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Moto G53 5G review: an affordable phone with too many compromises
9:26 am | June 7, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Moto G53: One-minute review

Motorola’s Moto G series of wallet-friendly smartphones have always had the aim to offer the essential features you need from a phone without a sky-high price tag, and that is certainly the case with the Moto G53. While there are always going to be some trade-offs when comparing it against some of the best phones available right now, as an overall budget phone experience, Motorola remains unrivalled.

The main aim of the Moto G53 is to put 5G data speeds in the hands of many, while offering a perfectly usable smartphone experience. It’s a solidly built device, even if its overall design is a little uninspired, but the star of the show is its battery life, which should keep you going for well over a day. 

Motorola has also done well to include a 120Hz refresh rate screen, especially in a phone that costs as little as this, which helps to give general navigation a less-budget feel, but the display quality in general does live up to its low-cost nature.

Elsewhere, however, you are going to have to make some compromises. The camera, for example, isn’t as amazing as its specs would have you believe. A 50MP sensor sounds appealing but, in practice, it leaves a lot to be desired, especially if you’re trying to take photos in low light. It’s also not a phone to get if you plan on playing any graphically-intensive games, as the processor just isn’t up to the task. 

And while it may feel nice to hold and comes with a pretty responsive fingerprint reader for unlocking the device, its plastic build and lack of any worthwhile waterproofing means you’ll want to be extra careful with how you treat it. But you have to remember how little the G53 costs and, if you’re looking at spending as little as possible on a phone, we suspect you’re not going to be looking for flagship features in the first place. 

Motorola Moto G53 5G review: Price and availability

  • List price of £190 / AU$329
  • Available in some markets now
  • No US availability, equivalent phone costs $249.99

Availability of Motorola smartphones differs between the US, UK and Australia. The Moto G family of phones often has multiple members, but what you’ll find in the US, for example, may not be available in Australia and vice versa. 

In the case of the Moto G53 5G, it launched in the UK and Australia on March 30, 2023 for £190 / AU$329. The Moto G53 5G doesn’t exist in the US under the same name, but the Moto G 5G is the most closely matched model at $250, although this has a slightly different camera system and can accept a slightly higher charging throughput. 

• Value score: 4/5

Motorola Moto G53 5G review: Specs

Motorola Moto G53 5G review: Design

  • Good-looking handset, if a little uninspired
  • Lightweight and comfortable to hold in one hand, despite its large size
  • MicroSD expansion will please most users

Motorola Moto G53 5G rear panel with included case attached

(Image credit: Future)

The Moto G53 isn’t a bad-looking phone by any means, but it doesn’t quite have the wow factor of some other devices on the market. Having said that, I did let out a discernible gasp when I first took it out the box when I realized just how light it was.

At 183g, the Moto G53 5G is practically a feather and its lack of weight certainly helps with being able to hold it with one hand. Sporting a 6.5-inch screen, it is quite a large device – and certainly one of the largest phones I’ve personally held in a while. I do have fairly big hands, and was only just about able to use it one-handed, but it wasn’t the most comfortable experience ever, especially with no gestures available to bring the screen down, as you’ll find in iOS. I would expect most people will want to use it two-handed.

Its featherweight figure is afforded by its plastic frame and back panel, and while this can inherently make it feel cheap – which of course, in terms of price, it is – the G53 does feel like a solid device in the hand. The rear panel feels particularly lovely to the touch and, in the blue color of my review sample at least, does well to hide fingerprints. 

There’s no mention of Gorilla Glass being used on the front panel in Motorola’s official specs list, so you’ll definitely want to invest in a tempered glass screen protector, and while an official IP rating is not offered, the company says it has a “water-repellant” design that can survive the odd splash or spill, but you’ll want to refrain from submerging it in water at all costs. 

The rear dual camera system sits within its own little bump, and Motorola has managed to keep the extrusion to a minimum – it certainly sticks out less than the camera bump on the newer iPhones at least. Motorola also ships the G53 with a clear case already attached, and not only does this save you having to buy your own, it also helps the slight camera bump to sit fully flush with the rear of the phone. Overall it’s a slim device at just 8.2mm thick, meaning you should have no issue sliding into a pocket. 

On the right side of the phone you’ll find the power button, complete with built-in fingerprint scanner, which I found to be quick and responsive, and I liked the fact you don’t need to actually press the button for it to work. Instead, just touch your finger on it and the G53 will unlock. 

