lacks the refinement of Samsung or Sony. Quality colour and defintion.

 Camera summary – a great setup that is commensurate with flagship status.

CyberShack’s view – The Motorola Edge 30 Plus is the value king – by a long shot

At $999, it presents superb value, and sorry to keep referring to Samsung, but it is better than the S22/+ that, cost a lot more. Add to that Ready For and great screen casting options.

Apart from the poor speaker sound and IP52, there are no issues or impediments. It gets our unreserved ‘buy’ tick.

A full rating explanation and pros and cons are at the end of the table below.

CyberShack Smartphone comparison v 1.1 (E&OE)

Motorola Edge 30 Pro, 8./128GB, Dual Sim, Model XT2202-1, Retapac firmware

BrandMotorola
ModelMotorola Edge 30 Pro
Model NumberXT2201-1 software version retapac
Price Base$999
   Price base8/128
   Price 2Website mentions 8, 256GB and 12/512GB models not available in Australia
Warranty months12-months ACL
 TierPrice is lower-premium, but features are mid-premium
WebsiteProduct Page
ManualManual and FAQs
FromJB Hi-Fi
Country of OriginChina
CompanyMotorola Mobility, owned by Lenovo
Test date25-27/02/2022
Ambient temp23°
ReleaseMar-22
Other models not for Australia (Don’t buy)Do not buy X30, Edge Plus or Edge+ models in White or any with more than 8/128GB.

Screen

Size6.7
TypepOLED
Flat, Curve, 2D, 3DFlat with centre O-hole
Resolution2400 x 1080
PPI393
Ratio20:9
Screen to Body %88.5
Colours bits10-bit 1.07 billion colours
Refresh Hz, adaptive48, 60, 90, 120, and 144 stepped adaptive
Max touch rate 360Hz stylus
Response 120Hz13ms G-t-G
Nits typical, test500 (tested 450)
Nits max, test700 (Tested 650)
ContrastInfinite
sRGB100% (Tested 97%)
DCI-P3Tested 70% 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 known220Hz quite low
Daylight readableYes, but it lacks a little 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 SD8 Gen 1
nm4
CoresOcta-core (1×3.00GHz + 3×2.50GHz + 4×1.8 GHz)
ModemX65
AI TOPS27
Geekbench 5 Single-core1190
Geekbench 5 multi-core3542
LikeAbout 15-20% faster than the Exynos in S21 series
GPUAdreno 730
GPU Test
Open CL6173
Like
Vulcan7546
RAM, type8 LPDDR5X (12GB option not avaialble in Australia)
Storage, free, type128GB (97GB free) UFS 3.1 with Performance Booster  2.0
micro-SDNo (website says up to 1TB)
CPDT internal seq. Read1260Mbps (reflects UFS 3.1)
CPDT internal seq. write525 – excellent
CPDT microSD read, writeN/A
CPDT external (mountable?)798, 152 Mountable – excellent
CommentFast and externally mountable SSD storage means videographers can use this
Throttle test
   Max GIPS312596
   Average GIPS256953
   Minimum GIPS223818
   % Throttle27% – drops after 7 minutes and stays at that speed
   CPU Temp58°
CommentIt seems most SD8 Gen 1 run hot and throttle. Our only comparison is the Samsung Galaxy S22/+ and Ultra, which give fake results when tested.

Comms

Wi-FI Type, modelWi-Fi 6E AX VHT160
Hot spot supports WPA2 and 3 (necessary for older devices)
   Test 2m -dBm, Mbps-21/2401
   Test 5m-33/1729
   Test 10m-63/864 to 1729
BT Type5.2 supports Chromecast
GPS single, dualDual <3m accuracy
USB typeUSB-C 3.1 5Gbps Display Port 1.4
   Alt DP, DeX, Ready ForDP 1.4 for Miracast audio, video screen mirror, Moto ReadyFor
NFCYes
Ultra-widebandNo
Sensors
   AccelerometerYes combo
   GyroYes combo
   e-CompassYes
   BarometerNo
   Gravity
   Pedometer
   Ambient lightYes
   Hall sensor?
   ProximityYes
   Other
CommentExcellent speeds but slightly variable. Sometimes it would swap to the 2.4GHz band. I suspect this is just an early firmware issue. These generally exceed the Samsung S22/+

