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Where very good meets very cheap

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There's no two ways about it -- the Moto E is exciting, if not in the way most mobile buffs would like. You really shouldn't underestimate the sort of world-shaking power that can come from making something that's both very good and very cheap. So what if the spec sheet is a bit passé? For all its minor shortcomings, the Moto E still represents a level of power and quality that's become even more accessible to people the world over, and that's something worth celebrating. If all you need is a smartphone that can take you to Facebook, capture fodder for Instagram or fire off missives on Twitter (or WhatsApp or Weibo), the Moto E will make a worthy sidekick. Not every important device has to be a flashy flagship.

If Motorola ever manages to offer the $129 Moto E for under $100 (and I bet it will eventually), we could be looking at a game changer; a device that could really help bring the next billion people into an age of connectedness most of us already take for granted. Until then, the E's value is obscured a touch -- the superior balance of performance and price means the Moto G will be worth the extra $50 for most people.

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$119.99

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Critic reviews

7.3
19 reviews
  • Reception and call quality
    7.4
  • Display
    7.5
  • Battery life
    7.3
  • Camera
    5.1
  • Ease of use
  • Design and form factor
    8.0
  • Portability (size / weight)
    7.4
  • Media support
    6.0
  • Durability
    7.8
  • Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.)
    8.2

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User reviews

7.8
5 reviews
8.0
Engadget May 26, 2014

The Moto E has its shortcomings, but they're largely offset by the device's affordable price tag. While the more powerful Moto G is likely the better bet for most smartphone shoppers, those looking to ditch their feature phones without breaking the bank will find plenty to like here.

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7.0
PC Mag May 19, 2014

Motorola puts feature phones on notice with the affordable, unlocked Moto E, making a modern Android smartphone experience more accessible than ever.

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7.0
Ars Technica May 17, 2014

The Moto E is more for people who don't have that extra $50, or if you're looking for a good-quality low-cost handset to give to somebody who you know isn't going to turn into a smartphone power user.

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7.0
CNET May 21, 2014

The Motorola Moto E is unquestionably cheap and has a set of specs that makes it more than capable of handling your basic everyday tasks. Its price, however, isn't much lower than the Moto G, which has a better camera, more powerful processor, improved screen and longer battery life.

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7.0
Wired Jun 6, 2014

If you want a beater phone to take adventuring, or need something to fill in for a broken device until you reach the end of your contract, this is a great option.

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8.0
The Guardian May 20, 2014

Motorola has done an very good job of balancing price and quality with the Moto E. As a first-time buyer’s smartphone or for emerging markets like India it is both affordable and a great experience, easily being the best smartphone available for less than £90 list price.

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8.0
PC Advisor May 22, 2014

Motorola set a new benchmark for the budget smartphone with the Moto G but has gone even lower on price with the Moto E. Although we're impressed with the Moto E which will make a great first or spare smartphone, it's worth paying the extra for the Moto G.

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9.0
phoneArena May 16, 2014

Not only does it suffice for being a daily driver to almost anyone, but it’s also a fantastic backup smartphone too! Quite simply, it shows that a lot of love can still be experienced in something so cost-conscious – and without coming off a cheap or tacky!

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8.0
Forbes May 16, 2014

Its design, features, speed and battery life at better than rival phones twice the price and while the camera is merely average for the price point the Moto E should sweep all before it.

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8.0
The Verge May 22, 2014

Motorola has set a new standard with the Moto E. No longer can phone manufacturers complacently issue hamstrung devices that only look, but don’t really act, like smartphones.

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8.0
PC Pro May 20, 2014

Makes plenty of compromises, but performs where it counts; the Moto E is another winner from Motorola.

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8.0
TrustedReviews May 22, 2014

It's not powerful and the camera is poor, but the Moto E offers a good baseline smartphone experience if the Moto G is that bit too expensive for your wallet.

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7.0
GSM Arena Jun 14, 2014

It's not the best performer out there, but it packs a serious punch for the least amount of money. We especially appreciated the unspoiled Android OS and the solid promise for timely updates. The camera is certainly a letdown, but not everybody needs a good camera.

