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Motorola Moto E 4G (2015) hands-on review

We check out Motorola’s brand new Moto E, which now packs full 4G support plus Android Lollipop, in our hands-on review.

Motorola has become the king of great value lately, thanks to its Moto G and Moto E handsets. The Moto G packs a gorgeous HD screen and dependable 8-megapixel camera for just £150, thereby pretty much ruling the mid-range market, while the Moto E trims the specs a little to get the price to under £100 – a price that’s impossible to argue with.

Now the new Moto E is here (launching in spectacular fashion), and impressively it packs full 4G support for just £109. That’s great news for anyone who can afford an LTE contract with a decent amount of data, but then doesn’t have the cash to spunk on a sexy premium phone – or perhaps parents looking to get their spouses or little darlings on a family 4G contract, without splashing a fortune on a compatible handset.

Sure, there are cheaper 4G phones out there like the Huawei Ascend G6 4G, but the new Moto E 4G sports some decent specs for the price. Last year’s Moto E had a 4.3-inch screen and that’s now been boosted to a 4.5-incher, which once again is bright and bold for a budget display. Viewing angles are great and the screen doesn’t seem to pick up grime too easily, a blessed relief for greasy-fingered users like myself.

Of course, if you look close you can see those individual pixels forming the desktop icons. But while the Moto E 4G won’t make the most of your HD movies, it’s still perfectly fine for streaming YouTube and enjoying a show in a pinch.

Android Lollipop appears to run smoothly courtesy of the 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor, although we did see a couple of funny little glitches when unlocking the phone or messing around in menus. Fingers crossed these are just little setup quirks and the phone will behave itself perfectly now.

We’re already fans of the Moto E 4G’s design, which is different to any other budget phone we’ve seen lately. At first glance it’s your standard chunky budget blower, with a good amount of heft to it. It’s definitely a solid mobile and we’d be surprised if it didn’t survive the odd unexpected tumble.

However, the new Moto E’s quirk is its removeable waistband. While the original Moto E’s rear plate snapped off to reveal the card slots, on the Moto E you just peel off the edge instead. The SIM and memory card slots are housed underneath, out of view – and best of all, you can replace the standard black edge plate with a whole other colour, adding a splash of vibrancy to your handset.

Our review sample comes packing pink and blue plates, but you can get six different colours in all, so you’re bound to find one that you like.

The Moto E 4G’s 5-megapixel camera is a basic snapper at best. Our photos were all a little hazy when viewed back on a TV, while the lens struggles to focus on objects up-close. There’s also no flash, same as last year’s model. However, the snaps are perfectly fine for sharing on social media and the camera interface is blissfully clean and simple – just tap to shoot, or pull out the settings wheel from the left edge of the screen if you want to fiddle around behind the scenes.

The Moto E 4G is heading worldwide today. In the States it will cost $119 while here in Blighty it costs £109 – not quite beating the likes of 4G rival the Huawei Ascend G6, but undercutting the new Ascend G7 by £40.

We’ll bring you our full Moto E 4G review soon.

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