Motorola released their budget smartphone, the Moto E, just under a year ago. Featuring a 4.3″ screen and basic features, the Moto E was an affordable smartphone solution for those not wanting to spend hundreds of dollars on larger phones. Less than a year later, Motorola has updated the Moto E and we take a look in our Moto E LTE review.
- 4.5″ 960×540 (~245ppi) IPS LCD display
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53
- 8GB Storage
- 1GB RAM
- Rear 5MP (2592×1944) camera; Front VGA 0.3MP (640×480) camera
- MicroSD expansion slot expandable up to 32GB
- Sensors: Accelerometer, Proximity
- 2390 mAh Li-ion battery
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n with hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 2.0
- FM Radio
- Android Lollipop 5.0.2
- GSM 850/900/1800/1900
- HSDPA 850/1700/1900/2100 – XT1527, XT1511
HSDPA 850/900/1900/2100 – XT1505
- LTE band 2 (1900), 4 (1700/2100), 5 (850), 7 (2600), 12 (700), 17 (700) – XT1527
The Motorola Moto E LTE doesn’t look much different than its predecessor. The slightly curved back is rubberized giving it a nice grip, and comes complete with the Motorola dimple and camera sitting just above it. The power and volume buttons both reside on the right side of the phone, with a single speaker on the front of the phone. The Moto E LTE is slightly larger than the previous iteration, with a 4.5″ screen over the 4.3″ screen of the 2014 model. LTE capabilities, bigger battery, and a front-facing camera have been added as well.
The phone features a removable band around the edges of the phone (which you can get in different colours), and this is where the micro-SIM and microSD card slots reside. The phone is comfortable to hold and use, although as with other devices with curved backs it is a bit difficult to use while sitting on a flat surface like a desk. It is also solidly built and doesn’t feel cheap like some other budget smartphones do.
The IPS LCD display on the Moto E LTE is pretty decent. While it’s not as crisp as other phones, text is very readable and clear, and the screen can be viewed pretty easily at most angles. Images and video looked decent as well, and the colours aren’t overly saturated – if anything they are a bit muted.
One issue I did encounter a few times, mostly when entering in my pattern on the lock screen, is that the screen did seem to stop responding for a brief second – which when unlocking the phone caused issues as it would stop tracing your pattern mid-input and require you to try again.
The Moto E LTE runs Android 5.0.2, and runs it well. The Material Design interface flows nicely and responds quickly on the device using the default Google Now launcher. While other Motorola devices make great use of gestures, the Moto E LTE is limited to the twist action for opening the camera, and also offers Motorola’s display at a glance functionality for a quick view of notifications without having to turn your display on. As expected, both work well with the device.
Being that the device runs Android, there are plenty of apps and games that are available for the device.
The speaker on the Moto E LTE is pretty decent for a single speaker and video, music and games are acceptable sounding on the phone and is about what one would expect from having a single speaker on a smartphone.
The Moto E LTE performs well for a budget device, and I had no issues running any of the apps or games that I tested on it. That’s not to say it performed perfectly, as mentioned in the display section, there was a minor issue a few times notably when trying to unlock the phone using pattern mode. As well, when it came time to factory reset the device to send it back the phone would freeze up and I’d have to power it down and restart it. I was only able to successfully perform a factory reset once I removed the accounts attached to it and then had to run the factory reset twice – the first time it appeared to run but didn’t restart the device and my data was still there, the second time it successfully factory reset the device. It’s definitely a weird issue and one I haven’t seen before.
The camera on the phone is mid-range at 5MP and there isn’t a flash either so indoor photos may be a bit of a challenge. The HDR mode on the default camera app does help in lower light situations, but it did require multiple takes to get a decent looking image. I’m honestly not sure why Motorola chose not to put a flash on the phone, it seems to me like an interesting omission and somewhat cripples the functionality of the camera for indoor photography. Outside images look decent enough considering the sensor size, and the front facing camera does an o.k. job as well for quick – albeit low quality – selfies if that’s your thing.
Reception was decent and call quality on the Moto E LTE was crisp and clear on both ends of the call.
Battery life is really good and will easily last you a solid day and a half when used for checking email, web browsing, watching the odd video and playing a few games here and there.
You can’t argue with the $150 price tag of the Moto E LTE, especially given the inclusion of a bigger battery and LTE over the previous model. The price is definitely right given what you get for the device. You can save yourself a few dollars as well if you don’t need LTE as the US GSM version can be found for around $120, while the global GSM version for around $135.
The Moto E LTE is definitely a budget smartphone and is a great alternative for someone wanting a cheaper device that does just the basics or as a starter phone for kids and young teens that isn’t going to break the bank. It would have been nice to see a flash included, so if you’re planning on taking a lot of indoor pictures you may want to consider another device. The battery life and performance for the price is more than fair, and you can give it a touch of personalization by swapping out the bands with different colors. If you’re looking for a decent starter budget smartphone you definitely should consider the Moto E LTE.
*We were sent a demo unit of the Moto E (2015) LTE for the purposes of this review.
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