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7.0
Business Insider May 17, 2014

If you’re an Android enthusiast on a tight budget looking to avoid carrier contracts, the Moto E will appeal to you. The hardware may be dated, but $129 is an unprecedented price for contract-free smartphones.

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6.0
The Next Web May 27, 2014

The Moto G represents better value than the Moto E. However, the extra $50 is almost half of the Moto E’s asking price, which could mean a lot to first-time smartphone buyers. While the Moto G will probably age with more grace, the Moto E is still a good entry-level smartphone.

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8.0
Tech2 May 26, 2014

The Moto E was designed to be beginner’s smartphone and for that, it does its job brilliantly. If you want a better camera or faster CPU, then you have the Moto G for that. Motorola has cleverly chalked out the specifications for the Moto E so it doesn’t eat into the sales of the Moto G.

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7.0
PocketNow May 20, 2014

In terms of getting what you pay for, the Moto E is a very good value. Just remember to factor in the cost of the MicroSD card … and remember, when it gives you trouble, how much you didn’t spend on it.

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First Looks

product preview
Gizmodo May 12, 2014

Concessions then have been made even over the basic Moto G, but for $150 the Moto E is a remarkable proposition. With level-headed expectations, this could comfortable be an excellent back-up device for those that don't fancy taking their $600+ phones out on a wild night.

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CNET May 13, 2014

Physically, it's easy to see the family resemblance to the Moto G and much pricier Moto X. Although smaller, the E has the same rounded corners, along with the gently curving back panel.

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Ars Technica May 13, 2014

The body of the phone is also similar to the Moto G and X. The back is all smooth plastic with an indentation for the Motorola logo and a cutout for the (apparently flashless) camera lens. The phone's speaker appears to be mounted on the front of the device.

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PC World May 13, 2014

The only obvious things Motorola has done to save money are to skip a front camera and LTE. Owners will also have to make do with a 5-megapixel camera and 4GB of integrated storage. The company makes up for the latter with a microSD card slot.

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Laptop Magazine May 13, 2014

Although those specs pale in comparison to those found in today’s flagship smartphones, they should prove more than adequate for the first-time smartphone users Motorola is aiming for.

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Tom's Hardware May 13, 2014

In the short time we spent with the device, we'd say the difference between the Moto E and the Moto G day-to-day performance is enough to warrant spending the extra money on the Moto G if you have it and performance is something you care about.

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PC Mag May 13, 2014

We see a lot of cheap phones at PCMag, and like with the Moto G , Motorola managed to make the E not feel cheap. It's a bit heavy, and it feels sturdy - the screen is real Gorilla Glass 3, the phone doesn't flex, and it survived some modest drops.

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GigaOM May 13, 2014

The overall performance is likely helped by Google’s recent re-write of Android 4.4, which allows it to run better on devices with lesser hardware. And Motorola is guaranteeing that the Moto E will get the next major Android upgrade.

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ZDNet May 19, 2014

Motorola may have caused a mini-revolution with the first-generation Moto G, but the Moto E has been built to even tighter financial constraints, and that shows.

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Wired UK May 13, 2014

In a sea of black devices, the Moto E is available in nine colours -- thanks to interchangeable panels -- and will be available SIM-free for a price that has us asking how low Motorola can continue to go. In our brief hands-on time with the phone we were impressed.

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Pocket-Lint May 13, 2014

First impressions of the Motorola Moto E are good: it feels like a solid device and that's important, because it avoids the normally plasticky finish that often plagues devices at this price point.

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Mashable May 13, 2014

The specs of the Moto E are on the low end of phones today, but that bar keeps rising, so there isn't much to complain about even if you're used to a smartphone experience already. The Snapdragon 200 processor provides enough power to run most apps on the 4.3-inch 960 x 540 display just fine.

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SlashGear May 13, 2014

Motorola's 4.3-inch device looks good, and the 960 x 540 resolution is a solid choice: viewing angles are decent as well, and 720p video runs jag-free.

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Forbes May 13, 2014

A few minutes of hands-on time isn’t enough to fully evaluate a phone but I did get a pretty good sense of its look, feel and build. It feels a bit heavy in the hand, but it’s solid and slip resistant.

