Motorola Moto Edge 30 Pro review: Great value as long as photography isn’t your focus
- Great app performance
- Exceptional battery life within its price bracket
- Fast wired and wireless charging
- No telephoto lens
- No headphone jack
- Only IP52-rated for water resistance
- Plain design
|Launch price (RRP)||$0|
Motorola is back in the low-end premium space with the Motorola Edge 30 Pro, also known as the Motorola Edge Plus in some markets. And it's an eyebrow raiser.
For what feels like forever, the best Motorola phones you could buy were the company's more affordable G series phones. They weren't flashy, but they got the job done in a reliable way at an affordable price point.
Whenever Motorola shuffled towards the premium space, it was either with weird concept devices – I've been writing about phones long enough to remember the disastrous Motorola Atrix, for example – or phones that just didn't compare well with the cutting-edge phones of the day.
This time it's a different story. With 1 notable exception, the Edge 30 Pro is a great value phone that also happens to deliver topnotch performance.
Design: Plain and slippery style
Like so many other large screen phones, the display dominates the Motorola Edge 30 Pro. In this case, it's a 6.7-inch 1080x2400-pixel OLED with support for up to 144Hz refresh rates. This leads to a smoother display, but right now there are not too many applications that specifically address 144Hz in the Android gaming space.
120Hz is far more common, so you won't always be pushing the screen to its limits. That's a plus for battery consumption in any case, and I've got a few issues with the Motorola Edge 30 Pro's display. During my review period, it displayed well and brightly even in direct sunlight. Motorola's default position for the refresh rate is for an "auto" mode that will switch it up depending on the content on display, but you can pick 60Hz modes or 144Hz modes all the time if that's more your style.
Here in Australia, Motorola is only selling the Edge 30 Pro in a single colour called Cosmos Blue. Over the years, I've made no secret of the fact that I'm a bit of a sucker for a blue phone, but it's a touch disappointing that we don't get the option of the Stardust White model as well. If you're not down with a blue-green shimmering finish, maybe look to the direct importer crowd for that model.
To keep costs down, the Motorola Edge 30 Pro is a plastic body phone with a shiny Motorola batwing logo on the rear of the phone. Unlike many recent Motorola phones, that's not where you'll find the biometric unlocking.
Instead, it's built into a thin fingerprint sensor that plays the familiar double-duty role of also being the power button. I was expecting problems with this approach, especially as the Edge 30 Pro uses such a thin button, but it surprised me. Not once did it fail to read my enrolled digits and rapidly unlock the Edge 30 Pro.
The Edge 30 Pro has one of the more unusual camera bump designs I've seen in recent years, with a rounded finish at the top and bottom and glass lenses that just slightly protrude from the phone body. It's a rather slippery phone in the hand, and I did appreciate that Motorola has included a simple clear plastic case to both protect the Edge 30 Pro and give it a little more grip.
It's also a little weird to realise that this is one of only a handful of Motorola phones of late that omits a 3.5mm headphone jack. However, that's common in the premium space so it's not exactly a cardinal sin.
The Motorola Edge 30 Pro is IP52-rated, which is below what I'd like to see in a theoretical "flagship" phone. Immersion in liquids is a no-no for the 30 Pro, but smaller splashes of rain shouldn't be a problem for it.
Motorola Moto Edge 30 Pro review: The dual 50MP camera lens is nice, but telephoto is missing in action
The price point on the Motorola Edge 30 Pro is quite aggressive at just $999 outright.
To meet that price, Motorola owner Lenovo has had to cut a few corners here and there. It's most notable when you start using the Edge 30 Pro's camera array.
There are 3 lenses at the rear, comprising a 50MP f/1.8 wide, 50MP f/2.2 ultra-wide and 2MP depth sensor. The ultra-wide camera also does double duty as a macro lens, so it's a least a step up from the lousy 2MP macro lenses that seem to infest every budget and mid-range phone these days, including many of Motorola's own G series phones.
If you're more into admiring yourself, there's a 60MP f/2.2 lens in a holepunch for all your selfie needs.
What's missing here that you can find in other sub-$1,000 flagships is any kind of telephoto lens. A 50MP primary lens gives you some space for cropping to the same effect. You can pinch to zoom, limited to a maximum of 10x digital zoom, but I found that even here a lot of noise tended to creep into shots.
What this leaves the Motorola Edge 30 Pro with is a camera set-up that can only be called average relative to what you can get for a similar price. It's certainly not the only low-end flagship to omit telephoto capabilities. They're nowhere to be found on the Google Pixel 6, and the iPhone SE 2022 only gets a single lens to play with. Those phones do seem to make a little more of their post-processing capabilities for shots than the Edge 30 Pro.
For example, I took this night shot in Wagga Wagga with the Edge 30 Pro in quite dark conditions.
The Edge 30 Pro did its best, but it's awash with a genuinely fake-looking colour cast. It reminds me more of what Google did with its early Pixel phones, not so much its newer models.
If you're keen on photography specifically, the Motorola Edge 30 Pro is a rather harder sell in just this respect. It's far from being a bad camera phone, and with some patience, you can get decent daytime shots. However, it's not the phone I'd recommend for photo enthusiasts.
