At a glance

Expert’s Rating

Pros

  • Premium, lightweight design
  • Strong performance
  • Decent camera
  • 144Hz pOLED screen

Cons

  • Curved screen has some false input issues
  • Short software support

Our Verdict

With an unusually premium design, a great screen, a capable camera and decent performance, the Motorola Edge 40 Neo is certainly the best Neo phone yet. It could also be the best sub-£300 smartphone on the market right now.

Price When Reviewed

Unavailable in the US

With the Motorola Edge 40 Neo, the manufacturer has seemingly had a bit of a rethink about its ‘affordable premium’ Neo line. It’s bigger and nicer-looking than the Motorola Edge 30 Neo, with a much larger and curvier 6.55in pOLED display.

Despite this scaling up, however, the Motorola Edge 40 Neo ends up costing £50 less out of the gate.

We described last year’s model as “a likeable handset that gets a lot right,” but it was let down by cheap design and poor low-light camera performance, among other things. Has Motorola managed to hit the ‘premium budget’ jackpot with this year’s revision?

Design & Build

  • Premium curved design
  • IP68 rated
  • Slim and light

At last, we have a Motorola Edge Neo phone worthy of the name. Previous Neo phones haven’t really deserved their ‘Edge’ moniker, dropping the curved edges of the more premium models.

Opinions may vary on the value of such a design, and we’ll go on to discuss the drawbacks in the next section. But there’s no denying that it’s a mightily effective way to make a cheap phone look and feel more expensive.

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

Motorola Edge 40 Neo Chrome

Jon Mundy / Foundry

And make no mistake, the Motorola Edge 40 Neo looks and feels great. Besides that curved display, there’s a pleasingly solid, silky-feeling matt finish plastic rear that doesn’t feel remotely cheap. I also like the way that it subtly curves up towards the square(ish) camera module.

The Pantone branding printed on the rear cover reflects a slightly gimmicky colour coding partnership. My model’s called Black Beauty, but you can also get it in Caneel Bay (marine blue) or Soothing Sea (pale green).

While it’s bigger than the Edge 30 Neo, this is still an agreeably compact phone, with a thickness of just 7.9mm. More impressively, it weighs a mere 172g, which makes it extremely easy to lug around.

Motorola Edge 40 Neo side view

Jon Mundy / Foundry

Perhaps the most impressive figure to band around here is ‘IP68’. That’s the level of water and dust resistance that has been officially achieved by Motorola, and it’s the kind of detail you simply don’t see this far south of £600, especially when Motorola has a history of only offering a water-repellent coating.

The best thing I can say for the Motorola Neo 40 Edge design is that I didn’t even check the phone’s price until I had spent several days with the phone, and was genuinely surprised 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 big with the 6.7in Edge 20 Neo and shrinking way down with the 6.2in Edge 30 Neo, Motorola has reached a comfortable middle ground with the 6.55in Full HD+ Edge 40 Neo display.

It’s a smart move, producing a canvas that’s still undeniably on the large side without totally filling your hands.

This is a well judged screen in other ways too. I’m still not sure that Motorola’s obsession with an elevated 144Hz refresh rate is entirely worthwhile – it’s all a bit Spinal Tap “this one goes up to 11” – but it’s certainly a noteworthy spec in a £300 phone.

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

Motorola Edge 40 Neo display refresh rate

Jon Mundy / Foundry

More importantly, this is a vibrant pOLED display that outputs rich, natural colours – at least once you’ve switched away from the default Saturated colour mode.

It also gets reasonably bright. There’s a stated peak brightness of 1300 nits, though of course this is applicable to HDR conditions and doesn’t reflect general usual. I measured around a third of that figure on a plain white screen with autobrightness turned off, which is still perfectly decent.

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

Motorola has fitted the Edge 40 Neo with MediaTek’s Dimensity 7030 SoC. That’s not the most mainstream of chips, but our benchmark tests suggest that it’s a considerable step forward from the Edge 30 Neo and the Poco X5 5G with their Snapdragon 695 chip.

Indeed, it handily tops most sub-£300 phones in the raw performance stakes.

Motorola Edge 40 Neo back angle

Jon Mundy / Foundry

As those benchmarks suggest, using the Edge 40 Neo is a largely smooth experience, even with the display set to 144Hz, which is how I had it for most of the test period. It doesn’t have the snap or fast-loading apps and web pages of a true flagship, but the vast majority of people simply wouldn’t notice the difference.

