Moto E

Motorola's new entry-level champion offers exceptional value

At events around the world today, Motorola unveiled the Moto E, its most affordable handset in recent times. Following on from the high-end Moto X and the budget-conscious Moto G, the Moto E has the lowest barrier to entry of any current Motorola smartphone, going for just £89 SIM-free in the UK and $129 in the U.S.

And you're getting a surprising amount of smartphone muscle for that price — a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon 200 processor, 1GB of RAM and a 4.3-inch qHD (960x540) display. Moto's keen to emphasise its pixel density of 256ppi rather than the actual resolution, but it's a good-looking screen despite failing to reach the 720p standard of the Moto G. And for £89, we can hardly complain.

Other notables include a 1,980mAh and a 5-megapixel camera, which seems to perform similarly to the Moto G's rear shooter — which is to say it's decent, but not great. You do get Motorola's custom camera app, however, which compensates for the relatively low-end camera with auto HDR and easy focus and exposure controls. There's only 4GB of internal storage, but this is offset by the presence of a microSD slot.

Physically, the Moto E is the spitting image of its larger siblings, with a curved, hand-friendly design and a snap-off back panel in the style of the Moto G. And like that phone, Motorola says it'll cater to Moto E owners of all tastes, with various snap-on colored backs.

Moto E, X, G

Physically, the Moto E is the spitting image of its larger siblings

Motorola continues to deliver solid performance from relatively humble hardware. Whereas many entry-level Android phones still struggle with day-to-day performance, the Moto E isn't noticeably any slower than the Moto G. We'll be interested to see how much performance degrades with heavy tasks, but casually flipping through apps and loading web pages presented no challenge whatsoever.

On the software side, you're looking at a suite of features very similar to what's offered by the Moto G. The Moto X's fancier capabilities, such as active display and touchless control, are still out of reach, but it's a solid software experience for an entry-level smartphone. Motorola Assist, which provides intelligent control options for when you're sleeping, driving or in a meeting, is onboard, as is Motorola Migrate, for bringing over user data from earlier devices. And Motorola Alert is a new addition on the Moto E, allowing you to easily share your location with friends and family when entering or leaving certain places.

Moto EMoto E

Motorola continues to deliver solid performance from relatively humble hardware.

Motorola's enviable track record with software updates looks set to continue with the Moto E — the manufacturer has promised at least one major OS update beyond the current Android 4.4.x KitKat.

All considered, we'd struggle to find any sub-£100 smartphone we'd recommend as much as the Moto E, even after spending a relatively short time with the handset. We're eager give it some heavier use, and see just how far that £89 (or $129) goes when it comes to more intensive smartphone tasks. But for now, the Moto E has made a positive first impression.


Reader comments

Moto E hands-on


Sounds like a winner, generally I think SD card slots are a mistake, but in this case it makes all sorts of sense.

Posted via Android Central App

I can understand someone not needing an SD card slot, but how could adding one to any phone ever be a mistake? The cost & weight gain to add said slot is trivial, and being able to add & swap out 32 GB of local storage for under $20 is very handy.

Hopefully this phone gets Motorola back on track with putting SD cards in their devices.

Posted via Android Central App

The average consumer can be very confused by SD cards. Configuring apps that they really use the sd card can sometimes be a mess and in the markets the Moto E aims for I wouldn't be surprised if many customer use pretty cheap micro sd cards with a bad performance.

You must not know many average users, the average users that I know who have had SD cards didn't even know that they had them. the idea of even using a file manager is very foreign to them on a smartphone.

It may be a generational thing. My friends that are my age (early 20's) don't have any problems. My mom is somewhat familiar with SD cards because of her camera, but has never needed to use one on a phone.

Very possible, I'm in my mid thirties and mostly dealing with people mid 30s and up.
my generation didn't grow up with technology the way people in the mid 20's now did.

I'm in my early forties, and this technology has never been that hard to grasp for me. Perhaps I'm not the norm, but I've watched technology grow from DOS to the stuff that was still a science fiction wet dream a mere 10 years ago.

