Motorola Moto E hands-on and first impressions

motorola-moto-e

Motorola has set the cat among the pigeons once again. After setting new benchmarks for smartphones priced under Rs 15,000 with the Moto G, it is all set to change the experience first time smartphone users can have without having to spend a fortune. The Moto E is all about giving the best user experience at a budget. While other tier one smartphone vendors have a token presence in the sub-Rs 7,000 price point, Motorola is ensuring users get the things they demand the most — good hardware, a snappy and pure Android user interface, stylish and sturdy build quality along with the promise of future Android updates. I got to spend some time with the Moto E and here are my first impressions.

The Moto E is nothing like any other Android smartphone currently available at this price. Instead of the patchwork you see from other brands that cut corners wherever possible, the Moto E is a smartphone even I won’t mind being seen using. It is a well designed product with a curved back that feels natural to hold and premium quality plastic back cover. Even at this price point, it feels like a product on which the design and engineering teams have spent a lot of time, which is something you get only on similarly priced Nokia devices. The Moto E neither looks, nor feels cheap.

On the front, there is a 4.3-inch qHD display, which is again a new benchmark for a smartphone from a tier one vendor. The display is crisp though the viewing angles aren’t stunning but that’s something we are willing to overlook considering phones from Samsung and others at this price point have a WVGA display at best, with even worse viewing angles.

Motorola-Moto-E-Like always, Motorola has kept the UI clean and as close to pure Android as possible.  The advantage is that even with a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 200 dual-core processor, the Moto E is snappy. Screen transitions are fluid and there is no bloatware or unnecessary animations anywhere. This should come as a wakeup call for others who tend to “differentiate” their phones from others by putting a skin on top that induces UI lag. I’m sure the presence of 1GB of RAM on the Moto E also helps.

The Moto E also has a front firing mono speaker, which was loud enough even in a very noisy room that was crammed with over two dozen people. It has a 1,980mAh non-removable battery, which Motorola claims is good enough to last an entire day. My Moto G regularly lasted me for a day and there is no reason to believe why the Moto E won’t do the same. There is 4GB of internal storage, of which around 2.2GB is accessible to users. There is a microSD card slot as well.

The Moto E runs on Android 4.4.2 KitKat and Motorola is guaranteeing at least one major future Android update, which is again unheard of from any other vendor at this price segment.

Motorola-Moto-E-LogoThe 5-megapixel fixed focus camera is nothing worth writing home about but it did take just about passable shots in the poorly lit area where I used the phone. A flash for the camera would have been ideal but I’m ok with Motorola cutting corners there rather than some of the critical add-ons the phone provides.

Like the Moto G, even the Moto E has nano coating both inside and outside that provides it resistance to accidental water splashes. There are no flaps that need to be covered, unlike solutions from Sony and Samsung. The display is also protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3, which again is unheard of at this price point. If Motorola can provide this on a smartphone priced at Rs 6,999, there is no reason why others cannot. And these are features that increase the longevity of the product rather than others that try to “sweeten the deal” by providing free games and apps.

Motorola-Moto-E-7Overall, with the Moto E, Motorola has shown yet again what a smartphone should be all about and other handset vendors should take notice. There is no reason for me to believe why anyone would want any other smartphone in the sub-Rs 10,000 range from a tier one brand. The Moto E goes on sale at midnight on Flipkart priced at Rs 6,999.

Photos: Harshita Rastogi