Milan, Italy (Pocket-lint) – There was a lot of buzz about the Moto Edge 30 Ultra this year, even though we didn’t know its name for much of that time. The phone – previously referred to as “Frontier” – would be one of the first to ship with Samsung’s 200MP camera sensor.
Having already launched it in China as the X30 Pro, Motorola has finally announced that it will be coming to Europe and the UK as the Edge 30 Ultra. We got our hands on this new Moto flagship phone to see what it’s all about.
As flagship phones advance, the Moto Edge 30 Ultra definitely ticks all the right boxes on paper. It has a top-notch processor, plenty of RAM and storage, a highly refreshed HDR10+ display and a powerful camera system with sound.
The Motorola issue with the Edge 30 Ultra may not be an issue with the phone itself. Instead, Motorola has built a reputation for building good affordable mid-range phones, so its flagship phones are a little-known entity. A couple have been released in recent years, but they haven’t set out to ignite the world with enthusiasm.
What we love most about the Edge 30 Ultra is actually its design. Moto did not join other manufacturers in releasing a premium, heavy-duty device. Instead, the bend in front and back means that it’s nice to hold and feels tighter than it is. Combine that with blazing-fast performance, a 144Hz refresh screen, and stupidly fast 125W charging for a high-powered phone that isn’t a burden to carry and use every day.
- Curved glass design makes it very comfortable to hold
- Stylish camera design
- 144Hz screen
- Super fast charging 125W
- IP52 water and dust resistance is not great
- It is not yet clear if the 200MP camera is a gimmick
- 161.8 x 73.5 x 8.4 mm – 198.5 grams
- Front and back curved glass
- IP52 Water/Dust Resistant
- interstellar black and white stars
Unlike a lot of other manufacturers in 2022, Motorola decided to use a design reminiscent of the flagships of two years ago, and for good reason. Instead of jumping on the trend for perfectly straight and flat edges, Moto has curved glass on both the front and back of the phone.
The end result is that this phone – despite its large size – feels slimmer and more comfortable in the palm of the hand. This is only helped by the smooth, matte glass texture on the back. Both the Interstellar Black and Starlight White color options have this texture as well, so there is no slippery glossy model. As a bonus, it means no visible fingerprint smudges.
Overall, just from taking a short time to hold it, it looks like a design that should appeal to a lot of people. If you want a phone with a big screen, but don’t want to feel like you’re holding a brick, it might be worth considering.
Likewise, the design and layout of the cameras are well thought out, somewhat reminiscent of the design of the Xiaomi 12 Series from earlier in 2022. It stands out, but is clean, with the lenses arranged symmetrically with a purposeful look and limited to the round. A box surrounds the lenses.
Other than that, it’s a fairly standard affair that features a textured power button and volume controls in the ultra-thin aluminum frame on the right side. It also features the usual SIM tray, USB-C port, and speaker on the bottom edge. However, the water resistance is not as strong as some of its competitors. With the IP52, it should survive minor splashes/splashes, but won’t want to get submerged or caught in heavy rain.
Display and software
- 6.67 inch pOLED screen
- FullHD+ Resolution – 144Hz refresh rates
- HDR10+ support – 10 bit / 1 billion colors
- Promise major Android 12 + 3 software updates
Like the design, the screen checks a lot of correct boxes. It is a large 6.67-inch panel based on OLED. It’s FullHD+ resolution – which is fairly standard – but has refresh rates up to 144Hz, giving you ultra-smooth, sharp images in areas of the interface and in the games/apps that support it.
There is support for 10-bit color, which means over a billion colors, as well as HDR10+ compatibility. This means that it should be a dynamic, sharp, and contrast-rich display. We’ve only spent a short time with her so far, so we won’t jump to conclusions and will evaluate her more thoroughly once we get more time with her.
It’s got really thin bezels though, a look that’s further enhanced by those aforementioned curves in the glass, and the selfie camera’s small aperture means there’s nothing really holding this screen back.
On the software side, it runs the Moto version of Android 12 which is – for the most part – the same version you’ll find on Google’s Pixel phones. It’s pretty close to “stock” Android, but still has some Motorola tweaks here and there.
