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Motorola Moto E hands-on

Posted: , by John V.

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Motorola Moto E hands-on

Keeping a lower profile nowadays, Motorola seems more intent than ever to tackle the entry-level market. No, they’re not trying to win consumers with free on-contract phones, but rather, they’ve gone the route of producing off-contract phones that are sporting hard-to-beat prices. Already, we’ve seen it during the holidays with the Motorola Moto G, which proved to be an inviting venture internationally. In following up to that success, Motorola is unleashing its latest cost-cutting Android powered smartphone in the Moto E. Without diving into all of the specs right now, let is just point out that this small bundle of joy is going to be rocking an amazing $129.99 cost!

Design


One quick peek at the Moto E, we’re instantly reminded about the Moto G, seeing that it shares the same design language as its successful sibling. In the greater scheme of things, there’s nothing really worth gloating about with the Moto E’s design – more so when it grazes the humble side of things. Bearing in mind the cost of the phone, we really can’t complain too much about the rehashed design of the phone, but at least it offers some personalization in the form of the colorful selection of interchangeable shells that Moto will sell alongside the device.

Overall, the design is uniform and pretty comfortable to hold in the hand due to the subtle curved rear casing. More importantly, though, its construction is pretty decent considering its low cost. Oh yeah, it also features a water-resistant splash guard to keep the phone from conking out if it’s used in the rain. However, don’t think for a moment that it’ll survive complete submersion.


The Moto E looks similar to the Moto G.
The Moto E looks similar to the Moto G.
The Moto E looks similar to the Moto G.
The Moto E looks similar to the Moto G.

The Moto E looks similar to the Moto G.


Display


Far from sporting the dazzling visuals seen with today’s crop of contemporary high-end smartphones, the Moto E favors having a more hand-friendly sized 4.3-inch 540 x 960 (qHD) IPS display with Gorilla Glass 3 on top of it. Yes, it’s actually a lower resolution display than the 720p screen found on the Moto G, but nevertheless, its pixel density count of 256 ppi is enough to make surfing the web tolerable.

However, our eyes can clearly tell that the display distorts when tilted slightly. From the front, colors have a nice punchy tone to them, but from the sides, it washes out tremendously. Again, the intent here is to provide a usable display that keeps the phone’s cost low – and it manages to do just that.

Interface


Out of the box, the Moto E features a pretty stock Android 4.4.2 KitKat experience. From our cursory look, we can’t find any sort of customization from Motorola’s end, so hardcore Android fans will be pleased by that gesture. Naturally, the UI is pretty clean, intuitive, and straightforward, giving first time users an easy time taking hold of the experience.

With the phone’s introduction, we find two new features that we haven’t otherwise experienced on past Motorola Android smartphones. First, there’s Motorola Migrate, which is none other than a utility to help new owners to easily transfer content from their old device to the Moto E. Secondly, there’s the Motorola Assist feature that helps prevent us from being interrupted during certain scenarios – like when you’re at an important meeting. As a whole, there isn’t anything profoundly new that would make us drool with glee, but hey, at least it’s a stock experience to begin with.

Processor and memory


Another area where Motorola had to be conscious about in keeping the Moto E’s cost within their parameters is found with the phone’s processor. Specifically, it’s powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 SoC coupled with 1GB of RAM and the Adreno 302 GPU. During our brief hands-on time, the phone exhibits a fair amount of responsiveness with basic things – such as launching apps and navigating around the homescreen. Obviously, this is something expected, but we’re curious to know how well it’ll handle more intensive stuff.

Even though it’s stuffed with only 4GB of internal storage, it’s a thoughtful gesture from Motorola to arm it with a microSD card slot for increased capacity.

Camera


Interestingly enough, there’s only a rear camera with the Moto E – a 5-megapixel one sans flash. It’s something we’re not too surprised to find with this caliber of phone, so don’t think for a moment that this is going to compete against some of the greats in the space. Instead, it’s merely there in the event you want to capture something on the fly. We can’t say if the images it captures are even usable, so we’ll be reserved with our judgment until we see the final results on a computer.

Conclusion


It’s no specs demon, nor does it tantalize the eyes with its design, but without question, the Moto E has our complete attention with its hard-to-beat price of $129.99 – and that’s for the unlocked model that’s going on sale right now in the US! Domestically, it’s going to be tough to say if consumers will be wooed by this particular device, especially when some consumers are still deeply bounded to the whole notion of contract phones. Despite that, we can certainly say that this is gunning to become a hot item abroad, where people are more likely to purchase their phones outright. Getting our attention is one thing, but it still needs to prove itself in being a usable thing – so expect our review soon!







