Never had there been a smartphone like Motorola delivered last year with the Moto E. For years, smartphone buyers heard talk of a future in which buying a smartphone with a set of decent features wouldn’t require a two-year contract and wouldn’t force them to take out a small loan. At some point, most industry insiders figured that a smartphone maker would take advantage of falling components prices and pass that savings onto smartphone buyers. That still hadn’t happened. Then the first Moto E arrived and included tons of features while not breaking the bank. Motorola sold millions of them.
The new Moto E is Motorola trying to make lightning strike twice. For a bit more, new Moto E buyers are getting a smartphone that’s customizable, modern and almost just as affordable. Here’s how the new Moto E compares to last year’s version and why every user should be paying attention to it.
Moto E vs. new Moto E – Design & Internals
To be fair, the Moto E didn’t spawn the low-cost smartphone trend on its own. Instead, it rode a wave of sentiment spawned by the Moto G, Motorola’s ridiculously cheap handset. Motorola clearly wanted to hit lower price points but, also felt that some features were essential to the smartphone experience as a whole.
Every Moto E included the essentials. A 1.2 Ghz quad-core Snapdragon 200 processor powered the entire operation along with 1GB of RAM. Users could add more storage through a built-in microSD card reader. All of this was in a somewhat svelte body with a 4.2-inch display acting as a center piece. Motorola promised long battery life, with no compromises and almost delivered. There were different covers for users to swap out and match their mood. A front-facing speaker delivered better sound that even some high-end devices could dream of.
Unfortunately, there were compromises. A big part of the Motorola experience is its software. The Moto E included a barely modified version of Android, but lacked sensors to enable quick access to its camera. Moto X users could wave their hand and see their latest updates. Moto E buyers couldn’t. 4G LTE wasn’t included either, so Moto E buyers in the United States were picking up a phone that would load websites, music and video slower than many mid-range and high-end devices. There was no front-facing camera and the rear-facing 5 megapixel camera lacked flash.
The list of new Moto E features and designs reads like a giant apology for the device that came before it. Customization is still there, but now $19.99 packs of bands let users add style to their white or black new Moto E easily. The bottom front-facing speaker is gone, simplifying the design and lending more space for a bigger 4.5-inch display. Sitting on the top of that display is a front-facing web camera that allows new Moto E buyers to take just as many selfies as anyone else.
Two accelerometers allow new Moto E buyers to twist their wrist and load the camera app without touch their screen. Motorola has also added the Sensor Hub, a way to bring more Moto Assist functionality to its ultra-affordable device. The new Moto E has a curved back and weighs 145 grams
Moto E vs. new Moto E – Internals
What really matters when you’re comparing the new Moto E to its predecessor are the upgraded essentials.
The original Moto E came with just 4GB of storage with the option to add more. Users have that same option with the new Moto E, but there’s also 8GB of storage included. The biggest problem with the Moto E was that lack of LTE in markets that support it. Motorola has two versions of the new Moto E, a $149 model with 4G LTE and another that costs $119 and lacks 4G LTE. A bigger battery insures that users get as much use on one charge as last year’s version. Motorola is promising 24 hours of “mixed usage.”
There’s still plenty of things the new Moto E lacks. It has a camera for selfies, but still comes with 1GB of RAM. Additionally, Motorola has dropped the FM Radio that was available in the older device. A Near Field Communications chip for pairing with accessories and paying for items with Google Wallet is still missing. The new Moto E still has a 5 megapixel sensor and lacks flash for low-light picture-taking. Motorola didn’t add a more powerful processor either.
Moto E vs. new Moto E – Conclusion
Whether you’ll like the new Moto E or not comes down to your priorities. I will say this, at least on paper there are very few reasons to pick up the new Moto E instead of the original. What users are getting here is a device that’s greatly improved. It’s just as customizable and has better connectivity and can be a selfie-taking machine.
Both versions of the new Moto E are on sale from Motorola’s website.