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Motorola Edge 30 Review: A Minor Upgrade

Motorola claims that the Edge 30 is the world’s slimmest 5G smartphone and India’s lightest 5G phone in its segment. This obsession with design has resulted in a phone that measures just 6.79mm in thickness and weighs just 155g. The Motorola Edge 30 succeeds the Motorola Edge 20 (Review) which launched last year at a similar price. From the looks of it, Motorola has clearly prioritised the design of the Edge 30 as one of its main selling points, but has it skimped on other areas in order to achieve it or does the Motorola Edge 30 deliver a good balance of form and function? I put it to the test to find out.

Motorola Edge 30 price in India

The Motorola Edge 30 starts at Rs. 27,999 for the base variant with 6GB of RAM, while the variant with 8GB of RAM is priced at Rs. 29,999. Both variants come with 128GB of storage. Motorola is offering the Edge 30 in Meteor Grey and Aurora Green colours and I had the former for this review.

Motorola Edge 30 design

The Motorola Edge 30 is all about design. Motorola has flattened the frame of the Edge 30 to keep up with the trend set by the iPhone 12 and is something we’ve seen many Android smartphones adopt recently. However, the corners and edges of the body are still a bit rounded which makes it easy to grip the Edge 30.

As I mentioned in my first impressions of this device, the body of the Edge 30 is made out of polycarbonate in order to keep the weight down. The back panel is acrylic which should make it more resilient to cracks when dropped, even though the surface looks like glass. It is flat and has the Motorola logo in the centre. This panel did pick up fingerprints rather easily, but you can fix this by using the bundled case.

motorola edge 30 button positioning gadgets360 Motorola Edge 30 Review

Motorola claims that the Edge 30 is the slimmest 5G smartphone in the world

The Motorola Edge 30 has a very good in-hand feel and it isn’t heavy either, so using it for long durations did not cause fatigue in my experience. The phone borrows some design elements from its elder sibling, the Edge 30 Pro (Review). Its camera module looks identical and it also sports the same camera hardware, which I’ll talk about a bit later.

Motorola has opted for a 6.5-inch display on the Edge 30, which I felt, is a comfortable size for single-handed usage. It has a tiny hole-punch at the top which I didn’t find distracting. The power and volume buttons are easy to reach and provide good feedback when pressed. The SIM tray is on the bottom, next to the USB Type-C port and the speaker. There is no 3.5mm headphone jack. The earpiece also doubles up as a speaker, so you get stereo sound. Overall, the Motorola Edge 30 feels sturdy and features an IP52 rating which makes it resistant to light splashes of water.

Motorola Edge 30 specifications and software

The Motorola Edge 30 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ SoC, which is an upgrade to the Snapdragon 778G powering the Motorola Edge 20 (Review), its predecessor. The Edge 30 also happens to be the first smartphone in India to use this SoC. It has support for Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 6E, NFC, and 13 5G bands. Unfortunately, storage is non-expandable on the Edge 30 and this could be a concern for some buyers. The stereo speakers on the Edge 30 feature Dolby Atmos and Snapdragon Sound enhancements.

The Motorola Edge 30 has a 6.5-inch pOLED display with a full-HD+ resolution. It also has a pretty high refresh rate of 144Hz and a 360Hz touch sampling rate. According to Motorola, the advantage of using a pOLED panel is that it helps keep the bezels narrow and lowers the thickness of the display. The Edge 30 also sports Corning Gorilla Glass 3 over the screen for scratch protection.

motorola edge 30 bezels holepunch gadgets360 Motorola Edge 30 Review

The Motorola Edge 30 sports a 6.5-inch pOLED display with thin bezels

The Motorola Edge 30 packs a 4,020mAh battery which is slightly smaller compared to the average battery capacity we’re used to seeing these days. This may have been a conscious choice by Motorola in order to keep the thickness and weight of the phone down. There is support for 33W fast charging and Motorola bundles a compatible TurboPower fast charger in the box.

On the software front, the Motorola Edge 30 runs Android 12 along with Motorola’s custom MyUX interface on top. Motorola has committed to two years of Android OS updates and three years of security updates for the Edge 30, which should help it stay relevant in the years to come. We’re starting to see long-term software support by Android manufacturers for their mid-range offerings too and not just flagships, which is a big win for consumers. The recently launched Samsung Galaxy M53 (Review) also had a similar commitment. 

The interface of the Motorola Edge 30 is clean and it only has the Facebook app preinstalled. It does have a fair amount of Google apps too, but you can uninstall most of these to reclaim some storage space. The UI is customisable and you can personalise it using the Moto app.

Motorola has also added features such as Peek Display which wakes up the pOLED panel for incoming notifications. Attentive Display is another useful feature that keeps the screen from turning off as long as you are looking at it. The classic Moto Actions which allows you to perform functions such as turn on the camera or flashlight by using motion gestures, are also present. Motorola’s ‘Ready For’ feature lets you mirror the content on the smartphone wirelessly onto an external display or link it to a Windows PC.

Motorola Edge 30 performance

The Motorola Edge 30 delivered a smooth experience during my review period. Its pOLED display was crisp and had good viewing angles. The refresh rate of the display was set to Auto by default and with this setting, I noticed that the UI was refreshed at 90Hz on most occasions. It did switch to 144Hz on the lock screen of all places, but most interactions with the interface, including scrolling through menus, was at 90Hz.