27 Comments
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posted on 13 May 2014, 11:09 1

1. zoransoce (Posts: 4; Member since: 01 Feb 2013)


is that a front facing speaker?

posted on 13 May 2014, 11:19

4. CyberFalcon (Posts: 132; Member since: 17 Apr 2014)


i too have the same doubt...

posted on 14 May 2014, 01:58

21. Adithya7184 (Posts: 309; Member since: 05 Mar 2011)


i just got mine...flipkart delivery is awesome....

posted on 13 May 2014, 11:13

2. phyxius (Posts: 11; Member since: 10 May 2013)


Smoking deal for price!

posted on 13 May 2014, 17:25 1

15. Doakie (Posts: 1167; Member since: 06 May 2009)


It honestly isn't that good of a deal...... If you're in the USA you can get better deals. How about the T-Mobile Alcatel One Touch Fierce for $125.01, AT&T ZTE 998 $112.98 on Amazon. 4.5" qHD, 4 GB internal storage, 5 MP phones have existed for a long time. Plus these phones are even better because the screen size is marginally larger with off screen buttons which give you more usable screen space, both have a LED flash, both record video in 720p, both have front facing cameras, not to mention the 998 has a better processor, GPU and includes LTE. Check out this comparison. The Moto E is pretty crap compared to the ZTE 998.

http://www.phonearena.com/phones/compare/Motorola-Moto-E,Alcatel-OneTouch-Fierce,AT-T-Z998/phones/8654,8161,8056

posted on 13 May 2014, 17:33

16. Doakie (Posts: 1167; Member since: 06 May 2009)


The only thing the Moto E has over the ZTE 998 is splash resistance and fast OS updates. Is that worth the lack of LED flash, lack of 720p video recording, smaller screen and a lack of LTE? Personally I'd take the 998...

posted on 13 May 2014, 18:53

17. hurrycanger (Posts: 909; Member since: 01 Dec 2013)


The Onetouch Fierce totally sucks, man. Bad cameras and a terrible display with absolutely crappy viewing angle.
But yeah. I agree that the Moto G isn't that good of a deal.
I would say better options aren't offered at the official stores, but rather from eBay and other places. Both the (T-mobile) Galaxy Light and the LG Optimus F6 can be brought brand-new for $130, and that includes the charger. Both have LTE, 2 cameras, and flash, which the Moto E lacks. The Moto E costs $150 with a charger.

posted on 13 May 2014, 11:14 3

3. andonia2 (Posts: 27; Member since: 26 Jul 2013)


Its pretty awesome for a budget phone isnt it?. Now ppl all over th world can possibly own a smartphone!! Amazing job Motorola... well done!

posted on 13 May 2014, 11:33

5. ihavenoname (Posts: 1312; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)


Very good and enjoyable device. Even shipping with quaranteed updates and decent resolution, not to mention stock Android.

posted on 14 May 2014, 04:27 1

22. nlbates66 (Posts: 281; Member since: 15 Aug 2012)


a promise of one update from 4.4.2 (could mean as far as 4.4.3) is hardly guaranteed updates...

EDIT: from the Motorola website:
The device will receive at least one software update to bring it up to date with the current KitKat 4.4.3 operating system.

talk about bs... barely above typical android support cycle for a device of this cost, it's only made worse they're trying to make it sound like something better.

posted on 14 May 2014, 13:16

24. xche78x (Posts: 100; Member since: 11 Mar 2014)


Problem is most phones never retain their original price when they jump to other countries. The nexus 5 which is sold for 349$ is priced $500+ on countries not supported by google. Moto G was priced around 250$, a 50$ price increase for a country with 8x smaller minimum wage than the US. Which means said price of the Moto G is a single person whole month wage... So chinese renamed odm phones reigns supreme here... Some of us can afford iphones but most cant and are forced to buy china phones... And for 99$-130$ we get superior quad core phones with 4-5" hd ips display phones

posted on 13 May 2014, 11:46

6. saiki4116 (Posts: 334; Member since: 31 Mar 2011)


They have got the price right for India.it would definitely sell well here.Moto E will push those Indian manufacturers to improve upon quality and updates

posted on 13 May 2014, 12:05

9. arenanew (Posts: 140; Member since: 30 Dec 2013)


third class design by moto called shameless . phone arena hetting money from lenova . inreality motorola is curse on google and google give this curse to lenovo . and lenova try to make some money from this crap

posted on 13 May 2014, 11:47 1

7. LikeMyself (Posts: 231; Member since: 23 Sep 2013)


The front silver lines look quite cheap! Could have been better without them! It's a Nokia X family killer!!

