Introduction

Almost a year later we are getting the second generation Moto E, which improves on the basics established by its affordable predecessor. The Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen) continues the legacy of a lag-free Android system provided by a powerful hardware set on a bargain price. This time however, the build quality is noticeably better and the screen size is more adequate.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

The new Moto E got a tiny .2" screen bump to 4.5", but keeps the resolution at 540 x 960px presented on an IPS LCD matrix. The Snapdragon 410 chip is in charge of operations on the new Moto E (2nd Gen) for an even better and faster performance. There is LTE connectivity, too, plus the internal storage got doubled to 8 gigs. Finally, camera geeks will be happy to learn the camera has been improved with auto-focus and HD video recording.

Oddly, Motorola will be also offering a slightly less-capable 3G model, which is powered by the rather dated Snapdragon 200 chip with a 32-bit quad-core processor, while keeping the rest of the novelties. Let's explore the complete feature list.

Key features

  • Available as a Dual SIM models on certain markets (HSPA+ XT1506) and (LTE XT1521)
  • 4.5" qHD (540 x 960 pixels) IPS LCD display with 245ppi; Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • LTE model (Cat. 4 LTE 150Mbps): 1.2 GHz quad-core Cortex-A53 CPU; Adreno 306 GPU; Snapdragon 410 chipset
  • 3G model (HSPA+): 1.2 GHz quad-core Cortex-A7 CPU, Adreno 302 GPU; Snapdragon 200 chipset
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 5MP auto-focus camera; 720p video capture; 0.3MP front-facing snapper
  • 8GB of built-in memory; microSD card slot, up to 32GB
  • Optional Dual SIM connectivity, dual-standby
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.0; GPS/GLONASS; FM radio, USB OTG
  • 2.390 mAh battery
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop OS (5.1 most likely on the way)
  • Customizable Motorola Band side strips

Main disadvantages

  • Battery is not user-replaceable
  • 3G model comes with a dated chipset
  • No dual-band Wi-Fi

The Snapdragon 410 upgrade, which offers LTE connectivity is the most welcome new feature with the Moto E (2nd Gen). We really doubt many people will go for the lesser 3G model, which seems behind the curve, but maybe with a proper pricing it could serve as a good alternative. The build quality on both devices should be identical and it's a huge improvement on the last year's Moto E. The lack of removable battery is probably the biggest flaw of the new Moto E, but then again that's where most of the droids, including the Moto series, are heading today.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen) official pictures

Stay with us after the break for our traditional hardware checkup and battery life impressions.

Retail package

As other affordable Moto smartphones, the new Moto E comes in a very basic retail box with just a microUSB connectivity cable. Motorola relies on you to have at least one charger plug at your home or you would have to use a USB port on your computer to charge the phone.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

The retail box and its contents

The lack of a headset is a bigger omission, but it may as well be our specific regional version.

Moto E (2nd Gen) 360-degree view

The second-gen Moto E comes with a bigger 4.5" display and thus has a slightly larger footprint. It spreads at 129.9 x 66.8 x 12.3 - this is 5mm taller, 2mm wider than the original Moto E, but the thickness stays the same.

Design and build quality

You'd expect Motorola Moto E 2nd Gen to be visually quite similar to its predecessor and you'd be right. The feeling of holding it in your hand however couldn't be different.

Both are made entirely of matte plastic and don't mind lugging along a thinker than average waistline, but the new Moto E is made of higher quality materials and the back is made of rubbery feeling soft plastic. There is also a new design element - a strip that runs along the sides of the phone, which has a grippy textured pattern.

The back panel is not removable but that's not a significant change. On last year's model we could pop open the rear panel, but only to access the SIM and microSD slots - the battery wasn't user replaceable. It isn't now either. To gain access to the card slots, you remove the side strip instead. It's an unusual solution, but quite clever and practical.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

The removable frame is also made of rubbery plastic, but it has a textured pattern, which improves the grip tremendously. The tiny piece is very easy to pop off and you can also change it for a strip in another color, which means you can use it to add color accents to your phone. Motorola calls it the Motorola Band and sells the extra colors in sets of three.

