Over the years testing and reviewing smartphones, I haven’t used a device that retailed for under $130 at launch that was actually decent. Until I tried out the Moto E, that is.
The Moto E isn’t a device suited to power users. It isn’t a device for people that demand the best hardware or a suite of crazy features. It is, however, a great entry-level handset that gives you all the necessities in a simple, functional package for a very attractive price. Crucially, the necessities aren’t hampered by terrible software or laggy performance, which typically haunt cheap Android smartphones.
On the performance specifically, the Snapdragon 200 paired with 1 GB of RAM is capable of delivering a decent experience, often (but not always) smooth throughout apps and the operating system. 4 GB of internal memory is perhaps the most restrictive aspect of the Moto E’s main hardware, although the microSD card slot helps out somewhat.
If you’re a fan of stock Android like I am, you’ll be extremely pleased with the vanilla experience on the Moto E. There’s no crap to bog down the OS, but at the same time Motorola has included a few useful applications alongside the stock Google ones, especially Alert. There’s also a promised, speedy upgrade to Android L when Google releases the final build.
I also like what Motorola has done with the Moto E’s design and display. The smartphone is comfortable to hold thanks to its curvaceous body and it’s also constructed from decent materials (especially that soft-touch back cover). The display is also very solid for an entry-level handset, delivering decent color quality with an acceptable qHD resolution.
One area that’s really disappointing about the Moto E is its camera. A fixed-focus lens lets the whole module down, and the sensor itself isn’t anything to ride home about. This isn’t going to be an issue if you rarely use your smartphone’s camera, but if you want to take selfies or photograph food, you’ll need to spend a little bit more to get a product like the Moto G.
Still, for $130 the Moto E is a largely fantastic product, making it a great purchase if you’re in the market for a cheap, no-fuss smartphone.
Pros: Excellent value for money. Comfortable design houses a decent display. Performance from the Snapdragon 200 SoC is better than expected. Stock Android leaves the bloat at home.
Cons: Fixed-focus camera is often unusable. Limited internal storage.