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Motorola Edge 40 Neo review

The Motorola Edge 40 Neo appears to be a rethinking of the manufacturer’s ‘affordable premium’ Neo range. With a significantly larger and curvier 6.55in pOLED display than the Motorola Edge 30 Neo, it’s larger and more attractive.

Despite this increase in size, the Motorola Edge 40 Neo costs £50 less out of the box.

Last year’s edition was regarded as “a likeable handset that gets a lot right,” but it was let down by, among other things, shoddy design and poor low-light camera performance. With this year’s revision, has Motorola won the ‘premium budget’ jackpot?

Design & Build

  • Premium curved design
  • IP68 rated
  • Slim and light

Finally, a Motorola Edge Neo phone worthy of the name. Previous Neo phones didn’t truly warrant the ‘Edge’ label, since they lacked the curved edges found on more expensive versions.

Opinions on the utility of such a design may differ, and we’ll explore the negatives in the next section. But there’s no doubting that it’s a powerful method to make a cheap phone appear and feel more premium.

make no mistake, the Motorola Edge 40 Neo looks and feels great

And, without a doubt, the Motorola Edge 40 Neo looks and feels fantastic. Aside from the curved display, there’s a strong, silky-feeling matt finish plastic back that doesn’t seem cheap. I also like how it curls up towards the square(ish) camera module.

The Pantone label on the back cover shows a rather gimmicky color coding collaboration. My model is known as Black Beauty, but it is also available in Caneel Bay (marine blue) and Soothing Sea (light green).

Update: Motorola has now unveiled the Pantone collaboration with the Colour of the Year 2024 being Peach Fuzz (below), described as “warm and transformative”. If this new colourway tickles your fancy you can get it from the official store.

While larger than the Edge 30 Neo, this phone is still rather tiny, with a thickness of only 7.9mm. More impressively, it weighs only 172g, making it highly portable.

‘IP68’ is maybe the most amazing statistic to be bandied about here. That’s the amount of water and dust resistance that Motorola has officially attained, and it’s the type of detail you just don’t see this cheap, especially given Motorola’s history of merely delivering a water-repellent coating.

The nicest thing I can say about the Motorola Neo 40 Edge design is that I didn’t even check the phone’s pricing until after I had used it for several days and was pleasantly pleased when I did. This is a seriously classy customer for £300.

Screen & Speakers

  • Decent 6.55in pOLED display
  • 144Hz max refresh rate
  • Some palm input issues
  • Adequate stereo speakers

After going large with the 6.7in Edge 20 Neo and small with the 6.2in Edge 30 Neo, Motorola has found a happy medium with the 6.55in Full HD+ Edge 40 Neo display.

It’s a wise decision, resulting in a canvas that’s still indisputably enormous without completely filling your hands.

In other aspects, this is a well-thought-out interface. I’m still not convinced that Motorola’s preoccupation with a 144Hz refresh rate is fully justified – it’s all a little Spinal Tap “this one goes up to 11” – but it’s a notable spec in a £300 phone.

this is a vibrant pOLED display that outputs rich, natural colours

More significantly, this is a vivid pOLED display that produces rich, natural colors – at least after you leave the default Saturated color option.

It also becomes rather light. The peak brightness is reported to be 1300 nits, yet this is only applicable to HDR situations and does not represent regular usage. On a simple white screen with autobrightness switched off, I measured around a third of that value, which is still quite acceptable.

Just about the only complaint I have about the Motorola Edge 40 Neo’s display is its dual curved nature. While it might add a dose of class to a cheaper phone, I did experience some of those telltale false palm presses as the edges of my holding hand interacted with the wrap-around touch surface.

Motorola has supplied a set of stereo speakers which are perfectly decent for the money. They lack low-end punch, as you’d expect for £300, but they’re loud and clear. Connect a set of headphones and you’ll also get Dolby Atmos support.

Specs & Performance

  • MediaTek Dimensity 7030 with 12GB RAM
  • Strong performance for the money
  • Generous 256GB of storage

The Edge 40 Neo is powered by MediaTek’s Dimensity 7030 SoC. That’s not the most common chip, but our benchmark tests show that it’s a significant improvement over the Snapdragon 695 processor found in the Edge 30 Neo and Poco X5 5G.

In terms of sheer performance, it easily outperforms most sub-£300 phones.

As those benchmarks indicate, using the Edge 40 Neo is a generally seamless experience, even with the display set to 144Hz, as I used for the most of the testing session. It lacks the snap and fast-loading apps and web pages of a real flagship, but the great majority of customers won’t notice the difference.

Sure, you may spend more to get more, but the Edge 40 Neo reaches that perfect spot where we’re talking about marginal benefits for everyone but the most intense power users or gamers. The benchmarks below demonstrate that it performs similarly to the Google Pixel 7a, which costs £449, and outperforms the £349 Samsung Galaxy A34 5G.

It also helps that you receive 12GB of RAM as standard in the UK, which is a decent amount at this price. You also get 256GB of storage, which is more than double the storage capacity of the cheapest iPhone 15 and Pixel 8.

Motorola Edge 40 Neo benchmarks

It’s a thoroughly pleasant camera to shoot with in most conditions

Cameras

  • Large, capable 50Mp 1/1.5in main sensor
  • 13Mp ultra-wide matches the tone, if not quality
  • No telephoto or pointless extra sensors
  • Mediocre 32Mp selfie camera

The camera technology of the Motorola Edge 40 Neo looks to be the same 50Mp 1/1.5in Omnivision OV50A sensor used in the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion, Motorola Razr 2022, Huawei P50 Pro, and Moto G84 5G. Aside from the latter, those are all more expensive phones.