Your on android central, your not who I'm talking about and neither am I.
I'm talking about average people who aren't interested in technology and probably had their VCR flashing 12:00 all through the 80's and 90's lol

Even worse than confusing is the performance issues an SD card can have on a phone. I am very tech savy and was all set to blame Samsung for my GS3 unmounting my SD card randomly, and running games with content on it very slowly. Wasn't until I finally tried a different SD card I figured out the card its self was failing, not the phone.

How does one buy a sd card but not know they have one?

Posted via Android Central App on nexus 7 (2nd gen)

Some devices like my friends Samsung Vibrant used to come with a small sd card, his vibrant came with a 2GB card, they don't often do that anymore, but some android phones used to occasionally come with one. I'm pretty sure my HTC Thunderbolt came with one too.

Same here Tom. I do not get the anti-SD propaganda. It is like being opposed to polio vaccines, heh heh.
There is no real downside to SD, especially on budget handsets.

I don't think they do any direct harm, but at the same time I think larger internal storage is generally more useful to the average user.

They may do indirect harm as companies add them to low end phones to get away with skimping out on internal storage, which is far more versatile and useful to the average user.

8 - 16GB really should be the absolute minimum, even a very casual user can blow through 4GB very quickly. How much price difference can their really be at this point between a 4 and 8 gb sd chip these days?

Don't get me wrong, I'll take higher internal storage over an SD slot every day of the week. I just haven't encountered many people that are confused by them.

Also, the price difference between 4 and 8gb might be negligible, on a $129 device, every dollar counts.

I think 16gb should be the minimum for low end, 32gb for mid and 64gb for flagships. The most annoying thing for me is that what storage is advertised is not even the actual usable storage.. I don't understand how a company can get away with advertising 16gb but only have 10gb actually available. I know technically it is 16gb but it's not 16gb usable storage. At the very least companies should put in brackets next to the 16gb the actual available storage. We already think in the case of the moto e that 4gb is low but imagine if they were forced to say the real storage which is only 2.2gb

Posted via Android Central App on nexus 7 (2nd gen)

This is an argument as old as computer storage media of any type
Computers have always measured pure device capacity, you don't see computers that say 1 TB harddrive, 990 GB available.
Same with CD's, tapes etc formatted capacity may be different and when the device contains an operating system it's even lower.
They've never advertised usable space, the usable space can technically change depending on software updates etc. Not to mention system cache files.
It's not practical to advertise usable space, because it can be a moving target.

It's the difference between pure hardware specs and what the operating system makes available.

They could start by reporting a KB as 1024 bytes, a MB as 1024 KB and a GB as 1024 MB, instead of 1000. They've been playing that semantic game for a long time, long before mobile devices started having appreciable storage. That change alone would get us closer honest reporting of storage capacity without requiring any guess work or consideration of "moving targets".

Difference between binary and decimal. Which is why term like mebibyte, gibibyte etc exist to reference the binary measurement. Getting storage manufacturers to change which system they use, that's the tough part.

I know the reason behind why we don't get the full storage as said on a box but imo it shouldn't be advertised as that. On a 1tb or 128gb hard drive losing gb here and there is OK as you still have plenty of storage but example when you have limited amount like 16gb let alone 4gb every gb makes a difference. Sure technically they are right to sell it as 4gb even though only 2gb is available I just think morally it's wrong. I feel like it's me buying a car that's been advertised to go 100mph but I can actual only go 60mph. I don't think anyone who buys this phone expects to find anything but 4gb of storage. Heck they probably think 4gb is enough for the apps and games they want only to realise after purchase they only have half that storage to play with.
Posted via Android Central App using galaxy s4

Actually, hard drives in computers really come with as many bytes as advertised. A 1 TB hard drive has one trillion bytes; however, PC OS's calculate the hard drive space using binary where 1024 bytes is 1 KB and 1024 kilobytes is 1 MB and so-on. So, a hard drive that is advertised as having 1 TB (1000000000000 bytes) a computer will say that it has 931.32 GB. If you go to the the hard drive properties and look at the number before the word bytes you'll see that that it does have as many bytes (often more) as advertised. As for why they advertise storage as 1000 bytes as 1 KB while computers see 1024 bytes as 1 KB I haven't a clue.

