Moto E LTE Review - not the low cost phone you are used to.

The new Moto E is Motorola’s new entry-level phone, but it’s not the budget phone you are used to. In the past, low-end Android phones were practically unusable, especially some Samsung phones that I tried. But that is not the case anymore. Companies like Motorola, LG and Sony have started offering cheaper phones with better processors and screens. As a mother to two technology loving children, I always keep an eye out for affordable, basic, but functional phones. The Moto E offers some really good specs like LTE, a Quad-core processor, qHD screen and a front facing camera, all for a great price. It is now available from Videotron and Koodo for $0 with a plan. Videotron prices it at CAD $199.95 without a plan while Koodo only at CAD $150.00 which is a great price considering the low Canadian dollar. The retail price in the US for the unlocked LTE version is USD $149.99. Telus priced the prepaid version at CAD $150 as well. Motorola made some great improvements on the 1st generation Moto E by adding more internal storage (8GB vs. 4GB), a bigger battery, a slightly bigger screen, a better processor, a front facing camera and LTE. The phone comes with Android Lollipop 5.0.2 and as Motorola is known for their fast updates, it will probably stay up to date with future Android versions.



The Moto E is available in either black or white. It has a nice rounded shape and a nice compact size with a 4.5” screen. The qHD screen is bright and clear. The rounded design makes it very comfortable and easy to hold. There is a removable accent soft plastic band around the phone which can be replaced and comes in different fun colors. In order to put in the sim and SD card, the band has to be removed. It is a bit confusing at first but once you learn how to do it, it is easy to remove.


The quad core chip means good performance for games and multitasking. It has an 8GB internal storage and a MicroSD slot with an option for expansion up to 32GB. I had no issues with multitasking when using the phone, mainly with Google apps like Google Plus, Drive and Hangouts. Transitions were fast and I enjoyed using it. It runs a very close to stock Android Lollipop experience so it felt similar to a Nexus and very familiar to me. I really like how it feels in the hand but I found the screen too small for me after getting used to having phones with a 5.5” screen or more. I let my 9 year old son test the phone. He played some of his favorite games like Plants Vs. Zombies 2 and Minecraft. He reported that there is no visible lag and that he loves the phone. He surprisingly (or not) said that he prefers KitKat to Lollipop. 

The phone does not have NFC but it is not a feature that is very important to me considering that Google Wallet payments are not available in Canada. It’s great to have but I can live without it.
It has an anti-smudge coating but I find that it got dirty quickly.

The battery lasts all day but it takes a long time to charge. Or maybe I am not used to it after having phones with a  fast charger.

A nice feature that I really like is the FM radio. It surprised me because It doesn’t seem so common in modern phones. I think that it is a great alternative to streaming music for those who want to save on data or those who have no data plans. The phone doesn’t come with earphones so I used mine and the sound quality was very good. The speaker is located on the top of the phone so the sound comes out very clear.



The Moto E has a 5MP camera and the quality is sufficient for occasional photos. It lacks a flash though, so it won’t be very useful in low light conditions. The camera application offers HDR, Control of the focus and exposure, panorama, and burst mode. To take a photo the screen can be pressed anywhere and a long press will take multiple shots. I like this feature because it is perfect for making gifs with the Google photos autoawesome motion feature. It takes videos in 720p HD and has a SloMo feature. The VGA front facing camera is not exactly a selfie camera. Unless you want retro looking flip phone kind of selfies, you would probably use it only for video chats. But it’s still nice to have. I’m a camera nut and love taking photos but if you’re not, it’s definitely sufficient.

 
Use of burst mode
IMG_20150327_131323341.jpg
Front facing camera
 



































Who should get this phone? I would recommend this phone for anyone who needs a basic phone. It is perfect for either younger children or people who don’t need a flagship phone for their needs. This is a good phone for teenagers who use their phone mainly for web browsing, simple gaming, texting, chatting and facebook and who don’t necessarily need the best screen resolution or the best camera. It is inexpensive and it can also be used without data because they can load music on the Micro SD card, or listen to the FM radio. The colorful bands are a great way to personalize the phone. When they get older and will want to take better photos (and selfies) they will probably ask you for a better phone but until then, they will enjoy this one. It is also the perfect phone to buy for family members who are not power users and need only a basic phone. Buying the phone unlocked can lower their monthly plans as most carriers offer a discount if you bring your own phone.

The phone became available only recently and it still shows as “coming soon” on Motorola’s website. Hopefully it will soon be possible to buy it unlocked directly from them rather than one of the carriers. 

This is definitely a good phone in its price range. I’m very happy to see that phone manufacturers are stepping up to the plate and providing great entry level phones for the next batch of Android users.

Specifications


Operating system
Android™ 5.0 Lollipop

Processor
Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 410 processor with 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU, Adreno 306 with 400 MHz GPU

Memory (RAM)
1GB

Storage (ROM)
8GB* Removable storage: Supports up to 32GB microSD card

Dimensions
Height: 129.9 mm
Width: 66.8 mm
Curve: 5.2 - 12.3 mm

Weight
145 grams

Display
4.5" qHD 540x960 245 ppi IPS
Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3
Anti-smudge coating
Water-Resistant Coating

Battery
2390 mAh
Mixed usage up to 24 hours

Networks
GSM/GPRS/EDGE, UMTS/HSPA, 4G LTE

Bands
Moto E with 4G LTE:
GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
UMTS/HSPA (850, 1700 (AWS), 1900 MHz)
4G LTE (2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 17)

Rear Camera
5 MP
f/ 2.2 aperture
Quick Capture
Tap anywhere to capture
Auto focus
4X digital zoom
Burst mode
Auto HDR
Panorama
Tap to focus

Front Camera
VGA

Video Capture
720p HD Video, 30 fps (MPEG4, H.264)

SIM Card
Micro-SIM 

NFC
No






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