On the left of the G53 is where you’ll find the SIM card tray, which also houses a slot for a microSD card, allowing for up to 1TB of additional storage to go with the 128GB that’s already built in. Finally, on the bottom, there’s a USB-C charging port and a 3.5mm headphone jack, for anyone who still wishes to use wired headphones over the best wireless headphones

Design score: 3.5/5

Motorola Moto G53 5G review: Display

  • 6.5-inch LCD with 120Hz refresh for smoother motion
  • Lack of full HD resolution may put some off

Motorola Moto G53 5G display

(Image credit: Future)

A 6.5-inch LCD display dominates the front of the Moto G53, with a small punch-hole cutout at the top to house the front camera. Bezels around the sides and at the top are kept relatively slim, but there is a slightly larger one at the bottom. I don’t think this detracts from the overall viewing experience because, since the screen is so large, my eyes were never really drawn to the chin at the bottom. 

The screen has full HD+ 1600 x 720 resolution with 269ppi. It’s a bit upsetting that Motorola hasn’t fitted the G53 with a 1080p display, especially since you do get one with the Moto G62 (along with an extra camera sensor) without having to spend too much more money. 

Despite the lack of resolution, the G53’s screen does go nice and bright, with a peak brightness of around 450 nits. It’s not the most color-accurate display ever though, with the whole viewing experience feeling a little flat – especially when compared against an OLED screen or an LCD on a more expensive device – and blacks in particular fail to reach inky depths. Motorola gives you the option of choosing between Natural and Saturated modes in the display settings menu, with the latter being the default. 

I experimented using both modes and found Natural to be the better of the two. Saturated was just a little too ‘in your face’ and fake-looking for my liking.

To really test the G53’s ability to handle color, I loaded up a stream of The Incredibles on Disney Plus. Remembering once again just how little this phone costs, the Motorola does a fine job, serving up a perfectly passable image that demonstrates good contrast. The red suits of The Incredibles family stand out particularly well in a predominantly green forest-based scene towards the end of the movie, although as mentioned before, they’re not as vibrant as you’d get from a more capable display, or one that uses OLED technology. 

Perhaps the headline figure where the display is concerned is its 120Hz refresh rate. This is a rarity for devices in this price bracket – not even the iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Plus can lay claim to having it – and it’s certainly a welcome one. Motion when scrolling is definitely smooth, although the odd stutter can be seen when moving particularly quickly, likely spurred on by the underpowered processor. You have the option of setting the refresh rate to automatic, or you can choose to keep it locked at 120Hz or 60Hz, but doing so can affect battery life.

Display score: 3.5/5

Motorola Moto G53 5G review: Cameras

  • 50MP main, 2MP macro and 8MP front cameras
  • Takes OK-looking photos in good lighting
  • Struggling autofocus and lack of OIS means low-light photos suffer

Motorola Moto G53 5G camera module

(Image credit: Future)

Motorola has equipped the Moto G53 with a dual camera system, comprising a 50MP f/1.8 main sensor and a 2MP f/2.4 macro sensor. While 50 megapixels may sound like an enticing number, it doesn’t tell the whole story and it doesn’t necessarily equate to high-quality images. 

The sensor used by Motorola is a Samsung JN1, which is a relatively small sensor with small pixels and, as such, has a harder time drawing in light. This not only affects how vibrant and detailed images appear, but also means the G53 has a hard time autofocusing well on whatever or whoever your subject is.

If you find yourself in good, bright sunlight, then you are able to take OK-looking photos, although the best camera phones aren’t going to be quaking in their boots. Images do still lack any real vibrancy and clarity, and results suffer with worsening light conditions. This was proven when I took the Moto G53 to Sydney's annual Vivid event. Even with several bright light installations, the Motorola struggled to focus and a lack of optical image stabilization certainly didn't help matters. Results turned out blurred and lacking any notion of color or detail.

As for the macro lens, an on-screen prompt pops up telling you to get up close with the subject, but I struggled to get it to focus on anything. I actually had more success using the main lens up close instead.

In the gallery below, I've included images taken on the Moto G53 in good lighting, in low-lighting and some comparison shots of a leaf taken using the standard camera and macro camera.

Results taken on the front camera aren't overly terrible, although I did find I could look pale and overexposed in some instances. I also found that when I came to view the selfie I'd taken, some processing appears to take place on the image, which makes it look more blurred. I toggled the automatic HDR setting on and off, assuming this was the culprit, but the same effect was applied each time. 