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Android Central May 13, 2014

All considered, we'd struggle to find any sub-£100 smartphone we'd recommend as much as the Moto E, even after spending a relatively short time with the handset. We're eager give it some heavier use, and see just how far that £89 (or $129) goes.

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Digital Spy May 13, 2014

While it's still early days yet, the Moto E looks like it could be just as impressive as its slightly more expensive Moto G brother. While we think it could do with being even cheaper, there is no denying that very few phones come even close to this level of performance at this price.

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phoneArena May 13, 2014

It’s no specs demon, nor does it tantalize the eyes with its design, but without question, the Moto E has our complete attention with its hard-to-beat price of $129.99 – and that’s for the unlocked model that’s going on sale right now in the US!

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TechRadar May 13, 2014

You won't find a better offering at this price point, and even with a few limitations the Moto E could be the perfect first-time or festival smartphone.

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Phone Scoop May 13, 2014

If you're worried that the dual-core Snapdragon 200 won't offer solid performance, guess again. In the few moments we've spent with the phone, it showed no difficulty in running apps, transitioning screens, and so on.

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The Verge May 13, 2014

The Moto E's construction doesn't feel downmarket at all, and it maintains the same curved shape as the other Moto phones. Its back covers are interchangeable and it has a microSD card slot, adding an extra bit of versatility and a potential upgrade path.

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GSM Arena May 13, 2014

Under the hood, there’s a 1.2GHz dual-core Cortex A7 CPU bundled with 1GB of RAM sitting on a Snapdragon 200 system-on-a-chip. We were pleasantly surprised with its performance while running Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Everything was decently quick with no notable stutters or lag.

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T3 May 13, 2014

The loss of a front-facing camera is a decision that could come back to kick Motorola but it's certainly not the end of the world, for now though we'll say that from spending a short amount of time with the Moto E it certainly feels like a mid-range smartphone.

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Expert Reviews May 13, 2014

With a Sunspider Javascript score of 1,658ms, it's roughly 200ms slower than the Moto G, and Chrome struggled to load image-ladden pages such as The Guardian's home desktop page. Panning around the page and zooming in and out required a bit of patience as well.

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The Next Web May 13, 2014

I wasn’t blown away by the Moto E. Nor do I think it’s going to redefine the low-end market like the Moto G did for the mid-range segment. Nevertheless, it’s a competent device that will only strengthen Motorola’s refreshed smartphone portfolio.

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BGR May 13, 2014

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.

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The Inquirer May 13, 2014

While it has its downsides, it's hard not to warm to the the Motorola Moto E. Undoubtedly, the smartphone is one of the best at its price point, and is likely to win over buyers looking for an affordable, no-frills handset.

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Mobile Syrup May 13, 2014

The 5MP camera, which I had a short time to test, was surprisingly good, focusing quickly and capturing relatively sharp photos. It’s unclear whether this is the same sensor as the one in the Moto G, but at first glance it appears so.

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Stuff May 13, 2014

From our first play, the Moto E looks to be a tidy, fuss-free Android that offers a whole lot more than it has any right to at that £90 price.

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NDTV Gadgets May 14, 2014

The Moto E looks strikingly similar to the Moto G at first glance, the back panel in particular. The Moto E's rear is curved and is made of a soft-touch polycarbonate, and which is comfortable to hold.

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MobileBurn May 13, 2014

For a phone that's not trying to be more than it's supposed to, the Moto E seems like it could be a good transitional device for people looking to do more with their phone without having to pay so much more. There are some obvious sacrifices to be made, but this looks to be the ideal starter-phone.

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7.0
Apar2000 Apar2000

I bought this phone last week from the Motorola website. it arrived a few days ago and wasn't disappointed. It was a great hone if you considered the price, but today when I got a call from someone and the ear piece wouldn't work. the speaker did though. Other than this manufacturer defect the...

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9.0
granai11 granai11

I paid 99.00 for this phone at Walmart. I love it. Especially being able to set the nighttime use and only allowing certain people to get through. The graphics are also great. When I was able to transfer call logs, past texts etc from my other phone..I was won over. The only complaint I have is...

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