It’s easy to see why the Motorola Moto E is creating such a frenzy in the smartphone world. Finally, a tier-I brand has managed to offer uncompromised specifications that don’t ruin the Android experience. Moreover, you also get the latest version of Android and the promise of good after sales support. Motorola has done what Samsung, HTC, LG and Sony couldn’t – make Android likable for a beginner.
Design and Build
Although the Moto E bears a striking resemblance to the Moto G, the differences are noticeable once you start using it. The E feels extremely sturdy and well put together. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to call it the best built phone in its price bracket. The rubber-clad back cover offers nice grip and gives the phone a premium look.
You can swap out the back panel on your phone for other colours, should you choose to customise it. The cover is a bit of a pain to remove though. Underneath, you’ll find the two SIM slots and microSD card slot.
The 4.3-inch qHD display offers very good colours and viewing angles, making it ideal for gaming or catching up on a movie while travelling. The panel is not so good under direct sunlight however as it tends to wash out and the grid of touch spots is clearly visible. You even get a water resistant coating for the entire body and Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3.
The chrome strip at the bottom is the mouthpiece and the loudspeaker. The bundle includes a headset, charger and some reading material. There’s no USB data cable strangely, just like the Moto G.
What makes the Moto E so appealing is that it runs on stock Android KitKat 4.4.2 with some minor touches from Motorola’s end. The interface is smooth with barely any visible lag in the animations and multi-tasking. You get the usual suite of Motorola apps like Moto Assist and Migrate along with a new app called Alert. The latter lets you send out an emergency message to designated contacts in time or peril. You can also share your location with said contacts so your friends and family know where you are.
The snappy performance is all thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 dual-core SoC onboard and the 1GB of RAM. The latter makes all the difference as it allows more free memory for apps and also guarantees easily migration to future versions of Android.
We tried a bunch of graphically intensive games like Rayman: Jungle Run and Riptide GP and they all ran flawlessly, without any skip in framerate.
The Moto E features 4GB of onboard storage, out of which 2.21GB is usable. Worry not however, as you can easily add up to a 32GB memory card in the phone. One you insert it, the phone prompts you if you wish to move all the videos and photos over to the SD card. You can manually move installed apps over as well.
You’ll be happy to know that the Moto E also supports 64GB cards just fine. We tried this with a Sandisk Extreme SDXC card and it worked just fine. For audio, you get the same enhancements we’ve seen in the G and the X. The loudspeaker is surprisingly loud for a mono speaker and offers pretty good clarity too.
The phone might not support Full HD video recording but 1080p MP4 files playback just fine.
The Motorola Moto E is a quad-band GSM and 3G handset. You also get Wi-Fi ‘n’, Bluetooth v4.0, USB 2.0, GSP and GLONASS. USB OTG is not present however which means you cannot plug in a pen drive to transfer files on the move. The phone does support Miracast though, which lets you mirror your phones content onto a compatible TV.
The 5MP snapper is probably the only real let down on the Moto E. We guess Motorola couldn’t have added auto-focus as that would have made the Moto E seem like a much better prospect than the Moto G. As long as you’re not too close to the subject, the pictures are passable and more than adequate for social media sharing. The good thing is that the sensor manages to capture almost accurate colours. The sensor is actually a lot better than most 8MP snapper from local brands in this segment. Video recording is also good even though it maxes out at 480p.
The 1980mAh battery will easily give you a full day’s worth of usage. This is with a mix of calls, music, gaming and surfing the web over Wi-Fi. The standby time is pretty amazing as well since the battery barely drops even after hours of inactivity.
Verdict and Price in India
At a crazy price of under Rs 7,000, you can see why the Moto E has been a mega hit. Apart from being a handset from a reputed OEM, with extensive after sales support, you don’t feel short-changed when it comes to the features and performance. If you’re going to diss the Moto E because of its sub-par camera and the fact that it doesn’t have a front-facing one, then you’re missing the point.
The Moto E was designed to be beginner’s smartphone and for that, it does its job brilliantly. If you want a better camera or faster CPU, then you have the Moto G for that. Motorola has cleverly chalked out the specifications for the Moto E so it doesn’t eat into the sales of the Moto G, thereby justifying the price gap.
We’ve had great fun reviewing the Moto E, which is saying a lot considering it’s a no-frills smartphone. If we have to nit-pick, then we would say that the buttons couldn’t have used slightly better tactile feedback and perhaps a 3MP auto-focus camera would have been better than the 5MP fixed-focus.
If you are a first time smartphone user or wish to introduce someone to the world of Android, then the Moto E should be your only choice under Rs 10,000.
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