Camera score: 2.5/5

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Still life taken on Moto G53 5G

(Image credit: Future)
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Picture of leaf taken on Moto G53 5G

(Image credit: Future)
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Macro shot of leaf taken on Moto G53 5G

(Image credit: Future)
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Image taken at dusk on Moto G53 5G

(Image credit: Future)
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Image taken at night at Vivid Sydney with Moto G53 5G

(Image credit: Future)
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Image taken at night at Vivid Sydney with Moto G53 5G

(Image credit: Future)
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Close up image of speaker taken with Moto G53 5G

(Image credit: Future)
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Selfie take on Moto G53 5G

(Image credit: Future)

Motorola Moto G53 5G review: Software & performance

  • Android 13
  • Dated Snapdragon 480 Plus processor
  • Will struggle to perform any intense tasks

The Moto G53 runs the latest version of Android 13 and is kept largely free of any added bloatware. Motorola has its own app onboard, which you can use to customize various aspects of the phone, such as the color theme, the layout of the home screen (how many rows and columns of apps you can have displayed) and which gestures you want to use – if any – to open apps or enable features. 

On Geekbench 6, the Moto G53 5G returned a single-core score of 719, a multi-core score of 1743 and 979 in 3DMark Wild Life. These are all pretty low figures, and you shouldn’t expect to do any intensive gaming on it, but in comparison with some of its similarly priced peers, the G53 actually fares pretty well.

The Samsung Galaxy A23, which costs around $299 / £289 / AU$400 returned a single-core score of 522 and a multi-core score of 1669, along with a 3DMark score of 440, for example, making the G53 a better performer on paper. 

The TCL 20S launched in 2021 with a price of $249 (around £180 / AU$345) returned an average Geekbench score of 1343, compared to the G53’s 1231 (there isn’t a published 3DMark score for it).

But benchmark scores only tell some of the story and, in general day-to-day use, I found the G53 to perform well. Navigating through menus only incurred the occasional stutter and apps loaded relatively quickly. The takeaway is to not expect flagship-level performance, as this is a budget device that’s on par with its peers. It may come down to whichever costs the least for you, or if you have a particular affinity for a certain brand that will persuade you to part with your cash. 

Software and performance score: 3/5

Motorola Moto G53 5G review: Battery

Motorola Moto G53 5G lying on table

(Image credit: Future)
  • 5,000mAh battery lasts well over a day
  • Slow to charge with just 10W wired charging, no wireless

Motorola has fitted a 5,000mAh battery into the Moto G53 5G, which is something we’ve now pretty much come to expect in the G series. It’s a solid offering and one that should comfortably last you a day with moderate use, and with some battery life to spare. 

To put it to the test, I loaded up an 11-hour long YouTube video of various nature scenes, with resolution set to automatic – 720p in this case – and screen brightness set to 50%. I left the video playing on a loop in TechRadar's Sydney office, where lighting conditions were constant, so that the display wouldn’t keep adjusting its brightness level. 

I came back to the video still playing the next morning and the battery usage statistics said it had been running for 21 hours 35 minutes, and still had 8% battery left. This is mighty impressive and, despite the screen offering 120Hz refresh rate, the Full HD+ resolution, coupled with a large 5,000mAh battery unit no doubt helps the G53 to last for close to two days with average use.

Which is good news, because it takes a fairly long time to fully recharge the G53’s battery. The phone only supports up to 10 watts of maximum throughput from a wired charge, which meant it took just over two hours to top up to 100% from seven. 

Battery score: 4.5 / 5

Motorola Moto G53 5G: Score card

Should I buy the Motorola Moto G53 5G?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

If you're looking at the Motorola Moto G53, then it's most likely because you're looking to spend as little as possible on a phone. But you're also going to want to get the absolute most bang for your buck. Here are some good alternatives that do cost a little bit more, but which don't scrimp on features. 

How I tested the Motorola Moto G53 5G

I used my review unit of the Motorola Moto G53 5G mainly for leisure during my testing period of a few weeks. I predominantly used it to browse web pages, scroll through social media and to take some pictures. I also attempted to play a few games on it to best mimic the most likely real-world use case scenarios. 

