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Moto E 2nd-Gen Review: Android Lollipop goodness all over

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Motorola created some waves back when it brought out the first Moto E. The phone, craftily made and offering more than any comparable phone was offering at that time, has, since then, initiated a whole new segment of value-for-money phones. Now, the company is back with its 2015 edition Moto E. The phone priced at Rs. 6,999, has a lot of competition now, and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the way the market has evolved, it is a little late to the party.

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So what does the new Moto E offer? It offers LTE, 8 GB built-in storage and a tad bigger display. But, more importantly, the new Moto E is only an incremental update to the original one.

The new Moto E Is definitely something you can have a look at, if you are in the market for a sturdy phone. But the real game changer for this phone is stock Android Lollipop. The Moto E is currently one of the few phones that offers stock Android Lollipop. While we were promised updates by many companies, even Google with Android One, the situation on the ground is totally different and it seems like Google has forgotten all about the updates. This might just be the USP of this phone.

Now that you have had a short intro of the device, let’s delve into the full review of the device.

Hardware

The new Moto E is definitely reminiscent of the old one. The design is definitely the same curved one. Curiously enough, they still haven’t added a flash at the back. The new Moto E is made under Lenovo’s ownership, while the old one was made under Google, they aren’t so different.

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This phone is fully plastic, feels sturdier, albeit a little heavier than its predecessor. There is a ridge of plastic around the edges, which have made this phone easier to hold. One new thing which feels both different and weird is that while the back is non-removable, the grip around the edges opens up to show twin SIM card slots and the MicroSD slot.

As far as display size goes, Motorola has endowed the new Moto E with a 4.5-inch display, compared to a 4.3-inch display on its predecessor. The screen has the same resolution at 960 x 540p. The rear cam still stands at 5-megapixel, while the front cam stands at 0.3-megapixel.

While the new Moto E is an interesting phone, the competition is tough. The new Redmi phone is already out and the new Asus Zenfone, might also come out soon. So, even if we compare it to the existing phones, the phone doesn’t measure up much in terms of hardware. The display definitely is something irksome and something which shows that Motorola hasn’t caught up with the time.

Display

The display might be something that determines the Moto’s E fate. One would be a tad disappointed in terms of the display resolution. In fact, many phones are offering 720p displays in the same price range.

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And you do feel the difference. The display is a little dim. The sunlight visibility is definitely something that you will find irksome. The difference between the Moto E and other phones is more than noticeable and is something that might dissuade someone from considering this phone.

Software

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This might just be the coolest thing about the new Moto E. The new Moto E runs a stock version of Android Lollipop. Even though the hardware might not be too impressive, the software is something that gets one hooked to this phone. The material design, the lock screen notifications and the bloatware free phone, all make for a good deal.

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There are many new things that you will see on this phone, if you aren’t familiar with Android Lollipop. The notifications now appear on the lockscreen on priority basis. You can double tap to open them and swipe left or right to get rid of them. You can also customize these notifications according to your convenience. If you have multiple Android devices, dismissing your notification on dismisses it on all the others.

Ambient display is a feature that is borrowed from the Moto X. It shows you notifications without turning the whole display on. The drop down menu now includes cast screen, which lets you cast your screen to devices over Wi-Fi.

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Motorola Assist lets you customize the phone for when you don’t need disturbances.

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Moto Actions lets you twist the phone for quick capture, while Moto Display lets you customize your phone, so that it responds without waking it up.

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Besides these, Migrate lets you transfer content from your old phone to the Moto E or vice-versa, while Alert lets you send your location and trigger an alert in case of emergencies.

Overall, the Moto E makes Android Lollipop on low-end phones seem like a worthy proposition.

Camera

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The camera was something that under performed on most Motorola phones and sadly, the new Moto E is no different. The 5-megapixel rear snapper does not have good light capture and the lack of a flash makes this camera unusable in low-light conditions.

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Even in daylight, the shots taken from the phone turned out to be a little hazy. The detail in the shots isn’t there while the color balance is also off.

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The only improvement over the previous Moto E is that this phone can record 720p videos. Also the camera operations are easy – you can click anywhere on the screen to take a shot, Autofocus works well and the shutter speed is good.

In terms of the camera, once again Motorola has the software right, yet has flubbed up on the hardware i.e. The camera lens.

Performance, Connectivity and Battery Life

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This is one section in which the Moto E turned out satisfactory. The 1.2-GHz Snapdragon 410 under the hood performs well. General performance is okay and normal stuff like watching videos on YouTube, WhatsApp etc. are no problem. Sometimes, though, stuff takes a little bit of time to load, which is definitely a turn off.

In terms of connectivity, the phone fared well with not too many problems.

The Moto E scores well in terms of its battery life and really lasts long – the phone can take much more than a day of regular usage.

Mostly, the Moto G is all about the feel and generally works well.

Verdict

The new Moto E has landed in a tougher market than the original and that is basically where it is at a disadvantage. With phones such as the Xiaomi Redmi 2S and Micromax Yu Yureka in the market at competitive rates, it is a tough cookie for this handset.

You can definitely go for this phone if you are fond of Android Lollipop. In terms of the hardware, Motorola should strive to do better.

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