Moto E Review – valuE for monEy

The PhonE and its Design

Moto G, was a grand success for Motorola. It had the stripped down hardware spec from the higher end Moto X. Yet it was powerful and sensible to meet the needs of a mobile that needs to run the latest version of Android. Hence the Moto G was offered to the end customer at a very affordable price. The Moto E, is plans to penetrate the market even deeper. It is mainly for people who don’t want to dig deep into their pockets for a smart phone experience. So Motorola started stripping down the hardware to the bare minimum essentials and this the Moto E was born. It is the most affordable smart phone in the market now, that can deliver the best value for money.

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It inherits a lot of the design DNA from its bigger cousin the Moto G and X. It is solidly built and weights a little over 140 gms. It is slightly thicker at 12.3 mm and has curved edges and back
for an ergonomic fit. The material used is plastic. The back cover is removable and you can choose differently colored back covers as your design statement. At the back you have 5MP camera. If you remove the cover, you can see the slots for the SIM cards and SD card. The 1920 mAh battery is also seen in the boot, but its is non-removable

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At the top, you have the headphone jack and the bottom houses the micro USB charging port. On the front there is a speaker below the display. The earpiece along with the LED notification light is at the top of the display. There is no front facing camera. The display has a pixel density of 256 ppi and can support a resolution of 540 x 960. It a corning gorilla glass protected display and it is pretty decent for a cheap entry-level device. The bezels are rather thick on the top and bottom, giving the device a weird old look when compared to modern devices with very thin bezels. Very much like the Moto G, the Moto E is also water-resistant. Overall, this is a sturdily built device and a sensibly designed hardware.

Under the hood

The Moto E is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual core snapdragon 200 processor. It has 1 GB of RAM and a dedicated Graphics processing Unit Adreno 302. They are not the best available in the market, but for this segment and the price you are paying, this is the best you can get. The mobile has a 4 GB of inbuilt memory and which can be expanded up to 32 GB using micro SD card. The inbuilt memory is 4 GB but 2 GB is already used by the system and the remaining space is insufficient to install large apps. It must have been a minimum of 8 GB. Overall the performance is not off the charts, but the hardware ensures that you get a smooth android user experience.

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Android Interface

As we saw in the Moto X and G, the Moto E’s user interface is almost stock Android and it runs on the latest version of Android, the Kitkat. Apart from a few Motorola specific applications, the
device has pure android experience out of the box. Motorola is also committed to get the Moto E on to the latest version of Android available with it quick updates. Currently it is running on the Android 4.4.3, while 4.4.4 is available for the Nexus devices. The messaging app and dialer has been tweaked a bit by Motorola. Apart from the regular suite of Google apps, there are a few Motorola specific apps. The Migrate app helps you transfer messages, contacts, photos, videos, music and call logs from another Android phone over to this one. The Google camera and gallery have both been replaced by Motorola equivalents. There is an app called Motorola Assist which is basically your electronic personal assistant. The Alert app is a safety feature that lets you contact your emergency contacts at a press of a button and sound the alarm.

Camera

Let me get the verdict first. Camera is a great disappointment in the Moto E. First there is no front facing camera. The rear camera is 5 Mp and has no flash. I could shoot better photos on my 5MP camera on the 5 years old Nokia N95. It has no autofocus and the entire photo clicking experience is skewed. The moment you click a picture, the frame freezes to show a highly distorted image. You are not sure if the image has come out well. But actually in the final image, there isn’t much shake. There are not many options to play around in the camera. It is a very basic interface which screams “You want camera? I got one” and that’s it.

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Entertainment

The segment of potential buyers for the Moto E, is particularly interested in entertainment like no other. The Moto E has a decent sized display at 4.3 inch diagonally. It is crisp and decent viewing angle. The audio quality is not bad either. The phone speakers are pretty loud but it offers no isolation. The only problem I see here is the storage capacity. Though you can extend the storage by up to 32 GB, internal storage is much faster and reliable.

Telephony

The Moto E is an excellent phone. The call quality is very good and I faced very few or no dropped calls even when the signal was weak. Juggling between the 2 sim cards is pretty easy and well-managed both for calls and messages. But what worries me here is the high SAR value at head. There is no official proof that mobile radiations are harmful for users, but to be safe I would stay out of any device that has a SAR value of anything above 1.0.

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Battery

The Moto E has a non removable 1920 mAH battery. It is clear that Mot E is a not a processing power house. It neither has a large display and runs on a near stock Android. Hence the battery backup is really good. Using the Moto E with a bit of internet data and always on WiFi, a bit of browsing and a normal usage of telephony, messaging along with a light gaming, reduced the battery backup from 100% to 30% in 19 hours. The idle usage is also very less. It consumed just 2% while I was fast asleep for 8 hours.

Competitors

Moto E is retailing for Rs 7000 now. There are a bunch of cheap mobiles from Samsung, Micromax or other equivalents in this price range. But in terms of build quality, software interface and quality of product Moto E trumps all of them. If you feel that you need a better camera and a larger storage, and willing to extend the budget a little further, there are other choices like the Nokia Lumia 630 or even the Moto G. Check out the comparison here. But if budget is a constraint Nokia 525 and the Nokia X are other alternatives. But Lumia 630 and 525 are Windows phones and X series are forked android interface. If you are very specific about android, the Moto E is your destination.

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Judgement

Moto E is a plain straight forward mobile that has no fancy features like the NFC or Biometric scanner. Apart from the Camera and storage I have nothing to complain about the Moto E. It is well-built and has decent display and runs all day long on a single charge. It has a good processing power that can run most of your applications and games. At Rs 7000, you can never get a better phone than the Moto E.

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