If you thought Motorola couldn’t make a more affordable handset than the well received Moto G, think again. The Moto E is a stripped-down model that costs just £90.
Compromises have to be made, of course. But is it still worth your money?
First impressions and design
At 4.3-inches, the Moto E is a little smaller than the Moto G, but it’s just as well put together. Build quality is solid, and it has the same matte back complete with dimple.
You can personalise the look, too. It’s not quite as bespoke as the Moto X is in the US, but you can buy extra backplates and swap them as you see fit.
There are plenty of colours to choose from: black, white, violet, spearmint, raspberry, royal blue, turquoise, lemon lime, and cherry.
A word of warning though: the back is extremely reluctant to come off, so we’d advise picking a colour and sticking with it.
Android KitKat comes as standard, which is pretty amazing for a phone that costs this much. It’s stock Android too, so there’s no skin over the top.
This means it should be one of the first devices to receive software updates. Google might choose to leave it out of course, so you have to pay your money and take your chances.
Inevitably for this price, there are some concessions. You only get 4GB onboard storage, though there is a microSD card slot for adding another 32GB.
The rear camera is a 5-megapixel jobby, but it doesn’t have a flash. There’s no front-facer either.
There’s also no 4G. In other words, it’s even more basic than the Moto G, especially now that handset has been refreshed with 4G and a microSD card slot.
So how do these specs translate in terms of performance? The good news is the Moto E is fine for everyday use. It’s completely adept at browsing, emailing, making calls, and using apps.
It’s when the more advanced features come into play that things start to come unstuck.
The camera is pretty dire. There’s no flash, so you lose a lot of detail in low light. The shutter is slow too.
Inside is a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 chip, which is pretty close to the bottom of the pile when it comes to processors.
It’s fine for zipping through menus and opening apps, but it starts to struggle when faced with an action-packed scene in a high-end game.
The screen is pretty decent though. The 960x540-pixel resolution can seem a tad grainy, and it’s positively murky compared to flagship smartphones.
But we’ve seen this resolution screen on much bigger – and pricier – handsets before. So for £90, you can’t really argue.
It might lack some features, but the only real competition at this price is from its predecessor, the Motorola Moto G.
The Moto E’s camera is a bit of a letdown, and it’s not going to be the gamer’s phone of choice. But if it’s a straight no-frills smartphone you’re after, and you’re on a tight budget, it’s definitely worth a look.