Motorola Moto E 4G review
|Review: March 2015|
Last updated August 2017
In a nutshell: The second-generation Motorola Moto E is an entry-level smartphone that offers outstanding value for money. It may lack premium styling, but it has everything else you could want from a budget phone.
Today's best buy: Moto E4 Plus from AO.com (£139.00)
Design & looks
The Moto E 4G doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is - a basic, entry-level smartphone. It's not a particularly slim phone, nor does it have metal trim or premium features. It's fractionally larger than the first-generation Moto E, but isn't a large phone to handle. The curved back makes it quite ergonomic to use with one hand.
It looks quite cheap, but is very practical, with a rubberised grip on the back, a water-resistant coating, and Gorilla Glass 3 to protect the screen. It's the kind of phone you can handle a little roughly and not worry about too much.
The phone comes in a choice of Black or White.
The screen is pretty good for the price. It's an IPS display that holds its colours well, and is quite sharp too, with a 245ppi pixel density and a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels. The screen is 4.5 inches in size, which is slightly larger than the original Moto E and a good size for a budget smartphone.
The processor in this second-generation version of the Moto E has been upgraded to a quadcore Snapdragon 410 running at 1.2GHz, and with 1GB of RAM. This is typical of entry-level smartphones, and there's enough power here to run most popular games, although not high-end 3D games. For everyday purposes, most users should find that the phone runs smoothly.
You get just 8GB of built-in storage, but you can add a microSD card to provide up to 32GB extra storage for music, videos, etc.
One key benefit of this phone is that it runs Android 5.0 Lollipop, whereas many rival budget phones are stuck with Android 4.4 or even earlier.
We hated the camera on the original Moto E, but we're pleased to report that the Moto E 4G has received a substantial upgrade in this respect. The camera is still rated at 5 megapixels, but it now has autofocus and HDR low-light enhancement. There's no flash, and pictures can still be a little grainy indoors, but they're massively better than what the previous version was capable of.
The camera can also record HD video, and there's a basic VGA front camera that can be used for selfies.
The addition of 4G LTE capability makes the phone more versatile, if you're in a 4G area. The phone is also 3G and 2G capable, and includes support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, micro USB and a 3.5mm headphone jack. NFC is missing, however.
A bigger battery
The battery in the Moto E 4G is a hefty 2390 mAh, which is larger than in the original Moto E and bigger than most comparable phones. The battery is non-removable, but is big enough to power 24 hours of continuous use. Since most users are unlikely to use the phone continuously, in practice this equates to 1 or 2 days between charges.
Conclusion - outstanding value
We liked the original Moto E very much, and we like the second-gen version even more. It's unmistakeably a budget phone, but it over-delivers for the price. We like the big, sharp screen, the quad-core processor, Android Lollipop and the battery. The 4G is nice to have, the camera is respectable, and the memory is adequate. There's really nothing to dislike.
Motorola Moto E 4G features include:
- Android 5.0 (Lollipop)
- 5 megapixel camera with autofocus, auto HDR, 4x digital zoom
- 720p HD video recording with slow motion option
- VGA front camera
- Display: IPS, 4.5 inches, 540 x 960 pixels, 245ppi
- Messaging: SMS, MMS, email, IM
- FM radio
- GPS, AGPS, GLONASS positioning
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, micro-USB 2.0, 3.5mm audio jack
- Processor: Snapdragon 410 with 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU, Adreno 306 GPU
- Memory: 1GB RAM, 8GB built-in storage plus microSD card slot
- Networks: 4G LTE (Bands 1, 3, 7, 20), 3G UMTS/HSPA (900, 2100 MHz), GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
- Size: 67 x 130 x 12.3 mm
- Weight: 145g
- Battery: 2390 mAh
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Motorola Moto E 4G user reviews
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Average rating from 8 reviews:
Reviewed by Da Ducky
on 8th Jan 2017
I previously had a Lumia 635, my first personnel smart phn. Anyway that suffered from a miserable windows restricted set of apps, which the Android Moto E doesn't,t suffer. Also the 635 ran internet explorer, which like all browsers receives legion ads. But while the Moto e runs chrome crisply, steadily, without collapse; the 635 Lumia was the exatcly opposite. The prime offending ads serving from taboola. While chrome also permits taboola, it does not affect the stability of the pages, although annoying pop ups do occur.
The Moto e does not come with many preloaded apps. So I stuck Skype on it, Here navigation, which unlike Google has voice nav as well which is important in this day and age where you can be peeled and salted for mobile distractions while driving, which is fair enough. I also put on accu weather, which seems OK.
Compared the 635, the Moto is very good.
I will not give it 5*, as the ads are irksome. Hopefully I can find a script blocker to work on the phone.
Reviewed by Adrian
on 7th Nov 2016
Super phone,for this price is nearly gratis. I have a lot of phones, but this one(s) is(are) the favorit(s)...I like so much and buyed the 3-th ...( 2 are in work, in daily usage, the 3-th is reserved for next years, when can not find more).I have still a Sony z5 compact,but after 4 month I decide it wi"ll go back to seller,because preffer this moto ( 4k here or there, is a big pile of laggs, no good signal reception, poor soft, so hate it,500 eur sony is less interesting now for me than this moto what does perfectly his job). I think this moto e2 and moto x2 are the last super phones from motorola ....if they doed it with 2g ram (or min 1,5) & 16g..... could be the perfect phone in small size.
Reviewed by Jan
on 11th Jul 2015
not keen at all after using Samsung for many years -heavy / touch controls can be slow and often need repeated touch to register command / also high radiation levels - gave me strange disturbance in ear.
