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If you call your smartphone an “Ultra”, there is no excuse for being average in any aspect; be it the cameras or even the design, it has to feel like an “ultra experience”. After boring us with dull and dreary Moto G phones for over a year, Motorola brings the Edge 30 Ultra as its flagship in India and instantly, I had doubts. After all, this phone has to be good, if not great. Moto’s last outing in this segment was the Edge 30 Pro and while it was a fun phone, it overheated like crazy and looked dull (as is the norm with Moto devices).
Does the Motorola Edge 30 Ultra outdo the Edge 30 Pro and all its issues? Most importantly, is it a phone that we can recommend as an alternative to a Samsung Galaxy S22, or even the iPhone 13 / iPhone 14? I have been using it for the last two weeks to find out the answers. And yes, that 200MP camera is more than just a gimmick.
The Motorola Edge 30 Ultra is one of nicest looking phones to buy in India at the moment. Yes, the iPhone’s boxy design is all the trend these days but nobody can defy the allure of curved edges, and Motorola has done it in the nicest of ways. I like how the camera hump is designed, even though it is inspired, and I love the matte paintjob on its back glass. There’s a comfy and luxurious heft to the phone and on the whole, it is just a nice phone to use. I only wish the buttons were more tactile.
Despite being a flagship, Motorola continues to put a screen protector on the display, a protective case, and a fast charger in the box. Those worried about sweat and moisture damage can be relieved with the IP52 rating.
Motorola phones have the nicest displays in the budget segment these days and the Edge 30 Ultra has a very good one too, albeit not the best. You get a 6.67-inch FHD+ pOLED display with a refresh rate of up to 144Hz. The display is tuned nicely to pronounce the colours as well as brightness and contrast. Whether it’s your Instagram feed or your YouTube videos, it all looks great. The 144Hz refresh rate makes animations smooth, although I wish games like Call of Duty: Mobile made full use of this feature. The under display fingerprint scanner is fast and secure but it doesn’t work with wet fingers.
With a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip under the hood, this kind of becomes a no-brainer. The Motorola Edge 30 Ultra is not only blistering fast to boot those console quality games as well as manage those mundane apps easily. However, under intense loads, the chip appears to heat up and throttle performance, which is unseen on a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 phone; gamers should look elsewhere. The onboard 8GB LPDDR5 RAM is more than enough for casual needs but the 128GB UFS 3.1 storage is too restrictive and there’s no higher storage variant, or expandable storage.
On the software side of things, Motorola continues to keep it close to stock Android, although it calls it MyUX. This is the same kind of clean Android experience you see in the much cheaper phones but Motorola adds its custom widgets to uplift the experience. Compared to the Galaxy S22, the Edge 30 Ultra’s software is nicely designed with that Google Pixel feel, and you can tweak it based on your liking. You also get the Peek display and those cool Moto gestures. No ads and bloatware, other than the preloaded Facebook app. It is sad to see Android 12 on such an expensive phone, especially when Android 13 is already out. However, Motorola promises three Android OS updates and four years of security updates.
The Edge 30 Ultra also has a nice set of stereo speakers and they seem loud. Even the audio quality is good out of them, with some good punch in the low end. However, the audio quality is still far off from what you experience on the Xiaomi 12 Pro and any of the new iPhones.
Lastly, the network connectivity has been good on the Edge 30 Ultra with Jio’s 4G LTE networks and my home Wi-Fi network. I did not face any call drop issues and as is the case with all Motorola phones, you get a comfortable backtone for pleasing call experiences.
200 megapixels! That is what Motorola loves to flaunt in its marketing adverts. A 200MP camera sensor is indeed a big thing on a smartphone and just like the 108MP cameras, it doesn’t live up to the expectations. 200MP isn’t getting you insane digital crop zooms on the Edge 30 Ultra; you only get slightly more details than the 12MP pixel binned photos. Motorola, however, is using those extra pixels for better low light photography, colours, and detailing.
The main camera does an impressive job with details but what’s even more impressive is the colour science – photos still have slightly saturated colours but the dynamic range is on point. Hence, in daylight, it behaves like a flagship phone camera. Sadly, the same camera struggles with details and colours at night, and it is Night Vision mode that is a saving grace.
The 50MP ultra-wide camera goes for an even higher colour saturation but details are well maintained and so is the overall colour profile. I also liked the output from the 12MP portrait camera, keeping the same kind of colour science but suffering in details. The 60MP selfie camera is decent best with its colour tones and exposure management. On the whole, this is a good still camera phone but low light colours could be better.
Here is link to the photo samples from the Motorola Edge 30 Ultra.
Sadly, the video recording is far from good and an iPhone 12 or newer is a far better option for vloggers. You can record up to 8K videos at 30 fps but you can do 4K videos at 30 fps and 60 fps options as well.
Battery stamina on the Motorola Edge 30 Ultra is good enough for a full day’s use, if used cautiously. The 4610mAh capacity battery can only do so, especially with a 144Hz display and the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 being major battery draining factors. Gaming and voice calls over 2 hours will need you to plug in the charger by evening.
That’s not an issue though, since you get a very 125W charging solution. It takes just under 30 minutes to do a 5% to 100% charge, which is convenient on office days. The 50W wireless charging is cool but you need Motorola’s compatible charging pad for the same. The reverse wireless charging is quite fast too at 10W.
It took Motorola a lot of time and top-of-the-line specs to do a phone that is simply good in almost all the crucial ways. The Edge 30 Ultra is the first Motorola phone I can recommend as a good alternative to the likes of a Samsung Galaxy S22, or the iPhone 14, with no depressing clauses. It has a fast and efficient chip, a nice display, a pleasant Android experience, a good set of cameras, decent battery life and convenient quick charging. The biggest change? It looks awesome – a first for a Motorola phone over the last few years (barring the 2019 Razr).
Surely, there are imperfections and Motorola needs to work on them. The 200MP camera has more potential to be tapped, especially at night. Battery life could have been better too, and I wish Motorola launched it with Android 13 out of the box.
But then you consider the price of Rs. 59,999 and the Motorola Edge 30 Ultra suddenly seems like a great deal. In fact, the early sale price of Rs. 54,999 makes it a steal! And this is a much better phone than the iQOO 9T, as well as all those cut-price flagship phones. If you have got that much money to spend on a phone and are bored of a Samsung or Apple, you will be happy with the Motorola Edge 30 Ultra.
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