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, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 32, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 48, 66
CommentAll Australian and most world bands
5G sub-6Ghzn1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28, 38, 40, 41, 66, 77, 78
CommentAll Australian 5G sub-6 and low bands
mmWaveNo
Test Boost Mobile, Telstra
   UL, DL, ms40/25 30ms
   Tower 1 -dBm, fW or pWfrom -85 to -92 and 501fW to 6pW
   Tower 2from -96 to -100 and 501fw to 3pW
   Tower 3from -99 to -103 and 25 to 251fW
   Tower 4from -103 to 112 and 0-20fW
CommentExcellent signal strength and sees four towers. Overall it should be a good city, suburbs and regional use phone.

Battery

mAh4800
Charger, type, supplied30W (5V, 3A, 15W, 9V, 3A, 27W and 10V, 3A, 30W) – note that the USB-C cable supplied only supports <3A
 PD, QC level68W capable with USB-C PD charger and 5A capable cable
Qi, wattage15W
Reverse Qi or cable5W
Test (60Hz or adaptive screen)
   Charge % 30minsAdaptive mode screen
   Charge 0-100%59 minutes at 30W
44 minutes at 65W (should be a little faster as it charges between 4 and 5A)
   Charge Qi, W4 hours and 45 minutes
   Charge 5V, 2A3 hours 21 minutes
   Video loop 50%, aeroplane14 hours
   PC Mark 3 battery11 hours 19 minutes
   GFX Bench Manhattan batteryWould not run (seems to be an SD8 Gen 1 issue)
   GFX Bench T-Rex329.7 minutes (5.5 hours) and 6646 frames
   Drain 100-0% full load screen on2 hours 15 minutes
   Watt full load5W at average load and 10W at full load
   Watt idle.5W standby, 1.2W idle and 2.5W screen on
   Estimated loss at 120HzProbably about 20% less battery
   Estimate typical use10 hours heavy 18 hours typical
CommentThis is a hard call. If you are a power user, it will last around 10-12 hours. A typical user will get 18-24 hours.
The 65W charging gave a 15-minute advantage so stick with the 30W in the box

Sound

SpeakersTop forward, up-firing and bottom down-firing stereo.
Tuning?
AMPQualcomm Aqusitic sound
Dolly Atmos decodeDolby Atmos decode to 2.0 speakers
Hi-Res24-bit/192kHz capable
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
Mics3 – top, camera bump and bottom
Test dB – all on EQ flat DA off
   Volume max85
   Media (music)82
   Ring80
   Alarm80
   Notifications70
   Earpiece56
   Hands-freeThree mics give a degree of noise reduction, and volume levels were quite good and clear.
   BT headphonesExcellent left-right separation and DA makes quite a difference with DA content.

Sound quality

Deep Bass 20-40HzNo
Middle Bass 40-100HzNo
High Bass 100-200HzSlowly building
Low Mid 200-400HzSlowly building
Mid 4000-1000HzSlowly building
High-Mid 1-2kHzpeaking and flat to 5KHz
Low Treble 2-4kHzflat
Mid Treble 4-6kHzflat then declining at 6kHz
High Treble 6-10kHzSteep decline
Dog Whistle 10-20kHzSteep decline to 17kHz
Sound Signature typeIt is an analytical  (bass/mid recessed; treble boosted) – crisp but not pleasant for most music. Apart from sounding muddy (as there is no bass), it has no character, directionality or verve. We tried with and without Dolby Atmos EQ, and the white noise generator gave the same results. 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. Poor left and right separation with the bottom speaker dominating the sound.
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, voice is crisp!

