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Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review

Introduction

Motorola just pulled the wraps off a trio of new Edge 30 smartphones to join the two from earlier this year. In addition to the vanilla and the Pro, we now get the Neo and Fusion, but also the new king of the hill – Edge 30 Ultra.

As luck would have it, we just got our hands on a review unit, and while it’s too early for the full scoop, we do have some initial thoughts to share. Plus, we got to shoot some 200MP samples, so there’ll be a handful of those later on as well.

A global version of the already available in China Moto X30 Pro, the Edge 30 Ultra packs some serious hardware. Alongside the 200MP primary camera, there’s a 50MP ultrawide shooter with AF and a 12MP 2x telephoto unit – modest, but present nonetheless. A 60MP selfie unit completes the picture on the front.

Motorola likes its displays smoother than the rest, so the Edge 30 Ultra uses a 144Hz OLED panel, and it’s a curved one too – the Edge name is particularly fitting then. The latest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 means the performance department hasn’t been neglected either. Another headline feature is the 125W charging capability – we’ll wait and see what that actually translates to in real-world charging speed.

Motorola Edge 30 Ultra specs at a glance:

  • Body: 161.7×73.5×8.4mm, 199g; glass front, glass back, IP52 rating.
  • Display: 6.67″ OLED, 1B colors, 144Hz, HDR10+, 1200 nits (peak), 1080x2400px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 393ppi.
  • Chipset: Qualcomm SM8475 Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 (4 nm): Octa-core (1×3.19 GHz Cortex-X2 & 3×2.75 GHz Cortex-A710 & 4×1.80 GHz Cortex-A510); Adreno 730.
  • Memory: 128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 12GB RAM, 512GB 12GB RAM; UFS 3.1.
  • OS/Software: Android 12.
  • Rear camera: Wide (main): 200 MP, f/1.9, 1/1.22″, 0.64µm, PDAF, OIS; Ultra wide angle: 50 MP, f/2.2, 117˚, 1/2.76″, 0.64µm, AF; Telephoto: 12 MP, f/1.6, 1/2.93″, 1.22µm, PDAF, 2x optical zoom.
  • Front camera: 60 MP, f/2.2, (wide), 0.64µm.
  • Video capture: Rear camera: 8K@30fps, 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps, gyro-EIS; Front camera: 4K@30fps, 1080p@30fps.
  • Battery: 4610mAh; Fast charging 125W, Fast wireless charging 50W.
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader (under display, optical); NFC; stereo speakers; Ready For support.

Motorola Edge 30 Ultra unboxing

The Edge 30 Ultra ships in Motorola’s newly adopted packaging that’s entirely plastic-free. The sturdy two-piece recycled cardboard box works just as well as a fancier enclosure but comes with lower carbon footprint.

Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review

The contents of our retail bundle include a 125W TurboPower adapter, a USB-C cable, and a clear protective case. The phone itself has a pre-applied screen protector too. Both are included in select countries though, so don’t be too surprised if your Edge 30 Ultra ships without one or both of them. Similarly, some countries will get a USB-C headset – missing in our box.

Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on

The Edge 30 Ultra is the only current member of the family to stay true to its name – Edge was originally supposed to mean curved display sides. While the novelty of that design touch wore off in recent years, it’s still one of those things you associate with ‘premiumness’ and the effect is here on the Ultra as well.

Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review

Nearly disappearing into the sides, the 6.67-inch OLED panel has minimal bezels top and bottom too, completing the high-end look. Then again, the ‘Endless Edge Display’ branding Motorola has given it may be stretching it a bit.

Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review

The rear panel matches the curvature of the display and the two meet at the thin aluminum rails on the sides. That works neatly for making an already decently thin handset feel even more svelte in the hand.

Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review

You’d think that the slim sides would make it difficult to pick up the Edge 30 Ultra off a table, but you get assistance from an unlikely ally – the camera assembly. The triple-cam island sticks out far enough to actually tilt and raise the phone enough to make picking it up a non-issue. The flip side is rather obvious – the Ultra will tend to wobble if you’re to type on it when it’s resting on a surface.

Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review

Despite its three-level stepped design, the camera island does have a rather minimal and to-the-point styling, we reckon. The big main camera asserts its dominance, the other two are symmetrically arranged, the specs only list the main unit so there’s not a whole lot of text either. There’s no excessive accents either – just the iconic bat logo and small-ish ‘motorola’ inscription further down.

Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review

Our review unit is the Interstellar Black colorway, and its rear panel has the kind of finish that glitters in the sun – we’ve seen it a number of times already. It’s pretty slippery, but at least it doesn’t hold fingerprints, which is a common trade-off. It’s glass – we checked with a blade (don’t tell the Motorola reps), but we’re not sure exactly what make and model.

Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review

The other color option goes by Starlight White and has the same finish so it feels identical. We’d say that it sparkles that little bit more. Plus, it’s not black, which is enough for some folks to choose it over what is a somewhat boring alternative.

Black or white, the Edge 30 Ultra has the same IP52 rating for dust and water resistance, which isn’t a whole lot of resistance. Motorola says it should be good for ‘accidental spills, splashes or light rain’ but explicitly states it’s not designed to be dunked in water. That’s one area where the handset doesn’t quite live up to the flagship standard.

It’s hard to complain about the internals, though, with the Edge 30 Ultra boasting a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. The base 8GB/128GB version may be limiting when it comes to storage but 256GB and 512GB options will also be available and those come with 12GB of RAM too.

Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review

The 6.67-inch OLED display has 1080p resolution – not as sharp as 1440p panels, but certainly good enough and adequate for the price (€900). As we’ve come to expect, Motorola one-ups the competition in another area – this panel can refresh at up to 144Hz next to the 120Hz of mainstream (non-gaming) high-end phones. Now, how much of a difference that makes to the user experience is debatable, but numbers are numbers and 144>120.

Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review

Not breaking the mold in the software department, the Edge 30 Ultra ships with a mostly stock-looking build of Android (12 in this case). There’s the familiar set of Moto customizations grouped in the Moto app – the double flick of the wrist to launch the camera is a personal favorite, but there’s a host of other useful gestures too. There’s also the ‘Ready For’ phone-turns-desktop-PC functionality that can be just what you’re looking for.

Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review

The 4,610mAh battery capacity is about par for the course, though the 125W charging capability has potential to delivery top-of-the charts results for charging speed. All too often that power rating turns out meaningless, so we’ll hold off our excitement until we’re able to clock it. There’s wireless charging on the Moto too, rated at up to 50W.

Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review

200MP primary camera with two sidekicks, 60MP unit on the front

The Edge 30 Ultra is the first phone we get to see that utilizes the 200MP Samsung HP1 sensor. With a 1/1.22″ optical format, it’s among the largest sensors you’d find in a smartphone. And it better be, in order to fit so many pixels – tiny as they may be at 0.64µm. The sensor uses 16-to-1 binning for an effective pixel size of 2.56µm to output 12.5MP images – Samsung calls this design Tetra2pixel (or, rather, Tetra-to-the-power-of-two pixel). The lens for this camera is stabilized and has a 23mm equivalent focal length and an f/1.9 aperture.

Here are a few samples.

Daylight samples, main camera (1x), 12.5MP - f/1.9, ISO 100, 1/594s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review
Daylight samples, main camera (1x), 12.5MP - f/1.9, ISO 100, 1/775s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review
Daylight samples, main camera (1x), 12.5MP - f/1.9, ISO 100, 1/594s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review
Daylight samples, main camera (1x), 12.5MP - f/1.9, ISO 100, 1/710s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review

Daylight samples, main camera (1x), 12.5MP

You do, of course, get to shoot at the nominal resolution as well. The phone itself points out that it’s best to do it in bright lighting for optimum results. In our experience, the process takes an extra second to capture and we’re reminded to keep still.

