We can talk about specs and design decisions all day long (well, I can't, but the collective "we" probably could) but the good stuff comes from using this phone all day, every day for a little while. I came to the 2015 Moto E from a 2014 Moto X, so on the first day I felt right at home. All of the buttons I am used to from my daily driver are in the same places, and checking my messages and games is mostly muscle memory.
By the third day of using this phone, it finally hit me that I didn't really notice any significant differences in using the 2014 Moto X and the 2015 Moto E.
By the third day of using this phone, it finally hit me that I didn't really notice any significant differences in using the 2014 Moto X and the 2015 Moto E. All of the performance hits, the less responsive Moto Display, the way larger apps took a second or two longer to load, it was all just subtly different from Motorola's flagship. When sitting the phones side by side it was clear that the Moto X was significantly faster and generally performed better (especially with the higher quality display in the Moto X), but in my day to day use with the 2015 Moto E the experience never left me wanting. It's not the smoothest or the fastest phone out there, but it delivers a consistently good experience and that's not nothing.
It's easy to forget how nice LTE is when every one of your devices has it and you live in an area where LTE networks are common, but the truth is access to LTE is a big part of what makes this phone feel so nice. Streaming music and installing an app from the Play Store at the same time isn't a problem, and video chats happen without issue. T-Mobile's network in Baltimore is fantastic, and it makes a big difference when using this device.
While not necessarily exceptional when considering the smartphone market as a whole, getting an entire day worth of battery from this phone is entirely effortless. In using the phone from 5:30a to 10p every day, I routinely found myself with 30% battery remaining. It's worth pointing out that Moto Display on the 2015 Moto E isn't as battery friendly as it is on the Moto X due to the use of an LCD screen instead of AMOLED, which makes knowing that this phone gets better battery life than my Moto X equally impressive (and a little annoying, speaking as a Moto X owner). While everyone's usage is different, the battery offered with the 2015 Moto E should be more than enough for a full day.
After the first week of using the phone, the display had become something I didn't particularly enjoy. The screen is good enough for use indoor, but as soon as you enter any kind of sunlight the 2015 Moto E becomes almost completely unusable. This is an understandable limitation of a phone aimed at the budget market, and with half a dozen 1080p or higher resolution displays on my desk it's not hard to see how my expectations may be skewed, but the need to head for shade or wait until I was in a building or in a car to check my phone was a less than stellar user experience. It was easier to deal with when my Moto 360 was attached, but there's something about saying your $300 accessory improved the experience on the $150 phone that seems entirely absurd.