A Quick Hands-On Review of Motorola’s $129 Moto E

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Motorola has been on the budget device train for a little over a year now, and the Moto E proves that the company has found the perfect balance between performance and price. We just got our hands on our Moto E review unit, and while we haven’t had much time to mess around with it, the little $129 off-contract Android smartphone has been keeping us interested for hours now. It looks as though Motorola may have accomplished just what they set about doing with the Moto X – creating a device that provides a quality user experience that doesn’t break the bank. The jury is still out on the Moto E. But so far, we’re in love with Motorola’s little smartphone that could.

We’re working on a full review at the moment, but in the meantime we’ve cooked up a little hands-on review of the Moto E. Curious about Motorola’s new budget offering? Read on!

The first thing one notices abut the Moto E is the device’s design. Borrowing heavily from the Moto G, the Moto E has a Gorilla Glass 3 coated 4.3 inch 540 x 960 qHD display, a power button and volume rocker on the right hand side and no physical buttons. The speaker resides on the front of the unit. Charging port can be found on the bottom of the Moto E, while the headphone jack sits in the dead center of the top.

All around, the Moto E’s design is simple and unobtrusive. The back lacks carrier branding, delivering instead a clean Motorola logo surrounded in a sea of white. Not a huge touch, but it helps the budget device feel like a premium one. The back panel’s slight curve makes the Moto E fit perfectly in the hand. The device comes in two colors: white, as pictured, and black. Back panels can be swapped out for more colorful ones if so desired, just like the Moto G and Moto X.

The back panel of the Moto E pops off with no fuss, and reveals a SIM card slot and a microSD slot. The Moto E’s memory is expandable up to 32GB via a microSD card. The Moto E doesn’t do 4G LTE, which could be a huge bummer for some.

On paper, the Moto E looks like a shabby device. In the age of quad and even octa-core processors, the Moto E rocks a dual-core Snapdragon 200 clocked at 1.2GHz, and a Adreno 302 single-core GPU. You’d expect this device to crawl through apps, but it doesn’t. Thanks to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, the Moto E is snappy and responsive when it comes to swiping through homescreens, listening to music and posting selfies* on Instagram. We’ve yet to test more resource hungry apps on the little guy yet, and we’re sure to see some performance issues there. But for basic everyday use, the Moto E delivers the goods. Motorola didn’t add a ton of bloatware to the device either, which I’m sure helps out in the performance department. The 5MP rear-facing camera is nothing to speak of really, but gets the job done. The camera interface is intuitive and easy to use.

*Don’t expect to snap any sweet selfies on the Moto E, though – there’s no front facing camera to be found.

Stay posted, we’ll have a full review for you shortly.

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