Motorola Edge 30 Neo review: Compact mid-range for Netflix fans

Motorola’s Edge 30 Neo is the cheapest model in the Edge 30 series. We will now discover what the 6.28-inch smartphone is capable of in this detailed NextPit review!

Good

  • Great display
  • Attractive design
  • Very light and compact
  • Decent main camera (during the day)
  • Great stereo sound
  • Battery charges faster than average
  • Power adapter included
  • Wireless charging

Bad

  • SoC is relatively slow
  • Camera hump stands out too much
  • Moderate night photos and videos
  • No memory expansion slot
  • No headphone jack

The Motorola Edge 30 Neo in a nutshell

At a price of just under $400 (after conversion as this handset is not available in the US), Motorola’s Edge 30 Neo is naturally slimmed down compared to the flagship Motorola Edge 30 Ultra (review). This applies to almost all categories, including its performance, camera, and battery. Nevertheless, the Edge 30 Neo does convince in many ways.
The display is outstanding, the sound quality of the stereo speakers is loud and clear, making this the perfect video streaming device. 

It also looks great (except for the camera bump), is quite compact and light, and charges quickly at 68 watts. Great-looking photos are possible when the lighting is good, but we have to turn a blind eye to night photos and videos. The Snapdragon 695 SoC lags a bit behind the mid-range competition, but you will still manage very well in everyday use, including gaming.

It is just a shame that there is only one version with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of non-expandable storage. According to the MSRP, you will have to pay circa $400 for this model, but the street price is most probably discounted.

Display and design: Love at first sight

With a 6.28-inch display and dimensions measuring 152.9 x 71.2 x 7.75 mm, the Edge 30 Neo is pleasantly compact.
The pOLED display completely convinces me, and the device is a real eye-catcher with its matte back and exciting Pantone colors.

What I liked:

  • Convincing AMOLED display with 120 Hz refresh rate.
  • Compact & light device.
  • Fits very well in the hand.
  • Visually appealing design with exciting colors.
  • LED ring around camera array for notifications.

What I disliked:

  • Case is pure plastic.
  • Camera bump protrudes too much
  • No headphone jack
  • Only IP52 certification
  • No Always-on Display

Immediately after unpacking, I immediately fell in love with it. While I strongly dislike massive camera bumps in my smartphones, I find the rest of the device to be extremely pleasant to look at. This started with the color: Our review unit presented itself in a shade of “Very Peri”—something that lies somewhere in the Purple-Violet range.

Edge 30 Neo auf dem Schreibtisch
This is how classy the Edge 30 Neo looks with the exclusive Pantone color. / © NextPit.

It’s the Pantone Color of 2022, and Motorola has also partnered with Pantone for the other color variants. There are a total of four colors to choose from, though I actually find this “Very Peri” to be the most interesting. By the way, Motorola also prominently displays the Pantone partnership on the smartphone’s back, where the Pantone reference is found at the bottom.

However, the device is also a real head-turner. First of all, it is quite compact for a modern mid-range smartphone with its 6.28-inch display and pleasantly light weight of 155 grams. Secondly, the matte, somewhat rough back is very pleasant to the touch, so the device feels very good and secure in the hand overall. The downside of this lightweight handset: The casing, including the frame, is made of plastic and thus, is more vulnerable to damage in case of a drop.

While we are talking about negatives, here is something you should know about: The device also loses points in terms of IP certification, or rather, the lack of it. With IP52 certification, it offers protection against water splashes only, nothing more. The headphone jack is also non-existent, but I am done complaining about that.

Despite the plastic, the device is very well-made, although the keys have a bit of looseness to them. By the way, I consider them to be perfectly placed. Both the power button and the volume rocker above it can be reached comfortably with the right thumb—at least if you have frying pan-sized hands like me.

Motorola Edge 30 Neo von der rechten Seite
The Edge 30 Neo is very thin at 7.75 mm. / © NextPit

Maybe it’s just a gimmick for most, but I also like the LED ring Motorola has wrapped around the camera section. It lights up or pulses on different occasions, for example when you receive notifications or when the device is charging.

