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The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion x Pantone is a special edition phone done right

Bored of black slabs? Motorola's new vegan leather-backed phone in Pantone's Color of the Year, Viva Magenta, is stunning.
Written by Kerry Wan, Senior Reviews Editor
Reviewed by Alyson Windsor
Motorola Edge 30 Fusion in hand
June Wan/ZDNET

Just when I thought there were no more variations of the glass slab that is a modern-day smartphone, Motorola comes out of the blue and hands me its new Edge 30 Fusion in Pantone's Color of the Year: Viva Magenta. 

No, seriously, there's such a thing as Color of the Year, Viva Magenta is the actual name of a color, and its blend of red and pink hues is as lively as the name suggests. 

I spent the past week testing the Edge 30 Fusion which, while previously released overseas, finally made its US debut late in December. Sure, CES this year had no shortage of innovative, forward-looking tech, but there's just something appealing about flashy hardware that's actually available to buy. Case in point: I'm obsessed with Motorola's new phone. And the best part is it's not just because of the looks.

I would be doing a disservice if I didn't start by talking about the design, right? The best way for me to describe the Edge 30 Fusion's Viva Magenta backing is a mix of maroon and pink -- like the edible seed of a pomegranate. Trust me, I wish there were better words to articulate all the glamour I'm seeing.

Close-up shot of the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion

The vegan leather backing is accented by a dual camera bump and a depth sensor.

June Wan/ZDNET

What's not so noticeable from the image is how Motorola went with a vegan leather treatment on the back of the phone, a pleasant deviation from the usual suspects of glass and plastic -- and I'm here for it. The material is just as sleek as the real thing, adds some much-needed grip to an already thin and curvy form factor, and gives the phone a charm that you just don't want to cover up with a case first thing after unboxing it. The same can't be said about other handsets I've tested in recent years.

Sadly, the Pantone branding on the bottom is permanent and not some removable sticker that any foolish reviewer from ZDNET would spend minutes trying to peel off.

Also: I went hands-on with Motorola's ThinkPhone and it's surprisingly good

Now, I have to tip my hat to Motorola for what it's packaged with the Viva Magenta bundle. From the "unboxing fragrance" that fills the air when you remove different compartments of the box to the bundled 68W charger that doubles as a laptop charger to the complimentary pair of wireless earbuds, this is a special edition phone done right. Check out the unboxing experience below.

At the end of the day, the Edge 30 Fusion, in and of itself, is a very well-rounded flagship. The 6.55-inch OLED display is not too big, not too small, and ramps up to a 144Hz refresh rate. Visually, it's smoother than what I've seen from Samsung or Apple's best -- both of which max out at 120Hz. My only call-out here is the curvature of the Edge 30 Fusion's sides, a design element that looks fantastic in the hand but can often lead to accidental touches.

Fortunately, this curvature plays well with Motorola's attempt at making the Edge 30 Fusion one of the thinnest phones on the market, measuring 7.45mm. The thinness of the phone, paired with the vegan leather backing, is a match made in heaven.

Motorola Edge 30 Fusion on top of a table.

Motorola's software is cleaner than I expected, with familiar Moto perks like chop and twist gestures.

June Wan/ZDNET

But, to keep things grounded, this is right now a $599 smartphone (down from $799) and trade-offs are expected, though not as obvious as you would think. Things like an IP52 rating instead of IP68, the lack of wireless charging, a Snapdragon 888+ processor instead of an 8 Gen variant, and no support for Verizon/CDMA bands will be deal breakers for some.

More: Best phones you can buy right now

But, if design is at the top of your smartphone priority list, and you want what I'd consider one of the better Android phones you can buy for the money, then Motorola's latest collab is worth a shot.

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