Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Smart Phones

Motorola Edge 40 Neo review: leather-clad midrange king


Motorola Edge 40 Neo Intro

It was only in May of this year when we got to review the Motorola Edge 40 — an affordable flagship with a premium design and very decent specs for a very competitive price. We really liked the Moto Edge 40 and were pleasantly surprised — if a bit wary — when we learned that the Motorola Edge 40 Neo is coming with an even lower price.
What’s shocking is that the Motorola Edge 40 Neo is just as premium where it matters — it has the same thin, classy design, curved screen, vegan leather back, a 144 Hz screen, and 50 MP camera. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, as it comes with a less powerful processor. But does it deliver just the right performance?

Just like the Motorola Edge 40, the Motorola Edge 40 Neo isn’t officially available in the States yet. However, for what its worth — in Europe, the Edge 40 Neo costs €399, which is €200 less than the MSRP of the Edge 40. In other words, it’s really in that “Bang for the buck category”. Let’s see if it has what it takes!

What’s new about Motorola Edge 40 Neo

  • MediaTek Dimensity 7030 chip — weaker than 8020 in Edge 40
  • 50 MP camera sensor, same as Edge 40 but with a smaller lens aperture
  • Curved screen (2022 Edge 30 Neo was flat)
  • 144 Hz screen

Table of Contents:

Motorola Edge 40 Neo Unboxing

The Motorola Edge 40 Neo comes with the full premium package from Moto — including a nice whiff of smartphone perfume when you first open the box. No joke there — that’s a “feature” reserved for the top-line Motorola phones, so it says something that you get that treatment with this model.

Inside, you will find a 68 W charger, a USB C cable, booklets, SIM tool, a case, and the phone itself. The case seems to be made from recycled plastic and Motorola made some weird choices with its aesthetic. It kind of looks like it’s covered in red carpet hair — it’s not really. It’s solid chunks of plastic inside the case, the surface itself feels smooth and follows the phone’s profile perfectly.

Motorola Edge 40 Neo Specs

A step down from flagship

To meet its aggressive price, the Moto Edge 40 Neo had to cut some corners, but its specs are still impressive:

The MediaTek Dimensity 7030 is a couple of steps down from the flagship 9000 series, but is still considered on the upper end of the midrange. It has slower RAM speeds and a less-powerful video card, so it’s not made for heavy tasks or games, but can handle itself for your run-of-the-mill apps.

Motorola Edge 40 Neo Design & Colors

The top-tier experience

 

When we got to review the Motorola Edge 40, we were extremely happy with how thin and balanced the device was. And that vegan leather on the back provided a lot of grip, a classy overall look, and a premium touch.

The Motorola Edge 40 Neo is a pleasant surprise in that it’s pretty much the same phone, externally. The curved glass, the thin bezels, the slim profile, and the faux leather back are all here and it just feels really cool to handle. You won’t mind being spotted with that phone, we can infer that much.

The hardware buttons on the side don’t have the best feel to them — they take a bit of force to push in, they don’t have much travel to them, and the click isn’t exactly reassuring. But the fingerprint scanner embedded in the glass is quick and consistent.

Motorola proudly states that this phone is IP68 certified — it can survive a dip in shallow water for up to 30 minutes.

The Edge 40 Neo comes in three colors — Black Beauty, Caneel Bay (blue), and Soothing Sea. We have the latter here — it’s a green-ish teal color that looks fresh.

Motorola Edge 40 Neo Display

The 6.5-inch screen on the front is also flagship-grade. It’s a P-OLED panel with a 144 Hz refresh rate and a 1080 x 2,400 pixel resolution (402 PPI). From the phone’s settings, you can choose whether you want natural and tame colors, or saturated OLED goodness, plus you have the typical features like blue light filter and dark mode.

Display Measurements:

What you don’t get here is Peek Display — Motorola’s alternative to an Always-on display, which will only light the screen when there’s an incoming notification or when there’s any movement around the phone. The Edge 40 Neo doesn’t seem to have that feature, which is a weird corner to cut, but OK. We can live without it — the screen is otherwise excellent.

Motorola Edge 40 Neo Camera

Same resolution, but size matters

On paper, the Motorola Edge 40 Neo has the same resolution camera as the Edge 40 — a 50 MP one. But look closer and you’ll notice that the lens aperture is narrower, at F1.8. Now, the question is — are the photos going to be good?

Main Camera – Day

Daylight shots with the Edge 40 Neo are OK, nothing amazing. Its colors are good, but it struggles with dynamics and is prone to burn out highlights faster than what we’re used to with more expensive phones. Then, details are also easily distorted. The photos can work for social media, but won’t capture spectacular memorabilia.

Main Camera – Low-light

The issues with dynamics carry over to nighttime photography — shadows get easily crushed, but highlights seem to be better preserved. The colors are not bad at all, sticking close to reality. The noise reduction does wash out some finer wrinkles, but the details don’t look blurrier or much softer than they do in daytime, so that’s a plus. 

Zoom Quality

The Motorola Edge 40 Neo isn’t one for much zooming. It can go as far as 8x, but we wouldn’t go much further than the 2x step. It uses a bit too much oversharpening in attempts to make sense of the digital zoom, and photos quickly deteriorate. But the 2x step can still be used for OK portraits.