A really amazing display

We now come to the Edge 30 Neo’s presumed highlight: the display! 2,400 x 1,080 pixels at a ratio of 20:9 provide a pixel density of 420 PPI. Images are repeated adaptively at 120 Hz, and Lenovo’s subsidiary Motorola also states a scan rate of 240 hertz. That’s enough about the numbers for now. If you like, you can also set the refresh rate to 60 or 120 Hz.

Motorola Edge 30 Pro von vorne
The display of the Motorola Edge 30 Pro is completely convincing. / © NextPit

The screen is pleasantly bright and thus also easy to read outdoors. I click my tongue enthusiastically at the display of the colors as well as the black tones. The punch hole for the selfie camera is located in the upper center, whereas the in-display fingerprint sensor is at the bottom. I think it could have been placed a bit further up, but it responds relatively quickly and reliably.

I found it to be somewhat unfortunate that there is no real Always-on Display, but only a preview screen that lights up when new notifications come in. Since Always-on Display is normally par for the course in this price range, I find this to be a legitimate negative point.

Overall, I really like the panel, and Netflix fans will also get their money’s worth thanks to “Widevine L1” certification, where they can enjoy content in Full HD.

Software: (Almost) stock Android

The Motorola Edge 30 Neo runs on Android 12 in an almost stock form. Moto My UX adds interesting features and gestures to the native Android operating system.

What I liked:

  • Pure Android experience.
  • Useful gestures.
  • Customization options via the Moto app.

What I disliked:

  • Ships with “only” Android 12, with two upcoming Android updates.

Pure, unadulterated, unmodified, stock Android—oh, how I love it. I know many of you totally appreciate heavily customized interfaces like One UI 5. However, I like the software on my smartphone the same way I like my mind: plain! That’s why I’m very happy with what I see on the Edge 30 Neo because the interface doesn’t just look very tidy but it actually is.

If that is not enough for you, you can still use the Moto app, which is preinstalled on the device. You can use it to make numerous adjustments to personalize the overall look. There are also other practical features that you can use via gesture control. For example, you can take a screenshot by tapping the screen with three fingers or activate the flashlight by shaking it – I love that!

Head on here If you want to learn more about Android 12. Speaking of Android: Of course, it is also exciting to see just how many updates this handset will receive. You can probably expect two major updates, so you can keep your fingers crossed that the smartphone will receive Android 14 when it is released in 2023. To be honest, I think that is a bit poor by now. Android 13 should not be too long in coming, after which only one major update will be available. Security updates are also guaranteed for two to three years.

Motorola is not the laggard in terms of major Android and security updates, but it will not be able to receive a round of huge applause in 2022. The Samsung Galaxy A53 inevitably comes to mind. It is in the same league in terms of price and technology, but scores far more with four years of major Android updates and a whopping five years of security support.

What else is worth mentioning? Certainly the “Ready For” support! You can connect the smartphone wirelessly to your monitor in desktop mode. With the computing power of a Motorola smartphone and an external keyboard, you can create your own Android desktop computer in combination with a display. However, keep in mind that the Edge 30 Neo’s hardware limits are set by the weaker SoC.

Performance: Unobtrusively mid-range

The SoC of the Edge 30 Neo is a bit weaker since only the Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 is used. However, coupled with 128 GB of non-expandable storage and 8 GB of RAM, you get a smartphone that is absolutely suitable for everyday use.

What I liked:

  • Solid performance.
  • Stereo speakers and Dolby Atmos.

What I disliked:

  • No memory expansion slots.
  • Only Wi-Fi 5.

Since we just mentioned the performance, we will continue from there. You do not expect miracles from the Snapdragon 695. However, its eight cores do not just chug along leisurely but provide enough performance so that you should not encounter any problems in everyday use.

In combination with the 8 GB of RAM and the fast 120 Hz display, everything runs pleasantly smooth. At most, you might notice that apps launch a bit slower than you would have liked. Gaming is also possible with the Edge 30 Neo. The tested games Genshin Impact and Asphalt 9 asked me if I was really serious when I started them (I felt that they were), but they could be played smoothly with the graphics settings turned down.

