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Moto E4 hands on: $70, really?

We go hands on with the Moto E4 from Verizon. Considering how cheap this phone is, it's amazing what $70 will buy these days.

Published onJune 23, 2017

Cheap phones have long been in existence, but Verizon’s newest addition to its prepaid family is bringing a lot more to the table than most cheap phones. The Moto E4 not only dips below the $100 threshold, it’s currently coming in at just $69.99. That’s an incredible discount considering this is a new phone we’re talking about here, and while occasionally you get what you pay for, sometimes you get a whole lot more. If you thought going even cheaper than Moto’s other affordable handsets would mean you’d be missing out on all the fun, think again. While there’s an obvious price to be paid in the entry-level segment, the Moto E4 is pretty impressive.

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We just got the chance to check out the new Moto E4, and those familiar with the Moto E lineup will largely know what to expect. First of all, its design is akin to its pricing – something that doesn’t scream premium. That’s obviously expected here, with its plastic body, familiar design and texted back cover. But you would already know that sturdiness and high-end build materials aren’t high on the priority list with this one. Its price naturally means some things won’t make the cut, but the design language here doesn’t stray too far from what we’ve seen from other higher-end phones from the company, and it looks a lot better than a lot of phones at this price.

For those of you curious about what specs a phone priced this low is packing, take a look at the Moto E4 specs below:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 1.4GHz quad-core CPU
  • Adreno 308 GPU
  • Android 7.1 Nougat with Moto experiences
  • 5.0″ 1280x 720 HD display
  • 16 GB internal storage
  • microSD card support up to 128 GB
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 8MP rear camera with autofocus, 4 piece composite lens, and LED flash
  • 5MP front camera with selfie flash
  • Video Capture 1080p (30fps)
  • 2800mAh removable battery

So yeah, the hardware is hardly the stuff of our dreams, but for $70 it could be a lot worse. 2 GB of RAM, a power-sipping Qualcomm chipset, Android Nougat and 16 GB of storage are very nice indeed at this price. The phone’s overall size also makes it easy on the pockets for anyone. While the design is as typical as they come from Lenovo’s stable, it’s worth noting that there’s a 3.5mm headset jack, expandable storage, a front facing LED flash, and a fingerprint sensor. That last one is especially noteworthy because at this pricing, we tend to not see fingerprint sensors at all!

The display, while more than detailed from a normal viewing distance, exhibits washed out colors and visible distortion when you’re not looking at it from directly in front. That ghostly effect becomes more apparent at extreme angles, but hey, these are just some of the qualities you’ll have to deal with when you’re rocking a $70 smartphone. The Snapdragon 425 chip with 2 GB of RAM seems reasonable enough to sustain basic operations, however, don’t expect to be playing graphically intensive games with this one. It’ll still be able to handle the majority of familiar Android tasks, it’ll just take a little longer to get there.

Moving onto the software experience, it’s running Android 7.1 Nougat enhanced by some of Moto’s “experiences”. Take for instance, Moto Display, which allows the phone to intermittently “breathe” relevant information such as the time, date, and battery level on the screen when it is off. There’s even a 5 MP front-facing camera with a flash for selfie fans. Just don’t expect Pulitzer Prize winning profile pics from this one. The 8 MP rear camera is better, but again, it’s there if you need it in a pinch, but you’re never going to be ditching a real camera for this pocket rocket.

Let’s be frank here: the Moto E4 is for consumers who don’t want to fork over hundreds and hundreds of dollars. At the end of the day, the Moto E4 can still achieve most of the same tasks as today’s flagships, it’ll just be slower to do it. But at one tenth the price of most flagships, you simply have to weigh up price over performance.

The Moto E4 would make a great temporary phone if you need one and is ideal for a parent or non tech savvy friend. It’ll never satisfy a specs geek or power-user, but for what it is, it’s pretty great. The most impressive thing about the Moto E4 is that it destroys the $100 threshold, and does so in style. Very few phones dare to step foot in this price range, and almost none do so with as much substance as the Moto E4. With that in mind, there’s real credit due here.