Sure, you can spend more to get more, but the Edge 40 Neo hits that sweet spot where we’re talking marginal gains for all but the most intensive of power users or gamers. The benchmarks below show it’s not far off the Google Pixel 7a in Geekbench 6 which costs £449 and also outpaces the £349 Samsung Galaxy A34 5G.

It helps that here in the UK you also get 12GB of RAM as standard, which is a generous amount at this price. You also get 256GB of storage, which is Motorola going well and truly above and beyond – that’s double 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 Motorola Edge 40 Neo’s camera system is led by what appears to be the same 50Mp 1/1.5in Omnivision OV50A sensor that you’ll find in Motorola Edge 30 Fusion, the Motorola Razr 2022, the Huawei P50 Pro, and the Moto G84 5G. Aside from the latter, those are all pricier phones.

This larger sensor, backed by OIS (optical image stabilisation), is capable of scooping up more light and capturing detailed, bright, well-balanced shots. It’s a thoroughly pleasant camera to shoot with in most conditions, and I was impressed by how rich and natural the colours looked, while dynamic range was also on point.

Motorola Edge 40 Neo camera

Jon Mundy / Foundry

Moving to lesser lighting conditions, the Edge 40 Neo maintained its composure when shooting indoors in moderate lighting, with some particularly tasty food shots. Night mode shots display the true gap to flagship phones, but it’s still a very credible performance, with bright, detailed shots.

This impressive main shooter is backed by a 13Mp ultra-wide camera. As you’d expect, it’s not in the same league as that 50Mp main shooter, but it’s pretty respectable. It can’t even approach the detail or contrast captured by the main sensor, but the tone is broadly similar, which is an achievement in a budget 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 comes with a 5000mAh battery, which is a nice size given how svelte the phone feels.

It enabled me to get through a full day of heavy usage (five hours of screen on time) with around 25% left in the tank. That’s a very solid result given that I was running with the screen set to the full 144Hz limit.

It might sound worrying that the Edge 40 Neo didn’t score too highly on the standard PC Mark Work 3.0 battery test, dropping more than 2 hours short of the 10 hour mark that the Poco X5 5G and the Redmi Note 12 5G reached.

Motorola Edge 40 Neo USB-C port

Jon Mundy / Foundry

Remember, though, that this score was achieved with that 144Hz setting rather than the usual 120Hz. Dropping the refresh rate to 120Hz added another hour to that score, while going with the default Auto setting brought the score up to 9h 17min.

That’s still well short of the competition, and several hours short of the Moto Edge 30 Neo, suggesting that the Dimensity 7030 isn’t the most efficient chip on the market when it comes to a sustained artificial load. In practical mixed-use terms, however, I have no qualms whatsoever.

Motorola bundles a speedy 68W charger with the Edge 40 Neo, which is most welcome. It’ll get the battery from empty to almost half-full in just 15 minutes, and on to an excellent 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 pretty much legendary by now, at least among tech journo types. It’s blissfully free of flab, with menus and icons largely as intended by Google.

That’s not to say that Motorola’s fingerprints aren’t on this UI. The Moto app is your window onto the company’s way of doing things, offering access to thoughtful gesture-based shortcuts, enhanced security, and personalisation options.

Family Space, meanwhile, lets you create a space on your phone for kids, limiting access to apps, designing a bespoke home screen, setting time limits and establishing passwords.

Motorola Edge 40 Neo Moto app

Jon Mundy / Foundry

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 model here in the UK, with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. It costs £299.99 directly from the Motorola website.

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

At this price, the main competition comes from Xiaomi’s budget sub-brands, with phones such as the Poco X5 5G and the Redmi Note 12 5G broadly in the same category as the Edge 40 Neo with equivalent configurations.

Interestingly, Motorola’s own Moto G84 5G is only £50 less than the Edge 40 Neo sitting in our budget phone category, though the gulf in class feels much wider.

Check out our chart of the best mid-range phones to see more options.

Should you buy the Motorola Edge 40 Neo?

Motorola has offered a startlingly complete premium budget phone in the Edge 40 Neo. Its design and build quality are better than pretty much everything else in its weight class.

Performance is strong, the display is bright and fluid (the tune of 144Hz), and the 50Mp main camera is capable of capturing genuinely good shots.

Throw in solid battery life, fast charging, and Motorola’s famed clean approach to software, and you have what could very well be the best phone you can get for less than £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