The new Moto E 2 (2015) – First Impressions
Last year’s Moto E was one of the best sub-£100 phones. It offered great features in a small, attractive and affordable design – it was a perfect starter phone. This year the 2nd-gen Moto E (2015) returns with a slightly higher £109 starting price, but it’s also smarter and adds 4G/LTE support. These are my first impressions after a few hours with the new phone.
Straight out of the box, the new Moto E is definitely more attractive – I like how the smooth curve hides the thickness of the phone and helps it sit comfortably in my palm. Its 4.5-inch, 540 x 960 resolution display is larger than the 2014 version, which had a 4.3-inch screen. The primary camera is still only 5-megapixel, but Motorola has responded to customer feedback by including a front-facing camera for selfies, although it’s only VGA (640 x 480) quality.
Aimed at casual and first time smartphone owners, the Moto E is one of the most affordable ways to experience some of the more advanced Android and Moto features, such as phone motion gestures. For example, if you twist the phone twice, it will activate the rear camera, repeat the action and it will switch to the front-facing camera. Features like Quick Capture have been borrowed from the more expensive Moto X and Moto G and seem to work well on the Moto E.
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There are a couple of notable differences between this model and the last when viewed faced on. The speaker slot below the screen is gone, making more room for the larger screen – the thickness of the bezel either side of the screen is almost identical, though.
The 2015 Mote E can be customised using different coloured grip bands and grip shells. Up to six different coloured bands are available at launch, while the clear grip shell could be used to add photos or a custom design to the rear of your phone if you or any of your friends are artistically inclined.
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The previous Moto E carried a 1,980mAh battery and delivered about a day and a half’s usage, so the larger 2,390mAh battery should last as long or a little longer. Bear in mind, though, that the larger screen might result in a smaller gain than you’d hope – we’ll be testing this in our full review.
The built-in storage has been doubled from 4GB to 8GB, but the capacity can also be increased up to 32GB using the microSD expansion slot. That’s a decent combination for a cheap phone – 8GB might be enough for lighter users.
Impressively, the new Moto E has a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 1.2GHz processor and runs the new Android 5.0 lollipop OS straight out of the box. This blurs the lines between what is typically classed as entry-level and mid-range, which is damn impressive in a phone that will sell for around £100/$130 SIM-free.
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Motorola believes that advanced features and a premium user experience doesn’t need to come at a premium price. The new Moto E (2015) is the embodiment of that belief. The features it offers wouldn’t look out of place on a pricier mid-range handset, and makes the likes of the Lumia 535 look poor value.
Bottom line, it looks like a promising budget phone, though the Honor Holly could give it a run for its money. Look out for a review in a couple of weeks.