Yesterday, Motorola officially announced the arrival of the Moto E to Malaysia. Featuring decent hardware and Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box, let’s see what can RM369 buy you if you’re in the market to get a super affordable smartphone – and see what compromises would there be.
In the global announcement of the Moto E, Motorola stated that the device will be retailing for $129 (about RM420). To our surprise, the Moto E was released here in the country for a price tag of about RM50 lower. Considering the inflated price tag that the Moto G went for when it was launched in Malaysia, this is a hugely positive move by Motorola. Not to forget, this also makes the Moto E one of the cheapest Android 4.4-powered smartphones here in Malaysia.
Picking up the Moto E, our first impression is that it does not feel like a sub-RM500 smartphone. It feels sturdy and has characteristics of a premium flagship device such as a nice tactile feedback of the power button and volume rockers, an evenly spread out heft, and that its plastic body does not creak when you grip it with a little more force. With rounded edges and a matte back that tapers at the sides, it really fits snugly in your hand. At a glance, one might mistake the Moto E for the Moto G as both of them share a rather similar body shape.
There is an assortment of coloured interchangeable back covers that you can swap with the black version that you will get out of the box. At first try, prying the back cover off might not be as easy as snapping it back, but you will get the hang of it eventually.
The Motorola Moto E has 1GB RAM and sports a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon 200 Cortex-A7 CPU by Qualcomm, a 540×960 display resolution, 4.3-inch screen size that is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3, and a battery capacity of 1980mAh which Motorola claims is able to last a full day’s worth of use. In addition, there is only a mere 4GB storage capacity which can be expanded up to 32GB via a microSD card.
Of course, as cheap as it may be, the Moto E comes with a few compromises. For example, the Moto E does not come with a front facing camera nor a flash module for the rear camera. However it retains the 5-megapixel camera found on the Moto G.
Motorola has promised a speedy OS firmware update for all of their Android devices including the Moto E which holds true as the device is currently running on the latest Android firmware – KitKat 4.4.4.
Unlike Samsung’s slew of camera features, you can literally count the total number of camera settings found in the Moto E’s camera with the fingers of your hand. Motorola has kept a clean and minimalistic camera interface for the Moto E as there are only five camera settings to the camera app on the Moto E — which includes touch-to-focus toggle, panorama, location tracking toggle, SD-card storage toggle, and a HDR mode that toggles between on, off, and of course, auto. For a budget smartphone, the Moto E takes pretty good HDR shots.
We managed to snag a couple of sample photos from the Moto E:
(Click for full resolution)
With the given price tag, the Moto E would likely go head-to-head with the recently launched Nokia Lumia 530 which is priced at RM355. Besides that, it may also compete with the other budget Android smartphones out there, if you’re looking for something even cheaper.