You’ll have to lock the refresh rate in the Settings app if you want the full 144Hz, which does feel a bit smoother but I didn’t find it to be a huge difference. I found it best to leave it at the Auto setting as the user experience was still good. Watching video content felt engaging and the stereo speakers did complement the display quite well. Those looking for a device primarily for media consumption would find the Motorola Edge 30 very interesting.

The in-display fingerprint scanner in the Motorola Edge 30 is a step in the right direction, but it isn’t the fastest scanner I’ve used. It occasionally took longer than necessary to authenticate my finger. Motorola has added a cool fingerprint animation to sort of distract you while the scanner does its job. Face recognition was reasonably quick to unlock the phone.

motorola edge 30 camera module gadgets360 Motorola Edge 30 Review

The Motorola Edge 30 sports a triple camera setup with similar hardware as the Edge 30 Pro

I ran synthetic benchmarks to see where the Motorola Edge 30 stands compared to the competition. In AnTuTu, the Edge 30 managed 530,975 points which is a shade higher than the 524,175 scored by its predecessor, the Edge 20. However, competing smartphones such as the OnePlus Nord 2 (Review) and the Mi 11X (Review) scored higher. The Edge 30 scored 6,672 points in the 3DMark Slingshot test, which was not bad.

Call of Duty: Mobile was fairly quick to load on the Motorola Edge 30 and the game ran at the ‘Very High’ graphics setting with the frame rate set to ‘High’. The game was playable at these settings without any hint of stutter. The stereo speakers made gameplay more engaging. I played the game for about 20 minutes and it resulted in an eight percent drop in battery level, which was on the higher side. The phone was also slightly warm to the touch after my gaming session.

I was a bit concerned about battery life, considering the smaller than average battery, but the Motorola Edge 30 managed to last for one full day with my typical usage. In our HD video loop test, it didn’t fare too well as it ran for just 11 hours, 50 minutes with the refresh rate set to Auto. If you lock the refresh rate at 144Hz, the battery performance should drop even further. The bundled 33W TurboPower charger was quick enough to top up the phone to about 60 percent in thirty minutes and fully charged it in an hour.

Motorola Edge 30 cameras

The Motorola Edge 30 sports the same camera hardware as the Edge 30 Pro. It has a 50-megapixel primary camera with OIS, a 50-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera which is also capable of macro photography, and a 2-megapixel depth camera. In comparison to the Edge 20 which had a 3X telephoto camera, the Edge 30 misses out on good zoom functionality. That said, the camera interface is pretty much unchanged and is easy to navigate. The camera app offers a Pro mode which gives you complete manual control for setting the exposure. 

Motorola Edge 30 daylight samples from the primary (top) and ultra-wide (bottom) cameras (tap to see full-size image)

The Motorola Edge 30 was quick to lock focus but was a bit hesitant on a few occasions with HDR scenes. Photos shot in daylight looked good but weren’t as detailed as I would have liked upon zooming in. It also appeared as if the camera app bumped up the sharpness while pixel-binning photos from the main camera. Photos shot at the full 50-megapixel resolution generally had better details.

The ultra-wide-angle camera also pixel-binned photos to 12.5-megapixels by default, but was a notch below the primary camera in terms of details. This camera did offer a wider field of view but there was noticeable barrel distortion along the edges of the photo.

Motorola Edge 30 close-up (top), Portrait mode (middle), and macro (bottom) camera samples (tap to see full-size image)

Photos of close-up objects looked sharp with good details and adequate background separation. The camera app also suggested switching to the macro camera when I was close enough to a subject. Macro shots were detailed but had a warmer colour tone. Portrait mode photos had good edge detection and the Edge 30 did allow me to set the level of background blur before taking the shot.

Motorola Edge 30 auto mode (top) and Night mode (bottom) camera samples (tap to see full-size image)

Low-light camera performance was decent but the phone didn’t manage to capture the best details in the darker areas of the frame. Night mode made a significant difference, and the phone delivered a brighter image overall.

Motorola Edge 30 daylight selfie with Portrait mode (tap to see full-size image) 

Selfies from the 32-megapixel camera were binned to 8-megapixels by default. Daylight selfies looked natural with accurate colours and had good background blur in shots taken with Portrait mode. Low-light selfies with an adequate light source nearby turned out quite well.

Video recording on the Motorola Edge 30 topped out at 4K for the primary as well as the selfie camera. The phone stabilised footage very well and videos shot while walking around had no jitter in daylight. However, slight jitter in the footage was noticeable when shooting videos in low light.

Verdict

Motorola has clearly prioritised design over everything else on the Edge 30, and if this is something that ranks high on your must-have list, you’ll find this phone very appealing. Another area where the Motorola Edge 30 continues to deliver the goods is in software. The UI is clean and free from excessive bloatware apps and with a promise of long-term Android updates from Motorola, the Edge 30 should age quite well.

However, the Motorola Edge 30 isn’t a major upgrade over its predecessor, the Motorola Edge 20 (Review). If you were expecting wonders from the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ SoC then you’ll be disappointed to know that it doesn’t really offer a huge improvement over the Snapdragon 778G. The cameras are good for the price but the output, especially recorded videos in low light, is still a bit behind the Edge 30 Pro despite having similar hardware.

Overall, the Edge 30 is a good choice for those who value design and prefer stock Android. If you are a power user who wants better performance, the OnePlus Nord 2 (Review) or the Xiaomi Mi 11X (Review) should suit you better. The newly launched iQoo Neo 6 (First look) is also shaping up to be a strong competitor to the Edge 30 and we should have that full review for you soon. 


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