Motorola is aiming at the most affordable end of the smartphone market with the Moto E, an incredibly cheap device that promises a great deal. Does cheap and cheerful make for a great phone that delivers more than you pay for?
- 4.3-inch display
- 1.2GHz dual-core processor
- 5 megapixel camera
- 1980mAh battery
- Android KitKat
Design and build
Looking a lot like the Moto G, the Moto E’s curved plastic backplate fits very well in the hand and is easy to grip. The phone is ideal for one-handed use and is a perfect size that’s big enough to make use of all its features without being so large that it becomes cumbersome.
The device’s build quality is also far above what we’d expect from a budget phone, and we’re very impressed at how sturdy it feels. Overall, the Moto E is a great-looking smartphone that feels reliably tough.
Adding to the ideal sizing of the Moto E, the 4.3-inch display harks back to the smartphone era that we miss a little. The great majority of modern high-end phones have far more screen space than this but we don’t find Motorola’s effort to be lacking. Sure, you don’t get the same wow factor when watching high-res videos that you would with the Sony Xperia Z2, but you can get this for a fraction of the price.
The screen is bright and reasonably crisp, and while the Android keypad can be a little fiddly on the Motorola’s display, there really is little to complain about when you consider what a wallet-friendly phone this is.
Under the hood
Android KitKat has reportedly been developed to better suit lower-powered phones than any other version of Google’s mobile software. In that case, the Moto E is the ideal candidate, packing a dual-core 1.2GHz processor.
Performance is hugely impressive, being really smooth overall. You don’t get any lag when opening apps or playing games and everything runs fluidly through the phone.
Storage space is limited to 4GB, which isn’t much at all, but there is the option to install a microSD card. If you’re planning on taking your music and photos with you on the move, this may be an essential purchase to boost the space that you have.
Operating system and user interface
As we mentioned, KitKat is in place, meaning this phone is far better equipped than some mid-range devices. Motorola delivers an almost bare interface, free of clutter and gimmicky features, leaving you lots of space to add apps and widgets.
One useful addition is Motorola Alert, which lets you make an emergency call to a chosen contact with just a tap. You can also share your location with that person, making this a handy thing to have if you find yourself in danger.
Another is Motorola Migrate, which makes it very easy to transfer contacts, messages and music from your old handset. Working across Android and iOS devices, Motorola Migrate is a very user-friendly innovation that we we like a lot.
Camera and video
The five megapixel camera is perfect for capturing quick shots when you’re out and about. Motorola’s camera interface is simple and free of clutter, meaning there are few fussy settings that you have to mess with.
Images themselves come out clearly and with bright, bold colours. They aren’t up to the standard of those taken with a high-end smartphone, but this all comes down to the price tag again. For what you pay, the results are excellent.
Performance and verdict
This is probably the best cut-price smartphone we’ve ever seen, bringing power, performance and excellent build quality at a very low price tag. The Moto E can’t possibly match the very highest end of the smartphone world, but for anyone who doesn’t want to splash out this is one of the best options around.