I've started testing a new Motorola phone, and after just a few hours of using it I'm convinced that it's the best phone that's been released so far in 2022. Yes, I'm including the new iPhone 14 range in that list.
The Motorola Edge 30 Ultra was launched alongside the mid-range Edge 30 Fusion and budget Edge 30 Neo on September 8, just a day after the new iPhones, and given that it showed up just after the biggest tech event of the year, you'd be forgiven for having missed it – I didn't realize the phone had launched until it showed up on my desk.
iPhones are among the most popular mobiles each year, so this media singular focus makes sense, but in a more sensible world people would actually be fixating on the Motorola Edge 30 Ultra. It has top-end specs, and at lower price than Apple's phone; and having tested it, I genuinely think it's the device to watch right now.
A series of top-end specs
If the Motorola Edge 30 Ultra was a character produced with a video game character-creator, the engineers would have dragged every slider up to the max – this phone has surprisingly top-end specs in every department.
One of the easily marketable examples of that is the cameras: there's a 200MP main camera, which is the highest-res phone camera we've yet seen (jointly with a few other Moto devices). However Motorola hasn't slouched on the other cameras: there's a 60MP selfie snapper, a 50MP ultra-wide camera, and, surprisingly, a 12MP telephoto camera.
Phone manufacturers have spent several years neglecting zoom cameras, and the presence of a zoom camera here is pleasantly surprising.
The processor here is the powerful Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, and it's teamed with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage. This phone is sure to be a gaming powerhouse, based on other phones we've tested with those same specs, and I'm looking forward to playing some rounds of Apex Legends Mobile on it.
The display helps too in this regard, as it's a 6.67-inch Full HD+ display with a smooth 144Hz refresh rate. Motorola is one of the few non-gaming-phone brands which regularly uses high refresh rates on its phones, and I'm all for it.
Another impressive spec is the charging speeds. The 4610mAh battery is powered up via super-fast 125W wired powering, or 50W wireless charging if you prefer that convenience.
Something else I really like – though which I understand might divide opinion – is the design. The phone has a curved-edge display, which I find really comfortable to hold and use, but some might not be so keen on this feature.
The price is... better than right
Top-end phones like this often cost a pretty penny, but I was taken aback when I saw the Motorola Edge 30 Ultra's price.
The phone costs £750 in the UK, which converts to roughly $870 or AU$1,280. We only know the UK price and availability right now, but I hope it launches in the US too – that country has a real lack of serious competition beyond Apple and Samsung – and Australia.
That UK price matches the Xiaomi 12, and undercuts both the Samsung Galaxy S22 and iPhone 14, the latter by a significant margin. Oh, and that's for the 128GB version of those three rival phones, with their 256GB versions costing even more – you get 256GB by default in the Moto.
The Edge 30 Ultra is much cheaper than I expected it to be, and I think that low price will steal a lot of attention from Apple's new iPhones. The phone is also better than the base-level iPhone 14 in key areas, notably zoom photography, charging speed, and – in my opinion – design.
I'm working on my full Motorola Edge 30 Ultra review at the moment, and I keep expecting to stumble across the 'catch' at some point – a phone that looks to be this good can't have such a competitive price without some asterisks somewhere.
But even if it does have one or two minor flaws, this is still a seriously impressive handset – and I fully expect to see it on our list of the best smartphones once our full review is live.
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Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.
He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.