Moto E 2nd Gen 2015 – Device Review

Moto E 2nd Gen 2015 – Device Review

The year 2015 just started and the list of flagship devices that came out at Mobile World Congress 2015 this year is short. Motorola decided to release a little surprise at the same time in a new way. They sent a press conference in a box to the media. This was the unveiling of a little device called the Moto E Second Generation 2015.

The Moto E 2nd Gen is, not surprisingly, a refresh of the original Moto E from last year. This refresh brings LTE and a front facing camera to the mix. The device sells unlocked for $149 and is available in black or white on Motorola’s site. You can still pick up the first generation for $119.

Since the unit is unlocked and there is no contract, we tested the unit on the AT&T network in the Los Angeles area. This is an entry-level device with LTE and a 4.5” qHD Display. Let’s see if it’s worth your time and money.

Box Contents:

  • Phone
  • Wall charger with USB cable (One Piece)
  • Manuals


HARDWARE

The phone comes packed with the quad-core 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410. This Quad Core Processor clocks in at 1.2GHz and comes with an Adreno 306 GPU. The 4.5-inch device weighs in at 5.1 ounces. The Moto E 2nd Gen has a display resolution of 540×960 pixels, which is approximately 245 ppi.  That measurement is down from 256 ppi on the Moto E 1st Gen, but this is mostly due to the screen being up to 4.5 inches from 4.3 inches on the 2014 model. The display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. We now also only have one front facing speaker as opposed to the dual facing speakers from last year.

Video Couresty of TK Bay

The Device specifications are:

  • 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 with the Adreno 306 GPu at 400MHz
  • 4.5” qHD IPS (540×960) at 245 PPI with Gorilla Glass 3
  • 129 X 66.8 X 5.2-12.3 mm
  • 145 Grams (5.11Ounces)
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8 GB storage options (also includes a Micro SD expansion slot up to 32GB)
  • 2390mAh battery
  • 5 MP Back Camera / VGA for the Front
  • Android L 5.0.2 with some Moto Enhancements
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Connectivity:
    • GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
    • UMTS/HSPA+ (900, 2100 MHz)
      4G LTE (1, 3, 7, 20) T-Mobile and ATT in the US is a go.

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Over the course of a week of testing, the 2940 mAh battery of the Moto E 2nd Gen demonstrated impressive longevity. On average, it lasted a solid day with heavy use, and could last up to two days with light to moderate use. What you will find is the Moto E 2nd Gen is a device that supports hardware that will not eat up battery like the main flagship devices on the market. It has LTE and a qHD display that will get the data you need fast and still have some battery left for keeping up with your social media engagements.

The body of the Moto E 2nd Gen is plastic. There is no doubt about that face, yet it feels good in the hand. I did have to adjust to using the device of this size since I was used to a 5.5 inch device. However, that only took a day. You can customize the device by replacing the removable band around the device from Motorola.

INTERFACE

The phone runs Android 5.0.2 Lollipop that has been slightly modified by Motorola. You almost don’t recognize the little things they changed if you don’t look for them. The UI is smooth and consistent; you will get speed and Material Design all around. The CPU and GPU work well so you can enjoy games and entertainment on this device. I installed Nova launcher as well and no issues at all.

The one thing that becomes noticeable is running memory intensive programs, which eventually slow down the system. You will start to notice that you may not have enough horses under the hood. Overall this causes no worries as the UI gets back to normal as soon as you return to normal usage.

The camera is the Moto offering that we have seen before on the Moto X. You can install the Google camera if you like. The blur effect, however, is not present in the Moto camera.

Video Couresty of TK Bay

Email is handled in Gmail and no dedicated mail app is installed. The Moto E 2nd Gen comes with a gallery app by Motorola instead of the photos app from Google. The rest of the software is the typical Android Lollipop suite of tools. Multitasking is done with the recent app implementation in Lollipop.  We do get USB OTG on this device, but to enable this feature you will find the settings in the Storage tab.

DESIGN

The Moto E 2nd Gen shows its Motorola lineage, with many design traits similar to those seen on the Moto X and the Nexus 6. Both of these devices are priced higher than this little guy. The one main change is the speaker is now one piece and no longer dual front facing. The sound out of this device is very good considering the size.  Having the speaker front facing is key.

Video Couresty of TK Bay

NFC is missing and this is a mistake on Motorola’s side, as it removed a main feature of Lollipop. The tap and restore function via NFC built in to Lollipop will not work. What you get instead is Motorola’s file transfer functionality, which will require you to download an app on the other phone and transfer information over later on. I have to give it to Motorola for having this app, because it makes it easy to migrate to the Moto E with ease.

The camera is decent and does well in good light, but if you don’t have good light this device will not produce good pictures. We have a 5 MP back shooter and a VGA camera for the front. The front camera is only good for video chat and a quick selfie at VGA quality.  What you get is a well-balanced device that is designed to work for you at a great price.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

The Moto E 2nd Gen is the best entry-level device of the year so far. I used the device for over a week as my main phone for my work. I can say that if you are in the market for a new device and money is tight, this device is a great option. The price point with LTE cannot be beat by anybody.

The Software is current and gets updated. It has an almost stock experience of Android Lollipop, as Google intended it. While you can find the Moto E 2nd Gen 2015 on a few providers’ websites for $99 dollars on contract, you can just get it unlocked for $149 and use it on what any GSM network you prefer.

Be sure to subscribe to my channel as I will be doing a giveaway on this device soon with some help from my friends over at the Xposed Framework Google+ community and the Tech Ninja.

About author

TK
TK

Tarek Baay (also known as “TK”) is from Los Angeles. He is a tech professional that likes to get his hands on new things, and share his experience with the world the same way a friend would tell you if something is good. He has been on XDA for along time starting with the t-mobile MDA running windows mobile 5. Since 2012 he’s been doing video for XDA TV. His interests include mobile technology, PC Building, and gaming.