Motorola has redesigned its default app icons in its latest launcher, and redesigned its new system widgets to better match Android 12’s Material You Design theme. It also has its own new system font called Rookery, but you can choose others if you want.
Plus, there’s Ready To, which gives you software tools designed to make it easier to connect your phone to a larger screen – whether it’s a TV or a PC. With the latter, you can drag and drop files from phone to computer, see notifications and share live screen video from your phone.
Motorola said the Edge 30 Ultra will get 3 major software updates, which sounds great, until you remember that it runs on Android 12, and Android 13 has already started rolling out. However, you will get four years of security patches.
Hardware and performance
- Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor
- 12 GB RAM – 256 GB Storage
- 4610 mAh battery – 125W wired charging – 50W wireless
All Android phones launched at the end of 2022 have one thing in common: Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. It’s the most powerful Qualcomm chipset available, and means you get a lot more power, speed, and better battery efficiency than it used to be. Introduction of the eighth generation of the first generation that came before.
When you combine that with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, you’ll have everything you need to enjoy a proper flagship experience. At least, on paper. Again, we’ll need more time with him to test it out in real daily use.
Not only is the overall performance fast, too. Motorola – like Oppo and Xiaomi (and their sub-brands) – has launched a really fast charging system. At 125 watts, the latest version of TurboPower can refill a completely empty battery in about 20 minutes. Motorola also says that seven minutes is enough to give you enough energy for a day. It’s fast.
The charger comes in the box too, which means there’s no need to purchase an additional product to get the most out of these wired speeds. If you want to take advantage of the fast 50W phone wireless charging speeds, you will need to purchase a special Motorola wireless charger.
- Primary Camera 200 MP f / 1.9 – 1 / 1.22″ sensor – OIS
- 50MP f/2.2 Ultra-Speed Camera – 114° – Macro Mode
- 12MP f/1.6 selfie camera/2x optical zoom
- 8K video recording
- 60MP f/2.2 . Selfie Camera
We’ve known for years that simply increasing the number of pixels on a sensor does not lead to better images. And thanks to some curiosity and skepticism, we’re getting close to the 200MP sensor on the Moto Edge 30 Ultra’s primary camera.
It’s a very large sensor at 1/1.22″, and when shooting automatically, it doesn’t try to use all of those pixels individually. Instead, it uses what it calls “quad pixel technology” which is – essentially – pixel grouping, where the pixels combine to form a larger pixel To attract more light and produce better images.
You can – of course – keep shooting with 200 million pixels apart if you want to, which means you can crop images out completely without losing a lot of detail. Or – at least – that’s what Motorola says. We haven’t tested it yet, and so it’s hard to judge whether the jump on this massive sensor is worth it.
What’s even more exciting is that instead of following its usual pattern and that of many other phone makers, it didn’t add multiple lenses without any real purpose to the back of the phone. You have one primary camera, a 50MP ultrawide zoom lens and a 12MP portrait or 2x zoom lens. There are no unimportant 2MP sensors anywhere. Even the front camera features a 60MP image sensor.
What’s interesting about the 2x zoom lens is that instead of being positioned as just a way to zoom in, it’s advertised as a portrait lens. We think it’s a smart move, given that – for many photos – the 2x zoom camera on most phones is a great portrait camera.
To make the most of this, Moto has given it an f/1.6 aperture, which means you get more effective depth of field and background blur, helping you separate the subject from the background.
As for the ultra-wide range, it also has Quad Pixel technology, but it also acts as the phone’s macro sensor, allowing you to get as close (up to 3cm) to your subject. Perfect for fine detail photography and close-up shots.
We look forward to taking the camera system through its paces later.
As flagship phones advance, the Moto Edge 30 Ultra definitely ticks all the right boxes on paper. It has a top-notch processor, plenty of RAM and storage, a highly refreshed HDR10+ display and a powerful camera system with sound. Whether this leads to a first-class experience has yet to be seen.
Written by Cam Bunton. Editing by Britta Opwell.