posted on 13 May 2014, 19:34

18. fzacek (Posts: 1351; Member since: 26 Jan 2014)


I agree. I wonder if it is a front facing speaker, though...

posted on 14 May 2014, 13:23

25. xche78x (Posts: 100; Member since: 11 Mar 2014)


Nokia x is already a dead product line, nokia overpriced it and the software is cumbersome, specs are also too weak. Nokia xl although not yet released on most parts of the world could also be dead on arrival, price and specs also lacks compared to other brands specially the moto e and moto G...

posted on 13 May 2014, 12:04

8. arenanew (Posts: 140; Member since: 30 Dec 2013)


third class design by moto called shameless . phone arena hetting money from lenova . inreality motorola is curse on google and google give this curse to lenovo . and lenova try to make some money from this crap

posted on 13 May 2014, 13:43 3

13. SellPhones82 (Posts: 488; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)


The more I read your post the more my head hurts...not to mention you posted it twice and must to have just copy and pasted based on the same errors and misspelling.

Sooo, for some reason you expected a premium design from a budget phone? I'd say the design fits the purchase price very well. You're never going to get Bugatti design for the price of a Kia.

posted on 13 May 2014, 12:05

10. arenanew (Posts: 140; Member since: 30 Dec 2013)


501 have more battery backup than this moto e

posted on 13 May 2014, 12:19

11. sunilh121 (Posts: 11; Member since: 26 Nov 2013)


I have the moto g and it was good but no SD card. They added a SD card reader on the moto e. They could have used their brain AMD added it to the moto g.

posted on 13 May 2014, 16:12

14. Doakie (Posts: 1167; Member since: 06 May 2009)


Did you not see the news of them releasing a Moto G with LTE and a micro sd card slot today? I'm kind of pissed off that mine is only HSPA+ and 16 GB of internal storage.....

posted on 13 May 2014, 12:53 3

12. AfterShock (Posts: 2530; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)


Rocking little phone for the price.
Well done Moto!

posted on 13 May 2014, 20:54 1

19. Arte-8800 (limited) (Posts: 4039; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)


Who and why would any one buy this cheap budget low graded phone

Yuck sucks

posted on 14 May 2014, 00:20

20. najib1312 (Posts: 99; Member since: 08 May 2013)


Honestly, I don't really find this a good deal, considering the fact that the market in Malaysia has been flooded by tons of value smartphones from Lenovo, which is pretty solid and reliable in my experience.

Consider this:
1) Lenovo A680 ~ USD99
http://shopap.lenovo.com/my/en/smartphones/a-series/a680/

2) Lenovo A850 ~ USD130
http://shopap.lenovo.com/my/en/smartphones/a-series/a850/

3) Lenovo S650 ~ USD135
http://shop.lenovo.com/ae/en/smartphones/s-series/s650/

posted on 14 May 2014, 07:51

23. boosook (Posts: 928; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)


Come on... a 5'' display with only 854 x 480 pixels and a 2000 mAh battery?

posted on 14 May 2014, 14:09

26. SellPhones82 (Posts: 488; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)


The E seems to be on par with those you listed spec and price-wise. The only real difference I see is screen size and the ones you listed are running 4.2 while the G is running 4.4.2 and will get future updates. RAM and internal memory were the same on the ones I looked at. The three you listed all use MediaTek processes where the E is Snapdragon 200. If you consider those three a good deal then I'd call the E a great deal with its more stock interface instead of whatever custom UI Lenovo is using.

posted on 14 May 2014, 23:37

27. najib1312 (Posts: 99; Member since: 08 May 2013)


Well Actually all those 3 devices I listed used MTK6592 quadcore processor - I get 18,000 score in my Antutu - which is more than double that of Dual-core S200, which only gets less than 8,000 in Antutu.

Ofcourse, Antutu is not everything. Fortunately, in real life my Lenovo phones run smoothly without any lag, even when I'm playing high-end games. Battery life is also solid - a guaranteed usage of minimum 1 day.

And the BEST THING about this Lenovo phones is that YOU CAN INSTALL APPS DIRECTLY TO THE SD CARD. Hence, internal memory has never been a problem.

Rearding ui, I have never been a fan of stock android. I always use Buzz Launcher for my needs and I'm the kind of person who likes to tweak almost everything on the phone - Lock screen, notification toggle, launcher, sound, camera etc - so I never bother about ui unless I'm buying a high-end phone.

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