Living with the Moto E (2015)

Review

This week, we asked one of The Lowdown’s trusted reviewers to put down their Sony Xperia Z3 and see what it’s like to live with the new Moto E for five days. This is what they thought…
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Living with the Moto E (2015)

Day 1 - Hello, Moto

I’ve been a fan of Motorola ever since the release of the first gen Moto X. The Moto G was amazing for the price, and the mighty Nexus 6 is one of the powerful smartphones I’ve ever used. So, when the new Moto E, (or Moto E 2015) was plonked on my desk, I happily shut down my Sony Xperia Z3, and welcomed back an old friend.

In terms of design, the new Moto E is a bit chunkier than other Motorola’s I’ve used – kind of dumpy. It has a textured, removable bumper that gives you access to the SIM tray, and the same finger dimple and curved rear as the rest of the range.

The display is qHD (540 x 960) and measures in at 4.5-inches. I’m a bit disappointed Motorola hasn’t managed to boost this up to HD yet, but it still looks good and for the budget price, who can complain?

The E runs on Android Lollipop, which is Google’s most up to date operating system. Unlike on other phones, however, it’s naked Android, just as Google intended it, and it’s ace. It’s not secret that Google is pretty good at everything it does, and letting it have free reign over your smartphone won’t leave you disappointed (more of this later).

By the end of day one, I feel like I’ve been using the new Moto E for ages. It fits perfectly in my hand, and so far, it’s doing everything I need.

Day 2 - Moto bonus features

As with the Moto X, there are a bunch of extra features hidden in this phone designed to make life simpler - the first being Google Now. You don’t need to press anything to get Google’s assistance. If you’re on the home screen, simply say “Ok, Google” and help will be on hand.

You can ask it pretty much anything you want, and it will return your answers quickly and accurately. The downside is that Google Now doesn’t have a personality like Windows’ Cortana or iPhone’s Siri, so if it’s conversation you’re after, you’ll have to seek out real humans.

A cool feature I’ve fallen in love with is the quick launch camera. Twist your wrist a couple of times, and you’ll be taken directly Moto E’s 5 megapixel shooter. This is ideal in those situations when you need to capture rare and fleeting moments.

Day 3 - a similar story

It’s day three and I’m starting to realise the Moto E 2015 is pretty much a miniature Moto X. It has a lot of the features of a flagship device, including 4G connectivity, but it doesn’t have the same premium design. Cramming this much tech into a budget smartphone is no mean feat, and corners have to be cut somewhere. I’m guessing this is why the design has suffered.

I’m also quite aware of how little internal memory there is on the phone. There’s only 8GB on board, and even before I’d added any of my own apps, there was already the best part of 3GB used up by the essential stuff like the operating system.

Thankfully, my editor has given me a 32GB microSD card, which will make a big difference. Now I can transfer all my offline Spotify playlists – praise the lord.

Day 4 - the benefits of naked Android

As I mentioned earlier, the Moto E 2015 runs on a completely clean version of Android Lollipop. This is particularly beneficial because you get to use Google’s operating system, exactly as Google intended it to be used.

For example, the notification centre is very clean cut and easy to access. Swipe down from the top of the screen with one finger to view your most recent notifications – tweets, texts, missed calls etc. Or, swipe down from the top of the screen with two fingers, and you’ll bypass your notifications and be taken directly to your settings – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, screen brightness etc. It’s a pretty swish system.

Of course, there’s also the Google Play Store, which hosts over a million apps. If you’re planning on moving to Android from the likes of Windows or Apple, you won’t be disappointed with the app availability.

Day 5 - hang on, it's how much?!

I’m at the end of my journey with the new Moto E, and I can happily say I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. For a smartphone that costs under £100, it’s incredible… oh - I hadn’t mentioned that yet, had I? Yeah – it’s under a hundred quid. Pretty good, eh?

Taking into account the (now revealed) price, I’m sure you’d agree that the 5MP camera, 8GB internal memory and 1.2GHz processor aren’t anything to be sniffed at. The new E isn’t a flagship phone, but for a secondary/festival/camping/holiday phone, it’s absolutely ideal. Check out our deals here.

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