Final Words

It wasn't that long ago that I recommended buyers looking for inexpensive smartphones avoid Android devices in favor of Windows Phone. While this may sound strange, at the time it was a reasonable way of thinking. Although Windows Phone has a limited application selection, the users who were interested in low-end devices were typically not heavy app users. Inexpensive Windows Phone devices also performed much better, with competing Android devices providing a slow and jerky interface, and ultimately a poor experience. With Android Lollipop and new budget devices like the Moto E, my opinion about the quality of low end Android devices has changed.

Although the Moto E is not a flagship smartphone, it is a very important product in Motorola's portfolio. With much of Android's growth coming from emerging markets, having a solid budget smartphone is a necessity for Android phone manufacturers. I think the Moto E represents a good value proposition for customers, and I think it provides a more than satisfactory experience. Low end Android devices are no longer painfully slow, and with Motorola providing a version of Android that is nearly the same as Google's stock Android there's no issues with bloated software bogging down the device.

When building a smartphone that targets a low price, sacrifices will inevitably be made to drive down the cost for the manufacturer and the consumer. I think Motorola has chosen the right areas to make concessions with the Moto E. The areas where the Moto E definitely stumbles are its WiFi performance and its camera. The WiFi is limited to 802.11n, and the camera takes acceptable photos only when given very generous lighting. However, by reducing costs with the camera and the WiFi, Motorola has been able to maintain quality in every other respect. The Moto E doesn't fall short of Motorola's standards for design and build quality, and it packs the fastest CPU you can get at this price point. The Snapdragon 410 model even has support for LTE which is often a feature you give up with products at this price. While the display is not as nice as the 1280x720 one on the Moto G, it's still decently sharp and has surprisingly good color reproduction.

As for the competition, I don't know of much. The Moto E is priced at $149, and in many markets I don't think the Moto E really has any competition at that price point. While there are cheaper options, the concessions to reach an even lower price point really start to damage the user experience.

Looking toward the future, there are a few things Motorola should strive for if they are possible at the Moto E's price target. I would really love to see the next version move to a 1280x720 display, although since that is a point of differentiation between it and the Moto G we may never see that happen. Continued improvements to the camera will also be appreciated, and I think faster WiFi will be a must on the next model. If not 802.11ac, then at least 5GHz 802.11n. Right now Motorola has a really solid offering, and it's a phone that pretty much anyone will be able to afford. The next billion people in the world who become connected will undoubtedly be doing it via their smartphone, and Motorola is well positioned to be a big player in that market with phones like the Moto E.

WiFi, GNSS
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  • zepi - Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - link

    How much does a 1A or 2A rated charger drop the charging times?

    I think it is a bit silly to compare chargers instead of phones.
    Reply
  • arnoudw - Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - link

    Exactly. I reviewed the phone as well (the European version) and the one that's for sale on this side of the ocean hasn't got a charger at all in the box. I just used another charger that I have to charge the phone and charge times were pretty normal: around 2,5 hours from zero to full.

    AT would maybe consider a disclaimer that chargers can differ per country or region and that can infuence the outcome of this particular test immensely. AT has got a worldwide audience and a lot of the potential buyers of this phone reading the review here might be from another part of the world. That's something for AT to consider, I guess.

    TLDR; tested it as well, there was no charger included, charges normally with another charger.
    Reply
  • sovking - Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - link

    I agree. Charge time comparison should be done with the same charger or better with 2 or 3 chargers.
    Chargers for smarphone are universal, all devices connect to micro-usb chargers with 5V. At home we have more chargers for more smartphone and we do not matter which charger we are using.
    So create a table showing a charging time when using 0.5A, 1A charger, 2A charger.
    Some smartphone like Moto G 2014, limit input current, so it worth using until 1.5 A charger, more current is not used.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - link

    To be clear here, the purpose is to test the charge time of the phone in its default configuration. It's not to compare just the chargers, but the entire package. Reply
  • hans_ober - Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - link

    You've got a point; anyone who is buying this as their first Android (upgrading from an old Nokia), will most probably use the included charger and it was right to include the charge time using the 'package' the user would most probably use. However, since this is a case where the charger is to blame for the slow charging speeds, it would have been useful to include another result with another high powered charger, which would confirm that the phone IS capable of higher charging speeds if another charger is used and how much time could probably be saved by using a high powered charger. Reply
  • hans_ober - Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - link

    Do you have a Quick charge 2.0 charger? The Motorola Turbo Charger? Just curious to see whether it works, because iirc QC 2.0 support was mentioned somewhere. Reply
  • victorson - Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - link

    There is a mistake, the Moto E is not $109, it's actually $120 for the slow Snapdragon 200 version, and a not-so-cheap $150 for the Snadpragon 400 version. It's funny how the author can't think of competition when you have devices from Xiaomi and Meizu (among tens if not hundred others) that deliver better value for the money. Reply
  • close - Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - link

    In EU the Moto E LTE is ~130E while the cheapest Xiaomi starts at ~170E. I wouldn't think twice. Reply
  • Brandon Chester - Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - link

    The number of markets that you can purchase Xiaomi phones in is extremely small, you can count them on one hand. Also I apologize about the pricing error. There have been a few sales on it recently and for whatever reason I noted the price as $109. That being said, it does drop below Motorola's price very often. For example, it's currently available in India on Flipkart for $127 USD. India does happen to be an Xiaomi market and so I would definitely urge buyers there to check out their devices as well. But that's not an option for most buyers. Reply
  • victorson - Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - link

    Thanks for the reply, Brandon! I agree that you can get the phone cheaper on sales and I wouldn't argue against the Moto E being an overall good value for the money, but it's also true that you can buy said Xiaomi phones (or many others for that matter, I don't want this to sound like an ad) from retailers like Pandawill.com, Coolicool.com, or others that ship internationally for free. And the user who said that Xiaomi starts at 170 euro, may want to pay a visit and see that prices on those sites start at around $120, not 170 euro. Reply

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