Moto E 4G LTE (2nd Gen.) is a solid all round performer at a very attractive price point, though camera aspects have been blatantly neglected.
It all started with the Moto X back in 2013, which apparently began a whole new trend of a top-notch smartphone at an unbelievable price point, along with a heavy focus on an optimized user-friendly OS. Followed by the Moto X was the Moto G, which apparently sold like hot cakes in almost every part of the world. It had all the ingredients one would look for in a smartphone, from its top notch build quality to hardware, and most importantly its price.
Now, the company has launched the successor to Moto E (1st gen.), no points for guessing the name, it’s called the Moto E (2nd Gen.), Moto E2 or Moto E (2015). There are two variants of the new Moto E, the 3G variant comes with a Snapdragon 200 chipset and Adreno 302 GPU, while its 4G variant gets the Snapdragon 400 with Adreno 306 GPU. The one with us is the 4G variant priced higher compared to its 3G sibling.
Can the 2015 Moto E live up to the expectations created by its predecessor? The smartphone just arrived in our test lab. Let’s find out what the new Moto E performs in our review.
Build Quality and Design
At first glance, the Moto E (2nd gen.) seems to have taken a lot of inspiration from its predecessor, like its form factor, design language, the round edges. It seems to have managed to pull off all the minor nuances of an ergonomically designed smartphone. The sides of the phone now feature a soft-touch patterned plastic material running along the entire frame, which certainly enhances the overall grip of the device. The back of the phone is slightly curved and gets a nice matte plastic finish along with an indentation in the middle to rest your finger.
The back panel is non-removable, so the soft grippy surface running along the frame pops out, revealing the two sim card and microSD slots.
The primary camera unit is housed on the back just above the recessed surface which has Motorola logo. The volume rockers and power/standby buttons are housed on the right edge while the left edge has been left blank.
The front of the device is largely covered by the 4.5-inch display, featuring standard soft keys. The top right edge houses the front facing cam, while the ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, and the loudspeaker are also placed on the front. The microUSB port has been placed at the bottom, while its top edge houses the 3.5mm audio jack.
Overall, the phone has the all the right things going for it in terms of its ergonomics. It’s just a haven to hold and operate offering a great grip. From its soft-touch plastic on the sides, to the rounded corners, along with the dome shaped back with that slight recession, the Moto E (2nd gen.) is what you’d call the epitome of ergonomics and design.
It features a no-nonsense ergonomic design, top-notch build quality and has a great form factor, definitely worth mentioning given its asking price.
The second-gen Moto G gets a 4.5-inch IPS LCD qHD display at a resolution of 960×540 pixels, which is rather sub-standard these days. However, the display does get Corning Gorilla Glass 3, along with an oleophobic coating to fend off those greasy fingerprints.
Despite the low resolution, as 720p being the standard norm these days, the overall performance of the display is fairly good. The screen is sharp, bright and has decent viewing angles, it might lack that lushness and crispness that one would expect, but it’s far from being a bummer.
Given the specs and price of the phone, the display of the device is rather good compared to some denser screens we’ve come across.
The Moto E 4G gets a beefier processor with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 compared to the Snapdragon 200 found in its 3G variant. This is further mated to an Adreno 306 GPU and 1GB of RAM.
Overall, the device seems quite snappy and responsive. It can easily suffice your daily routine tasks, apps load in no time, while the browsing experience is rather smooth and zippy. In addition, the company seems to have optimized the OS very efficiently according to the device’s needs. Largely due to the stock Android that it runs, making it less consuming and power hungry.
The smartphone scoops an AnTuTu score of 22805, which is rather bleak compared to other devices in the market, though it isn’t a true reflection of the device’s daily performance. However, we were taken aback seeing the Nena Mark II score on the device, racking an impressive 59.6 fps.
As one would expect, it’s not a high-end device crammed with specs, so heavy games take some time to open, while there’re also noticeable jitters while playing some high-end titles, though they’re still playable. While running games like Fruit Ninja and Subway Surfer is not a problem at all for the device, they run buttery smooth on the Moto E (2nd Gen).
Overall, given the price range, one should not be having qualms over the device’s performance. It feels snappy and responsive during general usage, and users would be pretty satisfied with its day-to-day performance.
