The Moto E4 Plus takes the largely successful and exceptionally cheap Moto E4 and straps a bigger battery to it. If you’re prone to roaming far from a power socket, that extremely long battery life makes the E4 Plus very tempting. If you don’t, though, you might prefer the more powerful and only slightly more expensive Moto G5.
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Moto E4 Plus review: design
Moto lost its design mojo for a while – the E3 was pretty horrible – but it seems to have rediscovered it: the Moto E4 Plus is a good looking phone that feels a lot more expensive than it actually is, not least because it has a fingerprint scanner that many budget devices lack.
There’s a full metal shell with a comfortably curved back, but the trade-off is weight: at just under 200g it’s significantly heavier than similarly sized rivals. The presence of a bigger battery means it’s more chunky too, coming in at 9.6mm thick. By comparison, the E4 is 9.3mm and weighs 151g.
The microSD and SIM slots are inside the case, and fiddly.
Moto E4 Plus review: features and usability
The most obvious cut corner here is the display: forget 4K, 2K or even 1080p. This one’s kicking it old-school with 720p, which feels very low-res in a 5.5-inch display. The pixel density is 267ppi, which means it’s not too unpleasant. But you’ll notice the difference compared to the many 1080p Moto devices. The upside is that 720p displays draw less power.
The camera is 13MP but you’re limited to 720p video recording and it lacks some of the gee-whiz features of some other devices. The aperture of f/2.0 seems awfully high on paper but in practice the G4 Plus copes acceptably well in low light; photos in normal lighting conditions are fine with decent colours and clarity. The front sensor is 5MP.
Software is Android 7.1.1 Nougat, but there’s no plans for an Oreo update. Like other Motos you get Moto Actions, which enable you to turn on the flashlight with a pretend karate chop or twist the phone to launch the camera. They’re fun.
Moto E4 Plus review: performance
Battery life is the big sell here: you should expect two full days of average usage from the massive 5,000mAh battery, and you’ll still get around a day and a half if you really hammer it. That makes it particularly well suited for travelling and outdoor pursuits. It doesn’t support wireless charging but it does support fast charging.
The reason for the long life is that the battery isn’t being driven too hard: it needn’t worry about driving a 2K or 4K display, and the processor is relatively low-powered. It’s a MediaTek MT6737 like the one in the Nokia 3, and while it’s optimised better on the Moto it’s no powerhouse. Nevertheless with 3GB of RAM it copes fine with most things, although if you’re a gamer this probably isn’t the right phone for you.
Moto E4 Plus review: verdict
Life is nasty, brutish and short, but the battery here isn’t: two days from a charge is exceptional on any phone, let alone a budget one. The compromise is in the screen, which isn’t brilliant, and the processor, which isn’t a screamer, and shoving such a big battery into the phone makes it a little heavier than most. Nevertheless the E4 Plus is a solid smartphone that’s particularly good for free range types who roam far from electrical sockets.