I didn't use it to replace my usual phone, an iPhone, but I was still able to send messages to friends via social media apps when connected to Wi-Fi. I also used my iPhone as a means to compare picture-taking abilities, being well aware that the iPhone was going to take more impressive shots due to its more capable camera system. 

Read more about how we test

[First reviewed June 2023]

Motorola Edge 30 Neo review: a bright screen isn’t enough for this to shine
7:00 am | April 24, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Motorola Edge 30 Neo: Two-minute review

The Motorola Edge 30 Neo is the baby of the Edge 30 family. It's a fairly petite and light phone that does not cost a fortune and has some great everyday ease of use features like super-fast charging. 

However, compare it to its siblings, the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion and Motorola Edge 30 Ultra, and you have to conclude a lot of the most interesting stuff has been snipped out. The Motorola Edge 30 Neo loses the higher-end build elements, the true high-end camera hardware, and a processor powerful enough to coast through high-end games.

Display quality is the Motorola Edge 30 Neo’s main strength. The P-OLED panel has exceptional outdoor visibility and, as usual, an OLED panel leads to a punchy and colorful appearance.

A Motorola Edge 30 Neo from the back, in someone's hand

(Image credit: TechRadar)

That is worth some kudos points, but the Motorola Edge 30 Neo can’t compete elsewhere with some of the ultra-aggressive phones available for similar money, like the OnePlus Nord 2T, Nothing Phone 1, and Google Pixel 6a

Those phones take much better low-light photos, play 3D games at higher frame rates, have classier body designs, and capture far higher-quality video.

When you take the high-quality screen away, the Motorola Edge 30 Neo doesn’t actually have all that much going for it in this crowd. However, it still holds real appeal for the less techy phone user.

Motorola Edge 30 Neo review: price and availability

A Motorola Edge 30 Neo from the front, in someone's hand

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • Launched in September 2022
  • Cost £349 / AU$599 (around $375) at launch
  • Now reduced to £299.99 in the UK

The Motorola Edge 30 Neo was announced as part of the second wave of Edge 30 phones of 2022, in September 2022, alongside the Edge 30 Ultra and Edge 30 Fusion. 

It launched for £349 / AU$599, which is roughly equivalent to $375 in the US, although at the time of review the phone was not officially on sale in the US. Since launch, the phone has dropped in price in the UK, with the Motorola Edge 30 Neo being widely available for £299.99.

Motorola Edge 30 Neo review: specs

A Motorola Edge 30 Neo from the back, in someone's hand

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Motorola Edge 30 Neo review: design

A Motorola Edge 30 Neo from the back

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • Funky Pantone color panel
  • Fairly petite plastic body
  • Very basic IP52 water resistance

Successful phone designs have to seem deliberate, each part chosen carefully. You can do this with a very distinctive 'look', as in the Google Pixel 7 or Samsung Galaxy S23. Or you can use high-end materials like curved glass. 

Motorola has instead evoked the mighty color company Pantone, putting a virtual swatch of one of the company's colors on the back of the purple model. The message: this isn’t just a color, it’s a Pantone-certified color. There are a few different options available, namely Very Peri, Ice Palace, Black Onyx, and Aqua Foam, and it's the first of those that we used for this review.

“Very Peri helps us to embrace this altered landscape of possibilities, opening us up to a new vision as we rewrite our lives,” says Pantone, which calls Very Peri Color of the Year 2022. 

Sure thing. A lovely purple it is too, but the reason for the figurative medal on the back of the Very Peri model is partly to distract from the Motorola Edge 30 Neo’s prosaic build.

Its back and sides are plastic, lacking the high-end feel of the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion and Edge 30 Ultra. The screen covering is glass, of course, but Motorola does not specify it as Gorilla Glass, which usually means it uses a cheaper form of toughened glass from another brand.

A Motorola Edge 30 Neo from the back

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The purple is nice, the lightly sparkly finish on the plastic rear looks good. And, from what we can tell from online images, the other green, white and black shades look good too. But this is actually one of the less impressively-built phones in this class. Vivo, OnePlus, Google and Nothing all offer at least some use of glass or aluminum outside of the display panel at this level.

However, the Motorola Edge 30 Neo is at least light and pocketable. It weighs just 155g, and is around 7.8mm thick. Thin and light. Motorola also includes a slim snap-on case in the box, rather than the much floppier silicone kind it usually bundles with its phones.

