Showdown: Microsoft Lumia 532 v Motorola Moto E

Who makes the best budget smartphone, Microsoft or Motorola?

Microsoft’s plans to launch the $149 Lumia 532 gives the $179 Motorola Moto E some serious competition. Each one offers smartphone performance at a prices that inches older feature phones closer to extinction. These phones target the same audience, but they get about business rather differently.

Display

Motorola Moto E
Motorola Moto E

Microsoft’s Lumia 532 weighs in with a 4-inch screen that has a resolution of 800x480. This is smaller and lower in resolution than that of Motorola’s Moto E, which has a 4.3-inch display and a resolution of 540x960.

It’s the pixel density in this instance that best surmises the difference between the two smartphones. The Lumia has a 233 pixel-per-inch density, while the larger screen of the Moto E still manages to cram more pixels in at 256-pixels-per-inch.

Winner: Motorola Moto E

Hardware

Microsoft Lumia 532
Microsoft Lumia 532

The 1.2GHz quad-core CPU in the Microsoft smartphone puts it ahead of the dual-core variety in Motorola’s Moto E. Each of the smartphones have 1GB of RAM, but the Lumia 532 extends its lead with 8GB of internal storage, which is double that of Motorola’s 4GB.

Both of these smartphones offer expandable memory up to 128GB and they are evenly matched with maximum HSPA network support.

Winner: Microsoft Lumia 532

Software

Microsoft’s software once lagged behind that of Apple and Google’s. The company has since improved in leaps and bounds with its Windows Phone operating system finally coming together with advanced imaging features, a promising personal assistant and a homescreen that is dynamic.

Microsoft remains the underdog because of its app ecosystem. The company claims its app store has 500,000 mobile applications, and as impressive as it is, Android’s Play store has three times as many apps at 1.5 million.

Application quality is still an issue. Google’s developers jumped on the Android bandwagon earlier and the extra time has resulted in apps that are generally of a higher standard.

Windows Phone 8.1 as seen on the Lumia 830
Windows Phone 8.1 as seen on the Lumia 830

The Motorola E's dialler, messaging app and task manager
The Motorola E's dialler, messaging app and task manager

Winner: Motorola Moto E

Cameras

Motorola’s Moto E comes with a competent 5 megapixel camera, which performed well in our review considering its bottom-barrel price.

The Lumia 532 also has a 5 megapixel camera. Giving it an edge is its front VGA camera. The low resolution is still better than the lack of a front camera on the Motorola Moto E.

Winner: Microsoft Lumia 532

Battery life

The Motorola smartphone has a larger 1980 milliamp-hour (mAH) battery than that of the 1560 mAh battery found in the Microsoft smartphone. This doesn’t mean it will have better battery life.

Offsetting the Motorola’s larger battery is the larger, higher resolution screen, which will chew through power quicker. Battery life then is pretty even. We’ll have more to say on this following our full review of the Lumia 532.

Winner: To be determined

The winner

These smartphones are neck-and-neck on many points. On the one hand, Motorola’s budget smartphone has a better screen and comprehensive support from Android’s ecosystem. On the other is Microsoft’s smartphone, with better specced hardware and a richer camera offering.

Here’s the thing: Microsoft’s smartphone still has good software support and the difference between the two smartphones’ screens is marginal. Then there’s the matter of price, in which the Lumia 532 retails for $30 less -- that’s 20 per cent cheaper. Throw in the front camera and things become less complicated.

Winner: Microsoft Lumia 532

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Tags MotorolaLumia 532Google Android.MicrosoftWindows PhoneMoto E

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Tony Ibrahim

Tony Ibrahim

Good Gear Guide

@slicktonyi

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