Motorola Moto E review

Motorola Moto E review

T3 3
  • The Moto E costs just £90 – great value for a smartphone. But does it cut too many corners? Read our Motorola Moto E review

    Motorola Moto E review

    Love

    • Great price
    • Pure Android
    • Sturdy build quality

    Hate

    • Iffy camera
    • Not made for games
    • No 4G

    If you thought the Motorola Moto G was good value, you’ll love its successor, the Motorola Moto E. Its another stripped back, no frills Android-running smartie, but here’s the kicker: it comes in under a ton. Just £90, to be exact. That’s on a par with the Nokia Lumia 630.

    Is it the best budget blower in town? Or now that the Moto G has been refreshed with 4G and a microSD card slot (and a slightly higher asking price of £149), is it a better bet? Let’s find out.

    Motorola Moto E: Size and build

    The first thing you notice when picking up the Motorola Moto E is it weighs a fair bit. It tips the scale at 142g – that’s only 1g lighter than the Moto G, and 8g heavier than the Nokia Lumia 630, both of which are slightly bigger than the Motorola Moto E.

    The back is a right pain to prise off. We wouldn’t advise doing so too often if you want to keep your fingernails. It features the same dimple as the Moto G, which makes it comfortable to hold. Its matte finish is nowhere near as smooth as the iPhone 5C, but then this handset is a fraction of the price.

    The back is interchangeable, and comes in black, white, violet, spearmint, raspberry, royal blue, turquoise, lemon lime, and cherry colours. At time of writing, they’re listed as coming soon on the UK site, while in the US they cost $14.99 each.

    Motorola Moto E: Features

    Unlike the original Motorola Moto G, the Motorola Moto E has a microSD card slot for adding 32GB of storage to the internal 4GB. It runs Android 4.4 KitKat, which is the latest version of Google’s OS. Because it’s pure Android, it should be one of the first in line for new software updates.

    There’s no 4G, but you do get Bluetooth 4.0 and a 3.5mm headphone socket.

    Did we mention it costs £90 as well?

    Motorola Moto E: Screen

    The 4.3-inch screen has a resolution of 960x540, which gives it a pixel per inch count of 256ppi. That’s not going to win any awards, and as you can see in our photos, it’s a little grainy. It’s nowhere near as bright and sharp as high-end handsets. But it’s fine for basic tasks.

    Motorola Moto E: Camera

    On imaging duties are a 5-megapixel camera that captures video in 720p resolution. There’s no front-facer, so you can forget about video calls.

    The camera is fine, but the shutter’s a bit slow, you lose a fair bit of detail in low light, and there’s no flash. It’s OK for throwaway shots, but it’s not going to replace your compact snapper anytime soon.

    Motorola Moto E: Performance

    Inside is a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 chip. This is a low-end processor, so it’s no surprise that the Motorola Moto E struggles with more demanding games, when the action becomes more frenzied. For the most part, video runs fine, though it’s not the best screen for showing off luscious HD footage.

    Games are only going to become more graphically advanced, so if you’re into your mobile gaming, this isn’t the handset for you.

    For day to day use, the processor is absolutely fine though. It whips through menus fast as you like, while apps are pretty quick to start. It makes you wonder how much grunt we really need in our phones.

    Motorola Moto E: Battery

     

    Motorola claims you’ll get 24 hours of mixed usage out of the 1,980mAh lithium-ion battery. While we got a full day out of it with fairly heavy usage, we found the Moto G lasted quite a bit into the next day too.

    Motorola Moto E: Verdict

    There are compromises, sure. The camera’s not great, the processor lags behind others, and there are much better screens around. But this is a well built, reliable mobile that comes with the latest software. And for £90, that’s very tough to beat.

    Motorola Moto E release date: Out now

    Motorola Moto E price: £90

  • The Motorola Moto E is the Brand's cheapest phone yet and has the uneviable task of competing with an army of budget smartphones

    Motorola Moto E review

    Love

    • Great price
    • Pure Android
    • Sturdy build quality

    Hate

    • Iffy camera
    • Not made for games
    • No 4G

    The Motorola Moto E isn't just the cheapest phone the maker has on offer, it's also the one with the most riding on it. Taking on the swathes of cheap budget smartphones,it has to, at the very least, stand shoulder to shoulder with its own Moto G in terms of success.

