Moto E Hands-on: The End of Dumb Phones?

Smartphones might seem ubiquitous to your average technophile, but about 45 percent of Americans are still packing feature phones in their pockets. That might soon change, however, thanks to budget-friendly handsets like Motorola’s new Moto E. Available on Amazon and for $129 unlocked, the 4.3-inch Moto E is a full-featured smartphone for the price.

When you first pick up the Moto E, you tend to notice its rather chunky design. At 4.9 x 2.6 x 0.48 inches and weighing 5.0 ounces, the Moto E is a bit thicker than the 4.5-inch Moto G and 4.7-inch Moto X. Still, the Moto E feels exceptionally sturdy. And with its Corning Gorilla Glass display and water-resistant chassis, the Moto E should be able to handle some rough treatment.

MORE: Best Smartphones 2014

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The Moto E comes with your choice of a black or white chassis. If you want to add some panache to the smartphone, you can opt for one of Motorola’s available color Shells for $14.99. Want some additional grip? Motorola is also offering a Shell with enhanced grip for $19.99.

In terms of specs, the Moto E gets a 4.3-inch, 960 x 540-pixel resolution display, dual-core Snapdragon 200 processor, 1GB of RAM and 4GB of onboard storage. There’s also a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 1,980 mAh battery pack. Although those specs pale in comparison to those found in today’s flagship smartphones, they should prove more than adequate for the first-time smartphone users Motorola is aiming for. 

We did notice some slowdown when trying to shoot photos with the Moto E’s camera, especially when going from shot to shot. The Moto E also lacks a 4G LTE antenna, so you’ll be locked into 3G. That said, some users may see 4G-like speeds via the phone’s HSPA+ capability.

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Like all of Motorola’s Moto handsets, the 4.3-inch Moto E offers a pure Android experience. But unlike many of the low-cost handsets in its class, the Moto E comes loaded with the latest and greatest version of Google’s mobile OS, Android 4.4.2. What’s more, Motorola promises that Moto E users will get at least one major Android update beyond KitKat, something that’s almost unheard of for a low-cost smartphone.

Motorola is pushing its new Moto Alert app as an integral part of the Moto E experience. The app’s Emergency option lets you automatically make an emergency call to a trusted contact to let them know that you’re in trouble. Alternatively, you can choose to set off an alarm on your handset.

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The app’s Meet Me feature lets you quickly text your location to a saved contact to make. If you’re on the go, the app’s Follow Me setting lets you periodically update a specific contact about your exact location. If you don’t grab a Moto E, have no fear. Motorola says its Alert app will be available for download through the Google Play store for other handsets in the near future.

At $129, the Motorola Moto E is a steal of a smartphone. It looks like the dumphone is officially on notice.

Daniel P. Howley
Daniel P. Howley
A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining He also served as a news editor with ALM Media’s Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
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  1. Joena Says:

    Moto E really good . it can grow its popularity very quickly. Moto E filled with new technology . user can use it with excitement…. thanks

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