Before the iPhone, feature phones are king when it comes to user friendliness and affordability, smartphones were so incapable that time where they can freeze and get infected by viruses. Fast forward today, we still have feature phones around but they merely made presence in front of you, you’ll find almost every individual carrying two devices – a working smartphone and probably a backup feature phone, so when these users want to convert into a Dual SIM smartphone, they’re mostly left with expensive, outdated and underpowered smartphones. Now, we will no longer face that issue with Motorola’s Moto E, an entry level Dual SIM smartphone that costs less than RM400, it comes with guaranteed Android OS updates, respectable hardware internals and superb build quality.

Motorola Moto E Video Review

Motorola Moto E vs Xiaomi Redmi 1s: Top 5 Comparisons

Bold Design and Superb Ergonomics

Let’s face it, entry level devices are cheap and they usually come with cheap plasticky materials, which is what make us walk away from them. The Moto E has one of the best build quality that we’ve ever come across on an entry level device – the CorningGorilla Glass 3 coated dark glass, matte rubbery backcover and ergonomically curved back, makes it a great device to hold on hand and you won’t feel shy when you take it out of your pockets to put it on the table, the Moto E has a distinctively bold design that will never give you an impression that it is meant to be an entry-level device.

When the phone’s aesthetics are already that good, using the phone is also a joy one handed, the respectful 4.5” qHD resolution (960 x 540) display is very responsive that we are able to navigate around the phone and type on Google’s keyboard without much issues, trust us if you’re a QWERTY keyboard guy, you’ll soon be able to type without even looking at the screen. Nonetheless, the display is also one of the very best that we can find on an entry level device with decent viewing angles, accurate color saturation and strong brightness for outdoor usage.

The hardware specifications of the Moto E is the only thing that you will notice that this is an entry level smartphone:-

Motorola Moto E Specifications

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 dual-core 1.2GHz

RAM/ROM: 1GB/4GB (expandable via MicroSD)

Display: 4.5″4.3″ qHD (960×540) LCD with Corning Gorilla Glass 3

Camera: 5MP Fixed Focus

Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, BT 4.0

Features: Guaranteed Android OS updates, Motorola Assist, Motorola Alert

Networks: HSPA+ 2100, GSM 850/900/1800/1900

Battery: 1980mAh

A Nexus experience in an OEM smartphone

Since the Moto G and Moto X, Motorola has committed to provide guaranteed future Android OS updates on their smartphones, and that goes the same for the Moto E. Our review unit is currently running on latest build of Android KitKat, to make guaranteed OS updates a reality, it is obvious that Motorola hasn’t loaded the phone with any custom launcher like everybody else which is good. The Moto E runs exactly like a Nexus device, its pure stock Android experience will WOW you with its exceptional performance despite having very entry-level hardware onboard. Despite of the paltry amount of RAM, app launch and switch speed is pretty decent and we rarely face refreshes even improperly closing apps, all thanks to great memory optimization on Motorola’s kernel and the framework of Android 4.4 KitKat.

While the company has to compromise on not loading up a custom launcher and we’re glad that they didn’t do that, they simply have to add on a few features onboard that makes it a Motorola smartphone, therefore we have the Moto Assist and Alert app.Motorola Assist is a very simple app that works exactly like a ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature albeit more smarter than others, it knows when notifications need to be silenced when you’re in a meeting appointment based on your calendar and while you’re sleeping at night. On the other hand, the Motorola Alert app lets you configure a few emergency contacts and alerts them if you happen to require urgent assistance, a very neat feature indeed!

We really have to commend Motorola on this, the company has finally proven the power of Android on an entry-level hardware, you don’t need to have a super quad or octa core processor to have a usable smartphone experience and all of this comes down to one simple reason – no bloat and heavy customized software. The only problem that we faced is the paltry 4GB built-in memory, which we aren’t able to install apps and games that require huge amount of storage data, the Play Store still isn’t smart enough to download them into the SD card though.

Humble Camera that is Surprisingly Good

We still don’t understand why most entry-level smartphones can’t at least have auto focus on their camera optics, the Moto E’s camera is sadly a fixed focus camera despite being capable of shooting 5 Megapixel resolution, pictures still came out pretty decent in good lighting conditions however we do face inaccurate white balance and color saturation at times. For an entry-level device, we can’t ask for more and have to admit that pictures taken are pretty remarkable, check out the camera samples down below.

Video Recording is slightly disappointing given that the phone’s hardware power is capable of taking at least 720p videos, the company has limited the phone’s software to only record videos at an outdated 848×480 resolution, but it is clear enough to watch it on the phone’s display.

Benchmarks, Battery Life and Cell Reception

Most people today will tend to believe in benchmarks when they buy a smartphone, you’re not going to expect high scores from the Moto E given that it has very entry-level processing power onboard, while you may take scores as a reference, it doesn’t necessarily translate into real world usage. The Moto E’s everyday performance is pretty decent and has managed to get us through tasks like heavy web browsing and playing light games, most users won’t be able to notice the lag when using the phone.

If you’ve seen our HTC Desire 610 review back then, you’ll be surprised how a 2000mAh battery can pull of a full working day of usage with mid-range hardware onboard. The Moto E’s battery life is simply impressive for an entry level device, with a combined on screen time of 3 hours, a lot of voice calls and few sessions of web browsing, the phone managed to last a full working day as you can see on the screenshots above, which is quite acceptable for a small sized battery.

Dual SIM devices tend to have poor cell reception at times and instable connection, our phone has Maxis HSPA+ network activate while Celcom on GSM standby, calls to both SIM cards are received without any drops and our callers were impressed with the voice call quality. Thanks to the front firing speaker located just below the display, calls are extremely loud and we don’t have an issue listening and speaking at a distance as well.

The Most Impressive Entry-Level Smartphone Ever

Most reviewers like us have been spoilt by high end smartphones, we want the best of everything from design to performance, the Motorola Moto E tamed our desire on those, never before we’ve enjoyed so much using an entry-level smartphone that is so practical and reliable, though the display size can be an issue for some but it works perfectly fine with our fingers. The MotorolaMoto E is truly a smartphone that you will not regret to spend your cash on to combine two smartphones in one, with Motorola’s commitment on guaranteed Android OS updates, you can’t deny that this is the best entry-level smartphone ever. The Moto Eretails at RM369 and is exclusively available at Lazada Malaysia with free shipping, you can also purchase colorful Motorola Shells to make the phone more funky looking, click on the banner down below to buy one from Lazada Malaysia.

Verdict

The Moto E is the best entry-level Android smartphone that fears no challenges in its competition and will finally put feature phones to its resting ground.

The Good

+ Extremely affordable
+ Best build quality and aesthetics on an entry-level device
+ Guaranteed Android OS updates
+ Surprisingly decent smartphone performance
+ Superb display quality
+ Good cell reception and call quality

The Bad

– Paltry internal storage
– No auto focus in camera
– Low video recording resolution

We rate the Motorola Moto E at 4.5 out of 5 stars.