Give it 3 star (instead of 2) coz of redeeming features , but u get these on most phones - Dont like it.
Reviewed by Tony
on 13th May 2015
I've had a lot of phones! Hated IOS, didn't like bloat ware on Androids, liked Windows Phone for a long time but eventually got fed up with lack of everyday apps. Finally bought this SIM-free for £100 and absolutely love it. Camera only average but otherwise does everything I want in a mobile. Hopefully I'll keep this one for a while!
Reviewed by Android Modder
on 3rd Apr 2015
After setting up my mates phone how he wanted it I got myself one. I striped the version of lollipop that's its cones with back to this core. This means taking all google related apps and features off the device. Installed all the .apk's I needed and set it up. With all the google stuff removed this phones is very quick. I now understand why high end smartphones have the specs they do, its to run all the junk OEM's put on as standard (google apps & others). I don't like getting sucked into an ecosystem like apple or google. More so on phones.
What a great phone.
Reply by Sarah
on 24th Nov 2016
Hi, how would I remove the unwanted apps like you have?
Reviewed by Keith
on 1st Apr 2015
After having a galaxy s3 for two years, I decided I'd like a cheap smart phone for calls and Internet without all the bells and whistles, that come with a high end phone. One that was sim free and unlocked.
I just didn't know where to start looking. Then I read your review. And I'm very pleased I did. I bought the phone new for £98. Have had it for less than 24 hours and I'm very very pleased with it. It doesn't look or feel cheap with nice weight in the hand. The display is gorgeously vibrant and clear, with a good sized screen. And the os is extremely fast. Faster than my s3 ever was. If you want a phone without all the novelty additions and just want to make calls and use the internet, and want a phone that's extremely easy to figure out how to use, then I'd thoroughly reccomend you buy this one.
Thanks for the review and saving me a lot of time. Trying to find what I wanted.
Reviewed by Android Modder
on 30th Mar 2015
Being a tech geek I love to mod all things tech related. From laptops, PC's etc and smartphones. With Smartphones you can only mod the firmware as such. I've jailbroken iPhones and had them run sweeter with more features than the original iOS supplied by Apple.
I've done the same with Android phones, but then a friend gave me a Moto G 2015 edition. I wasn't expecting to much from such a low spec phone. Hmmm, I am now surprised at what a low spec device can be like when the firmware is tweaked. Due to the Moto E 2015 being fairly new out there aren't any custom firmwares. There is one but it didn't work every time I flashed the phone. I normally stick with Cyangenmod and tweak it. THis time I stuck to basics.
I unlocked the bootloader, put TWRP custom recovery on it and rooted the phone. Firstly I wasn't expecting much to make this phone any better as Lollipop is almost as good as I like Android to be compare to previous mods on Kitkat.
The Moto E 2015 is almost stock, with no bloatware that others like Sony and Samsung stick on their phones. What could I do to make the E 2nd Gen better.
I've never been a fan of Google's Now launcher with voice search 'ok google'. I put Trebuchet launcher that CM11 uses and this adds a little customisation to the launcher without bogging it down in the 1gb RAM. I removed a lot more of Google's stuff, like Hangouts, Google+, Talkback, Google books, newsstand and drive etc. Like I've said already, I wasn't expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much better Lollipop runs on the E 2nd Gen. By removing what I call pointless Google stuff from the stock Lollipop it frees up RAM and the CPU and the ROM is more zippy. Apps open in milliseconds with no lag, OK it was pretty zippy before. It is more noticeable now though.
I've installed the apps my friend required and set them all as system apps, meaning they can't be deleted as easily as normal.
Back to the phone though. I don't care what people say in response to this, but the Moto E 2015 is a great phone, far better than the price tag would suggest. There are negatives like the lack of a flash with the camera, but for quick snaps it is OK. That the negatives.
Battery life is phenomenal compared to other smartphones. I had the phone for 2 weeks before returning it (making sure my mods were stable) and I only charged it 6 times and considering what I was doing, very heavy usage I was shocked that the 2390 mAh battery can last as long as it did. I put battery life down to the Snapdragon 410 processor and screen (non HD and only 4.5").
Conclusion: if you don't have the money or have spent thousand over the years like the previous reviewer appears to have done this phone is a great contender, even if you don't mod it like I did. If you do mod it then the phone is just better. I personally don't use phones for media purposes other than music via headphones and using (some will hate me here) Apple newer earbuds the sound quality is great.
buy buy buy buy buy buy buy.
Reviewed by Fred
on 26th Mar 2015
Having had most high end smartphones and always swapping between them for one reason or another. One day my iPhone 5s broke beyond repair. I didn't know what to do. Get another or go elsewhere. Due to always not being satisfied with the 4" screen but hate bigger screens than 5" I was stumped. I researched all devices between 4.5 and 5" and came up short. There are phones out there with a screen size I like but with a hefty price tag. Xperia z3 compact for example but just couldn't justify the cost after the years of paying premiums for high end phones.
I saw the moto g at first but the new one is 5". But it isn't better than the 4.5" g. Then the moto e 2015 model came out and it offers all I need. Having had the phone for two weeks I'm amazed at what it does, OK it does what others do. I have only charged it up 6 times in 14 days. This is with moderate to high use. It does lag sometimes but only when pushed hard at multitaskibg. I don't use phones for games so don't see the need in octa core processors and mega RAM amounts. I send emails, texts, make calls, listen to music on the go and control music/films at home on my multi room HiFi and Chromecast.
Price, got mine for £100. Well worth it. I recommend this phone highly.