    To give you some idea of what it has to compete with, the Moto G is Motorola's best-selling smartphone ever, in just five months it now holds six per cent of the UK smartphone market and has a staggering 17 per cent of the UK pre-paid market. Apple can keep its iPhone 5c, those are the figures that make smartphone manufacturers happy.

    In an effort to increase that market share even more Motorola has unveiled the Moto E, a £89 smartphone that is hoping to undercut the Samsung Galaxy Fame, Nokia Lumia 520 and even the Sony Xperia E.

    Motorola Moto E: Size and build

    The Moto E has a 4.3-inch edge-to-edge display which means that the only real bezels are at the top and bottom and thankfully this keeps the phone feeling compact without it feeling too small.

    With a curved back the Moto E hides its 12.3mm thickness well tapering down to just 6.2mm at the edges. Tthis has the added benefit of feeling great to hold, something which both the Motorola Moto X and Moto G excel in as well.

    Weighing in at 142g there's a sturdy heft to the phone and while it's exclusively made using plastic, it's well built enough that we'd have absolutely no qualms about dropping it. Article continues after our Moto E hands-on video.

    Motorola Moto E: Features

    Throwing two fingers up at its Android rivals, the Moto E will come with the latest version of Android 4.4.2 KitKat straight out of the box, something that Motorola is keen to highlight.

    As such you'll get the same clutter-free interface found on the Moto G, which is a good thing as it needs to make full use of the smaller 4.3-inch display.

    From the short time we spent with the Moto E, it felt as though Motorola had succeeded in creating a pure Android experience while subtly adding in their own features without the words 'bloatware' ever crossing your lips.

    Motorola Moto E: Screen

    One of the first things you'll notice when you turn on the phone is the screen - it's brilliant. Sporting 540x960 pixels, it's certainly not the highest-resolution display but considering the £89 price, the 256ppi pixel density isn't just impressive it's class-leading when you consider its rivals.

    IPS meant viewing angles were way above what you'd normally expect and colours seemed rich, and according to Motorola the screen also comes with an anti-smudge coating however we did find ourselves having to wipe the screen a few times during filming.

    Motorola Moto E: Battery

    The Moto E comes with a huge 1980mAh non-removeable battery which should mean you'll finally be able to own a smartphone that won't need charging until you get home.

    Of course we won't know for sure until we've had a proper chance to review it but considering the low processor requirements and the slightly smaller display we're feeling pretty confident that Motorola will be able to deliver on its promise.

    Motorola Moto E: Performance

     

    In order to keep that battery life so high Motorola has had to make a few concessions on the hardware, as such you won't find a quad-core processor in sight.

    Instead Motorola has opted for a 1.2Ghz Snapdragon 200 dual-core processor along with 1GB RAM. This should be fine for day-to-day multi-tasking however we're not convinced you'll be able to run many of the latest games without some pretty severe lag.

    That said it's still faster than many of its rivals and hopefully the bump to 1.2Ghz won't affect battery life too much.

    Storage is understandably small at 4GB, presumably to keep the costs down with Motorola instead giving you the option of expanding it up to 32GB via microSD.

    Finally there's a 5MP camera on the back which lets you shoot 720p video. There isn't a front-facing camera, it's an interesting omission and one that may or may not decide whether people choose the Moto E.

    Motorola Moto E: Verdict

    The price is clearly the big selling-point here, and whilst there are plenty of sub-£100 smartphones out there Motorola has clearly thought about what can make the Moto E a considerably better option that perhaps some of its rivals.

    The loss of a front-facing camera is a decision that could come back to kick Motorola but it's certainly not the end of the world, for now though we'll say that from spending a short amount of time with the Moto E it certainly feels like a mid-range smartphone which is probably what Motorola is hoping for.

    Motorola Moto E release date: May 2014

    Motorola Moto E price: £89

    Hands-on by Tom Tamblyn

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