Tuesday 9 April 2024

Initial Thoughts: Motorola Edge 40 Neo

This now arrived and won't update to Android 14, for love nor money(!) even though the Edge 30 Neo has already got it. Odd. It arrived on Android 13, so should get the two updates up to and including A15. (To the right is a photo of the phone, armed with a 3rd party Qi Charger coil which I've not had to use for some time!)

It also has the 50% bluetooth volume bug (thus disproving that for the Edge 30 Ultra it was to do with Android 14) which I guess will not be fixed anytime soon. It's that switch in developer settings which doesn't work - Disable absolute volume. Usually when the switch is thrown, you can actively hear the change. For this device (and the ME30U) it does nothing. The community's forums are up in arms of course, while the other 98% of users probably haven't even noticed! Update the Edge 30 Ultra seems to have self-fixed this now (but not with this phone yet), so hopefully all those disgruntled users are finding the same!

No Qi Charging is bugging me a bit (especially when the 30 Neo had it) but the (same) included 68W brick in the box (50% from flat in 15 minutes and 100% in about 45 minutes) goes some way to offset that. I suppose. The battery is an odd one, too. The newer model has had the battery capacity hiked to 5000mAh from 4020mAh but GSMArena were not impressed with its performance. One of our MeWe Group members thinks that there is certainly an issue with the 5G aerial hunting and has had better results with manually switching to 4G. In previous tests, the 30 Neo battery performs superby, so tests ongoing here.

The speakers are the same, great ones which are on the Edge 30 Neo. Loud, decent quality, Dolby Atmos to tinker with, no need for Wavelet here!

It has the styling of the Edge 30 Ultra, so curved edges, unlike the Edge 30 Neo which has a flat screen. I like both. Curves are classy, flat is practical. I didn’t choose the Peach Fuzz Pantone colour, but actually I really like it! Dare I say it’s a bit ‘teen girlie’ without being lynched, but I guess most reading this would go for the Black, Soothing Sea or Caneel Bay over it. And it’s got that Pantone ‘scent’ in the box, too! Like some kind of perfume. Not sure which demographic that’s going to appeal to.

There’s a rigid case in the box, too, colour-matched, which is apparently made of 100%-plant and the box is eco-friendly too. It does have IP6/8 water/dust, which is a step up from the nano-coating of internals fiddlesticks. So that's good.

The 1080p, 144Hz, pOLED screen (presumably made by LG still) is fabulous. The same one as most Moto phones. Super-bright (1300nits peak), colourful, great angles. No complaints and puts many flagships’ efforts to shame. I’d rather that it was the same 6.28” version on the 30 Neo, but with the curved edges, it defies to some degree it’s 6.55” hike.

The MediaTek Dimensity 7030, 6nm, is different from the 30 Neo’s SnapDragon 695, 6nm, but from what I preliminarily read, it’s more than comparable in tests and I notice no slow-down anywhere in the same kind of way. Well, maybe when under heavy load, updating 100+ apps or copying files over, but no different really from the 30 Neo. No gaming tried yet.

There’s no microSD, like the 30 Neo, but unlike the latter, the 40 Neo does have readily-available higher capacity/RAM models in the west. There was a 256GB version of the 30 Neo, but I never saw it on sale anywhere - even on Lenovorola’s websites. This one is 256GB/12GB which is oodles better than the 30 Neo’s 128GB/6GB of course.

The cameras are comparable and fine for the likes of me(!), retaining the very-close-up so-called Macro facility of the 30 Neo, even better than the other Moto phones in the range, closer, making use of that wide-angle lens. There’s a 50MP f/1.8, OIS (30 Neo had 64MP f1.8, OIS) main shooter and 13MP f/2.2, wide-angle (which was the same). Unlike the 30 Neo, it can shoot 4K video at 30fps. The best on the 30 Neo was 1080p@120fps. The 32MP f/2.4 selfie shooter is the same, but again it’s hiked up for 4K video.

Connectivity is good in my tests with a WiFi hike from 5 to 6e, for those who can take advantage, Bluetooth 5.4 from 5.1, GPS, NFC, the usual standards - but the USB-C port is dropped to v2 from v3.1 with the 30 Neo. Not that there was any HDMI-Out support for the older model anyway, so I guess the switch had not been thrown for that by Moto.

They both have the full Ready For suite (wireless, not cable, obviously) and it works like a charm with any device, Windows PC, Roku TV here, Android Tablets - whatever you want to hook up.

The same under-display optical fingerprint scanner is used for biometrics with both phones which works well, supported by a very efficient (if less secure) Face Unlock.

It’s a very nice phone for a very good price, for those who can live with the slightly curved screen, Moto’s lacklustre approach to updates and no wireless charging or HDMI-Out. For the price these are now (especially ‘second hand’ and a year on) it seems churlish to complain about anything really, but rather to focus on the envelope-pushing (for the price) and aggressive positioning that Lenovorola are chasing. If it only lasts a couple of years (before handing on to a family member, out of OS-update support) then one could argue that it’s a good financial strategy on the part of the user.

For me, armed with the previous year’s model, Qi Charging and all, even without some of the above-mentioned advantages of the 40 Neo over it, it’s a hard choice. I guess it being on Android 14 as final update might swing me towards the newer model.

Anyway, I shall do a proper review in time once I’ve had more time with it and hopefully Moto fix that really annoying, almost deal-breaking, bluetooth volume bug. But now, of course, I'm lusting over an Edge 50-series phone - it's relentless!

Edge 40 Neo vs Edge 30 Neo thanks to GSMArena
Edge 40 Neo (vs Edge 30 Neo) Specs
2023, September (October 22)
159.6 x 72 x 7.9mm (152.9 x 71.2 x 7.8mm)
170g (155g)
Gorilla Glass 3 front (glass unspecified)
Plastic frame (same)
Plastic back (same)
Nano-SIM, eSIM or Dual SIM (no eSIM)
IP68 (splash and dust)
P-OLED (same)
144Hz (120Hz)
HDR10+ (???)
1300nits, peak (???)
6.55" (6.28")
1080p (same)
20:9 (same)
402ppi (419ppi)
Android 13-15 (12-14)
MediaTek Dimensity 7030, 6nm (SD695 5G, 6nm)
No microSD (same)
128GB 8GB RAM (128GB 6GB)
256GB 8GB RAM (128GB 8GB)
256GB 12GB RAM (256GB 8GB)
50MP f/1.8, OIS (64MP f1.8, OIS)
13MP f/2.2, wide-angle (same)
4K@30fps, 1080p@240fps (no 4K, 1080p@120fps)
Selfie 32MP f/2.4, 4K@30fps, 1080p@30fps (same)
Stereo speakers (same)
No 3.5mm (same)
Wi-Fi 6e (5)
Bluetooth 5.4, A2DP, LE (Bluetooth 5.1, A2DP, LE, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive)
GPS (same)
NFC (same)
USB-C 2.0, OTG (3.1)
Under display, optical FPS (Same)
Wireless Ready For (same)
5000mAh (4020)
68W wired charging (same)
None (5W wireless)
Black, Soothing Sea, Caneel Bay, Peach Fuzz (Very Peri, Black Onyx, Ice Palace, Aqua Foam)

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