Hands on with Motorola's feature phone slayer, the Moto E

Motorola sticks with Android's standard UI, which helps improve performance

Motorola Mobility's new Moto E budget smartphone.

Motorola Mobility's new Moto E budget smartphone.

Motorola Mobility's Moto E doesn't cost much, but it works well and doesn't look cheap.

The Moto E was launched Tuesday and costs US$129 without a contract. Motorola's goal is to convince users who still have a basic feature phone that they can now afford a smartphone.

For that price, you can't get anything but a smartphone with basic specifications. The Moto E is powered by a dual-core processor running at 1.2GHz and has a 4.3-inch screen with a 960 by 540 pixel resolution, which doesn't feel like a big compromise at that size.

To make the spec last, Motorola has made a couple of smart decisions. One is that the company hasn't weighed down the phone's performance with a lot of its own additions to Android. Instead, the Moto E uses the operating system's standard user interface. That helps make the phone feel snappy even though it doesn't have a powerful processor. To help improve performance, Motorola equipped the Moto E with 1GB of RAM, which isn't a standard in this product category.

The only obvious things Motorola has done to save money are to skip a front camera and LTE. Owners will also have to make do with a 5-megapixel camera and 4GB of integrated storage. The company makes up for the latter with a microSD card slot.

Another thing I like with the Moto E is that it has an FM radio. In this age of streaming music services, that may seem like an anachronism. However, users who buy the phone will likely have a small data allowance that they might not want to blow on Spotify. So with an FM radio they can still listen to music while on the go.

For those with a slightly larger budget, the Moto G has been upgraded with LTE and a MicroSD card slot. It costs from $219, which is still a good value. For users who don't want to sign a contract and pay over $650 for a smartphone, the Moto E and Moto G LTE are both good choices.

What I would like to see Motorola do next is develop an affordable smartphone with a bigger screen and compete with products like Samsung's Galaxy Mega family, with phones that have 5.8-inch or 6.3-inch screens. Interestingly, the screen on the Galaxy Mega 5.8 has the same resolution as the one on the Moto E.

The low-end segment of the smartphone market where the Moto E and the Moto G fit is going to become increasingly competitive, so the big winners will be consumers around the world who will be getting a lot more bang for their smartphone buck.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags mobile applicationsAndroid OSconsumer electronicssmartphonesAndroidMotorola Mobilitymobile

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?