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Moto X30 Pro debuts as the world’s first smartphone with a 200MP camera

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After an unexpected delay, this week Motorola is finally taking the wraps off three new smartphone models, including the 2022 Moto Razr. That’s joined by another device we’ve been following for a while, the Moto X30 Pro — a flagship with the kind of design that should help it stand apart from the crowd, not to mention being the first smartphone in the world equipped with a 200MP primary camera.

Before we get to the star of the show, glancing over the Moto X30 Pro’s spec sheet reveals fairly standard choices for a Q3 2022 flagship: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC, 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM, up to 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage, and 50W wireless and 125W wired charging support for the 4,500mAh battery.

Things start getting a bit more interesting as we turn to the phone’s cameras. There’s a 50MP ultra-wide unit, as well as a 12MP telephoto camera. And up front, selfies are handled by a 60MP sensor.

But the standout here is clearly the Moto X30 Pro’s 200MP primary camera, built with a Samsung ISOCELL HP1 sensor. Although the company recently announced the next-gen ISOCELL HP3 sensor, the 1/1.22 inch HP1 is still an absolute beast. In its native resolution, it can shoot 200MP images, or if you want to avoid filling up storage with those giant pics, the sensor is capable of two-by-two and four-by-four pixel binning, bringing things down to 50MP and 12.5MP, respectively.

While 200MP images sound great for details, allowing you to crop and use digital zoom without a care in the world, there are downsides here. On the hardware front, large format sensors are suitable for use in cinema cameras and mirrorless units where lenses are physically larger and capable of optical zoom. The Moto X30 Pro’s wide f/1.95 aperture and lack of optical zoom due to the constraints of a smartphone’s design mostly reduce the sensor to a spec sheet number for bragging rights. Don’t get us wrong — the sensor is great and cramming it into a smartphone is a feat in and of itself, but even in the 200MP teaser image you can see below, there is noticeable fringing and color distortion radiating outwards from the center of the image, a characteristic of wide-open apertures used with smaller lenses.

A 200MP teaser image Motorola posted on Weibo ahead of the phone’s launch.

It’s unreasonable to expect cinema-grade camera performance on a phone, but the Moto X30 Pro looks like it’s trying to strikes a fine balance, offering the detail of a 200MP sensor with acceptable lenses that will probably suffice in most scenarios — if you don’t look too closely.

If you’re eager to get your hands on the Moto X30 Pro stateside, you’re out of luck, at least for now. The phone has only been announced in China, but given its flagship status, it might be reasonable to expect a more international launch to follow. The base variant Moto X30 Pro priced at 3,699 Yuan (around $549) comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, while the top-of-the-line model with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage will set you back by 4,499 Yuan (around $668).

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