The matte plastic isn't as prone to fingerprints and smudges as the glossy materials, but it still gets smudged over time and requires cleaning.

The iconic 'M' logo at the back sits in a slightly depressed circle, just enough for your index fingertip to rest comfortably during a call. This, plus the grippy sides, provide a perfect handling experience for the Moto E.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Handling the Moto E (2nd Gen)

Controls

The Moto E (2nd Gen) is stripped of any hardware controls at the front - the Android OS is providing on-screen controls instead.

Above the display sits the earpiece, which also doubles as a loudspeaker. Next to it is the secondary VGA camera. The proximity and ambient light sensors are also there.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Above the screen - earpiece/loudspeaker, VGA camera and a couple of sensors

The right side of the Moto E houses the textured power key and the volume rocker, both made from silver plastic. There is nothing on the left.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

A peek at the right and left sides of the Moto E

The 3.5mm audio jack is on top of the Moto E, while the bottom has the lonely microUSB slot.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Moto E's top and bottom

The centered 5MP auto-focus camera lens is at the back accompanied by the Motorola's logo. The secondary microphone for active noise-cancelling and stereo sound during video recording is next to the camera as well.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

The back of the new Moto E

Finally, the primary microphone is also at the back, placed around the bottom.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Popping the frame

Removing the frame, which requires a bit of fingernail work, reveals the microSIM and microSD slots. You can hot-swap both cards anytime.

Display

The Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen) comes with a display that's .2" bigger than the last gen Moto E and now offers a diagonal of 4.5", while keeping the same qHD resolution. It surely isn't among the best units we've seen, but it's certainly suits this price bracket. The pixel density is 245ppi, which qualifies for a sharp enough images and easy reading, though we couldn't help but notice that the app icons look all fuzzy and lack the sharpness we're used to see. Perhaps it's a rendering issue rather than anything else as photos and websites look nice and sharp.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

The display is quite bright for the class, the contrast is very good and the colors are OK. The surface is very reflective though and the pixel density isn't helping for sharp images.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Motorola Moto E 0.27 278 1024 0.49 522 1062
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen) 0.33 288 884 0.6 541 898
Motorola Moto G (2014) 0.24 253 1039 0.43 413 968
Motorola Moto G 4G 0.42 387 916 0.7 651 929
Sony Xperia E4g 0.27 256 948 0.61 587 969
HTC Desire 510 0.17 204 1226 0.31 354 1159
Nokia Lumia 630 0.24 184 764 0.71 508 771
Xiaomi Redmi 2 0.3 273 943 0.58 561 974
LG G2 mini 0.12 91 752 0.52 398 748


