The affordable smartphone market is bewildered with plenty of Android treats from all over. But let’s be honest. Most of the big gun companies like Samsung, HTC, and LG stay far away. But not Motorola. They see this as an opportunity to reinvigorate their brand and markets close to home and far abroad. And that’s basically the story of the brand new Moto E. In its second generation, it brings new technologies like faster 4G LTE connectivity, a larger display, improved design, and the latest in Android software.
Welcome to the review of the Moto E (2nd Generation). Motorola’s design language is fairly clear through all their products and I have to give credit to them for keeping the language very similar across their product range from low end to premium handsets. It’s definitely a textbook-approached the design but there’s plenty of detail even here on a handset that costs no more than a $130.
Overall, the Moto E has grown quite a bit both in length and in width. Now, it houses a 4.5-inch display although it has the same qHD display resolution. And for those who don’t quite remember that resolution, the numbers are 960 x 540. Sadly this does decrease its pixels per inch slightly over the last generation Moto E. Instead, Motorola focused on the hardware inside and the user interface. First off, the hardware has been upgraded. The processor’s now 1.2GHz Quad-Core Snapdragon 410 processor alongside 1GB of RAM and the Adreno 306 GPU. This chip actually outperforms the Snapdragon 400 processor found on the larger and more expensive Moto E (2nd Gen).
Next is the size of the battery. It’s bigger—much bigger than the last generation phone now coming in at a huge 2390 mAh battery. With a battery of that size and a lower resolution of the LCD display means battery life is pretty damn good. I’ve easily gotten over a full day of usage with around 5 hours of on-screen on-time. And if you were extremely liberal with your usage, you may be able to get even more out of this battery.
But I think the biggest update to hardware is something that we all overlooked: the 4G LTE radio, which is more specific to the US existing networks. This gives people access to much faster data for networks and it’s a much better deal than the existing Moto G, with just a normal 3G radio. Now for those who live in areas where 4G LTE is not available, you can still run this thing on 3G but they also make a specific 3G model for areas abroad.
The other piece of the puzzle to this phone is the software. Usually when you purchase a low cost smartphone, it’s filled with bloatware and crummy software. Not this one. This runs Android 5.0.2 Lollipop with a slight (and I mean very slight) customization from Motorola. But it’s very hard to even tell and the only customization found is in things like Moto Actions, Moto Assist, and the Moto Display. Now these are very helpful features that I definitely loved in the much more expensive Moto X and they are all here on the very, very affordable Moto E.
The overall Lollipop experience is very untouched. It’s smooth enough to be a daily driver, even for someone like me. This is no Octa-Core monster but it will do if your average applications like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and all of those will run perfectly fine. Now you do run into a few issues when you head onto Chrome, especially on content-rich sites like PhoneDog.com for example and it’s definitely not a local problem for this phone. It happens to a lot of different phones, even on powerful devices as well.
But overall, I’m very pleased by the everyday performance of this phone. Lastly, I have to mention the camera. It may be the worst part of this phone but I think that’s completely acceptable. We have a small 5MP sensor camera on the rear and a hilariously small 0.3MP front-facing camera, which wasn’t there last year. It’s an oversight for sure but again, think about how much this phone costs. It definitely fits the bill for one of the best, if not the best, affordable smartphones around. I say buy this over the brand new Moto G (2nd Gen) if you live in the States and can live with a smaller display and a lower resolution. But you get the same experience with software among a lot of other things.
Let me know what you think about the Moto E down below in the comments.