Daylight samples, main camera (1x), 200MP - f/1.9, ISO 100, 1/586s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review
Daylight samples, main camera (1x), 200MP - f/1.9, ISO 100, 1/778s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review
Daylight samples, main camera (1x), 200MP - f/1.9, ISO 100, 1/630s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review
Daylight samples, main camera (1x), 200MP - f/1.9, ISO 100, 1/697s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review

Daylight samples, main camera (1x), 200MP

The ultrawide camera is based on the Samsung JN1 sensor – a 50MP Tetrapixel unit (so ‘only’ 4-to-1 binning) with a 1/2.76″ optical format and the same 0.64µm pixel pitch. The lens has a 14mm equivalent focal length and an f/2.2 aperture. Most importantly, this camera features autofocus, so you can also use it for close ups. We’ll have some of those for the full review, but in the meantime, have a look at a handful of general shots.

Daylight samples, ultrawide camera (0.5x), 12.5MP - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/483s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review
Daylight samples, ultrawide camera (0.5x), 12.5MP - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/612s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review
Daylight samples, ultrawide camera (0.5x), 12.5MP - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/513s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review
Daylight samples, ultrawide camera (0.5x), 12.5MP - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/544s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review

Daylight samples, ultrawide camera (0.5x), 12.5MP

The ultra-res mode does allow you to shoot at the ultrawide camera’s native resolution.

Daylight samples, ultrawide camera (0.5x), 50MP - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/480s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review
Daylight samples, ultrawide camera (0.5x), 50MP - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/616s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review
Daylight samples, ultrawide camera (0.5x), 50MP - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/509s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review
Daylight samples, ultrawide camera (0.5x), 50MP - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/544s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review

Daylight samples, ultrawide camera (0.5x), 50MP

At the opposite end of the zoom range is the 2x telephoto, which Motorola also calls a portrait camera and lists its equivalent focal length at 50mm – the f/1.6 aperture should help too. The sensor here is a Sony IMX663 (1/2.93″, 1.22µm). Once again, we’ll explore its capabilities in more detail in the coming days, but here’s a taste.

Daylight samples, telephoto camera (2x), 12MP - f/1.6, ISO 100, 1/3204s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review
Daylight samples, telephoto camera (2x), 12MP - f/1.6, ISO 100, 1/5066s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review
Daylight samples, telephoto camera (2x), 12MP - f/1.6, ISO 100, 1/4370s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review
Daylight samples, telephoto camera (2x), 12MP - f/1.6, ISO 100, 1/4846s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review

Daylight samples, telephoto camera (2x), 12MP

Over on the front, the 60MP selfie camera is based on the OmniVision OV60A sensor – this one with even smaller pixels at 0.61µm. The fixed-focus lens has a 23mm equivalent focal length and an f/2.2 aperture.

Selfie samples, 15MP - f/2.2, ISO 143, 1/100s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review
Selfie samples, 15MP - f/2.2, ISO 609, 1/50s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review
Selfie samples, 15MP - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/119s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review
Selfie samples, 15MP - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/775s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review

Selfie samples, 15MP

Selfie samples, 60MP - f/2.2, ISO 198, 1/100s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review
Selfie samples, 60MP - f/2.2, ISO 559, 1/50s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review
Selfie samples, 60MP - f/2.2, ISO 116, 1/100s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review
Selfie samples, 60MP - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/555s - Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review

Selfie samples, 60MP

Wrap-up

The high-end segment could use some spicing up and the Motorola Edge 30 Ultra has potential to do so. The 200MP main camera will help the marketing team, but it can prove useful too – more thanks to the sensor’s size and what the binning can bring rather the sheer resolution. The telephoto camera reach is rather short, but there is a tele at least, and the autofocusing ultrawide is a most welcome sight.

Motorola Edge 30 Ultra hands-on review

Of course, the 144Hz display is a nice touch, we just need to see how it fares when it comes to brightness and color. The 125W charging is similarly eye-catching on paper but that too needs some level-headed testing and let’s not forget battery life. We’re expecting solid performance from the latest Snapdragon, and we got nicely stable results under prolonged loads too from past Motos – particularly nice if you’re going to make use of the desktop PC functionality of the Edge 30 Ultra. We’ll elaborate on all these and more in the full review, so stay tuned.

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