Motorola Moto E was quite a popular phone when it had launched last year. In fact, it was the best phone under Rs 10,000 till other phone makers started offering affordable price points. While the Moto E had been released at a time when Xiaomi was yet to debut in India, the second generation Moto E surely isn’t the only affordable device in the segment. In fact, Lenovo started the trend this year by introducing the 4G enabled A6000, and this was quickly followed by Xiaomi’s Redmi 2; both of which come at the same price point as the Motorola Moto E (2015).
Build and Design: 7.5/10
The second generation Moto E has undergone some design changes as compared to its predecessor. For starters, the new Moto E has done away with a removable back cover and in its place you have a surrounding plastic band which covers the microSIM and microSD card slots. The ribbed design along the band helps with grip.
You can even add on colourful Moto E bands (Flipkart is selling 3 for Rs 999). Just like the original Moto E, the new one also feels quite sturdy. I particularly liked the rubbery feel on the rear side, which helps with giving the phone a good grip.
The Motorola logo dimple is present just beneath the 5MP camera which again comes without any LED flash unit. On the front face you only have the earpiece speaker on top which also acts as the speaker unit. The display comes with the Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection.
Unlike the original Moto E, there isn’t any speaker element at the base of the phone. The bezel on the new Moto E, specially on the top is quite large. You have the volume rocker button placed below the power/standby button on the right hand side. The microUSB charging power is at the base and the 3.5mm audio jack is on top.
Considering this is Motorola’s entry level phone, the new Moto E sports a 4.5-inch 960 x 540 pixel display. It must be considered that competition has already added on HD displays at the same budget. The phone runs Android 5.0.2 and houses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 SoC which has a quad-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz along with an Adreno 302 GPU. This is paired with 1GB of RAM. While testing the specifications on the CPU-Z utility, we were shown the SoC as Qualcomm Snapdragon 410, which is not the case. On the storage front, you get 8GB of storage of which 5.03GB is available for use. There is a 5MP rear camera without an LED flash unit and a VGA front-facing camera.
Motorola Moto E does not come with any skin atop the Android 5.0 OS. You get an almost stock experience. Almost stock, because Motorola still has some proprietary apps installed on the phone. Motorola Alert lets you share your location with family and friends. Motorola Migrate lets you transfer content from or to the phone wirelessly. The Moto app lets you customise your phone according to your preferences by using Assist, Actions and Display. In Actions for instance, you can activate the camera by just twisting your wrist twice while holding the phone; with Display you can glance through notifications or hide them or select which app notifications you want to see on the lock screen. This is basically a Moto X feature that has been ported to the Moto X.
Considering it houses the entry level Qualcomm system-on-chip, performance numbers aren’t the best. But thanks to no skin on the phone, the response is quite smooth. Swiping through home pages or the app drawer is fast and casual games such as Angry Birds are playable. High end games such as Asphalt 8 will stutter.
Call quality was good with the earpiece speaker providing good quality audio. You can even listen to songs without plugging in your earphones within your room. There wasn’t any distortion even at high volumes.
Moto E sports a 4.5-inch qHD display, which is a bit underwhelming when one compares Moto E’s immediate competitors – Lenovo A6000 and Xiaomi Redmi 2 – both of which sport an HD display. The display is still sharp though and colours are vibrant, but on noticing closely pixellation is visible. Dark scenes make the display quite reflective. Overall a decent display with good viewing angles.
Just like the original Moto E, the newer version also houses a 5MP rear camera and a VGA front camera. The LED flash unit is missing from the new Moto E as well. Now one may not really use the LED flash unit while shooting, but a lot of us still use the flash unit for its torchlight function. Thankfully, the autofocus is present on the new Moto E, unlike the fixed focus on last gen Moto E.
The camera output is good only for shooting images in bright daylight outdoors and only if your subject fills up majority of the frame. Shooting landscape type images, will give you a patchy output, even in broad daylight. In terms of sharpness, the Moto E camera does not do a very good job. Indoor photographs are noisy. The front-camera is just plain pointless giving poor quality images. The newer Moto E can shoot HD videos which is an upgrade from the 480p output on the original Moto E, but quality wise not much has improved.
PS: Image samples have been resized here. To check the full resolution, please click on the images
Battery life: 8/10
Motorola Moto E houses a 2,390mAh battery which is good enough to last you over a day on regular use case. We ran the PC Mark for Android test and got a score of 10 hours 19 mins, which is impressive. The non HD resolution surely helps here.
Verdict and Price in India
The new Motorola Moto E is an improvement over the original, in terms of design, battery life and features offered. Camera is one area where it didn’t impress much. Also the display resolution could certainly have been bumped up. Unlike its first outing, the new Moto E has competition in the form of Lenovo A6000 (Lenovo also happens to be Moto E’s parent company) and Xiaomi Redmi 2, both of which sport an HD display and come with 4G support. The only edge the Moto E has over the other phones in this price range is the Android 5.0.2 Lollipop OS. And if that is what you want, only then go for the Moto E. Otherwise the Lenovo A6000 and the Xiaomi Redmi 2 are both great options.