Build etc

Size (H X W x D)163.06 x 75.95 x 8.79 mm
Weight grams196
Front glassGG3 glass
Rear materialPlastic
FrameGG5 glass
IP rating52 – light rain and possibly the only significant compromise for this otherwise excellent device.
ColoursCosmos Blue
Pen, Stylus supportOptional smart stylus support and folio cover
In the box
   Charger30W
   USB cableUSB-C to USB-C 3W capable cable
   BudsYes – USB-C
   Bumper coverYes
CommentHas a charger in the box (Samsung does not), buds and a bumper cover. Well made.
OS
Android12 – almost pure Android
Security patch date1/01/2022
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.
Other
CommentMy UX 3.0 adds value to pure Android
Security
Fingerprint sensor location, typeOn power button – 100% accuracy
Face IDYes 2D only
OtherLenovo ThinkShield
CommentThinkSheild is more for enterprise use

Motorola Edge 30 Pro camera

Rear PrimaryWide
  MP50 bins to 12.5
   SensorOmnivision OV50a
   FocusPDAF Omni Directional (Instant All-Pixel Focus)
   f-stop1.8
   um1 bins to 2
  FOV° stated (actual)(73.4)
   StabilisationOIS
   Zoom10x digital
Rear 2Ultra-wide and Macro
   MP50 bins to 12.5
   SensorSamsung S5KJN1
Same as Moto g51
   FocusAF
   f-stop2.2
   um.64 bins to 1.28
  FOV (stated, actual)114
   Stabilisation
   Zoom
Rear 3Depth
   MP2 (Website says 8MP – it is not)
   SensorOmnivision OV2b1B
   FocusFixed
   f-stop2.4
   um1.75
  FOV (stated, actual)X
   StabilisationX
   ZoomX
Special
   Video max4K@60fps
   Flash2
   Auto-HDRYes
   QR code readerYes
   Night modeYes and excellent
FrontSelfie
  MP60 bins to 15MP
   SensorOmnivision OV60a
   FocusFixed
   f-stop2.2
   um.6 bins to 1.2
  FOV (stated, actual)(76.1)
   StabilisationEIS
   FlashScreen fill
   Zoom10x digital
   Video max4K@60fps
    FeaturesDual record, Filters, HDR
CommentDaylight and office light: Natural colours, fast focus, OIS steady
Ultra-wide gets very grainy on zoom
Night: excellent detail and colour with little noise
Video – 4K@60 and 30fps are a little underwhelming with variable colours and details. 1080p with OIS is superb, and the three mic setup gives excellent voice recording.
Selfie – 60MP bins to 15MP, but the sensor lacks the refinement of similar Samsung or Sony. Acceptable.

CyberShack ratings – Motorola Edge 30 Pro

Features8.5
No microSD, 3,5mm, charger and not a true adaptive refresh rate screen but a powerful processor
Value9.5
Excellent price for so few compromises and has better specs than the Samsung S22 and S22+
Performance9.5
Now that we know the SD8 Gen 1 throttles, this is within acceptable limits, but gamers may want to look at this. Battery life is average. The screen is above average.
Ease of Use8.5
High placement of the power and volume button makes it harder for one-handed use
Design8
It is a glass slab with no distinguishing features
Rating out of 108.8
Pro
1More affordable with reasonable compromises
2Camera stills are excellent; video is so-so
3Battey life is adequate, but it has Qi and 68W charging, so no issue
4Charger, earbuds and bumper case inbox
5Supports all manner of screen mirror to TVs etc
Con
1IP52 is barely adequate when flagships have IP68
2Missing optical zoom
3No micro-SD (no flagship has this anyway)
4Poor speaker sound but excellent USB and BT sound
Final commentOverall it presents as the best value SD8 Gen 1 smartphone available. It has very few compromises and better specs and performance than more expensive competitors.

Motorola Edge 30 Pro

$999 - bargain
8.7

Features

8.5/10

Value

9.5/10

Performance

9.5/10

Ease of Use

8.5/10

Design

7.7/10

Pros

  • More affordable with reasonable compromises
  • Camera stills are excellent; video is so-so
  • Battey life is adequate, but it has Qi and 68W charging, so no issue
  • Charger, earbuds and bumper case inbox
  • Supports Ready For and screen mirror to TVs etc

Cons

  • IP52 is barely adequate when flagships have IP68
  • Missing optical zoom
  • No micro-SD (no flagship has this anyway)
  • Poor speakers but excellent USB and BT sound


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