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Hands-On: Motorola Moto E, 2nd Gen.

Article Comments  6  

Feb 25, 2015, 1:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Motorola's new Moto E handset improves specs across the board, including the screen, processor, and storage. It also adds LTE 4G. Here are our first impressions of Motorola's low-cost smartphone.

Motorola unveiled the Moto E today, a second-generation entry-level Android smartphone. Motorola's last handset was the Nexus 6, a spec monster. The Moto E is the polar opposite. It keeps with the strategy Motorola revealed in mid 2013 with a simpler design, straight-up Android, and no nonsense with respect to features.

Outwardly, there's little to differentiate the new Moto E from the original. It is a compact handset made of mid-grade plastics. The design language mirrors that of Motorola's X, G, and Nexus 6 smartphones and the familial relationship is obvious. For example, there's the chrome-colored bar protecting the earpiece speaker and the familiar indented "M" logo on the back. The phone comes in black or white, but you can spice up its looks a bit with a replaceable band that runs around the outer edge. The unit we received from Motorola was pure white, but I put a red band on it so you can see how it looks. There's a purity to the looks that I find appealing.

The footprint makes the E comfortable to hold and use. The 4.5-inch screen, up from the original's 4.3-incher, allowed Motorola to keep the phone small. It's got a pleasant curve to the back surface to help the phone sit deeper in your palm. The Moto E a little bit on the thick side of things, but that's common for smaller handsets. It fits into pockets no problems.

Moto E  

You can't find fault in the phone's materials or construction, especially given the price point. The plastics have a nice texture and the matte white finish is attractive. The seams are all tight and the phone is put together expertly.

Controls are kept to a minimum. The phone uses the on-screen buttons, so there are no keys below the display. The screen lock button is on the right side, as is the volume toggle. They both have excellent profiles, making them easy to find and use. Travel and feedback is very satisfying. Theres a USB port on the bottom and a stereo headphone jack on top. If you want to add a memory card, you'll need to pull off the colored band. The ports for the memory card and SIM card are buried under the band on the left side of the phone. The back cover cannot be removed.

The display has qHD resolution, or 960 x 540 pixels. At first blush, it looks sharp enough and bright enough for this class of device. It doesn't compare to the amazing quad HD screen of the Nexus 6 nor the full HD screen of the Moto X, but it's far better than the 800 x 480 screens you'll see on similarly priced phones from other manufacturers. Viewing angles are pretty good, but I saw a little bit of blue shift when the screen is tilted side-to-side.

Since mid 2013, most Motorola phones run an unadulterated version of Android. The Moto E ships with Lollipop and no bloatware. Motorola's useful and thoughtful extras, such as the Quick Capture gesture and Glance Screen for notifications, are on board. In the few moments I spent fiddling with the phone this afternoon, the UI looked great and the phone didn't have any trouble running multiple apps at a time.

The camera is solid at 5-megapixels, and Motorola added a VGA user-facing camera (the original didn't have a selfie cam). The biggest addition to the Moto E is of course LTE 4G.

The Moto E went on sale today. The 3G version costs $119 and the LTE 4G version costs $149. That's for an unlocked handset, mind you. The Moto E is a bargain.

E and G  

About the author, Eric M. Zeman:

Eric has been covering the mobile telecommunications industry for 17 years at various print and online publications. He studied at Rutgers Newark and University of Kentucky, and has a degree in writing. He likes playing guitar, attending concerts, listening to music, and driving sports cars.


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Feb 25, 2015, 8:47 PM

Moto E or Moto G?

I'm wanting to buy my brother a new phone. Moto E for $150 or Moto G for $180. Both new models. Is the G worth paying more? He lives in Peru, but comes back to the states once a year for about 2 months. I could use some advice.

http://gadgets.ndtv.com/motorola-moto-g-gen-2-lte-22 ... »
Budget=Moto E
G is mainly bigger now with a slightly better display.
The E now is on par perfomance-wise with the G just smaller with the display and display quality. So its almost an even handoff now between the two. The E has 4G and if Peru does n...

Feb 25, 2015, 4:03 PM


The hands on stated no bloatware.
Google has thrown their proprietary bloatware all over the Moto E, G, and X.
Anything and everything a Google app is on the phones unless you root the phones and then you lose the auto-updates for software.
When Google bought Motorolas mobile division, this is when all their bloatware appeared on all the phones.

Feb 25, 2015, 2:07 PM

LTE Bands

Any info on which LTE bands it has? T-Mobile support?
According to Motorola's website, the US LTE version will have support for LTE bands 2, 4, 5, 7, 12 and 17.

Pretty impressive that it supports LTE band 12. This phone will work fine with T-Mobile's network.
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