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Motorola Moto E Review

By Chetan Bhawani on Friday 23rd of May 2014

The budget smartphone market had a scarcity of some decent smartphones which actually perform any good. If someone wanted a good phone, they had to cash out more. But Motorola, the brand which had kept itself limited with a very few products, finally came up with a budget smartphone, which is not just good at looks but also has an excellent software. Not everything is good in the Motorola Moto E, but what the company is asking for it, the device is well worth it. We tested the phone for a week, and are pretty much satisfied with the way the Moto E responded in different aspects, except for the camera.

Design, Form Factor

Design wise, the Moto E is not different in looks from the other devices in the Motorola’s range, the Moto X and Moto E and the design looks pretty neat. Of the two color variants, the white one looks quite better but at the same time, it can easily get stained with colors. Compact in size, the Moto E is comfortable in the hand, thanks to the thickness due to the small screen size. It’s 4-inch by screen size, and there is no front buttons below the display, as the system buttons take a place within the display itself.

Motorola has this time, included the speakers on the front, as a thin silver line below the display, which does take a hit at the aesthetic aspect, but still it’s quite fine because we have a speaker on the front and not the back. Just like with the Moto G, the back cover of Moto E is removable but not easy to pull out. The power and volume buttons are on the right panel, while the MicroUSB slot is located in the bottom, in the junction of the front panel and back cover. On the top, there’s a 3.5mm headset jack alongside the secondary mic.

The back side looks totally neat with the sloping down edges, and nothing except the camera lens and Motorola’s logo in the center. Overall, the design is given no much changes from the other recent devices from Motorola, mainly because the user response was good and no one was expecting any better than that.

Display, Brightness and Viewing Angles

The display is a qHD resolution one (540×960 pixels) and it although doesn’t really do a brilliant job in putting out the graphics, it doesn’t disappoint totally. The screen is scratch resistant and splash proof, and the brightness in the display is quite good on the highest levels, and the viewing under the bright sunlight was not hard as the screen was quite bright. When viewing from the side angles, the phone doesn’t retain the same bright output which is when seen from front.

Performance, Speed and Benchmarks

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor with 1GB RAM does a brilliant job in keeping the phone good at speed, while the credit has to be given to the interface too. The speed for normal usage is well comparable with the mid-range devices from the other brands, and even with the Moto G from the same company. The response time is fast for the settings, shifting between the apps while multitasking and while playing around with the camera.

Motorola Moto E AnTuTu Benchmark

Motorola Moto E Quadrant Standard Benchmark

The booting time isn’t much, except for the time that is taken by the Animation from Motorola which lasts for around 10-12 seconds. We tested the phone with the AnTuTu, Quadrant Standard and Nenamark2 benchmark test apps and the scores are as follows.

  • AnTuTu benchmark score: 12492
  • Quadrant Standard benchmark score: 5280
  • Nenamark2 benchmark score: 48.0fps

Motorola Moto E Nenamark2 Benchmark

For a device having not the best specs in the market, the frame rate of 48fps for the graphics output is quite appreciable, and the scores from the other two benchmark apps are well in the league of mid-range devices. This again is because of the optimization done by Motorola in the OS to keep things at pace.

Cameras – capturing samples, features

Now comes the area where Motorola gave nothing to talk good about. The numbers taken into consideration, Moto E has 5-megapixel rear shooter (Nokia X with similar price now, has a 3-megapixel camera) but the quality is unacceptable for that module. The main reason for that is the absence of autofocus. The fixed focusing doesn’t take anything near to the camera in the focus and thus, the captures are as expected, below par.

Camera Samples:

Moto E Camera Sample 1

Check out original: Link

Moto E Camera Sample 2

Check out original: Link

Video recording isn’t good either, except if you are making sure you are standing at a particular distance from the object where the camera is able to focus. While talking of the capturing in different conditions, the camera does retain clarity in the bright conditions, while in the dark ones, you won’t be able to differentiate between a capture from this camera and from a 2MP camera of a device few years old.

