Review: Motorola Moto E
May 30, 2014, 3:45 PM by Eric M. Zeman
Motorola takes a shot across the bow of other entry-level device makers with the Moto E, its low-cost leviathan. The Moto E redefines what inexpensive Android smartphones can offer.
Is It Your Type?
If you thought Motorola was aiming low with last year's Moto G, think again. With its $130 price tag, the Moto E targets the true entry-level segment of the smartphone market. It may lack the appealing technology in today's mid-range and high-end handsets, but it delivers solid performance and value that can't be matched. If you're contract-averse and on a budget, find out why the Moto E might be the best choice for you.
The Moto E takes the idea of low-cost smartphones to a whole new level. As it did with the Moto G, Motorola has redefined once again just what an inexpensive handset can offer.
Motorola's newer smartphones - the X, G, and now the E - share the same basic look and feel. They have soft, comfortable plastics, compact footprints, and easy one-handed use. From a distance it would be hard to tell the three apart. The E is the smallest, and that’s something in its favor. The E doesn't use the best materials on earth, but it manages to avoid feeling or looking too cheap.
The footprint is great. The E has the same contoured shape of the Moto X/G. Motorola said the sculpted shape of the back surface helps the phone fit better in the hand. It's not terribly thick or atrociously heavy, but it's not slender, either. The silky smoothness of the battery cover is pleasant against the skin. Though our review unit is black, the E also comes in white.
Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.
The front of the E is rather plain. The black model's face is entirely black, save for two chrome-colored strips of plastic: one above the screen and one below it. They house the earpiece speaker and speakerphone, respectively. The white model at least breaks up the appearance a bit. The 4.3-inch display fills up a significant portion of the front face. Motorola did a good job minimizing the bezel, but there's still some visible. There are no physical buttons, as the E uses Android's on-screen controls.
There's a slight plastic rim surrounding the glass to keep it protected when placed face down. The lip is the only thing about the E that isn't smooth. Otherwise, there are no hard edges or corners. The sides are rounded to meet the glass panel on the front. There's no denying that it's a comfortable device to hold and use. It's very easy to reach any part of the screen with your thumb. It will easily fit into any pocket.
There are only two physical controls on the E, both are on the right edge. The screen lock key is nearest the top and the volume toggle is below it. Both buttons have an excellent profile, making them easy to find. The travel and feedback is also quite good. The stereo headphone jack is on top and the microUSB port is on the bottom. There is no dedicated camera button.
The E's back can be removed, but you're not swapping out the battery; it is, sadly, sealed in. The cover is quite difficult to peel off. Motorola is offering 20 different rear shells that allow people to customize the look of their phone. The shells come in a variety of colors and will cost about $20. The SIM card is tucked into the right edge of the phone and can be removed by pressing it inward with your thumbnail. Ditto for the microSD card slot, which is a nice addition and improvement when compared with the original Moto G.
It may not set the world afire with its everyday design, but the Moto E is a fine little phone.
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