You just compared being against SD cards to being against the polio vaccine. Anything you said at that point is pretty much invalidated by how horrible and silly an analogy that was.

There is actually plenty of real downside to a microSD card slot, namely in the form of security. A lot of people seem to overlook that fact.

I would say the difference is greater than that. Will you always need it, no. Its better to have it in the long run.

It is, but they had to make some cuts to get it to the $129 price. For the market they're aiming for, HSPA+ will be fine.

When I moved from H+ to 4G (I'm in the UK and it may have other names abroad) the difference in the speed of downloading was very noticeable. Whilst it may not be critical some of the time, it is certainly helpful.

However, my query was whether the Moto E has 4G radios?

Definitely can agree, here in the UK too, was reluctant to move to 4g as I thought hey h+ is good for me I don't need any faster but when I got 4g the difference is huge. It's especially noticeable when updating 20mb sized apps and games

Posted via Android Central App on nexus 7 (2nd gen)

The specs were listed in another article. No LTE, do you really expect that in a phone this price?

Motorola also announced a new version of the Moto G with LTE and SD slot if that is what you want.

Posted via Android Central App

With the low price, good specs for low end markets. I can see Moto reaching LG in market share in a few years(if they don't subtract market share from Samsung of course)

Posted via Android Central App

4GB of storage -- that's pretty tight, as quite a lot of things can't be stored on SD currently. Does anyone know how much of that is available for use (i.e. not reserved for the OS)?

Won't matter. This phone is for feature phone users. They won't care. If they truly want more storage, get a Moto G or an SD card.

Posted via Android Central App

Even with a sd card they wont be able to install much apps and games.. Agree this is for feature phone users but am sure once they see all the things available to install from the play store, that 2gb will be gone pretty quick.

Posted via Android Central App on nexus 7 (2nd gen)

Why dont Samsung,Sony,LG and HTC learn how to make great budget phones like Moto E and Lumia 520 ? Motorola and Nokia are the best mobile phone brand today(in terms of user satisfaction) and other companies need to learn from them.

Well said. HTC could make a killer budget If they tried. Well they have, and they weren't widely available and prices were just too high

Posted via My Ever-Bloated S4

Well they don't need to focus on lower-end phones when they are doing perfectly fine with the high-end phones. Plus with their yearly releasesome, people who don't mind not having the most updated hardware will buy their older phones like the GS3.

Sent from Rooted Galaxy S4

The only problem with this is people who want to pay less but get the 'Galaxy phone' are getting S2s and S3s that they are no longer going to update, leaving the phone riddled with bugs and issues that will never get fixed.

The good thing about these Moto Gs and Mote Es and whatnot are they will continue to stay up to date for far longer.

I know Samsung and others could care less, but this is something they should take into consideration to really tap into this emerging market that Moto and Nokia have a stranglehold on.

similar in size and specs to my older S2, save for less storage. Less bloatware, probably faster cpu. F
or lighter app usage, it's a great buy, and beats anything for similar money. Nice one.

Posted via Android Central App

Not to mention the speed of stock android on a brand new phone, versus a touchwiz 2 year old phone. Love the s2 though.

Posted via My Ever-Bloated S4

I'm gonna buy ten of them and then sell them on eBay for $40 each so i can buy the Moto x+1 when it comes out

Posted from the Avengers: Age of Droid Ultra

Good one:)
If you sell 20 of them you could buy 2 Moto X+1. I think I 'll join you.

Posted via Android Central App

That's £89. At £75 I'd definitely get one as a backup phone, but with the announcement of the Moto G with SD slot and LTE for £149, I'll consider my options since I don't need it right now. Though so long as the GPS is decent I'll probably opt for the E anyway.