Motorola Moto E Camera App

The app interface, though, is kept quite neat and limited with a few features and options to play around with – Widescreen, HDR, Control Exposure, Panorama, Geotagging and the shutter click noise toggle. There’s no front camera, so not a phone for those who are fond of selfies.

Software – OS, Interface, Ease of use and Apps

Android KitKat at its latest version (v4.4.2) with the stock Android flavor in the device, the interface looks totally neat and easiest to use and navigate. Multiple home screens, widgets and shortcuts – along with the little list of pre-installed apps including the best ones from Motorola – Motorola Alert, Moto Assist, Motorola Migrate apart from the Google Play Services including Gmail, Google Chrome (default browser), Google Drive, Google Maps, Google+, Hangouts, Youtube, Play Store, Play Music, Play Movies and Games.

Motorola Moto E Interface Apps

Motorola Moto E Settings

The notification panel has the toggle for the quick settings panel, where the profiles, brightness, connectivity options, battery and location can be toggled. Digging into the settings, there are options for connectivity, privacy and most of them which you see on a standard Android device, but Motorola didn’t do much with the battery saving, because the battery life is quite good for the 1980 mAh capacity. There’s just a single option of Battery saver in the battery setting, and this would restrict the background data when the battery is low, thus, Motorola is making a statement that you don’t have to worry about the battery.

Ports, Speakers location and quality

The ports are rightly placed – MicroUSB in the bottom, headset jack on the top and same is the case with the speakers. The front location speakers is what I always like, for the reason that I can place the phone on a flat surface with the speakers getting no obstruction when playing a song or video. The speaker quality is quite appreciable, but at the highest sound level when a song with high beats is played, there is a little disturbance felt and the sharpness is lost. This could be because of the thin section around the silver line allowing less space for the speakers to put out the sound.

Battery life (testing the life on light & heavy usage)

The battery in the Moto E, having a capacity of 1980 mAh, does a great job in running the device for an entire day on the normal usage, and you won’t really have to keep tweaking the settings to save some battery. We tried playing some high-end games (which obviously were the ones the phone could handle well), played movies and kept the Internet on all the time, but the device lasted for around 8 hours and this is pretty good because no one is expected to use the device continuously with the screen turned on for the entire day.

Connectivity – data network, other options tested

The Wi-Fi reception is not the best, because the testing was against Samsung Galaxy S5, Nexus 5 and Moto G, and the signals weren’t the same when you compare with these devices at the same distance from the Wi-Fi source. Still, it was quite good on all the connectivity options – Wi-Fi, 3G data network and Bluetooth. There’s Wi-Fi direct too, for those who wanted to transfer large files easily.

This being a Dual-SIM phone, the settings for both are separately given and the Moto E has the Tethering option to share the data network, and even better, you get direct options in the SIM settings to select which SIM has to be connected to Data network.

Value for money

The final question one would have in mind, is the Moto E worth the price? for me, it’s very much worth it and Motorola quite surprised us with the price tag set for it – $129.99 for US, Rs. 6999 for India and it was expected to be coming with a price little higher than this.

Motorola Moto E XT1022 Quick Specs

Starts from Rs. 7590

View Full Specifications Compare This Phone

Specs
Score (58/100)
Prices
Display 4.3" (540 x 960 pixels) Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 (Dual-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7)
OS Android 4.4.2 RAM 1 GB
Camera Rear - 5 MP
Front - N/A
Memory Internal - 4 GB
External - Expandable up to 32 GB (microSD)
Performance 69 Display 51
Camera 52 Battery Life 55
Design/Form 61
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Bottomline & Verdict

The Best Budget Phone $130 Can Buy
80
Phoneradar
score
Motorola Moto E XT1022
Pros
Excellent interface
Best device under the budget
Latest OS updates
Cons
Camera is real bad
The back is a dust magnet
Small size could be a lesser choice for many
Motorola Moto E XT1022 Review Scores

Ratings

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