The first phone with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is official and it is a Motorola this time – the Motorola Edge X30, specifically. A brief look at the specs and the aggressive pricing suggests that this can be the benchmark for 2022 flagships.
To be clear, the X30 doesn’t have everything, but in China it starts at CNY 3,200. Looking at other options in the country, this costs less than a OnePlus 9, a Xiaomi Mi 11 and is well below a Galaxy S21. Naturally, if and when the phone is rolled out to the global market its price will change, but a direct conversion puts it at $500/€450/₹38,000.
Let’s start with the highlights of the Motorola Edge X30. It has a 6.7” OLED display with 144Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ support. And early benchmarks show that the 8 Gen 1 has one of the best mobile GPUs, so other than the marketing and neutral design, this could be a gaming phone. It certainly has the power for it, including the 5,000mAh battery with 68W fast charging (0-100% in 35 minutes).
While the phone isn’t camera centric, the selfie camera is quite interesting. The regular version of the phone comes with a 60MP sensor – a small one at 1/2.8” (0.61µm pixels). However, the Special Edition has an under display camera using the same sensor.
Besides looking cleaner (and notice those symmetric bezels around the screen), this will be an interesting head-to-head comparison – same sensor, same image processor, the only difference is whether or not there is a hole in the screen. How will that affect the image quality? We can’t wait to find out.
Other than that, the X30 has a solid camera setup, but it’s nothing special. The rear has two 50MP cameras. The main one packs a decently-sized 1/1.55” sensor (1.0µm) with f/1.9 aperture and OIS, the ultrawide one (114º) has a smaller 1/2.76” (0.64µm) sensor. The one major omission here is the lack of a telephoto module.
This is one of the less-than-perfect features of the Moto Edge X30 and it’s not the only one. This is why we opened with the price, some compromises were made, but they may not be deal-breakers for you.
The screen sounds pretty awesome, though the resolution is 1080p+ and the brightness is lower than some current flagships. Another thing is that while the phone has stereo speakers, it lacks a 3.5 mm headphone jack. No microSD slot either. Also missing is wireless charging support, water resistance is basic.
Also, Motorola isn’t the best when it comes to software support. The Edge+, for example, started off with a promise of just 1 major update before the company changed its tune and promised at least 2. But even with that it’s behind the leaders in this regard and it is slow to release the updates when it does. On the plus side, the Moto UX is mostly a few lightweight additions over stock Android.
Let’s briefly look at another phone that was unveiled alongside the X30, the Motorola Edge S30. As the naming suggests, the two are related, but the S-series phone is a lower cost (though still very high value) alternative.
The differences are that the S30 switches to a 6.8” LCD, still with a 144Hz refresh rate. Also, the chipset is a Snapdragon 888+, starting with less RAM (6GB vs. 8GB). As for the battery, it still has 5,000mAh capacity, but charging speed has been knocked back to 33W.
Finally, the cameras – the main sensor is about the same size (1/1.52”), but with 108MP resolution, while the ultrawide and selfie cameras are nothing special (13MP and 16MP, respectively).
The Moto Edge S30 starts at CNY2,000 – that converts to $315/€280/₹23,800. A quick look at the Redmi K40, known in the West as the Poco F3, shows the same CNY 2,000 price tag for the same 6/128GB configuration. The F3 can be found for €300 or so in Europe.
The Edge S30 has a display with a higher refresh rate – 144Hz vs. 120Hz – but the F3 uses an AMOLED panel instead of LCD. The S30 has a better camera, especially that main sensor, plus a slightly higher capacity battery. But the main difference is the Snapdragon 888+ being a generation ahead of F3’s 870 chip. At similar prices, many would lean towards the Motorola.
But that’s not entirely fair, comparing an existing model to one that is yet to launch. And that is even more true for the Moto Edge X30 – by virtue of being the first Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 powered phone, its competition is yet to arrive.
We already know what it will be, the Xiaomi 12 series will be among the first 8 Gen 1 based phones, Samsung will use the chip in some versions of the Galaxy S22 models, the Realme GT 2 Pro and OnePlus 10 (Pro) will feature it as well. But the predecessors of all of these cost more now than the X30 when it goes on sale in China on the 15th.
So, unless Xiaomi, Samsung, OnePlus and others significantly change up their pricing strategy, the value-for-money fight will be a close call. That is to say those phones will almost certainly have better cameras and other advantages like, say, water resistance, but they will cost more too.
Assuming that the Motorola Edge X30 and S30 become available in your neck of the woods, which would you prefer: the X30, S30 or neither?
If you’re having issues with the poll above, try casting your vote here.