Posted via Android Central App

Considering this phone support navigation satellites system of US, Russia and China, it probably have better GPS signal than most phones right now.
via android central app

I'm fine with every shortcut they took except the battery. The same group of people that want a basic phone probably want to worry about charging it as seldom as possible.

Agreed. When I made the jump from feature phone to smartphone the drop in battery life was stunning.

Posted from my Nexus 5 via Android Central App

Yea, my mother just upgraded to an S3 from the original moto razr this fall.
She had no problems learning to use the phone at all, she likes it a lot.
But getting used to charging it every day was the hardest part for her to get used to.

With a low power chipset and small screen that battery should be fine.

Posted via Android Central App

Obviously you haven't used a Moto. Moto G and X have some of the best battery life. Both can get more than 5 hours of screen on time, 6 for the G. It's not about the capacity only.

via android central app

Yes. The S2 had 1650mah I think, and I'm sure the E is a lot lighter on juice.
The Moto E battery spec seemed fine to me.

Posted via Android Central App

Well done Motorola. With 1GB of RAM this beats the Nokia L630.

The only thing the Moto E has against it is "There's only 4GB of internal storage, but this is offset by the presence of a microSD slot."

I don't agree. Since it comes with 4.4.2 and Google butchered microSD functionality in it, the microSD is irrelevant. You'll still be restricted to the less than 4GB of available storage for apps.

But, of course, you get what you pay for.

The SD card is for holding music or other file data. But primarily music.

Posted via Android Central App

Not before 4.4.2 and not on Windows Phone 8.1 it isn't. If you have low storage memory, you should offer people the ability of expanding it though a microSD. Let them pay the extra price of the microSD card to expand the memory. That means people will be stuck with less than 4GB of available storage. No real use for a microSD to put music and video if you then barely have space for any apps.

Again, you get what you pay for but Google had no need to butcher microSD functionality with lame excuses. Hopefully they'll eventually turn around on such a stupid decision.

Unless you're talking about Games, Apps aren't that big. Like the apps this audience is looking at will probably be a couple hundred MB at least. Hell, even as a power user, Most of my space is taken up by Music, Movies, and Pictures. It's actually quite difficult to fill that with Apps.

Are they going to make any money off of these things? Great price but that 4GB memory is another story completely.

Even though I've been complaining about the 2gb of storage available to users, the price is incredibly, I remember it wasn't too long ago you would spend like £80 on a single purpose mp3 player so if you just want a mp3 player for gym lol just buy this

Posted via Android Central App on nexus 7 (2nd gen)

I know, It's like, Moto is making the iPod Touch of android devices, but less expensive and more capable!

Another great device from Motorola. This would be a great back up phone or a great phone for a young child instead of spending $200+ and a contract for a phone the kid will likely destroy or lose.
I will buy one just for the heck of it.

Only a Duel-Core? The SD Card can't be used as the "Primary Drive" ? and they're asking how much for this device??
Oh No.. No Way.
My Rooted Quad-Core Alcatel Fierce has this beat at EVERY turn.. Hardware.. Synthetic Tests.. Price..
This is a Fail..

I think that not adding a SD slot is a mistake. 4GB isn't much space. I got a Razr D1, another Motorola low-end device, and it comes with 4GB too, but with a SD slot. I simply added a 16GB SD card to store my musics. 4GB is absolutely nothing.

If a device doesn't have a SD slot, I wouldn't buy it with less than 32GB of internal storage.

Been looking for a phone for my dad for father's day, he doesn't need much. Was gonna get the G, but the E looks very nice.

In Sweden there was a YouTube advertising there it's falling trough rain.
In the beginning of this treed someone talk about that people don't understand how they should do with the sd card. But android wasn't the first who have SD card, I have in my sonyericsson and that was before Android came out. So that man didn't know what he talking about.

Posted via Android Central App

I'm not sure if it's just my phone but it seems to think that it's out of storage even my hands over two gigabytes available by the way it's a motto e