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Motorola Moto E review

 Review: May 2014  

Last updated March 2015

Rating: 5 stars

In a nutshell: The original Motorola Moto E is a very cheap Android phone that offers a lot for the price. It's compact, with a large screen, a reasonably fast dual-core processor and excellent battery life. The camera is a real disappointment, but everything else is good.

Today's best buy: Moto E4 Plus from Laptops Direct (£139.97)


Update (March 2015)

The original first generation Moto E is now cheaper than ever, selling for under £100 on Pay as you Go. It's a bargain!

Design & looks

The Motorola Moto E is far from being the worst looking Android phone. It's a good size to hold, and seems quite tough and durable with its Gorilla Glass screen, but it's really quite heavy and thick. The curved back makes it quite easy to hold and less bulky than it first seems, and it looks quite smart in Black. Interchangeable back covers are available in other colours, but they look rather tacky and cheap in comparison with the basic Black model. The case is treated with a water-resistant splash guard, but it's not fully waterproof.

The screen is ideal for a low-cost phone, measuring 4.3 inches and with a decent 540 x 960 pixel resolution. It's quite sharp, moderately bright and has a good viewing angle. It's definitely one of the best screens for the price.

Overall, when you consider the price of the phone we couldn't really ask for more from the design of the Moto E. First impressions - excellent!

Dual-core spec

Unlike the quadcore Moto G, the Moto E uses a dual-core Snapdragon 200 CPU. It's still fast in everyday use, and there's no sign of lag. It will run most apps pretty smoothly too, and even some 3D games, but you'll notice the difference if you compare it with a more powerful phone. There's 1GB of RAM too, which is plenty for an entry-level phone and we're very happy with the performance.

The built-in memory is just 4GB. With the system eating half of this, there really isn't much room left for apps, so if apps or games are your thing, we'd recommend that you opt for the Moto G instead. Happily, the phone does have a microSD card slot, so you can store all your music and stuff on the card, leaving the onboard memory free for apps and core data.

Speaking of music, audio quality from the speaker is pretty good, and if you plug in a set of headphones you can listen to the built-in FM radio as well.

Android KitKat

The Moto E is bang up to date with Android KitKat 4.4 and Motorola is promising an upgrade to the next version when it becomes available. The implementation is pretty close to how Google intended it, with the addition of a few Motorola apps to assist in migration from your own phone and for call management.

Crud camera

Here's where the Moto E goes wrong. Badly wrong. It's got the worst photographic capabilities of any smartphone we've reviewed this year. The camera is atrocious. We don't get to use that word very often, so let's say it again. Atrocious. There's no flash, no autofocus, just a basic 5 megapixel camera of the type we used to see about 5 years ago. It can record video, but only on a good day. And there's no front camera at all, so if you like selfies you'll hate the Moto E.


This is a quadcore 3G phone with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, micro USB and a 3.5mm headphone jack. All the basics are here, but there are no extras such as NFC.

Battery life

The battery is a large 1980mAh, which is a good size for a phone of this type. It'll give you a whole 24 hours of continuous use, and probably 2-3 days between charges for lighter users.


We like the Motorola Moto E very much, but it didn't blow us away. The camera in particular is a real let-down. On the positive side, it's a nice-looking and reasonably compact phone with a large screen. It's fast, runs Android KitKat, has good battery life and can be upgraded with a memory card. The colourful changeable back panels are a bonus, and for the price it offers excellent value for money.

It's outstanding value for under £100, but if you want better, spend a little more and go for the superior Motorola Moto G, or the 4G EE Kestrel, which is a superior phone in several ways, although it's exclusive to the EE network.

Motorola Moto E features include:

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Average rating from 2 reviews:

Reviewed by karthikeyan from IN on 15th Dec 2014
It is the worst product for continues usage.when v can,t using bluetooth and data at same time

Reviewed by SIMON from UK on 2nd Nov 2014
Good basic phone for a low-user like me, battery lasts a few days with not-too-much use.
Grumbles, only one. It would be good if unread texts and missed calls could be recorded on the screen, rather than having to go into Phne or Text screens to find if anything has slipped past your notice. my very basic Alcatel had this

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