I’ve been using the Moto E as a placeholder phone until I get the Nexus 6. This phone doesn’t pack top end specs nor does it have a huge screen, but when it comes to performance it will not disappoint. Before we dive into the good and the bad for this phone, let’s get specs out of the way. If you’re a specs geek you’re probably going to say “ew”.

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Specifications:

This phone comes with a 4.3 inch display with 256 ppi pixel density and the resolution is 540 x 960; don’t worry, you can’t see the pixels when you look at the screen. The phone comes with 4GB onboard memory with a microSD slot that can support up to 32GB and 1GB of RAM. The phone comes with a Snapdragon 200 chipset from Qualcomm and a Dual-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7 processor and an Adreno 302 GPU. When it comes the sensors, the phone is also missing a few, the Moto E is only equipped with an accelerometer and a proximity sensor. With regards to operating system, Moto E comes with Android KitKat 4.4.2 and Motorola plans to upgrade this phone to Android Lollipop sometime in the coming months. Powering it all is a non-removable Li-Ion 1980mAh battery.

The back facing 5MP camera in the Moto E shoots videos in 480p at 30 frames per second. There are no selfie camera on this device. If you like to take selfies you’re going to have to settle for the “shameless mirror selfies” or you can use the back camera to take a selfie like how you did with your blackberry back in the day.

Hardware:

Now that we got the specs out of the way, let us look at the design and the build quality of this phone. The Moto E is very curvy, its edges are curved, its back is curved; basically, curves everywhere. The curvy feature and the size of this phone makes it a delight to hold in your hand. The soft touch plastic feels great and the phone is no ultra-light. In fact, it’s a little heavier (142g) than usual and in my opinion, it feels more solid because of it. There’s a Motorola “M” dimple right under the camera and I find this very neat, often when I’m holding the phone up to my ear my index finger rests in the dimple. It’s a neat design choice that Motorola made and I’m loving it.

The earpiece sounds fine and the speakers are just mediocre. Again, this phone is a budget phone so you can’t expect top end hardware from it.

Moto_E_2015-Front_w_600
A picture showing the design of the Moto E

Performance:

Because the Moto E is running Android KitKat which had been modified by Motorola to run on this modest hardware, this phone gets the job done with no sweat. Sure, because of the specs you can’t play graphic intensive and resource demanding games; but, when it comes to daily usage you’ll find that the Moto E will get the job done just like any other smartphone. Texting, calling, tweeting, fb-ing, insta-ing, snapping, etc. on the Moto E is just fine. Even multitasking is snappy. I haven’t experienced any major lags while using the phone. The Moto E comes with near stock Android with some helpful features added by Motorola (i.e. Moto assist, Moto migrate, etc). I didn’t find myself using the Motorola features as much. Even though it comes with some added features, it is not bloated like many other phones.

Camera:

The 5MP camera is borderline mediocre for me, during the day it takes okay pictures but during the night, you can’t get anything out of it. If the camera is not a big deal breaker for you, then this phone is still a great option. There are no auto focus feature which produces low quality videos and photos. There are no LED flash, so forget about taking a picture in the dark and there are no selfie-cam.

Here is a sample picture that I took:

moto e camera

Battery:

Battery life has been great for me, I get through the day with no problem. My average screen on time comes up to 3-4 hours every day. The Moto E does come with a battery saving feature; but, I didn’t find myself using that even once. Below are some screenshots of a 24 hour day with the Moto E, during this time, I was using the phone normally and I had location turned on at High Accuracy (this was not intentional, I had forgotten to change it to “Battery Saving). Nonetheless, I ended the day with 4 hours of screen on time. This in my opinion is great battery life. Yes, it was a full 24 hour day for me, I didn’t sleep much that day because of school.

Screenshot_2014-11-01-10-43-34Screenshot_2014-11-01-10-43-37

Verdict:

With the camera being the biggest drawback of this $129 phone, it is still a great purchase for the price conscious consumer. Being a university student, many of us can’t afford to pay upwards of $600 for a new device. If that’s the case for you, the Moto E will make you very happy.  On contract, this phone is $0 at major carriers in Canada. This phone is great to use and it is designed for the price conscious buyer, it delivers good performance with good battery life, and that’s all we look for in a phone.

Leave us a comment below about what your thoughts on the phone.

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