Just when you thought unlocked smartphones couldn't get any cheaper, Motorola came along and -- oops! -- they did it again.
I'm talking, of course, about the company's new Moto E -- the $129 entry-level phone introduced last week. Motorola's making it crystal clear whom it's going after with the Moto E, and news flash: If you're a regular reader of this blog, it probably isn't you. But that doesn't mean the device doesn't matter.
The Moto E is designed to appeal to flip-phone holdouts -- folks who haven't yet made the leap to smartphone territory. Think parents or possibly grandparents here, along with those for whom cost is a major consideration (including people in developing countries).
At a price of $129 unlocked and off-contract, the Moto E is about as cheap as you can get -- but unlike most budget-level phones, that low cost doesn't mean you're sentencing yourself to a pitifully painful experience. I've been using the phone for a few days now, and while it's not gonna blow any of us away, it actually does a really nice job for what it's intended to do.
So what's the Moto E like to use? In the simplest possible terms, it's basically like the Moto G -- only another notch down in quality. First things first, you've got a 4.3-in. 540-x-960 LCD display. Flagship-caliber? Of course not. But at 256 pixels per inch, it's perfectly respectable and looks quite decent -- almost shockingly so for a phone of this class. (The Moto G, for comparison, has a 4.5-in. 720p LCD display with 329 pixels per inch.)
The Moto E is pretty similar in form to the Moto G, too -- kind of like a cheaper and chunkier Moto X. It's a little shorter than the G, thanks to its sized-down screen, but the two devices are pretty comparable other than that. The E feels solid and sturdy in the hand, and its plastic casing has a warm and comfortable if somewhat pedestrian feel. Like the G, the phone's back also pops off and can be replaced with a variety of multicolored shells (which Moto sells for 15 bucks a pop).
The E packs a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon 200 processor with 1GB of RAM. It's not what you'd call a speedy or particularly snappy phone, but it also doesn't feel laggy or at all unbearable to use. If you're coming from a flagship-level device, it's gonna be less zippy than what you're used to -- no question there -- but it also won't make you want to gouge your eyes out like most low-end phones do. It's perfectly usable and an interesting reminder of how much difference proper software optimization can make.
The Moto E has a mere 4GB of internal space, which isn't much -- even compared to the 8 or 16GB you get with the Moto G. It does have a micro-SD card slot, though, so you can tack on up to 32GB of extra local storage with that.
What else? The phone's got good battery life and the usual excellent "stock-plus" software Moto's known for these days. And speaking of software, while most budget-level phones are abandoned by their manufacturers as soon as they're released, Motorola's guaranteeing "at least one" upgrade to the next version of Android for the E (the phone ships with the current Android 4.4.2 KitKat release).
You won't have LTE with the Moto E but can connect to HSPA+ networks on AT&T or T-Mobile in the U.S., which should give you solid data connections in most areas. I actually rely on T-Mobile HSPA+ for my own personal phone and frequently get speeds around the 18 Mbps mark, which is higher than what you'll see on LTE in a lot of places here in the States.
So all said and done, who should buy the Moto E? Simple: Someone who's ready for a smartphone but doesn't need anything more than the minimum. If you're interested in technology but trying to keep costs low, I'd go ahead and drop the extra $50 to get the Moto G, which starts at $179; for anyone who's reasonably tech-savvy and can justify the extra 50 bucks, the difference between the two phones -- in performance, storage, and display quality (not to mention the inclusion of a front-facing camera, which is lacking on the E) -- is meaningful enough to be worth that chunk of change.
But the type of person who should get the Moto E is the type of person who genuinely doesn't care about those differences -- and who consequently doesn't have any reason to pay more than $129 for a basic but solid starter smartphone experience.
I ordered one for my mom this weekend. She's pretty excited to leave her old flip-phone behind.
China said it plans to develop a prototype of an exascale supercomputer by the end of this year,...
It had a good 36-year run, but its day is done.
President Donald Trump is considering a new way of distributing the H-1B visa to ensure they go to the...
Sponsored by Sennheiser
Sponsored by VMware AirWatch
President Donald Trump said this week that the federal budget is a "mess" and is promising to make it...
Using strong encryption and passwords is only the first step in protecting your wireless network. Make...
Six months after Nougat's release, how have different Android manufacturers done at delivering upgrades...
These 5 built-in Windows apps -- Mail, Calendar, Maps, People and OneNote -- were once denounced as...