Motorola has recently launched its most anticipated budget smartphone Moto E, after big success of Moto G and Moto X in India. Moto X was in the league of high-end, feature-packed, Android smartphones. Moto G was a decent Android device with most of the features that you can expect in the sub-200$ price range in the market. Moto E has been launched specifically as a budget friendly device which can disrupt the smartphone market in the developing countries like India. The phone comes with a combination of latest Android 4.4 (Kitkat) and hardware specs that cannot be matched with any other phone in that budget range.
In this article TechyLab is going to review Moto E from the eyes of a real-world user who is more concerned with the performance and usability, rather than the price range. The reviewer had Samsung Galaxy Ace, Nexus S, Nexus 4 and has been fiddling with Moto G off late. Naturally, at some point you can expect to see comparison with all these phones which also were exceptional in specs and performance.
Moto E comes with a promising combination of hardware and software specification which delivers with performance :
Processor : 1.2 GHz Dual core
RAM : 1GB
ROM : 4GB (usable around 2GB)
GPU : Adreno 302 400 MHz
Display : 4.3 Inches Corning Gorilla Glass
Data : GPRS/EDGE/HSDPA (Upto 21 Mbps)/HSUPA(Upto 5.76 Mbps)
Connectivity : WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.0
GPS: A-GPS with Glonass and BeiDou
Battery : Li-Ion 1980 mAh
Camera : 5MP without flash.
Other Features : Dual standby Sim with expandable memory upto 32GB, Accelerometer, Proximity Sensor and Ambient Light Sensor
Packaging : The package contains 1 mini-USB Charger, 1 Headphone, safety Guide, Warranty description and getting started booklet. The phone comes in 2 colors – Black and White. The absurd thing about the black version is that the headphones and USB charger bundled with it are white in color.
Getting Started : Getting started with Moto E is quite easy. The dual-SIM slot and SD card slot are carefully placed in a line inside the back-cover of the phone, which isn’t very elegant to remove and put back on. The back cover is made out of plastic with Matt finish which gives nice grip to the phone. While the version of Kitkat that comes with Moto E is mostly stock, except the cute Motorola boot animation and a few useful Motorola utilities.
Build Quality : With the first-look at the smartphone, you cannot actually comment on the build quality of the phone. We usually do not expect a rock-solid build of a smartphone in this price range, but Moto E is built surprisingly well. The device has a glossy screen, the corning Gorilla glass 3 screen with a curved back gives a classy look to the phone. We found the back cover to have a little bit of misfit, but that surely will not be noticeable by most of the users.
We were under the impression that 4.3″ screen of the phone will feel smaller in usage but is rather usable in real-world conditions and you can touch and type on the phone with ease. The viewing angles of the phone are also very good. The screen has a rather odd resolution of 960×540 with an IPS display. But even with the 256 PPI density of the screen, the viewing is very crisp and sharp on Moto E for an average user. The phone also promises of anti-smudge coating and water-splash resistant screen, but we still recommend you not to take the phone anywhere near water !
Daily Usage : We tried testing the phone in “real world” conditions and were assured that you cannot complain about the hardware and usability of this phone in this price range. Moto E stands out from the regular league of budget-friendly Android phones which are usually very mediocre in hardware and performance. The biggest problem that I had faced while using Galaxy Ace and Nexus S was with the sound quality. The ringtone on all my previous Android phones was not audible in crowded places. But all thanks to the front speaker grill, the sound on this phone is very louder!
Our next experiment was with the GPS and location service on the device. The phone uses A-GPS with Glonass and BeiDou for GPS which helps to get precise location quickly. Also when carrying the phone while being outside whole day, the biggest concern of every user is about the battery juice of the phone. Even with a 1980 mAh battery, Moto E can comfortably last a day with constant screen on and moderate usage. We even switched to 3G data rather than WiFi, we found the phone to last more than 21 hours and still 20% battery was left. This was never the case with Nexus S.
The phone comes with handy Motorola utilities like Motorola Alert, Motorola Assist & Motorola Migrate. Motorola alert helps to set up emergency contacts on phone. Motorola Assist helps to set up different profiles for meeting and sleeping. We tested the sleeping profile which mutes all notifications and calls. In the sleeping profile, there is an option to ring the phone when a favorite contact calls you twice, which is useful. Another useful utility is Motorola migrate which helps to migrate call logs, SMS, contacts from another Android phone or iPhone.
Also the ambient light sensor and notification LED on the phone work flawlessly. Phone also has unexpectedly clear view on screen even under direct and bright sunlight.
The smartphone comes with the latest version of Android KitKat, which is a cherry on top of this pricing. Motorola has done exceptional good job at optimizing the performance of Moto X, Moto G and Moto E. Moto E only ships with 1 GB of RAM but runs butter smooth on the “near stock” version of Kitkat. The device comes with Chrome as the default browser and has usual stock Google apps like Quick Office, Google Maps, Gmail and YouTube. We got our hands dirty with many resource hungry games and applications on the phone and were not disappointed with performance at all. Playing games like Subway Surfer, Angry Birds and Asphalt 8 was very smooth. The device didn’t lagged a bit in any of these games and the performance was above par. Running all the regular applications simultaneously was also not a problem.
The major drawback in the hardware of the phone is the phone camera. There is no front camera on the phone. The primary camera on the phone is a simple 5 MP, which does not have flash or auto-focus. Though camera surely is mediocre but that is okay at this price level.
The smartphone also misses a Magnetic Sensor. The headphones in the packaging are not of good quality. And there is no data cable in the packaging of Moto E.
The phone states 4 GB of internal memory out of which only 2 GB is usable, hence using an SD card is highly recommended. Phone is having an expandable memory up to 32 GB.
Final Verdict :
Moto E is truly a budget phone launched by Motorola which delivers a lot for the price. Motorola has also guaranteed Android updates for Moto E. Most of the real users do not care much about the exceptional pixel density or unnatural colors of a device at this budget range. Moto E has a near perfect combination of decent hardware and stock Android software which just works out of the box. If you are looking for a good performance Kitkat device on budget and camera quality is not a priority, you should definitely go ahead to buy Moto E.