Portrait Mode

Subject separation in Portrait Mode is pretty accurate — it’s hard to fool, even with dog fur and intricate backgrounds. And the faux bokeh applied looks convincing. At night time, portrait shots are increasingly soft in details and dark in exposure, but the phone still picks up foreground from background.

Ultra-wide Camera

We have a 13 MP ultra-wide camera on board, with a smaller F2.2 lens aperture — that’s typical with ultra-wide cameras and the end result is usually softer details and worse dynamics. What we see from the Edge 40 Neo is — definitely softer details, but dynamics are pretty OK. At least during the day. Night shots with the ultra-wide camera are not ones to send back home.

Selfies

The 32 MP selfie camera have us OK selfies during the day — good details, not too sharp. Close, if a bit pale on the skin tone. Night selfies can turn out acceptable, if you have a steady hand and take a few shots.

Video Quality

Video Thumbnail

Volume warning — the Edge 40 Neo mics don’t take well to windy conditions. Stabilization seems pretty fine and the phone is capable of finding its focus poitns fast. The video looks OK, but we have the same issues with dynamics — burned highlights — and details looking a bit soft.

Motorola Edge 40 Neo Performance & Benchmarks

How much performance do you need?

We previously touched upon the MediaTek Dimensity 7030 that powers this phone. It’s a processor that supports features like a 144 Hz screen, 4K @ 30 FPS video recording, and LPDDR5. In other words, you can build a modern smartphone with this SoC, but it’s not a powerhouse. Here’s how it fares on benchmarks:

Performance Benchmarks:

But in real life? We found the Moto Edge 40 Neo to be a perfectly good daily driver. The 144 Hz screen offers quick response and fluid animations, and our apps would pop in and out of the screen as we need them.

Sure, it’s not really going to run 3D games on the highest settings — the 3DMark test results above can tell you as much. But the good news is that modern Android games are optimized to run on most phones out there, so if you can take a hit on texture quality, you will be fine. We tried out Minecraft and CoD: Mobile, both worked just fine, with smooth controls and animations.

Still, our assessment is that this phone is better suited for regular everyday smartphone use, and less as a mobile console.

Motorola Edge 40 Neo OS / Android version

As is common with Motorola phones, we have a pretty clean Android 13 on board. No reskins, no plethora of extra features — just a Moto app that will guide you through the few exclusive gestures, sound settings, and display options that Motorola has.
The Moto Edge 40 Neo is slated to get 2 OS updates and 3 years of security patches. This means that you should get:

2025 – Android 15; end of OS updates

2026 – security patches stop in the second half of the year

Motorola Edge 40 Neo Battery

5,000 mAh in a very thin shell

It’s pretty impressive that we get a 5,000 mAh cell in a phone that’s this thin and light. Thanks to the fact that the MediaTek 7030 isn’t a massive power hog, and that the Moto software is light, you can keep the lights on for quite a while.

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:

While its endurance numbers aren’t crazy impressive, they are definitely reliable. In real life, we can’t say the Motorola Edge 40 Neo gave us battery percentage woes. On the contrary — we felt fully confident that the phone can take us through the day, and even hang on until noon on the next day, if we forgot to charge it.

Motorola Edge 40 Neo Charging Speeds

But forgetting to charge isn’t that big a deal to begin with, because you can get plenty of juice with just 15 minutes on the wire. The one downside of the Motorola Edge 40 Neo is that it doesn’t have wireless charging. But, we suppose that helped out for the phone’s thin profile and lower price.

PhoneArena Charging Test Results:

Motorola Edge 40 Neo Audio Quality and Haptics

The Edge 40 Neo has stereo speakers and proudly wears a Dolby Atmos badge engraved in its top frame. We wouldn’t say it sounds amazing. It’s a bit muffled, a bit middy, not a lot of body. You probably won’t be listening to your favorite music straight from the speakers, unless you have to.

But they sound good enough for social media videos — with a good definition and plenty information in the midrange to let you hear talking head videos.

The haptic motor isn’t great. Vibrations are not quick and precise, instead they are slow and heavy-feeling. That’s fine for feedback as you navigate the interface, but it feels bad with the keyboard — since the haptics lag a bit, you get the feeling that the phone itself lags. But we turned them off for keystrokes from the keyboard settings and we were better off that way.

Motorola Edge 40 Neo Competitors

The Motorola Edge 40 Neo is priced very competitively for what it is. We would say the Pixel 7a is one of the very few competitors that can stand against it. In fact, the. Pixel 7a can win out in terms of camera and the Google features you get with it.
Then, there’s the Nothing Phone (1) — the first handset from Nothing, which is still being sold as an entry level device by the company, even if it was launched in 2022. It competes with the Motorola Edge 40 Neo in terms of standing out with a unique style.

Motorola Edge 40 Neo Summary and Final Verdict

At the end of the day, the Motorola Edge 40 Neo is a very solid smartphone for €400. Is it ever going to come to the US? Hard to tell — no official info has been shared.

Should you buy one? Well, its strength is not in the camera and not in raw performance. But we found it to be an excellent daily driver for all your baseline smartphone needs. And its a stylish accessory, no doubt about that. It will definitely be one cheat card in our “Recommend me a smartphone!” booklet.



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