The affordable champions are back: meet the Moto E5 Plus, E5, and E5 Play

The affordable champions are back: meet the Moto E5 Play and Moto E5 Plus
The Motorola Moto G series are usually often mentioned in conversations about no-nonsense midrangers that balance affordability with performance well. However, it's not the cheapest line Moto has in store. That would be the Moto E family — the most basic Motorola phones that still have a distinct Moto flavor to them, plus a special feature or two to set them apart.

The new members of the Moto E line are the Moto E5 Plus, Moto E5 and Moto E5 Play. Of the three, the Moto E5 Plus is the highest end proposition, followed by the E5 and E5 Play, the latter being the cheapest one.

Design and Display

The Moto E5 Play is pretty much the traditional Moto phone. You have a 16:9 screen up front with a 5.2-inch diagonal and a resolution of 720 x 1280. Its plastic back has a fine texture to add more grip and the camera module rocks that meaty metal ring around the lens that Motorola has been employing lately. Don't get fooled, though, there's still just a single camera back there — the second circle below it is the LED flash. The Moto E5 Play may or may not have a fingerprint scanner on it — it depends on select carriers and regional markets, so be sure to check with your retailer of choice.

The Moto E5 Plus has the trendy 18:9 aspect ratio, which means you get a taller display, able to fit more information vertically. The resolution here is 720 x 1440 — the same HD quality as the E5 Play, just with some more pixels to fill out that height, spread across the majestic 6 inches. We've also got a more premium look thanks to a glass panel applied to the back. The camera ring on the back appears to hold two sensors, but again — it doesn't. The phone is a bit thick, but that's because it holds a massive battery. More on that a bit later. The Moto E5 Plus will also have variants with a fingerprint scanner, depending on market and carrier models. Meanwhile, the middle-of-the-road Moto E5 also has the new 18:9 screen ratio, but in a slightly smaller size of 5.7".

The phones are not rated as water-resisting, but they do have water-repelling coating. In other words, keep them away from any form of puddle, but don't panic if you splash a bit of water on them.

Hardware and camera

The Moto E5 Play is the cheapest phone here and is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 or 427, tiching at 1.4 GHz. It has 16 GB of expandable storage and just 2 GB of RAM. In other words — it's a basic device for users with basic needs, don't expect it to run heavy apps smoothly. Its battery is also not too impressive, with a 2,800 mAh capacity, but considering that the phone is intended only for the essential tasks and has a low-power hardware, it might do well in the battery life department. The rear camera has an 8 MP sensor, the front snapper takes 5 MP selfies.

The Moto E5 Plus is slightly more powerful, with an octa-core, 1.4 GHz Snapdragon 435 humming under its hood. Its storage is bumped up to 32 GB, still expandable, and its RAM is 3 GB. What the E5 Plus really has going for it is the large cell — a 5,000 mAh battery in the back is sure to keep the lights on for a long time! And a 15 W TurboPower charger brick should fill that huge juicebox in a reasonable amount of time. The Moto E5 comes with the slower, Snapdragon 425 chipset, and has 16 GB of internal memory and 8 MP main camera.

The cameras on the E5 Plus are a 12 MP shooter on the back, assisted by phase detection and laser autofocus, and an 8 MP one on the front.

It's worth noting that neither handset has an NFC chip, while they all come with a microUSB port, instead the more contemporary USB Type-C. As far as software goes — you get Android 8 Oreo out of the box and, hopefully, Motorola's well-known timely updates afterwards.

Price and expectations

The Moto E5 Plus will roll out across countries in Asia, Europe, Latin and North America over the coming months, starting at a price of EUR 169. Is the phone makes it to the US, it will probably cost $169 or less. Next up, the E5 will be available across Asia, Europe and Latin America, and the price Moto suggests for this guy is EUR 150. Finally, the cheapest new Moto, the E5 Play, is expected to be available (again over the coming months) in North America, at an unspecified price at this time. We would expect it to cost anywhere from $99 to $140.

We expect that the new handsets will be great entry-level devices, to be used either as a backup phone or to by someone who only needs the bare essentials out of their phone. Like email, chats, and calls.

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