Although flagship phones usually make the headlines, many people (me, for example) look for much cheaper but still capable devices. This is especially true now that top phones are priced at USD$1K and above (wow!). Fortunately for those of us who are more financially constrained or prudent, the budget sector seems alive and well.
For a few years now, Motorola (now Lenovo) has had a hit with the Moto G model. Moto E is another budget offering from the company, and this summer Lenovo released the Moto E4, i.e. the 4th generation of this phone. Moto E is a cheaper alternative to the Moto G. With the Moto G getting more premium specs and features – as well as a higher price – the Moto E seems to have taken over the position of a true budget phone once occupied by the Moto G.
The suggested retail price for the Moto E4 is $130, but you can get it as cheap as $USD70 with Verizon (for all the deals, please look below).
I’ve been using this phone for about four months. Here is a video where I shared my initial impressions of the phone – after using it for a week
Again, the video represents my initial impressions. Having used the E4 for four more months, I can report that I still have the same opinion, but there are a few comments I’d like to add:
- the fingerprint sensor doesn’t work as well as on my old Nexus 5X; you have to be slower, more deliberate when placing your finger
- I’ve never used up the battery in a day, but the battery is more like “day plus”, than a two-day battery
- I do charge the battery most nights, because charging is somewhat slow
- although I’ve seen other reviewers list the screen of this phone as a negative, I think it is a nice screen. Of course, if you compare it side by side to flagship phones, you’ll see the difference
- the only negative thing I’ll say about the screen is that it’s not very bright in the sun; but the same can be said about a lot of phones, even much more expensive ones
- I thought this Moto model would have the Moto Actions for quickly launching the camera or flashlight/torch, but unfortunately, this functionality was not included
- the performance i.e. speed of the phone has remained the same (I mention in the video that my Moto G2 slowed down with time, but that has not happened with the E4 so far)
So, I think the Moto E4 is the cheapest smartphone that you’ll be happy with. It is a reliable device that performs well all the core functions, except for photography. It is fun to use, and it lets you have fun saving a lot of money too.
Lenovo has also released a big brother of the E4, the Moto E4 Plus.
Here is what you get, if you go for the Plus version:
- bigger screen: 5.5″ (but same resolution, so less pixel density)
- bigger battery: 5000mAh (i.e. a two-day phone)
- 16 or 32 GB of storage
- 3GB RAM, instead of 2GB available in some countries
- camera with better specs: 13MP vs 8MP, and f/2.0 vs f/2.2; but it’s still not a good camera
Here are the key specs for the two phones.
- 5″ display with 720P resolution
- 425 Snapdragon quad-core processor with 2 GB memory (in some countries, it’s sold with MediaTek CPU)
- 16 GB storage space
- 2800mAh battery
- 8-megapixel f/2.2 rear camera
- Android 7.1
- 4G LTE
- no NFC
Moto E4 Plus
- 5.5″ display with 720P resolution
- 427 Snapdragon quad-core processor with 2 GB memory (3GB and MediaTek CPU also available, depending on region)
- 16/32 GB storage space
- 5000mAh battery
- 13-megapixel f/2.0 rear camera
- Android 7.1
- 4G LTE
- no NFC