As we said, the Moto E's display is very reflective and using it outdoors in bright and sunny days won't be easy.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Samsung Galaxy E7
    4.485
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    4.241
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    4.033
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
    3.895
  • Apple iPhone 6
    3.838
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    3.799
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
    3.679
  • Oppo R5
    3.678
  • Samsung Galaxy K zoom
    3.675
  • Nokia Lumia 930
    3.567
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    3.565
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    3.549
  • Nokia Lumia 735
    3.547
  • Motorola Nexus 6
    3.543
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    3.527
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    3.512
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    3.509
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    3.487
  • LG G Flex2
    3.465
  • YotaPhone 2
    3.453
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    3.42
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Active
    3.406
  • Nokia Lumia 925
    3.402
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    3.386
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    3.174
  • Samsung I9000 Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Samsung Ativ S
    3.129
  • Samsung I9190 Galaxy S4 mini
    3.127
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    3.118
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3.023
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier
    2.958
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.95
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Lenovo S90 Sisley
    2.892
  • Samsung I8730 Galaxy Express
    2.861
  • BlackBerry Q10
    2.856
  • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • HTC Desire Eye
    2.815
  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    2.812
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • BlackBerry Z30
    2.79
  • Meizu MX4 Pro
    2.765
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    2.672
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    2.618
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    2.616
  • Sony Xperia T3
    2.609
  • BlackBerry Passport
    2.595
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    2.546
  • HTC One Max
    2.537
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    2.512
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • vivo Xshot
    2.465
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    2.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro
    2.416
  • LG G Flex
    2.407
  • HTC Desire 820
    2.372
  • HTC One (M8)
    2.371
  • Meizu MX4
    2.366
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Meizu m1 note
    2.362
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    2.352
  • HTC One M9
    2.334
  • HTC One (M8) for Windows
    2.291
  • Oppo Find 7a
    2.279
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    2.262
  • Nokia Asha 311
    2.25
  • Xiaomi Mi Note
    2.234
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    2.233
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    2.193
  • HTC One (E8)
    2.185
  • Oppo N3
    2.181
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    2.17
  • Huawei Honor 6
    2.169
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
    2.149
  • LG Aka
    2.145
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    2.142
  • Archos 50 Diamond
    2.134
  • Nokia 515
    2.134
  • HTC Desire 500
    2.129
  • Sony Xperia C3 Dual
    2.12
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    2.119
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    2.103
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • Sony Xperia SL
    2.078
  • Nokia Lumia 630
    2.056
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Huawei Ascend Mate7
    2.024
  • Samsung I9295 Galaxy S4 Active
    2.022
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • HTC One mini
    2.003
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    1.992
  • LG G2
    1.976
  • Sony Xperia E4g
    1.972
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Oppo R819
    1.957
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Lenovo Vibe X2
    1.952
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    1.944
  • Sony Xperia E3
    1.943
  • Nokia Lumia 1320
    1.941
  • HTC One mini 2
    1.94
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    1.935
  • Sony Xperia J
    1.932
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    1.931
  • ZTE Blade S6
    1.927
  • LG Nexus 4
    1.926
  • LG G Pro 2
    1.922
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    1.913
  • Nokia Asha 308
    1.911
  • HTC Butterfly 2
    1.905
  • Sony Xperia T
    1.894
  • Nokia Lumia 830
    1.887
  • HTC Desire X
    1.878
  • HTC Windows _phone_ 8X
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly S
    1.867
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1.865
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    1.845
  • LG G2 mini
    1.838
  • LG G3
    1.82
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    1.813
  • HTC Desire 616 dual sim
    1.797
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • HTC Desire 816
    1.783
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    1.772
  • HTC Desire 700 dual sim
    1.769
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Meizu MX3
    1.754
  • LG Optimus G
    1.753
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    1.74
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
    1.735
  • Acer Liquid Jade S
    1.734
  • Sony Xperia SP
    1.733
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • Oppo Find 7
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • BlackBerry Q5
    1.682
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.68
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    1.675
  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
    1.672
  • LG Optimus GJ
    1.666
  • LG Optimus 3D Max
    1.658
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
    1.632
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    1.622
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    1.578
  • Sony Xperia go
    1.577
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160
    1.566
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.563
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
    1.507
  • BlackBerry Curve 9320
    1.488
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Oppo N1
    1.47
  • Sony Xperia E4
    1.467
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1.462
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos
    1.4
  • Sony Xperia M2
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    1.393
  • Microsoft Lumia 535
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    1.38
  • Sony Xperia E1
    1.372
  • Nokia Lumia 625
    1.371
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • Xiaomi Redmi 1S
    1.35
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8
    1.35
  • HTC Desire 510
    1.34
  • Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
    1.331
  • Sony Xperia miro
    1.324
  • Samsung I9082 Galaxy Grand
    1.321
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    1.315
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    1.311
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Nokia X
    1.291
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Nokia Asha 503
    1.281
  • Nokia Asha 501
    1.27
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    1.268
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    1.245
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    1.22
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215
  • Nokia XL
    1.204
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Asus Memo Pad 7 ME176C
    1.198
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.18
  • Nokia Asha 305
    1.178
  • Nokia Asha 306
    1.175
  • Sony Xperia neo L
    1.169
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    1.161
  • Samsung S6802 Galaxy Ace Duos
    1.148
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114

Battery life

The Moto E (2nd Gen) features a 2,390mAh non-removable battery, about 20% bigger than the one powering the original Moto E. The capacity should be more than adequate and given the efficient chipset and relatively small screen, we were quite optimistic about its prospects.