OS and UI
The smartphone comes equipped with Android 5.0 Lollipop out-of-the-box, while there are subtle tweaks made to the stock Android, though, it seems for the better. All the customizations offered by the company seem rather handy, which we’ve already seen on other handsets as well offered by the company.
Motorola (now owned by Lenovo) has added some nifty features like Moto Alert, which is rather handy as it can share your GPS co-ordinates with emergency contacts, there’s also an option where you can send your GPS location at regular intervals. There are a plethora of other useful apps preloaded as well, which include Motorola Migrate, Gestures, and Moto Assist. The Moto Assist also turns out to be quite useful, keeping the phone in different modes depending upon a user’s preferences and schedule.
Meanwhile, the Moto display shows off notifications even while the phone’s display is off, which can also be customized as per user preferences.
Overall,the smartphone features a great user-friendly UI, offering quicker and easier ways to navigate enhancing the overall functionality of the device.
Less is more is the case here!
The Moto E2 features a 5MP primary camera along with a VGA front-facing cam. Given the specs of the device, the image quality is just not at par with the standard one would expect in a modern day smartphone camera.
Noise levels are clearly evident in the images captured with pictures appearing rather grainy and overexposed. It also has an HDR mode, though even that does not come to the rescue.
However what is really mind boggling is the lack of an LED flash. It would have significantly enhanced the poor image quality taken indoors and low-lit conditions, and could also have been used as a flashlight making life a lot easier for users. And how much would they cost anyway? Based on our research, an LED costs as low as US$0.04.
There’s a front VGA cam as well, which forms an integral element of a smartphone these days, though in this case it’s just a gimmick. Images taken from selfie cam appear awfully grainy, hence please exercise careful discretion if one intends to share a selfie taken on a Moto E (2nd gen.) among his/her peers.
Bottom line, the camera on the 2015 Moto E is definitely one of the low points, not advised for users looking for a decent camera on a budget smartphone. The ZenFone 4 comes with a much better camera, despite it being priced slightly lower than the 2nd gen Moto E.
Call Quality and Battery
The smartphone gets good signal strength whether indoors or outdoors, while we found the call quality really crisp on both SIM slots. In addition, Motorola has bundled some rather good SIM management options in the settings panel, allowing users to optimize their usage on both SIM cards, primarily based on what plans you have.
Meanwhile, the battery performance on the Moto E2 has been significantly bolstered. Compared to other smartphones in the market, the battery on the Moto E2 just doesn’t say die. After a full charge, we were able to run the device for over 35 hours of intense usage. It could easily last for over two days of moderate usage, and heavy users also won’t be having any qualms over the smartphone’s battery performance.
In our standard Inferse battery test, we ran a 60 minute MP4 video on the Moto E2 with Wi-Fi and 3G at full brightness, and by the end of it, the smartphone’s battery level just drained by 9 percent, which is rather impressive. Implying it can provide over 10 hours of continuous video playback, once fully charged.
It can easily provide up to 6 hours of talk time, while can last up to 18 hours of music playback.
Bottom line, the battery on the Moto E2 last long, really long!
Since its rebirth, Motorola has impressed everyone with its devices, especially the Moto X, Moto G and Moto E that have sold like hot cakes. Moreover, the company is known for providing reliable and timely updates. Priced at Rs. 7,999 in India, the 2015 Moto E 4G LTE does what it’s supposed to efficiently. It ticks the right boxes in terms of design, performance, battery backup, a user-friendly bloat-free OS, all that at a very attractive price point, and also has a water resistant coating.
The only major flaw with the device is its camera unit; more baffling is the lack of an LED flash. Had Motorola not so blatantly ignored the camera unit, the Moto E2 to a certain extent would have been a flawless device. It’s kind of hard to digest that Motorola has conjured such a brilliant device in the form of the Moto E2, and completely negated the camera aspect of the device, which forms one of the core ingredients of great selling smartphone.
Barring the flaw mentioned above, it’s a great phone. Priced at Rs. 7,999 in the Indian market, the Moto E2 is a great smartphone for budget buyers looking for a solid overall performer and great battery back-up.