Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen) Review


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Motorola launched the Moto E (2nd Gen) in India last month. We already brought you the unboxing and benchmarks of the smartphone, here we have the complete review. The second generation Moto E has better specifications compared to the first one and comes at the same launch price of Rs. 6,999. Is the smartphone worth the price? Let us find out in the complete review.

Unboxing

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We unboxed the new Moto E recently, check out the unboxing.

Box Contents

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  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen) smartphone in Black
  • Earphone with microphone
  • 2-pin AC charger (5V – 550mA)
  • Quick start guide

Video Review

Display, Hardware and Design

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Motorola has maintained the same 960 x 540 pixel resolution for the display, anti-smudge coating to prevent fingerprints and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection, similar to its predecessor. Since the display is slightly larger at 4.5-inches, compared to the 4.3-inch screen on the first Moto E, the Moto E (2nd Gen) has a pixel density of 245 ppi, compared to 256 ppi pixel density. The display on the new Moto E is on par with the first Moto E’s display offering vibrant colors and good viewing angles. Sunlight legibility is also good.

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Motorola has got rid of the large speaker grill below the screen. Now both the earpiece and the speaker grill are present in the same place, on the top of the display.

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The Moto E (2nd Gen) lacks an LED notification light, which might be disappointing for some users. There are the usual set of proximity and ambient light sensors on the right side of the grill that are hardly visible due to the black bezel. Motorola has offered a VGA front-facing camera, which the first Moto E lacked.

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The power button and volume rockers are present on the right side of the smartphone. Both these buttons have chrome finish. The power button has a rough feel, similar to the Nexus 6’s power button. The phone has a curved design, similar to other Moto E and G series phones. It is 12.3 mm on the thickest point and is 5.2mm on its thinnest point. The 3.5mm audio jack is present on the top and the micro USB slot is present on the bottom.

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Instead of removable back cover, Motorola is now offering replaceable bands for the new Moto E. Removing the band reveals the micro SIM and microSD card slots on the side left. Different colored bands for the smartphone are sold separately. Each pack that has three bands in different colors that costs Rs. 999. The phone is easy to grip and doesn’t slip out of your hand easily due to the rough ridges on the band.

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The back has a 5-megapixel auto focus camera instead of 5-megapixel fixed-focus camera on the first generation Moto E. The back has matte finish, which attracts smudges easily. Since the back is not removable you don’t get a flip cover, only the grip cover is available for the phone that costs Rs. 899. Overall the smartphone has solid build quality.

Camera

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The 5-megapixel auto-focus camera with f/2.2 aperture is way better than the 5-megapixel fixed-focus on the first Moto E. Even though auto focus is a bit hard, enabling control focus & exposure helps so that you can drag the bracket where you need to set the focus. Daylight images and macro shots were decent for a 5-megapixel camera, but low-light shots were full of noise since it lacks LED flash. It has HDR, Click to set exposure, Panorama, Geo tagging and option to turn off shutter tone. It also has quick capture feature that lets you just twist you wrist quickly to launch the camera. This feature was first introduced in the Moto X, but it is not available in the Moto G (2nd Gen) even after the Lollipop update.

Check out some camera samples (Click the image to view the full resolution sample)

Motorola-Moto-E2-Sample1_Daylight.

Motorola-Moto-E2-Sample2_Daylight.

Motorola-Moto-E2-Sample3_Macro.

Motorola-Moto-E2-Sample4_Macro

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HDR OFF
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HDR ON

Motorola-Moto-E2-Sample7_Low-light

Motorola-Moto-E2-Sample8_Low-light

It can record videos at a FWVGA (864×480 pixels) resolution at 30fps. The video quality is average without much details, but the audio is good since it has a secondary microphone. Check out the video sample below.

Software

Motorola Moto E 2nd Gen Homescreen and About

Coming to the software, the phone runs on Android 5.0.2 (Lollipop), which is almost stock. This is one of the few budget smartphones to release with Android 5.0 out of the box. There is nothing to mention about the software in specific since it offers stock Android experience. It has Google Now launcher as default.

Motorola Moto E 2nd Gen RAM, Storage and App to SD

Out of 1GB of RAM you get 914MB of usable RAM, out of which 559MB of RAM is free on boot with just the default apps running in the background. Out of 8GB of internal storage you get 4.61GB of usable storage. You can also move apps to the SD card, when you insert one, but it doesn’t have option to install apps in the SD card by default. This is acceptable since you have more than 4GB of storage compared to the first Moto E which had just 2GB of usable storage.

