May 13, 2015
For the longest time, Motorola has been synonymous with Android; it’s been a part of the Android takeover, and some of the best smartphone hardware has born its imprint. With the Moto E2, the device maker looks to show it can have a budget hit. Again.
The review unit Moto sent us contained the black handset (a white alternative is also available, two bands (more on that later), power cord and documentation. The phone goes against the grain somewhat, particularly with regards to size; still, it would be rude to call it diminutive at 5.11 x 2.63 x 0.48 inches and weighing in at 5.1 ounces. It is quite comfortable in hand, and feels well constructed, so much so that at first glance, one will definitely be forgiven foe not noticing the interesting band that goes around the side. This flexible band houses hardware buttons and protects SIM and SD card slots, but are also swappable, and allows a degree of aesthetic customization.
Under the hood, the Moto E does have some pertinent upgrades on its predecessor: our review unit packs the Snapdragon 410 with 1.2 GHz Quad-Core CPU (Adreno 306 with 400 MHz GPU)). It also has 1GB RAM and 8GB Flash, with the ability to expand with up to 32GB, and a 5GB rear camera paired with a simple VGA snapper set towards the top right on the front of the device.
With Android Lollipop at the helm, the device is zippy and familiar. Interestingly enough, the OS is close to stock in appearance and navigation, with Material Design front and center in the stock offerings. The core apps are all here, and the hardware and software combine to create a smooth experience. We are able to test it out with a few choice games, and the Moto E did swimmingly.
The lack of NFC functionality is disappointing, the cameras are not going to blow you away, and that internal space might cause app-centric users some nervousness. Also, one will have to learn to love the installed apps, because a lot of them can only be disabled at best, and not uninstalled from the device; it boils down to a good deal of the stated being used from jump. Some folks might balk at the screen size, but it is better than decent in real life usage, and even browsing works well.
In the end, it’s a budget device that feels like it has the chops to at least not get left too behind by the flagships. It works surprisingly well as a hub, and, in some aspects, puts us on notice with regards to when Motorola drops its next high-powered device.