The handset scored an impressive 82 hours endurance, which means you can count on about 3 and a half days if you do an hour each of calls, web browsing and video playback a day. There is a massive improvement across the entire score board compared to the previous Moto E.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Our proprietary score also includes a standby battery draw test, which is not featured in our battery test scorecard but is calculated in the total endurance rating.

Our battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you want to learn more about it.

Connectivity

The Moto E is available in 3G (HSPA+) and 4G LTE (Cat.4 LTE 150Mbps) versions, each powered by a different chipset. In some regions you can also get both in Dual SIM version.

The rest of the connectivity features available across all models include single-band Wi-Fi b/g/n and Wi-Fi hotspot. There is also support for Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and GLONASS, plus an FM radio with RDS.

There is a microUSB 2.0 port for charging and data connections. Media transfer mode is supported for accessing the phone's built-in memory and microSD card over the USB cable.

USB On-The-Go is supported, which means you can hook a USB memory stick or other USB peripherals like a mouse or a keyboard. You just have to purchase the USB OTG adapter separately.

The microUSB port doesn't have any TV-out functionality, but if own a compatible HDTV, you can output your phone's screen wirelessly via the Miracast protocol.

User interface

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen) boots the Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, which introduces a brand new Material design and a new ART runtime. Motorola prefers vanilla Android UI and adds just minor improvements and thus is able to provide timely firmware updates. Before we continue, you may want to check our video walkthrough below.

Motorola has a new cool way to display notifications without waking up the screen. The feature is called Notifications at a Glance and is very similar to Lumia's Glance screen but it's even cooler.

Whenever the _phone_ registers you're taking it out of the pocket or picking it up from a table, it lights up a clock on the locked screen, flanked by icons for any missed notifications. Tapping and holding such an icon reveals more information and details. All this happens without waking up the phone.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

The Glance screen • Interactions on the Glance screen

The other two exclusive Moto features include quickly twisting your wrist to activate the camera and activating dedicated sound profiles at night or when you're in a meeting.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

The Moto app

The homescreen is the usual Android affair - you change wallpapers, add/remove homescreens, use widgets, create shortcuts. The leftmost pane is reserved for Google Now. All the apps are stored into a comfy app drawer, sorted alphabetically. There is no option for custom order.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

The homescreen • app drawer

One finger swipe from the top of the homescreen will open the notification area, which features a cleaner look in Android 5.0 Lollipop. Additional swipe reveals quick toggles that include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplane mode, screen auto-rotate, flashlight, location on/off, and the option to cast the screen. Of course, you can also adjust the brightness of the screen and go into the settings menu too.

The app switcher has a neat card interface that allows you to select the app you need by swiping up or down. You can close apps by swiping left or right, or by hitting the dedicated button on the top right corner of each card. Each Chrome tab now appear as a card, too.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Notification area • Task Switcher

Finally, Google Now is summoned by an upward swipe from the virtual Home key. It is also available as a homescreen - the leftmost one.

Web browser and other apps

Google Chrome is unsurprisingly the default browser in the Moto E (2nd Gen). Its design was updated recently, so it matches to overall look and feel of Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Google Chrome

One of Chrome's strengths is its ability to seamlessly sync with the desktop version, using nothing but your Google account. This allows you to open an article on your PC and finish reading it on your mobile phone. It also syncs your bookmarks and favorite sites.

The Moto app gives access to setting up the Motorola exclusive features, which include the Glance notifications, the time-specific sound profiles and the wrist twisting camera launch gesture.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

The Moto app • Glance settings

The usual organizing tools are present as well - there is the massively updated Google Calendar, a neat Calculator, and Clock (alarms, world clock, timer, stopwatch). A proper File Manager app is missing though so you'd have to download one off the Play Store.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Calendar • Calculator • Clock

Google Docs and Sheets handle creating and editing office documents. The apps sync with Google Drive and can work while offline as well - files will sync with the cloud when your device goes online again.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Google Docs

Motorola provides another two Moto exclusive apps - Motorola Alert and Moto Migrate. The Migrate app will help you transfer contacts, messages and multimedia from other Android devices or iPhones.