The Motorola Edge 30 Neo has no memory card slot or headphone jack, because it’s self-consciously not a true budget model. And it also has an in-screen fingerprint sensor, not the side-mounted kind used in most cheaper Motorolas. 

This is one of the slowest in-screen fingerprint sensors we’ve used recently though. While that means it takes maybe 1/2 to 2/3 of a second to work, it’s still noticeable. And it is also more picky about the position of your finger than others, sometimes requiring a concerted press – presumably to ensure the thumb/finger is fully covering the pad area. 

Motorola says the Neo is water resistant to IP52, a form of protection so weak you should treat it like it has no water resistance rating at all. Finally, the Motorola Edge 30 Neo has stereo speakers, and they are fairly loud and tonally solid, although the highest frequencies can get a little sharp when maxed. Still, a decent array.

Motorola Edge 30 Neo review: display

A Motorola Edge 30 Neo from the front, in someone's hand

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • Brilliantly bright screen
  • Good color
  • 120Hz OLED delivers smoothness and excellent contrast

The Motorola Edge 30 Neo's design may seem better from afar than in your hand, but the screen is an unexpected smash. It’s a petite 6.28-inch P-OLED panel with class-leading outdoor visibility.

Indoors the screen is capped to around 475 nits of brightness, enough to make the Motorola Edge 30 Neo slightly painful to look at in a dimly lit room. Outdoors on a sunny day it will hit up to 923 nits, which is extremely high for a lower mid-range phone – for almost any Android phone, actually, despite so many manufacturers claiming their screens are capable off 1,300-nit brightness.

The result is the Motorola Edge 30 Neo's screen looks very clear even in harsh direct sunlight.

Spec-wise the display is otherwise pretty normal. It’s a 1080 x 2400 pixel 120Hz panel with two color modes, Natural and Saturated. They perform just as their names suggest.

The Motorola Edge 30 Neo has a potent screen. But it does not support HDR video, for no obvious reason. The screen has the contrast, the brightness, and the color depth for the job. This could also be a limitation of the Snapdragon 695 processor, but then the Sony Xperia 10 IV uses the same chipset and does support HDR video playback. 

We’re going to have to shrug this one off.

Motorola Edge 30 Neo review: software and performance

A Motorola Edge 30 Neo from the front

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • Snapdragon 695 is not a great gaming chipset
  • Good, non-bloated software
  • 128GB storage for your apps and photos

If you’re upgrading to the Motorola Edge 30 Neo from an older Motorola phone, you may notice this one looks a little different. That’s because, drum roll, it defaults to using a custom 'Moto' system font rather than a plainer Android one. 

It goes some way to making the Motorola Edge 30 Neo feel less like a 'vanilla' Android phone than other Motos, but if you don’t like it you can change it with a few screen taps and presses. And Motorola has otherwise not changed the classic Moto interface much here. 

This is a relatively clean and unencumbered version of Android with a handful of neat additions that can be toggled on and off in the Moto app. These include physical gestures to, for example, open the camera app or toggle the torch. 

The Motorola Edge 30 Neo also has Moto’s custom lock screen, Peek Display, which looks good and shows icons for recent notifications. However, unlike some other Moto phones there’s no “always on” display mode here.

A Motorola Edge 30 Neo from the front

(Image credit: TechRadar)

While general performance is good, we couldn’t help but notice app loads tend to be slightly slower than in the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion, the phone we switched from. 

This is no great surprise given the Fusion has a flagship-tier chipset, while the Neo has a much less impressive mid-tier one. 

It’s the Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G, paired with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB of storage. This scores 1,901 in Geekbench 5. That's a little over half the score achieved by the OnePlus Nord 2T and its Dimensity 1300 chipset, or the Pixel 6a and its Google Tensor chip. 

The gap widens if we switch to a more GPU-dependent test like 3DMark’s Wild Life. Where the Moto scores 1,214 points, the OnePlus Nord 2T can hit around 4,600, and the Pixel 6a 6,300. 

Sometimes wide gaps in GPU performance are not all that noticeable in today’s games, but they are here. Fortnite will only run at the basic 'Medium' setting, and frame rate stability is not that great even at this level, which makes the game look significantly worse than in some other phones near the Motorola Edge 30 Neo’s price. This mobile is clearly not made primarily for gamers.

Motorola Edge 30 Neo review: cameras

The cameras on a Motorola Edge 30 Neo

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • Camera tends to slightly overexpose images
  • Disappointing low-light performance in spite of OIS
  • Poor video quality

The hardware situation improves in the camera, at least superficially. Motorola only put two cameras on the Edge 30 Neo, but that simply means we miss out on the poor depth or macro sensors commonly seen in this price category. 

There’s a 64MP primary camera with OIS (optical image stabilization), and a 13MP ultra-wide. Both are technically above average, thanks to the use of OIS, and a higher-res, larger sensor ultra-wide than plenty of affordable mid-tier Androids. 

The main camera uses the 1/1.97-inch Samsung GW3 sensor, as seen in the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite, and the ultra-wide a Hynix Hi1336, as used in the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE. Not bad bedfellows, right?

Results aren’t bad either. The Motorola Edge 30 Neo avoids the obviously oversaturated color you’ll often see in aggressively priced rivals from companies like Realme. 

Grass looks roughly as it does to your eyes, and in most shots the sky will look natural too. The phone does at times leave stills with a slight magenta cast, but it’s not immediately obvious. 

The Motorola Edge 30 Neo’s Auto HDR is powerful and mostly reliable, meaning you can shoot pretty carelessly even directly into the sun. Having said that, there is a problem somewhat related to this area.

Slight overexposure seems to be the most common issue. The phone’s camera brain knows how to avoid blowing out bright clouds, but will happily overdo darker (i.e. normal) scenes and inadvertently overexpose elements that aren’t actually that bright in an attempt to make the picture pop. 

You can avoid this by manually dialing down the exposure – a control pops up if you pick a focal point. But we shouldn’t have to. 

And despite the power of the HDR software, too many of our shots were left with skies that look like a blue-to-turquoise gradient, likely an effect of the limited native dynamic range of the sensor. Looking back over the images we took, there are also a surprising number of out-of-focus images shot using the primary camera. Not dozens, but enough to mean it wasn’t pure user error. 

Focusing is not slow but, it would appear, sometimes just does not kick in.

Motorola Edge 30 Neo camera samples

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A Motorola Edge 30 Neo camera sample

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The Moto has overcooked this shot, blowing out parts of the church, most likely misled by the shadowed areas in the bottom half of the frame.

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A Motorola Edge 30 Neo camera sample

(Image credit: TechRadar)

This phone’s images are bright, and avoid comically oversaturated color. But once again the keen exposure leads to some small overexposed areas.

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A Motorola Edge 30 Neo camera sample

(Image credit: TechRadar)

When the HDR engine kicks in, the Motorola Edge 30 Neo can pretty much cope with whatever you like, including shooting directly into the sun without leaving any parts of the shots looking too shadowy.

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A Motorola Edge 30 Neo camera sample

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Here’s another example of the maximum power of the phone’s Auto HDR processing.

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A Motorola Edge 30 Neo camera sample

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Despite some quibbles, this phone can take generally pleasing photos during the day.

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A Motorola Edge 30 Neo camera sample

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Low-light images just aren’t that good  note how the entire bottom left of this scene is basically black.

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A Motorola Edge 30 Neo camera sample

(Image credit: TechRadar)

A nice and bright photo with believable color, but again the exposure is a little hot, leading to a blown out portion in the left-most cloud.

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A Motorola Edge 30 Neo camera sample

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Here’s the same scene through the ultra-wide camera. The 13MP sensor lets you comfortably crop into the image more than an 8MP rival.

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A Motorola Edge 30 Neo camera sample

(Image credit: TechRadar)

In shots like this you wonder why the HDR mode didn’t kick in more than it has to retain some of the background rather than letting it become a white mass.

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A Motorola Edge 30 Neo camera sample

(Image credit: TechRadar)

One of the more egregious examples of this phone’s over-bright exposure style, leading to much of the horizon becoming overexposed.

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A Motorola Edge 30 Neo camera sample

(Image credit: TechRadar)

A shot from the primary camera.

On a more positive note, the Motorola Edge 30 Neo’s 13MP ultra-wide is miles better than some of the 8MP cameras seen in some comparable mid-tier Androids. There’s less distortion at the corners of the frame and its images don’t immediately look compromised as soon as you zoom in a bit.

Low-light performance is below average, though, and not what you might expect given the Motorola Edge 30 Neo has optical image stabilization. The phone has a Night Vision mode for low-light photography, but the results aren’t even in the same league as the Edge 30 Fusion’s.