The device heats up slightly during intensive use, but everything is within a normal, acceptable range. The Wild Life Stress Test marks the upper limit at a chilly 34 degrees. However, you can also see that the frame rate is only between 5 and 11 FPS. What does this mean for you? Of course, you can also take a gamble with the device—but you better buy something higher-end from your trusted smartphone dealer for demanding games.

If we look at the competition in the price range, we see that some models have more to offer. Especially the Pixel 6a (review) literally runs circles around the Edge 30 Neo. For the sake of completeness, I have also included Moto’s flagship Edge 30 Ultra (review) in the table. There, you can see what Motorola offers when you pay more.

  Motorola Edge 30 Neo Motorola Edge 30 Ultra Samsung Galaxy A53 Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro Google Pixel 6a
3D Mark Wild Life 1,205 8,108 2,280 1,096 5,762
3D Mark Wild Life Stress Test

Best loop: 1,208

Worst loop: 1,109

Best Loop: 10,250

Worst loop: 6,101

Best Loop: 2,298
Worst loop: 2,293
Best loop: 1,099
Worst Loop: 1,094
Best loop: 4,941
Worst loop: 2,860
Geekbench 5 Single: 1,208
Multi: 4,310
Single: 1,325
Multi: 4,310
Single: 1,155
Multi: 3,356
Single: 505
Multi: 1,754
Single: 1,038
Multi: 2,890

But as I mentioned earlier: The device is absolutely suitable for everyday use even with the Snapdragon 695 SoC. What else can we say about it? In view of the fact that you only have one storage option with 128 GB, it is extremely annoying that you cannot expand the storage. You can only stuff two nano-SIM cards into the card slot. Beyond that, NFC is of course on board, and Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity standards are once again, a bit behind, but you can at least enjoy 5G connectivity.

Sound quality is often neglected in reviews or is treated as a stepchild. In this case, however, I want to mention that the Edge 30 Neo offers loud and quite decent-sounding stereo speakers and Dolby Atmos support. As you can see: Great display, and proper stereo sound—this handset is perfect for those who like to kill time on the go with Netflix, YouTube, and other streaming platforms.

Camera: Partly mixed, partly usable

The main camera with 64 MP provides many a great snapshot in good lighting conditions.
It is joined by a 13 MP ultra-wide angle shooter, while a 32 MP shooter lies in front.

What I liked:

  • Good main camera performance during the day.
  • Decent ultra-wide angle camera.
  • No useless 2 MP wannabe camera sensors.

What I disliked:

  • Mediocre results at night.
  • The zoom is really weak.
  • Videos recorded in Full HD at most.

I think I want to be brief here. This is simply because no one will probably buy this smartphone intending to produce high-quality photo art with it. Instead, you get more or less what you pay for: A camera that is good for many a successful snapshot as long as the surrounding light is good.

This should not sound worse than it actually is. In good lighting, the pictures are both rich in detail and very natural in color. The main camera even features optical image stabilization. If the pixel binning results are not enough, you can pull the 64 MP option in the settings. Of course, there is also a Pro mode, but the camera app does not stand out for its complexity otherwise.

Motorola Edge 30 Neo von hinten
Two decent sensors, done! No useless 2 MP macro crap far and wide. / © NextPit

I’ll also award a big plus point for the fact that Motorola doesn’t force 2 MP sensors for macro and bokeh on us, which can’t do anything other than look nice on the specifications sheet. Instead, the 13 MP ultra-wide angle camera still takes over the macro side job. I am not particularly convinced by the macro pictures, but they are better than these 2 MP cameras, which look like they came out of a surprise egg.

The ultra-wide angle results are also convincing in daylight. However, I have the feeling that the autofocus sometimes jumped back and forth a bit indecisively.

Otherwise, the two cameras remind us of the concept of any good horror movie: Nothing extraordinary happens during the day, but as soon as the sun goes down, things get hairy. In this case, that applies to both sensors, which visibly struggle to find a few tiny details and a bit of dynamic range in night photos. If you get help in the form of the night mode, the results actually get a bit better. However, the overall results are a bit pale, if you ask me.

