Moto E (2nd-gen) first impressions: the budget performance arena gets another capable contender

“The 2nd-gen Moto E looks like yet another winner from Motorola”

The original Moto E (review) was a firecracker, lighting up the budget smartphone segment in India with what it had to offer for a ludicrously low price when it launched last year. The likes of the Xiaomi Redmi 1s and the ASUS ZenFone 4 were also responsible for revolutionalising that space in a big way too. Motorola’s other offerings, the Moto G and the Moto X got refreshed a while ago with second-gen models, but the Moto E awaited a successor for a very long time. The inevitable finally happened, as the brand announced the Moto E (2nd-gen) last week. The new smartphone will come in both 3G and LTE variants,  and as can be expected, offers upgraded specs over its predecessor.


We got our hands briefly on the new budget performer at MWC, and here are our initial impressions.



The original Moto E boasted solid build quality, and the successor carries the lineage forward, complete with a water-repellent nano coating. In fact, the new smartphone feels even better with a rubbery finish that feels very grippy. We’ll get to the exact details in a bit, but there’s a ridged band that runs all around the sides too, enhancing grip further.


The front is pretty much the same, with the screen dominating the proceedings and the earpiece, sensors and front camera on top. The device rocks a 4.5-inch qHD display, marginally larger as compared to the original. The VGA front shooter is a new (not to mention useful) addition, as the original Moto E didn’t have one. Flip the smartphone over and you’ll see the primary 5-megapixel camera and a Motorola logo. 


The right spine holds the power key and volume rocker, with the headset socket on top and the micro-USB port at the bottom. The 2,390mAh battery is non-removable, and you won’t find any slots or ejectable trays on the side for the SIM and memory cards. Turns out that the side band we mentioned earlier can be removed to expose the card slots that are located on the left. The said band is interchangeable, and Motorola will be making these available in different hues as accessories, to let users customise their devices. Users love to customise their devices, and there are some that come with interchangeable back panels, but Motorola’s concept with the Moto E  (2nd-gen) is quite unique. 

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As can be expected, the platform is Android Lollipop (v5.0.2 to be exact), and just like the other smartphones from Motorola’s stable, offers a completely stock interface. With the new Moto E however, the brand is bringing some of its software experiences that were hitherto available in pricier phones right down to the budget level. For instance, the camera can be launched straight from standby with a quick twist of the smartphone, and with the camera on, the same action switches between front and back cameras. The emergency app Alert comes preloaded, but otherwise, you’d be hard-pressed to find any bloatware on the smartphone.

In the 3G model, the horsepower is provided by a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 200 chip, while a Snapdragon 410 chip clocked at the same speed hides insides the 4G variant. The latter supports 64-bit architecture, and combined with the Android 5.0 platform that also supports the same, should be able to offer smooth performance with apps and games designed to take advantage of 64-bit. 1GB of RAM and 8GB of expandable storage form the rest of the core specs.


During our brief hands on time, we didn’t face any speed bumps, though it’s a tad early to comment on performance and imaging capabilities. The 3G variant is landing in India on March 10th at an expected price point of Rs 6,999, and you can expect a full review from us quite soon.

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