Apps

Motorola Moto E 2nd Gen Apps

Apart from the usual set of Google apps, it has Moto Alert that lets you send periodic notifications with your location to people you have added. This was launched exclusively for Moto E last year.

Motorola Moto E 2nd Gen Moto

Moto is the new app that has Assist, Actions and Display. Assist is the usual Moto Assist with Meeting and Sleeping actions. Action has only one feature that lets you Twist the phone to launch the phone’s camera to capture images quickly. The new Display feature offers time at a glance when you pick up the phone and also offers notifications on the black screen when you receive them. You can swipe up to go to particular app that sent the notification, right from the lock screen or swipe either left or right to dismiss them. Moto Display compensates for the lack of LED notification light.

Music Player and FM Radio

Motorola Moto E 2nd Gen Music Player and FM Radio

Google Play Music is the default music player for playback. It also has FM Radio, but lacks FM recording. It can play 720p HD videos smoothly, but can’t handle 1080p videos. The front-facing speaker is not as loud as the one present on the first-gen Moto E and the bundled headset is just average. Audio output through earphones is way better than first-gen Moto E.

Dual SIM and Connectivity

Motorola Moto E 2nd Gen Dual SIM and Connectivity

It has Dual SIM option in the settings that lets you customize each SIM cards. There is a connection priority option that lets you choose Data or Voice. If you prefer Data, when you receive incoming calls on the non-data enabled SIM, it will go to voicemail when data is active. It has 3G HSPA+ (up to 21Mbps), WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE and GPS. It doesn’t have USB OTG support like first-gen Moto E.

Performance and Benchmarks

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The Moto E (2nd Gen) is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 200 processor with Adreno 302 GPU. This is a good improvement over the first-gen Moto E’s dual-core Snapdragon 200 SoC. Performance is smooth without any lags and multitasking is good too even with just 1GB RAM, mainly due to good RAM management. Check out some synthetic benchmark scores below.

Quadrant Benchmark

Moto E 2nd Gen Quadrant Benchmark

It scored 10074 points in the Quadrant benchmark, similar to Moto G 2nd Gen that is surprising.

AnTuTu Benchmark 4

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It managed to score 15362 points in the AnTuTu Benchmark 4, better than the first-gen Moto E.

Vellamo 2.0 HTML5

Moto E 2nd Gen Vellamo 2 HTML5

It scored 1487 points in Vellamo 2 HTML5 browser benchmark. Check out the complete set of Moto E (2nd Gen) benchmarks here. The smartphone has a 400 MHz single-core Adreno 302 GPU. Most games were smooth without lags, but some games had occasional frame drops and the graphics was decent too. We will be adding the gaming review video soon.

Battery life

Motorola Moto E 2nd Gen Battery

The new Moto E packs a 2390 mAh built-in battery. Based on my usage that includes a couple of hours of music playback through earphones, some image and video recording, couple of hours of 3G usage and some gaming with both the SIM enabled all the time, it lasted for more than a day. You can enable battery saver to extend the battery life when the battery is low.

Motorola Moto E 2nd Gen One Charge Rating

In our battery test the Moto E (2nd Gen) lasted for 12 hours and 59 minutes, mainly due to high scores in the talk time test. This is considerably better than Moto E’s battery test rating of 8 hours and 56 minutes. Check out the Moto E (2nd Gen) battery life test results to know more about the battery life of the smartphone.

Conclusion

Moto E was one of the popular smartphones in India when it launched last year. Motorola has improved a lot this time in the Moto E (2nd Gen), but the phone still lacks LED flash. Since it lacks flash you can’t use the most handy torch-light feature in Lollipop that lets you open the torch directly from the Quick Settings menu. At a price tag of Rs. 6,999, Moto E (2nd Gen) is not the best smartphone in the price range when you have tough competition like the Xiaomi Redmi 2 that offer better specifications, including 4G support for the same price.

One thing that Motorola does the best is offering stock Android experience and updating its phones to the latest version of Android earlier than its competitors. If you want stock Android Lollipop experience at this price with some compromises like flash, and don’t want to go for an Android One device, this is a good choice.

Pros

  • Smooth performance
  • Good build quality
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Average camera without LED flash
  • Lacks LED notification light (Moto Display is an alternative)

Author: Srivatsan Sridhar

Srivatsan Sridhar is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast who is passionate about Mobile phones and Mobile apps. He uses the phones he reviews as his main phone. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram