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First look at the $129 Moto E, the little phone that could

The Moto E is no super phone and its $129 price can attest to that, but is it worth the little money it does cost? Check out our hands-on and see.
May 13, 2014

The rumors and leaks are finally over with the highly anticipated announcement of the Moto E. This is far from being a super phone and its $129 ($79 on contract) price can attest to that, but is it worth the little money it does cost?

Reporting to you from San Francisco, we are getting all the Moto E details you will ever need. The city welcomed me with ample hands-on time with the ideal “first smartphone”, which is the kind of users Motorola claims the Moto E is made for.

The Moto E is already for sale on Amazon for $129, get yours while they are still in stock.


The Moto E’s resemblance to the Moto G and Moto X is one of the device’s greatest design aspects. The now-iconic round back and elegant front will offer a very good grip and hefty feel, making the Moto E seem much more premium than it really is.

It’s also important to mention the device comes with multiple coatings that make it that much more resistant. The Gorilla Glass 3 and anti-smudge coating will keep the 4.3-inch screen looking great. All while the P2i coating will keep the device protected against water splashes.

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Overall, the phone feels great and does not seem like a $129 piece of equipment. Neither will it be boring or bland. Aside from coming in black and white, the device can be customized with interchangeable back covers. You will be able to find multiple colors and designs, making it the perfect companion for any occasion.


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Moving on, let’s take a look at one of the most important parts of a smartphone – the screen. This brings forth one of the sacrifices you have to make for paying $129 for a smartphone. Though the screen is not horrible, it does require some squinting due to its 540x960p (qHD) resolution.

The display is also smaller at just 4.3 inches, making it even harder to get accustomed to it after coming from a large smartphone. Then again, this is no phone for those who have been using high-end Android devices.

With that said, the display’s resolution does seem to help the device perform better.

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Performance & hardware

You can’t expect the Moto E to handle complex games and all intensive apps like a champion, but Motorola promises it will “get the job done”, and that it does. The device can take on any casual app and function, but there is no need to get bored either. We put multiple games to the test and the Moto E didn’t do too bad. The occasional stutter and slow-down were present, but the experience was not ruined.

Internal storage also suffers due to the price, but Motorola is not leaving you stranded with the lackluster 4 GB of ROM. A microSD slot has been included to the device, which will allow the user to expand the memory.

Yet another great aspect of this phone is buried in its back. While non-removable, the 1980 mAh battery should keep the device alive throughout your entire day. The unusual battery size, dual-core Snapdragon 200, lesser screen and simple interface should equate to great battery life.

The Moto E delivers $129 of performance and more, following the Moto G’s steps with pride and glory.

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Those looking to get a Moto E probably won’t be too worried about their smartphone cameras, but still might want to freeze some fun memories in time. The Moto E’s 5 MP camera will not give you the greatest results, but it should be good enough for the casual photo.

The camera app does take advantage of some simple camera features, but it’s nothing to write home about. Like everything else in the phone, this app focuses on a simple, near-stock experience.

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The Moto G’s software was one of the most-liked aspects of the Moto G, and the Moto E is staying true to its roots. You will find a nearly-stock experience, with no bells or whistles. There is no overpowering UI adjustments and the only added apps are the Moto Assist and Moto Migrate.

By the way, this device does feature the latest Android software, Android 4.4.2, and carries the promise of a future update to whatever version may be next.

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Pricing & availability

As previously stated, the Moto E will bust into the market with a $129 out of contract price, while signing a contract will allow you to take it home for just $79. It is currently in stock at Amazon and says it will be shipping in the next couple of days.

First impressions

At a glance, it must be said this is one hell of a $129 device. Reasonable performance, great build quality and current software can be had for this price nowhere else! It will be the perfect phone for a first-time smartphone user or someone who is simply looking for a good basic smartphone.

This is all for now, but be sure to follow Android Authority for the upcoming Moto E review and a through comparison with the Moto G. Who is thinking of buying one?