Motorola Announces a New Smartphone Moto E

With the Moto E, Motorola wants to make the feature phone a relic of the past. By offering a decently performing smartphone for cheap (just $129 in the U.S.), Motorola wants you to ask, “Why wouldn’t I get this instead of a flip phone?”

Data costs, for one. But assuming you can find a cheap plan, there really isn’t much other reason. The Moto E delivers a respectable smartphone experience, and it’s got a nice design, too. From a distance, it actually looks a lot like an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S, and it even comes in the same colors: black or white.

When you first pick up the Moto E, it feels like a smartphone paradox. The design is similar to the Moto X, whose beautiful, curved exterior rightly earned rave reviews. However, its proportions are off for a high-end phone: It’s thicker and slightly heavier than you expect for a phone this size. It still feels great, but it doesn’t wow you.

The specs of the Moto E are on the low end of phones today, but that bar keeps rising, so there isn’t much to complain about even if you’re used to a smartphone experience already. The Snapdragon 200 processor provides enough power to run most apps on the 4.3-inch 960 x 540 display just fine. Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook all launched and ran without noticeable lag.

Jumping around, such as when you switch between apps to enter passwords from LastPass, will sometimes make the Moto E stop and think for a second. Since the phone runs Android 4.4 KitKat, though, it feels less buggy overall, and it’s able to run the latest versions of apps, like LastPass’s handy autofill-into-apps feature.

The camera UI is just like Motorola’s other phones, which is to say mercifully simple. You tap the screen to focus and snap, then swipe in from the right to see the pic you just took. Swiping from the left brings up settings. The camera itself is nothing special: your standard 5-megapixel imager. Most of the photos I took (indoors) were on the blurry side. There is no front-facing camera; selfie lovers, beware.

Nixing the front camera is clearly a cost-cutting omission, and there’s at least one other: internal memory. The Moto E has only 4GB of storage, which means those 720p videos you capture will fill the tank quickly. There’s a microSD card slot to bump things up, although it only supports cards up to 32GB. And it’ll cost you money.

The Moto E’s budgetary compromises are understandable, and more important, non-essential. When doing the main things you bought the smartphone for — interacting with apps and the web — you’ll forget about them, and the smartphone delivers a great experience. As Mashable Senior Tech Analyst Christina Warren observed in her review of the Moto G, this is a phone that doesn’t treat value-driven customers like second-class citizens.

And remember: the target customer for the Moto E is someone who has never owned a smartphone before. Worldwide, about 70% of mobile customers are still on feature phones, according to Motorola. For these customers, the Moto E could be the most convincing missionary for upgrading they’ll ever get.


Author: Pete Pachal
Source: Mashable