Moto E review – Low cost smartphone with fixed focus camera

Moto E is another low cost handset launched by Motorola in India with a very tempting price tag. It is using the dual core Snapdragon 200 processor (MSM8610) clocked at 1.2GHz with Adreno 305 GPU. The E runs on KitKat out of the box with 1GB RAM.

Box Pack: Inside you will find the Moto E handset, earphone, travel charger with micro USB pin and user guide / warranty card in both Hindi and English languages. Data cables are not included.

Design and Display
The handset closely resembles the Moto G, however there are few design changes. The loud speaker has been moved to the front, this in fact has helped cover up a lot of space on the front bottom – the screen is 4.3 inches (it’s smaller) and there are no dedicated buttons. Handset weight with battery is 142 grams. It is thicker in the center (12.06mm) and slimmer towards the edges (8.45mm). Because of the curvy design and build quality the handset looks and feels sturdy and is indeed comfortable to hold.

As mentioned the loudspeaker is on the front bottom, there are no dedicated touch navigation buttons. The microphone I believe is beneath the speaker vents. There are dual mics for noise cancellation.

3.5mm audio jack is placed on the top, micro USB at the bottom and volume rocker plus the power button are on the right side. The back cover is removable, colorful back covers are also available. This is a dual SIM handset – battery comes built in.

Moto E box pack

The screen is 4.3 inches with corning gorilla glass 3 protection and supporting resolution of qHD – 960 x 540 pixels. However due to absence of on dedicated navigation buttons the usable screen is 888 x 540 pixels. Touch is smooth and responsive. The viewing angles are okay – you will not be able to view the screen clearly from certain angles. There are 3 sensors accelerometer, light and proximity. There is LED notification (single white light).

SAR Value: 1.50 W/kg (head) and 1.36 W/kg (body). The white color looks good but gets dirty easily, specially on the rear. The rear is with matte finish and the handset body has got a glossy finish.

Moto E review and unboxing

Memory and Storage
There is 1GB RAM and 4GB storage plus micro SD slot. 2GB is the free storage available for apps and the available free RAM on the first boot is 454MB. You cannot install apps directly on the external storage. Some of the apps can be moved to SD card after installing it on internal storage. OTG is not supported.

When it comes to high end games the data files are always stored on the internal storage. This means that even though the handset is powerful you will not be able to install many high end games and forget any game that is over 1.8GB.

Moto E review

Performance and Benchmark
The Moto E is using the dual core MSM8610 qualcomm snapdragon 200 chipset clocked at 1.2GHz with Adreno 305 GPU. The performance is pretty good and lag free.

Benchmark Scores

App Result
Quadrant 5283
Antutu 12605
Vellamo HTML5 (1193) Metal (452)
Nenamark 2 49.1fps
Multi Touch 5 point

Moto E hands on

Gaming
The apps / games by default will be installed on the internal storage. I could not install the MC4 (Modern combat 4) game as it required 1.9GB of space and only 1.8GB was available on the internal storage. However I could install the Asphalt 8 that required only 1.3GB space.

The Asphalt 8 game play was smooth and playable even at high visual quality settings. I tried moving the game to SD card using the move to SD card option in settings (apps). It showed that the game moved to external card however the data files were still present on the internal storage.

Entertainment and Camera
The hardware can comfortably play 1080p video with ease. I tried playing the FHD video using stock video player as well as via MX player, in both the cases the videos played well. FHD is playable in H/W mode on MX player and it’s no good when using S/W mode.

There is 5MP camera on the rear without LED flash and there are no front cameras. Is it a fixed focus camera or an Auto Focus camera – it’s not clearly mentioned on the box pack. Unfortunately this is a fixed focus camera. There is no LED flash and front camera is missing.

Moto E 5mp fixed focus camera

There is control exposure option in the camera settings now this is different from what we have seen on the Moto G. On the Moto G you will get the control exposure and focus option. The focus option is missing on the Moto E.

You will still get the green circle that might look like the focus point, but it really doesn’t focus. This is fixed focus and using the control exposure will definitely give better results. The camera can record videos in 480p resolution at 30fps, you can capture still images when the video recording is on.

It is fixed focus and long shots are just okay, not so great.  You can check the sample images / videos at the end of this review.

Others
The handset supports 3G (H+), 2G, Wi-Fi with Direct / hotspot, Bluetooth (tethering), micro USB (tethering) and GPS with GLONASS. GPS lock is almost instant. Sound is loud and clear.

The earphone quality is just okay – cannot expect anything better for this price. If possible try using a good quality earphone, I tried Samsung earphone and it was just awesome (you will know the difference).

1980 mAh battery
The Moto E comes with non-removable battery. Battery backup looks good (Note I was using the handset with the battery saver option switched off). I ran the benchmark apps for about 21 minutes the battery dropped by 5% and when playing the Asphalt 8 game for about 19 minutes the battery dropped by 7%. The max temperature was 38 degrees.

Moto E battery non-removable 1980 mAh

With continuous usage (moderate) the battery will easily last for over 5 to 6 hours and with heavy usage (playing games – Asphalt 8 for example) the battery will last for around 4 to 5 hours.

Verdict
This definitely is a very good buy Rs. 6,999. The camera however is fixed focus and if you are not satisfied with the camera images (check sample images) then avoid buying this handset if camera is your key priority. You cannot save all of the apps on the external storage, OTG is not supported but FOTA updates are supported.

There are positives (Gorilla glass / KitKat / future updates / 1GB RAM etc) and negatives (FF camera, OTG not supported / cannot install heavy games on external storage etc) but when you look at the price tag, build quality and the brand it is worth the price.

Moto E is available exclusively on Flipkart for Rs. 6,999 in Black / White color options

Image gallery

Sample images shot using Moto E handset

Moto E handset and gaming review (Asphalt 8 game play)

480p video shot using this handset