Motorola Edge 30 Pro sample photos:
Motorola Moto Edge 30 Pro review: The performance offers more power for less money
The Motorola Edge 30 Pro runs on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 gen 1 silicon, making it one of only a handful of phones available in Australia right now using Qualcomm's latest generation of premium processors. The obvious comparison point would be Samsung's Galaxy S22 phones that use the same platform, but they're more expensive models and also sitting under a cloud of benchmark cheating that's seen them delisted from Geekbench's rankings at the time of writing.
As such, I was keen to see how the Edge 30 Pro would compare, especially as it runs on 8GB of RAM. That's not a poor amount for the price, but it leaves it with less technical headroom than its competitors, many of whom pack in 12GB of RAM.
It turns out that it largely doesn't need it, because in benchmark performance terms, the Motorola Edge 30 Pro is a real contender. Here's how it compares against similarly priced handsets using Geekbench 5's CPU test:
Apple utterly dominates in this test thanks to the A15 Bionic in the iPhone SE 2022, but that's a phone with a smaller display and even more limited camera options than the Edge 30 Pro or any other compared handset. However, all the rest are running on 2021 processors and the jump isn't that spectacular up to the Edge 30 Pro. As it's been for a while now, there's not much logic in year-on-year phone upgrades.
The Edge 30 Pro was even more impressive when I turned its GPU towards 3DMark's Wildlife test:
Yep, that's the iPhone SE 2022 dethroned right there, and not by a small margin either.
Now, synthetic benchmarks do have their comparative space, but there's also a need to consider real-world performance. Here I've got a few complaints, with the Edge 30 Pro handling most Android apps with aplomb, as you'd expect. As already noted, there's only a scant quantity of Android applications (games, basically) that will punch up towards the Edge 30 Pro's 144Hz refresh rates. Still, its OLED looks its best and the Snapdragon 8 gen 1 does its best when you do click into one.
The Edge 30 Pro runs on Android 12, but Motorola doesn't have the best track record on full and timely OS upgrades. There Apple and Samsung do promise quite a bit more if keeping up to date is important to you.
You can't have a flagship phone in 2022 that omits 5G. Heck, Motorola's cheaper phones such as the Motorola G51 5G include it, so it'd be downright weird not to see it here. Like so many of its competitors, it's a sub-6Hz only 5G solution, and in my tests, it regularly hit the 200–300Mbps I'd expect out of the Telstra 5G network in real-world tests.
Motorola Moto Edge 30 Pro review: The 4800mAh battery delivers impressive endurance
So many flagship phones – and a decent number of Motorola's cheaper phones – pack in 5,000mAh batteries these days. Spotting on the spec sheet that the Edge 30 Pro only has 4,800mAh gave me pause for concern.
It's all well and good to deliver a thin and light phone, which is what the "Edge" suffix is meant to be about in Motorola's case, but most consumers prefer a phone with real staying power. Given its 5G capabilities and 144Hz capable screen, I wasn't expecting all that much out of the Motorola Edge 30 Pro.
It's always lovely to be surprised, and that's precisely what the Motorola Edge 30 Pro managed to do, delivering the best overall battery performance for a phone in its class. Battery usage is always relative to your app and network usage, but here's how the Edge 30 Pro compared using our standard battery benchmark:
That's a real-world test, and in wider everyday usage the Edge 30 Pro showed an impressive level of stamina. Sure, on days where I played lots of games or streamed content over 5G for longer spans of time I could drain it down faster. Still, for most users, you're going to get an easy day's use out of it with no worries at all.
The Edge 30 Pro supports wired charging at up to 68W and wireless at up to 15W, although you do only get a 30W charger in the box. That will still keep it topped up nicely overnight, ready for the next day's use.
Should you buy it?
- Buy it if you want an all-round good performance – and don't take too many night shots.
- Don't buy it if photography is important to you in the flagship space.
Motorola has put together an impressive package at a compelling price with the Edge 30 Pro. It's a welcome return for flagship performance at a sub-$1,000 price point, which used to be common in years gone by.
It's not quite flawless. The water resistance could be tighter. The cameras especially could be a little bit more flexible for all shot types. Still, if you're after flagship performance in the Android space without breaking the bank, it's highly recommended.
Motorola Moto Edge 30 Pro review: Pricing and availability
The Motorola Edge 30 Pro retails in Australia for $999 outright.
How to buy the Motorola Moto Edge 30 Pro on a plan
You can buy the Motorola Moto Edge 30 Pro on a 12-, 24- or 36-month repayment period with a mobile plan from Vodafone.
Power, storage and battery
How we tested
I tested the Motorola Edge 30 Pro over a 2-week period with a mix of industry-standard benchmarks and day-to-day usage across a wide variety of apps. Its cameras were tested in multiple locations throughout New South Wales in day and night-time – and an unfortunate quantity of quite bad weather, not that this is Motorola's fault – to see how it compared against the cameras that you'd find in similar phones from makers such as Samsung, Google and Apple.
The reviewer has more than 2 decades of tech product reviewing under his belt and is a multi-time Australian IT Journalism award winner, including awards for best reviewer and best technical journalist.
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