The Alert app allows you to select your emergency contacts, input ready-to-go messages and in case something happens you can call your contacts, share your GPS location, or ask them to follow you. The latter will allow your Moto E to share your location at specified interval.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Motorola Migrate • Motorola Alert

Performance

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen) is an affordable smartphone and it won't be nowhere near the top droid beasts out there. It was designed to be powerful enough, beautiful and unique, yet cheap enough to get your attention. The new Moto E is running on the Snapdragon 410 chip with a quad-core 1.2GHz Cortex-A53 processor, Adreno 306 GPU and 1GB of RAM.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

There is another model, which lacks LTE connectivity, based on the dated Snapdragon 200 chip - a quad-core 1.2GHz Cortex-A7 CPU, Adreno 302 GPU and 1GB RAM.

For our review we had the Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen) 4G LTE flavor.

Naturally, we kick off our performance routine with the GeekBench 3 test, which gauges the multi-core CPU performance. The Moto E (2nd Gen) does very well here, outperformed only by the 1.5GHz-clocked Sony Xperia E4g.

GeekBench 3

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia E4g
    2111
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    1486
  • HTC Desire 510
    1471
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    1460
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    1175
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    1171
  • LG G2 mini
    1123
  • Motorola Moto E
    611

The compound AnTuTu 5 test puts the Moto E (2nd Gen) on top of its competitors, though the difference isn't that big.

AnTuTu 5

Higher is better

  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    22761
  • Sony Xperia E4g
    22043
  • HTC Desire 510
    20756
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    20616
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    18245

The BaseMark OS II 2.0 is quite intensive benchmark, which puts to the test CPU, GPU, memory, system and browser performance. The Moto E (2nd Gen) got beaten by the Sony Xperia E4g, which has a more powerful processor and graphics accelerator.

Basemark OS 2.0

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia E4g
    621
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    546
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    511
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    497
  • HTC Desire 510
    448

The single and multi-core CPU breakdowns from the BaseMark OS II 2.0 once again put the faster Xperia E4g on top, but the Moto E is quite comfortable at the runner-up spot.

Basemark OS 2.0 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia E4g
    2278
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    1954
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    1806
  • HTC Desire 510
    1749
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    1562

Basemark OS 2.0 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia E4g
    9618
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    7659
  • HTC Desire 510
    7114
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    6421
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    6362

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen) comes with Adreno 306 GPU in charge of graphics. Our previous tests indicates it's as good as the previous Adreno 305 unit - which means not that good. Luckily, the Moto E has a qHD resolution screen, so it shouldn't be a problem to run even a newer graphic-intensive game title.

The 1080p offscreen performance on the other hand is quite disappointing, but that's to be expected.

GFX 2.7 T-Rex (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    5.8
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    5.8
  • LG G2 mini
    5.8
  • HTC Desire 510
    5.3
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    5.2
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    5.2
  • Motorola Moto E
    4.5

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    1.8
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    1.8
  • HTC Desire 510
    1.8
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    1.7
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.4

The onscreen performance naturally gets better as the resolution drops to 540 x 960 pixels. While the Moto E (2nd Gen) won't break any performance records, it is OK for the class and will do the job for the occasional arcade games and 1080p movies.

GFX 2.7 T-Rex (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia E4g
    17
  • HTC Desire 510
    15.5
  • LG G2 mini
    14.9
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    12
  • Motorola Moto E
    11.2
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    10.8
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    10.8
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    9.6

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia E4g
    8.7
  • HTC Desire 510
    8.3
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    6.3
  • Motorola Moto E
    4.9
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    4.1
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    4
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    3.9

Finally, the web browsing experience, courtesy of Chrome, turned out just great. The Moto E is a champ in its class and offers smooth and hassle-free experience.