Dynamic range is limited, detail is very poor outside the brightest parts of the picture, and the effect of Night Vision versus Auto shooting is not that great. Highlights and mid-tones get a boost, but shadow detail retrieval is still not good. 

This wouldn’t matter so much if we were just making a comparison between the Neo and the Fusion, but you can get Fusion-like results from phones such as the OnePlus Nord 2T and the Pixel 6a.

Video is probably the weakest area of the Motorola Edge 30 Neo's camera. You can only shoot at 1080p, at 30fps or 60fps, and clips look pretty awful in either mode. Stabilization is poor, overexposure is common, and the image appears soft, low on detail and, at times, pixelated due to poor handling of objects with hard edges. 

1080p video from the Edge 30 Fusion looks dramatically better. And most phones at this price can at least capture 4K video at 30fps. The Snapdragon 695 institutes a hard limit here, as it tops out at 1080p/60 capture. However, that is no excuse for the poor image quality. 

The front camera has a 32MP sensor that is, unfortunately, not nearly as good as the Samsung s5kgd2 camera used in the step-up Edge 30 Fusion. Fine detail is more likely to end up smushed in less than ideal lighting, and pictures look less confident up close. It’s a perfectly okay selfie camera, just nothing special.

Motorola Edge 30 Neo review: battery

The bottom edge of a Motorola Edge 30 Neo

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • 4,020mAh battery
  • Lasts all day but not much more
  • 68W wired charging and 5W wireless

The Motorola Edge 30 Neo has a 4,020mAh battery, which a worryingly small capacity. That’s lower than the Pixel 6a’s 4,410mAh, and dramatically lower than the Sony Xperia 10 IV’s 5,000mAh. 

It’s a setup for a disaster that never happens, though, because the Motorola Edge 30 Neo’s battery life is entirely okay. It won’t last close to two days for most people, like the Sony Xperia 10 IV. But we didn’t find it frustratingly poor, which is what we half expected after seeing the capacity figure. It gets through a full day of use just fine, if not with much to spare by the end of the day. 

This seems further proof that the Snapdragon 695, for all its flaws, is a seriously efficient chipset – having contributed to the Sony Xperia 10 IV’s class-leading stamina. It’s good news for Snapdragon-maker Qualcomm, and non-news for us as battery life is basically not a reason to buy, or not to buy, the Motorola Edge 30 Neo. 

Fast charging might be. The Motorola Edge 30 Neo includes a 68W charger and, unlike some of the 80W phones we’ve used recently, it does actually hit that rated charge power.

It takes 45 minutes for the phone to reach 100% charge, from a fully flat state. And it continues drawing charge until the 48 minute mark. 

Motorola has also implemented wireless charging, which is pretty unusual at this level. It tops out at 5W, so will work very slowly, but might appeal if you use a wireless charging pad on your desk at work.

Should you buy the Motorola Edge 30 Neo?

Buy it if...

You want a bright screen
Its specs look pretty standard on paper but the Motorola Edge 30 Neo has an exceptionally bright screen, one that looks very clear outside on sunny days. This is probably the phone’s strongest area, and does wonders for its all-round usability.

A smaller phone appeals
The Motorola Edge 30 Neo is light and fairly small, making it easy to handle compared to other mid-tier Androids, some of which feel absolutely huge by comparison. And the screen is still large enough to make watching YouTube feel comfortable.

You want a decent ultra-wide camera
This phone has a zero-fat approach to the camera, with a mostly decent primary camera and an above average 13MP ultra-wide. It’s better than the 8MP one used in a lot of more affordable mid-range Androids.

Don't buy it if...

You’re big into mobile gaming
The Motorola Edge 30 Neo is not the most powerful gaming phone you can get for the money. Not even close. Top-tier titles like Fortnite do not run particularly well on the phone, so think twice if you play demanding 3D games a lot.

You care about low-light photo quality
Despite having optical image stabilization, the Motorola Edge 30 Neo cannot take particularly good low-light images. They don’t have anything like the shadow detail or dynamic range of top performers in this class.

You want a phone with high-end build
This is an all-plastic phone. Look elsewhere if you want the touch of luxury a glass back or aluminum sides provide. Such niceties are available at the price if you’re willing to shop around. The OnePlus Nord 2T is one example.

Motorola Edge 30 Neo: Also consider

There are lots of other phones at around this sort of price, including the following three options.

First reviewed: April 2023