With new Moto E, Motorola shows you can do more for less

Motorola continues to set the bar when it comes to low-cost smartphones: The company introduced its new Moto E on Wednesday with a starting price of $119. That gets you a 3G handset but if you want 4G LTE, you can have it for just $30 more.

Moto E (2nd Gen.) Front Dynamic - Black

I was very impressed with last year’s Moto E, which cost $129 at launch time and didn’t have a 4G option. At that price, I though the handset represented a great value: A capable Android phone with long battery life, some unique Motorola software features and colored shells to customize the phone.

This year, Motorola has upped the ante, and not just with a 4G option.

Instead of the dual-core processor found in last year’s model, the new Moto E runs on a quad-core chip with 1.2GHz clock speed. The 4.3-inch display from 2014 is slightly larger, measuring 4.5-inches but retains the same 960 x 540 resolution as the prior edition. Storage gets doubled to 8GB and a front-facing camera was added.

Moto E_2nd Gen_1 Phone

The new Moto E also ships with [company]Google[/Google]Android 5.0 and Motorola is promising at least one software update for the phone in the future.

The company also added some nice features found in the more expensive Moto X flagship phone. You can twist your wrist twice to quickly open the phone’s camera app, for example. Another twist switches from the rear to the front camera. Moto Display is also included for pulsing notifications on your lock screen that appear without waking the handset.

You can still customize the look of a Moto E, which is available in either a black or white front. Motorola is selling six different bands, which look similar to bumpers, that let you jazz up the low-cost handset. Clear case shells will also be available.

Moto E (2nd Gen.) Front - White

Motorola sent the new Moto E with LTE out in mystery box to various publications just prior to the official phone launch. Mine hasn’t arrived yet — maybe the delivery time is the mystery — but once it does, I’ll spend a few days using this $149 smartphone and report back on my experiences in a future post.

In the meantime, here’s an overview of the new Moto E with LTE from Motorola, showing off just how much phone you get on a budget.



Leaked Moto E looks like the budget phone to beat: LTE for $99

A now-pulled Best Buy product listing indicates that Motorola’s least expensive smartphone may be getting an update soon. The page listed a new Moto E for Sprint’s prepaid service sporting upgrades over last year’s impressive Moto E, including an LTE modem, double the storage at 8GB, and most importantly, what looks like a price cut from $129 to $99.99 without a contract.

Best Buy Moto E

Android Police was able to catch the product page and specs before Best Buy pulled them, and it looks like this new Moto E will retain its 4.5-inch 540 x 960 screen, as well as a 1.2GHz Qualcomm processor (probably the Snapdragon 200 like its predecessor).

Although Motorola’s high-end phones, like the Moto X or Nexus 6, get most of the marketing attention in the United States and Europe, Motorola’s low-cost devices are important to the company as it breaks into markets like India and, more recently, China. Sales of the Moto E and its slightly more expensive sibling, the Moto G, helped propel Motorola to three million devices sold in India last year, and certainly helped contribute to Motorola’s revenue, which more than doubled in 2014.

For me, it’s the LTE support that’s exciting — there are a plethora of low-cost Android devices, but LTE support becomes rarer in the sub-$100 range. In fact, Motorola launched a second version of the the slightly more expensive Moto G last year, but still hasn’t officially launched a version with LTE.

Because the listing is for a Sprint handset, there’s a possibility this specific device won’t work on certain GSM networks, like those operated in the United States by AT&T and T-Mobile. But considering the Moto E will be sold widely and internationally when it officially launches, there’s a good chance Motorola will release a version of the $100 phone that will work on your preferred network.

The 64GB Moto X goes on sale in the United States

Want a Moto X(s goog) but concerned about on-board storage? Well, here’s some good news: Motorola’s started selling a 64GB version for the first time on Monday for $450. Everything remains the same as the 16GB and 32GB variants, except for the increased storage. That’s $100 more than the 16GB version for four times the space. Motorola’s budget handsets, the Moto G 4G and the Moto E, both accept microSD cards, which makes the absence of storage expansion on the high-end Moto X more glaring. We’ll see if Motorola sticks with built-in, tiered storage or if it adds a microSD card slot to the long-rumored Moto X+1, which should be launching this summer.