Kraken 1.1

Lower is better

  • Sony Xperia E4g
    11359
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    13623
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    13694
  • HTC Desire 510
    14171
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    15988
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    16118
  • Motorola Moto E
    17213

BrowserMark 2.1

Higher is better

  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    1136
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    1085
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    911
  • Sony Xperia E4g
    834
  • HTC Desire 510
    832
  • Motorola Moto E
    784
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    549

The new Moto E (2nd Gen) delivers fluid system experience, great web browsing and you'll do fine with various games too. Yes, the Moto E isn't a benchmark champion, but it offers a lot more than we hoped for.

Telephony and messaging

The contacts manager has received a thorough refresh in Android 5.0 Lollipop with Material design. The app features tabbed interface, which displays all contacts and the favorites.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

The contacts app

You can sync with multiple accounts including Google and Exchange. A button to add a new contact is constantly present in the bottom right corner - you can choose which account to sync the new addition with.

The phone tab got redesigned as well and comes with a tabbed interface for speed dial, recent calls and all contacts. The dialer is invoked by taping on its dedicated key and supports smart dialing.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

The phone app

The new Moto E offers high in-call volume. Its loudspeaker scored a Good mark on our loudspeaker tests, and came quite close to being Very Good, meaning you'll hardly miss any calls and notifications. The loudspeaker sound quality isn't the best we've heard, but it seems louder than our Good score suggests, so you'll be fine in every scenario.

Speakerphone test Voice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Sony Xperia E4g 62.1 57.7 65.2 Below Average
HTC Desire 510 63.9 61.7 66.6 Below Average
Motorola Moto G (2014) 66.5 66.2 75.1 Average
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen) 72.6 68.7 75.9 Good
Xiaomi Redmi 2 70.8 70.9 77.4 Very Good
Motorola Moto E 75.9 71.5 81.6 Excellent
Motorola Moto G 4G 77.1 76 83.3 Excellent


The messaging is pretty much straightforward as on every other droid out there. One thing we noticed is the generic Email app is being decommissioned in favor of the Gmail app. If you tap on its icon, it will tell you the Gmail app is the client that will handle all your emails from now on.

As expected, the default Google keyboard is on board as well. It offers two sleek-looking, brand new skins - Material Dark and Material Light. The duo matches the new look of Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

The stock Android keyboard

Multimedia

Motorola's proprietary Gallery is the default image explorer on the Moto E (2nd Gen). Its browsing interface is very basic, but there are powerful editing options. It handles videos, too, as there is no dedicated video player.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Motorola's Gallery app

Google Photos is onboard as well. Upon opening the app you'll see two tabs - one for all photos and another one for highlights. Above those two tabs you will find shortcuts for settings and bulk selection.

Viewing a single photo gives you a number of options. You can share it, set it as wallpaper or contact photo, or edit it. The built-in Photos editor is incredibly powerful too.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Photos gallery app

Both galleries handle video files, as Android Lollipop lacks dedicated video app, and are equally capable. Available video decoders include Xvid, DivX, H.263, H.264 AVC (MKV files), and MPEG-4. The app will play most major file formats, though serious video fans should certainly seek out a more capable solution from the Google Play store as the lack of AC3 audio support is quite limiting.

Subtitles are not supported.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

The video player is basic

Finally, Google Play Music is the default player for your tunes on the Moto E (2nd Gen). The app has been treated to the new material design, though it functionality remains unchanged - it can play your local files, as well as stream music from the cloud.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Google Play Music

You can tweak the sound via the built-in equalizer. There are dedicated toggles for surround sound and bass.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

EQ settings

Google will give you six months of free subscription to its music streaming service.

Motorola Moto E 2nd Gen also has stereo FM radio with RDS.

Solid audio output

The Motorola Moto E did great when connected to an active external amplifier. All of its readings were great and the volume levels were above average, rounding up an impressive performance for the entry level device.

Better yet, plugging in a pair of headphones causes a very modest amount of degradation. Outside of the notable increase in stereo crosstalk the readings are unaffected and the output is crispy clear. A good result for any device and a great one for the low-budget Moto E.