This bigger sensor, together with OIS (optical image stabilisation), can hoover up more light and capture crisp, brilliant, well-balanced images. In most situations, it’s a very enjoyable camera to shoot with, and I was delighted by how rich and realistic the colors appeared, while dynamic range was also excellent.

Moving on to lower-light circumstances, the Edge 40 Neo kept its cool when shooting indoors in moderate lighting, with some especially nice food images. Even if night mode images show the actual gap to premium phones, it’s still a highly credible performance, with bright, crisp shots.

This powerful main shooter is supported by a 13Mp ultra-wide camera. It’s not in the same category as that 50Mp main shooter, but it’s still rather decent. It can’t compete with the primary sensor’s detail or contrast, but the tone is essentially similar, which is impressive for a cheap phone.

There’s no telephoto camera, but nor are there any silly depth or macro sensors cynically designed to fill out the roster. You can grab 2x shots, but know that they’ll be cropped in on that main sensor, and so will struggle for fine detail.

Rounding up the package is a 32Mp selfie camera, which sounds impressive, but doesn’t actually take particularly great shots. Detail is OK, but I found my skin tone to be weirdly false looking.

I liked the option between two focal lengths – one quite close up, one wider – but the former is essentially a crop of the latter. You’re better off sticking with the wide option.

Battery Life & Charging

  • 5000mAh battery
  • Battery comfortably lasts a full day
  • 68W charger bundled in

The Motorola Edge 40 Neo has a 5000mAh battery, which is a good capacity given how thin the phone is.

It allowed me to get through a full day of intensive usage (five hours of screen on time) with just around 25% of the tank remaining. Given that I was operating at the full 144Hz limit, it’s a fairly respectable performance.

The Edge 40 Neo didn’t fare well in the usual PC threshold Work 3.0 battery test, falling more than 2 hours shy of the 10 hour threshold attained by the Poco X5 5G and the Redmi Note 12 5G.

However, keep in mind that this score was obtained using the 144Hz option rather than the standard 120Hz. Dropping the frame rate to 120Hz added one hour to that score, while using the usual Auto option increased it to 9h 17min.

That’s still much less than the competition and several hours less than the Moto Edge 30 Neo, implying that the Dimensity 7030 isn’t the most efficient processor on the market when it comes to continuous artificial stress. In terms of actual mixed-use, however, I have no reservations.

Motorola included a fast 68W charger with the Edge 40 Neo, which is really appreciated. It will charge the battery from empty to nearly half-full in 15 minutes, and then to a fantastic 82% in half an hour.

Software & Apps

  • Android 13
  • Clean UI and minimal bloatware
  • Two major OS updates, three years of security updates

Motorola’s super-clean take on Android is now almost legendary, at least among tech journalists. It’s refreshingly clean, with menus and symbols that are mostly how Google intended.

That’s not to say Motorola’s imprint isn’t on this UI. The Moto app provides access to intelligent gesture-based shortcuts, greater security, and personalization possibilities.

Meanwhile, Family area allows you to build an area on your phone for your children, restricting app access, designing a custom home screen, setting time limitations, and generating passwords.

We can’t let Motorola completely off the hook for its approach to software. It’s not totally free from bloatware, with TikTok, Facebook, and Booking.com all preinstalled. But it’s pretty much the cleanest, most pleasant Android-based OS outside of Google’s stock efforts.

Motorola is promising full OS updates (so up to and including Android 15) and three years of security updates. It’s not the best out there in the grand scheme of things, with the likes of Samsung offering double that for OS updates so limits the lifespan of the handset which is a shame.

Price & Availability

The Motorola Edge 40 Neo is available in just one model in the UK, with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. It costs £299.99 directly from the Motorola website.

Other popular online retailers such as Amazon are also carrying the phone. The Edge 40 Neo is not available in the US.

Should you buy the Motorola Edge 40 Neo?

The Motorola Edge 40 Neo is a strikingly full premium cheap phone. Its design and construction quality are superior than almost everything else in its weight class.

The performance is great, the display is brilliant and smooth (144Hz), and the 50Mp primary camera can get truly good photos.

Add in decent battery life, rapid charging, and Motorola’s well-known clean approach to software, and you have what may be the greatest phone under £300.

Specs

  • Android 13
  • 6.55in, FHD+, OLED, 144Hz, curved display
  • In-display fingerprint sensor
  • MediaTek Dimensity 7030
  • 12GB LPDDR5 RAM
  • 256GB storage
  • 50Mp, f/1.8 main camera
  • 13Mp ultra-wide camera
  • Up to 4K @ 30fps rear video
  • 32Mp front-facing camera
  • Stereo speakers
  • Dual-SIM
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e
  • Bluetooth 5.4
  • 5000mAh battery
  • 68W charging
  • 159.6 x 72 x 7.9mm
  • 172g
  • Launch colours: Black Beauty, Soothing Sea, Caneel Bay
Achraf Grini
Achraf Grini
Hello This is AG. I am a Tech lover and I have long been a promoter and editor for a shopping company, I have followed smartphones and headphones and others. I covers iOS, Android, Windows and macOS, writing tutorials, buying guides and reviews.
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