The Moto E has been a highly popular device in India, the Moto E 2nd gen is the successor that aims to carry the legacy ahead. Let’s start with the contents of the box, the Moto E comes with headphones, a charger and some documentation. The headphones are the regular kind but we have some major issues with the charger. Its the same charger as the old model, so as a result the cable is not detachable and you will have to buy a data cable separately. Other than this the charger has an output of 550mAh which is low and takes a really long time to charge the phone.
The device is slightly bigger but it looks just like the old one. The screen is now a 4.5 inch IPS display, has Gorilla Glass 3 protection and an anti smudge coating on top of it. The phone now has one silver tab at the top which houses the earpiece and the loudspeaker. The new device now comes with a front facing camera which wasn’t present on the earlier model.
The power and volume buttons are on the side with the power button having a texture to it just like on the Moto X and the Moto Turbo. The side trim has groves all around it which help to grip the device better. Motorola has used a different approach for the device, the side trim is the only thing removable and the back cover is sealed shut. Removing the band reveals the SIM slots and the MicroSD card slot. At the back the device has the 5 megapixel autofocus camera with a microphone next to it and the familiar Moto dimple is placed right below the camera.
The internals of the device are slightly tweaked as well, the phone has a 1.2GHz Quad Core Snapdragon 200 processor with 1GB of RAM. The older Moto E had a dual core processor which made it lag occasionally but with the upgraded chip seems to have fixed the lag for now.
The IPS display has wide viewing angles and it does not appear to be washed out. We did find the brightness on the device a little conservative. So you’ll have to bump the brightness up to maximum for it to be viewable in sunlight. Thanks to the anti smudge coating the device isn’t a fingerprint magnet and keeping the display clean is simple.
While most of the competitors still ship with Kitkat, the device comes preloaded with Android Lollipop and is the first budget handset to do so. Google’s Android One phones are also receiving the Lollipop update but the Moto E seems to have an advantage. The device runs very smoothly and we were pleasantly surprised when the device ran through all its tasks without stuttering or lagging.
Moto has kept the UI almost stock with a few features added in the mix. Moto E now comes with the Moto Display, a feature that first debuted with the Moto X is now available on the budget phone. It shows notifications when you pick up the phone, it uses the accelerometer to detect motion and fires the screen up to show the notifications. Lollipop has an Ambient display mode which also displays notifications but does it in a different manner. The Ambient mode wakes the display up the moment there is a notification on the phone. We also saw a conflict while unlocking the device, the Lollipop lockscreen has a swipe up to unlock gesture whereas the Moto Display lockscreen has a swipe down gesture. These are little things but it can get frustrating when you have to unlock your phone in a hurry.
The software looks well optimised and the phone had 400-500MB of RAM free which is good considering the device only has 1GB of RAM. The phone comes with 8GB of internal storage and there is 5GB of space available to the user. Thankfully the phone has a microSD card that accepts cards upto 32GB. For those of you wondering, the Moto E does not support USB OTG so you cannot plug in pen drives directly.
The Moto E 2nd Gen has an average 5 MP Autofocus Camera. To attain brighter photos, it is coupled with an f/2.2 lens. Flashlight is not present at the back, which makes it lose some points in case of low lighting conditions. The phone is very compact and because of that, it is convenient to shoot with one hand. Talking about single handed use, there is a Quick Capture gesture that allows you to launch the camera application with a twist of the wrist. You can also use the same gesture again to launch the front camera. We did not encounter any lags while operating the camera which we credit to the fast Adreno 302 GPU.
Camera UI is very minimal and with the phone’s compact size, you can operate the camera settings very easily. There are no modes apart from HDR and Panorama; Panorama is a miss most of the time as you will end up with not-so-well aligned shot. Setting can be accessed same way you access the modes, which is by swiping from the left.
The images are generally grainy or hazy and you can blame the poor ISO performance for that.Highlights are usually blown off but you have to make sure that you select the area you want to be properly exposed.
HDR takes a lot of time to process but it usually gives you sharp and vivid images. Low light performance is mediocre and provided it doesn’t have any flashlight, you are better off not using the phone’s camera after dawn. The phone has a 0.3 megapixel camera on the front and its far from average. The resolution is low and the output isn’t good enough to be used for social sites or sharing. Its primary use case will be video calling and nothing more.
The battery on the Moto E has grown significantly, its even bigger than the Moto G and the Moto X. The 2390 mAh battery allows the phone to achieve the promised “All day battery life”. I tried gaming for hours, did quite a lot of calls and mixed 3G and WiFi use. The phone still had some power left the next morning. With low-medium usage the phone should be able to run for 2 days. There is one downside of the huge battery though, it takes a really long time to charge. The 550mAh charger is inadequate for the huge battery and it took over 3 hours for our review unit to charge. Motorola should’ve given a better charger in the box for the device to charge quickly.
The Motorola Moto E is a good entry level Android phone. The build quality on the device is among the best we’ve seen, it runs the latest OS and has good performance overall. Launched at a price of 6,999 rupees the device tries to do everything and fairly succeeds. The Lenovo A7000 in this segment has got one of the best specifications in comparison. Other competitors like the Lenovo A6000 Plus and the Redmi 2 have a much better Snapdragon 410 processor, 8 megapixel cameras and 4G LTE connectivity. But if you want to buy a phone without the hassle of registering for sales and trying your luck the Moto E is a safe pick.