Motorola has worked pretty hard to produce an Android device that would fit into three various tiers. You have your Moto X, which is more so your high-end offering, the Moto G which is pretty darn close to your mid-range and then you have the Moto E which is targeted at the low-end side of things. Republic Wireless also just announced the Moto X 2nd Gen for release December 10th. The MVNO carrier, Republic Wireless, happens to utilize all three devices to give consumers a very rounded experience from a device stand point all the way down to service plan options.

Moto E Review

The Hardware:

The Moto E brings in a a fare amount of goods for its small price tag. Internally you have yourself a Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor clocked at 1.2GHz paired with 1GB of RAM and an Adreno 302 GPU. It carries a small 4GB of on-board storage that translates to approximately 2.21GB of user available storage. That isn’t a ton of space, but the Moto E does also support a micro SD card. While you won’t have a ton of storage for apps, with the SD card you can have plenty of room for photos, videos and other things.

On the camera side you only get one. Undoubtedly this is one of the many ways Motorola was able to cut costs on the device. On the rear you will find a 5MP camera that offers a 4X optical zoom plus HDR and Panorama modes found in the camera app. The device lacks a flash, so low light images just aren’t going to be very doable. You can get into the camera settings and manually adjust the exposure, which helps some, but not a lot. Still, the camera does what it should, take photos and videos. Those of you wanting an amazing camera on a device aren’t going to be looking at a $99 phone to begin with.

Moto E Review
Here are a few quick image captures to get a decent idea of the camera. All were quick snaps, unaltered or edited and without doing anything in the settings at all.

You get a 4.3-inch screen at a resolution of 540 x 960 with a pixel density of 256. Looking at the numbers would be a little misleading though as the screen resolution is quite crisp due to it being only 4.3-inches. Had it moved into the 4.7 or 5 inch range there would be a noticeable degradation in visual appearance. Sure, you can get up close and personal and pick out individual pixels, but at a normal distance in your hand it isn’t noticeable. At least not to me. You do get a bit of a shadow overcasting the screen at various angles, but anything on the display is still view-able and very crisp.

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Battery life of the device was quite a nice surprise. The Moto E might be small, but it still carries around a non-removable 1980 mAh battery. Motorola puts the claim at 24 hours of mixed usage.

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I used the device moderately for casual web browsing, checking emails, making and receiving a few calls to my wife and some Hangout messaging. That is about the extent of my daily use case on any device really. It held the charge all day long, and well through the second day, with mild to moderate usage. The Moto E does offer up a power saving feature that is aimed at giving you more battery life by restricting background data when the battery life gets lower. I never did enable that function myself. I did, however, give it a full charge and let it sit idle on my desk to see how long the device would chill before it died. I left Wi-Fi on and all my accounts connected. I also cleared out notifications every morning. To my surprise the Moto E pulled out 8 days and some change.

Moto E Standby time

The Software: 

The Moto E is very similar to the Moto G and Moto X as it is a fairly straight forward stock Android experience. It comes pre-loaded with Android 4.4.4 KitKat, Moto Assist, Alert and  Migrate. You will also get the usual Chrome, Drive, Gmail, G+, Maps, Hangouts, Play Games, Play music, Play Movies & TV, Play Books and Play Newsstand. Basically all the main Google apps needed. Being that this is a Republic Wireless version of the Moto E, you will also see the Republic Wireless app for maintaining your account and service.

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The Moto E is quite snappy as it moved between apps and various screens. One expects lots of lag and issues when we are talking about a lower res screen, lower dual-core processor and only 1GB of RAM. Motorola did some good work maximizing the devices speed and battery life with a very small out-of-pocket expense. It really does give you some solid bang for your buck.

Overall experience: 

The Moto E was much better than I was personally expecting. Having used a myriad of high-end devices as well as a few mid-tier devices, the lower spec’d Moto E with Republic Wireless was full of surprises. The battery life lived up to its claims, the OS is fairly slim without a bunch of extra garbage that you don’t really need, or that most don’t even want. Call quality and reception was always solid, in my area at least. Even though it is offering a smaller 4.3-inch screen, the Moto E is a bit thicker than you might expect, coming in at 12.3mm, with a curved back that makes holding it feel more natural than other thinner devices. It really felt nice in my hands compared to the much larger devices I spend more time with.

When you pair the Moto E with Republic Wireless it is hard to argue the value that both bring to those that need something snappy, small and inexpensive. Be it for yourself, a loved one or friend. Republic Wireless plans start at $5 a month for unlimited everything over Wi-Fi only, $10 a month for talk and text over Sprint towers, and $25 a month for unlimited talk text and 3G web over Sprint towers. They also have a 4G plan for $40 a month, but the Moto E doesn’t support 4G so it really isn’t something to consider.

With the holidays fast approaching it might be worth your wild to take a look at the Moto E and Republic Wireless as an avenue for gifts. With many mainstream carriers tacking $10 or more a month to family plans, plus insurance and insurance claim price tags, a Moto E for $99 and a shift on the fly service plan at $10 a month is a pretty inexpensive way to get someone rocking a solid performing Android device. As much as I love T-Mobile, this is what my 13-year-old daughter is getting for her birthday tomorrow. It just makes sense really.

3 Responses

  1. John Lewis

    Your review is a popular one on a Google search. I know it’s been a few months, but how did you feel about the earpiece quality? I just picked one up to try out and on Wi-Fi calls the earpiece is quite crackly sounding even at moderate volume. I found a lot of other users having similar issues with no apparent solution offered by Republic for these complaints. Sure, it’s a cheap phone, but the one thing it needs to do is make phone calls with acceptable quality! I found that this issue is virtually gone when on cellular only calls, but not everyone has had that be the case. It seems it must be some combination of the Wi-Fi call quality and encoding along with the design of the earpiece. Everything else about the phone is just fine. As it stands though, if this is a common issue, I wouldn’t consider this phone at all. If there’s no fix, I will be getting a Moto G instead. I’m going to try a different Wi-Fi connection first, as I could see a router issue with degraded Wi-Fi call quality exacerbating the problem.


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