In the front, the 32 MP camera does a good job without shining too much or looking disappointing. Even without the depth camera, nice portrait pictures are taken (depending on the subject), and the background is reliably blurred. For everything else, take a look at the gallery. Once again: You get a really “okay” camera during the day, but those who pick up the Motorola Edge 30 Neo will probably not do so because of the outstanding camera technology.

That also applies to videos, by the way: You do not want to know anything about 4K or even 8K here. You only have the option of filming in Full HD with either 30 or 60 FPS.

Small battery? No one cares!

The battery also stands out positively from the mid-range crowd. However, it does not do so with the rather manageable capacity of 4,020 mAh, but with very fast Quick-Charging at 68 W and the option for wireless charging.

What I liked:

  • Fast Quick-Charging at 68 watts.
  • Charger is included.
  • Wireless Charging is supported.

What I disliked:

  • Battery capacity is not the biggest.

For less than $400, we usually have to deal with smartphones that have a 5,000 mAh battery capacity. In this respect, the Edge 30 Neo clearly stinks with a 4,020 mAh capacity. That happens when the smartphone is 7.75 mm thin.

However, the low capacity was not even noticed negatively in the review. Even the benchmarks place the battery runtime above 11:30 hours with a 120 Hz refresh rate enabled. Thus, you can easily get through the day even with somewhat more intensive use. Besides, I don’t give a damn about the battery capacity, to say the least, when I can go from 0 to 25 percent after five minutes of charging thanks to the 68-watt “Turbo Power” charging.

After 25 minutes of charging, the handset was already at 75 percent battery capacity, and it is fully charged in less than 40 minutes. If you like, you can also charge the device wirelessly thanks to Qi support. This is much slower at just 5 watts. The cherry on top of the battery cake is how the charger is included in the purchase.

Motorola Edge 30 Neo technical specifications

  Technical specifications
Device
Image
Motorola Edge 30 Neo von vorne und hinten
Display 6.28-inch POLED, 2,400 x 1,080 pixel resolution (FHD+), 120 hertz refresh rate
Dimensions 152.9 x 71.2 x 7.75 mm
Weight 155 g
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G
Memory 8 GB LPDDR5 RAM
128 GB UFS 2.2 ROM
Software Android 12 | Moto My UX
Expandable memory
Main camera 64 MP | f1.8 aperture | 1.4 µm pixel size | OIS
Ultra-wide angle camera 13 MP | f/2.2 aperture | 1.12 µm pixel size | 120° viewing angle | Macro
Selfie 32 MP | f/2.4 | 1.4 µm pixel size
Video FullHD at 30/60 fps
Audio Stereo speaker | Dolby Atmos
Battery 4,020 mAh
Charging via cable Max. 68 W, wireless charging (Qi)
IP certification IP52
Security In-display fingerprint sensor, Face Unlock
Connectivity 5G, Wi-Fi 5 (WLAN 802.11a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, USB-C, A-GPS, GLONASS, Galileo
Colors Black Onyx, Very Peri, Ice Palace and Aqua Foam

Conclusion

I am actually a bit ambivalent after reviewing the Motorola Edge 30 Neo. On the one hand, the device is nice and compact, it offers a really great display and good sound. This makes the smartphone the perfect companion if you like to stream videos on the go.

But then the compromises begin to grate at me. The smartphone looks great and feels good, but it is a pure plastic device with only IP52 certification. The camera is very decent during the day, but at night, it is more like “let’s not talk about it”. The SoC lags behind the competition, but the performance is still good for everyday tasks. The battery is small, but still lasts long enough and is recharged quickly. You get the most beautiful stock Android experience, but will only receive updates up to Android 14.

Motorola Edge 30 Neo von vorne
The Pantone color “Very Peri” can also be seen when looking at the display. / © NextPit

Honestly: When I reviewed all this, I see a really fine smartphone in the sub-$400 class despite the compromises. In view of the strong competition, you will find many devices that can do this or that better. But the Edge 30 Neo has long since approached the $300 mark and you can buy it at this price without hesitation—if you are not a professional photographer who wants to focus on smartphone photography from now on.

What do you think? Do you think my 4-star rating is exaggerated? Which devices in this price range would you prefer? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

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