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The quick-read review: Motorola Moto E

Is the Moto E flawless? No, not at all. Is it the best phone you can buy for Rs. 7,000 or lesser? Yes, definitely.

main Is the Moto E flawless? No, not at all. Is it the best phone you can buy for Rs. 7,000 or lesser? Yes, definitely. (Source: Motorola)

A few months ago, The Indian Express took the position that slowly but surely, the price of a “good enough” Android phone is inching towards the Rs. 5,000 mark. The Moto E, the younger sibling of the much-loved Moto G, is proof of this.

Specs: 4.3-inch IPS touchscreen (960×540 pixels, 256 ppi) with Gorilla Glass 3 | 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor | 1GB RAM | 4GB internal memory, microSD card up to 32GB | Dual-SIM (micro SIM + micro SIM) | 5-megapixel rear camera, no front camera, WVGA video recording | 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4, GPS | 1980mAh battery | Android 4.4 KitKat
Price: Rs 6,999

Design: With certain phones, the moment you hold them, you feel like they can take the bumps and bruises of everyday life. To Motorola’s credit, the company has managed this at a phone which costs so little. Apart from the sturdy feel, the Moto E is easy to grip with its rubber-coated, curved back. It’s a thick phone and is reassuringly hefty. On the front, while the top has a chrome band above the screen— presumably for the speaker — it also has one under the screen, and it’s difficult to know why. Plus, it doesn’t look good either. Still, it’s not a deal-breaker.

Screen: The 4.3-inch screen has on-screen virtual buttons, so some part of the already small screen is sacrificed in that. It’s sharp enough for reading articles, but the viewing angles are poor—view the screen from any side except straight-on and the colours distort. On the plus side, the Moto E is protected from scratches by Gorilla Glass 3.

Performance: Most regular tasks—email, browsing, calls, messaging, instant messages, social networks, photos, videos, casual games, office work—are handled smoothly, as long as you aren’t looking for high-end performance from them. What’s the difference? You can play Angry Birds; not Asphalt 8. You can take a posed photo; not a candid shot.
Camera: Colour reproduction is the highlight of the Moto E’s camera, with it being quite accurate compared to what you see with your naked eye. The problem lies in the camera’s sharpness and ability to capture details. Take a photo of anything in the distance or in low light and the image on the Moto E won’t accurately show what you see. It’s the same with shooting videos.

Also, users should know that the Moto E does not have a front-facing camera, which means you don’t get to take selfies—or well, you will need to rely on a mirror!

Software: The phone comes with KitKat, the latest version of Google Android, and without any major changes. Motorola has also thrown in a few features of their own, like Motorola Migrate which lets a user easily transfer their current phone’s data (contacts, messages, etc.) to the new phone. There’s also Moto Assist to set rules for when you’re in a meeting or asleep, but there are better apps on the Google Play Store for that.

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Storage: The Moto E has only 4GB of internal memory, of which 2.21GB is available to the user to install apps or anything else. While you can put in a microSD card of up to 32GB, this extra space cannot be used to install apps unless it’s an app made specifically for Android 4.4 KitKat—the problem is, there are very few of such apps. The limited memory is the biggest issue with the Moto E and stops it from being used for many games and apps.

Battery: With a 1980mAh battery, this smartphone will go on for a day and maybe more with average usage. It played video continuously for 11 hours, and browsed on Wi-Fi for 7 hours. That said, you should know that the battery is non-removeable, so if you are a heavy user who needs to swap batteries in a day, this isn’t the phone for you.

Special Mention: The Moto E does not come with a USB cable in the box and the packaged earphones are terrible. Plugging in a set of better headphones shows that the Moto E has good audio output, but with the default earphones, it sounds tinny and cracks at high volumes. If you buy this phone, you will need to invest in a set of better earphones and a USB cable, raising the price by another Rs. 1000-1500 or more, depending on what you buy.

Verdict: Is the Moto E flawless? No, not at all. Is it the best phone you can buy for Rs. 7,000 or lesser? Yes, definitely.

The Moto E’s biggest problem is the limited internal storage, which prevents it from being useful to gamers or power users. If you know your way around Android and can root the device, then you can install apps on the external microSD card too—but that’s not going to be the case with average users.

That said, the Moto E is good enough for an average user who just needs calling, texting, WhatsApp, browsing, email, some games, photos and light work. Despite its flaws, at Rs. 7,000, it is a far better purchase than anything else on the market. It’s as simple as that.

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