And here go the detailed results so you can check them out for yourselves.

Test Frequency response Noise level Dynamic range THD IMD + Noise Stereo crosstalk
Motorola Moto E (2015) +0.02 -0.06 -90.8 91.1 0.0026 0.097 -90.9
Motorola Moto E (2015) (headphones attached) +0.05, -0.06 -90.2 90.7 0.0029 0.063 -51.4
Motorola Moto E +0.28, -1.27 -93.7 90.6 0.026 0.235 -92.0
Motorola Moto E (headphones attached) +0.37, -0.91 -92.8 89.9 0.013 0.223 -34.7
Sony Xperia E4g +0.01, -0.11 -88.1 90.0 0.0097 0.014 -85.9
Sony Xperia E4g (headphones attached) +0.60, -0.34 -84.5 88.8 0.012 0.414 -54.3
Xiaomi Redmi 2 +0.06, -0.04 -94.8 95.9 0.026 0.016 -95.8
Xiaomi Redmi 2 (headphones attached) +0.04, -0.06 -94.0 91.0 0.039 0.053 -70.0

Motorola Moto E (2015)  frequency response

Motorola Moto E (2015) frequency response

You can learn more about the whole testing process here.

Very good 5MP camera with auto-focus

The Moto E (2nd Gen) comes with a modest 5MP camera, this time around with auto-focus. It takes images in a maximum resolution of 2560x1920 pixels. It has a built-in HDR mode, which can also be set to activate automatically in certain shooting conditions.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

The camera does have the same minimalist interface as on the Moto X and E, which includes just two on-screen buttons on the right-hand side for video recording and front-facing camera. Taking an image is done simply by tapping the screen.

The available advanced settings include HDR, touch capture, panorama, geo-tagging, widescreen mode, and shutter sound.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

The camera interface

The 5MP camera samples came up with great amount of detail, little noise, lively colors and average dynamic range. The white balance is often off though and you can spot the pin/orange tints around the sunny photos. This could be easily fixed with any auto-enhance feature, but still.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Moto E (2nd Gen) camera samples

Turning on HDR does a good job of extending the dynamic range, and it also fixes the white balance issues. However colors tend to get a bit overblown in this mode, which takes away some of the realistic look of the images. It's ultimately a matter of personal preference as to which type of image you prefer, but keep in mind that both modes have their drawbacks.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

HDR off • HDR on • HDR off • HDR on

The Auto-HDR is a bit unreliable so we'd recommend manually choosing whichever mode you prefer so as to get more consistent results.

Moto E (2nd Gen) supports shooting 180-degree panoramic pictures. The resolution is quite low though - 2000x500px. The resolved detail and contrast in those pano images is quite poor though.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Moto E (2nd Gen) panoramic shots

Photo quality comparison

The Moto E (2nd Gen) enters our Photo quality comparison tool to face off against other 5MP shooters. You can also pit it against other cameras from within the tools' page.

Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool

The Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen) in our photo compare test

720p video recording at 30 fps

The camcorder UI shares the same viewfinder with the still camera, with the top right button being used to start the video recording. The Moto E (2nd Gen) records 720p videos at 30fps. The bitrate averages about 10Mbps, which can explain the modest resolved detail. Audio is recorded at 128 Kbps in stereo mode with a sampling rate of 48 kHz.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Videos by the Moto E (2nd Gen) are far from stellar, with the modest level of detail being the most noticeable issue. There are similar problems with average dynamic range and wrong white balance like on the still camera.

This is a short video sample, which we've uploaded on YouTube.

And this is an untouched 720p video sample taken straight from the Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen).

Video quality comparison

The Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen) enters our video quality comparison tool to be pitted against other 720p camcorders. You can choose which devices to compare against from within the tools' page.

Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool

The Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen) in our Video quality comparison tool

Conclusion

The Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen) is exactly what you'd expect from the sequel of the most popular budget phone for 2014. The new model gets a screen bump, major performance boost, better camera, double the storage, a bigger battery, a much better build quality and materials and, surprisingly, there is even LTE connectivity. Yet Motorola is asking only a slight premium for the new device - it's selling for £99 or €125.

The screen estate of the Moto E (2nd Gen) is slightly bigger, but the major improvement is the more powerful Snapdragon 410 chipset. While not running in 64-bit mode on the Moto E (2nd Gen), the chip does wonders for the performance of the smartphone. Note there is a cheaper non-LTE version of the Moto E (2nd Gen) out there, too, which is powered by the dated Snapdragon 200 chip, but we wouldn't recommend getting that one even if it's cheaper. The price difference between the two is only marginal.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Android 5.0.2 Lollipop is in charge of operations, vanilla as usual, but we really appreciate the Moto Display feature, which looks a lot like the Lumia Glance screen, but allows interactions. The Android OS is smooth and lag-free, while the enhanced user experience is definitely welcome. The Gallery app Motorola provides won't be everyone's cup of tea, but the default Google Photos is onboard so no further tweaking is required.

We did all of our tests and we found the Motorola Moto E 2nd Generation outperformed our expectations across the board. Everything is great for the class and price range and we wouldn't wish for more.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen) key test findings:

  • The Moto E (2nd Gen) feels solid and well put together. The rubberized finish is great as is the textured grippy frame. The upgrade to the previous generation is night and day.
  • The larger display is still far from stellar, retaining the same 540 x 960px resolution. Colors and contrast are very good but the maximum brightness is underwhelming.
  • Battery life is excellent with an endurance rating of 82h.
  • The vanilla Android 5 Lollipop is buttery smooth, while Moto Display is a very nice addition. Motorola also promises timely Android updates for the next two years.
  • Performance-wise, the Moto E (2nd Gen) doubles the power of its predecessor, no matter which model you will be opting for. The 4G LTE Moto E (2nd Gen) has a 64-bit Snapdragon 410 chip, which is the best hardware you can get in this price range.
  • The speaker on the Moto E (2nd Gen) scored a Good mark, being only a hair below the Very good mark. While it isn't as loud as the previous Moto E, its sound quality is better.
  • The audio quality is very good.
  • The camera is a plain 5MP unit, but this time there's auto focus. There is plenty of detail, the contrast and colors are ok, but the white balance is often off.
  • 720p videos turn out OK, again, considering the 5MP camera. The detail is less than the still pictures and the inaccurate white balance remains.

There are a bunch of affordable smartphones the Moto E (2nd Gen) is going to share its market niche with, but are those better? Let's find out.

The Xiaomi Redmi 2 offers a bigger and better 4.7" IPS 720p display, and runs on the same Snapdragon 410 chip as the Moto E (2nd Gen). The 8MP camera is better, as is the 1080p video recording, plus there is a LED flash. Xiaomi is offering a variant of the phone with double the RAM and storage. Finally, the Redmi 2 benefits from a very clean MIUI v.6 launcher, but it still runs on top of Android KitKat OS. The only thing the Moto E (2nd Gen) has over the Redmi 2 is the fast-track Android updates and the wider service center network. Xiaomi's is still tied to the several specific markets it operates on.

Xiaomi Redmi 2

Xiaomi Redmi 2

The Sony Xperia E4g is matching the Moto E (2nd Gen) feature by feature. It packs a 4.7" qHD display, it runs on a similar quad-core Cortex-A53 CPU, it matches the storage and camera resolution, the battery capacity, and even the pricing. The MT6732 chip is better though - the CPU clock is higher and the Mali-T760MP2 is more powerful, thus the Xperia E4g can do 1080p video capturing. It also has a Dual SIM version. If you are OK with Sony's take on Android, you should certainly check it out. Though have in mind that Sony still hasn't announced any plans for an Android Lollipop update.

Sony Xperia E4g

Sony Xperia E4g

HTC Desire 510 is another proper alternative, though with lower-res screen. The chipset (LTE included) is the same, the camera is 5MP, and the internal storage is 8 gigs. The Desire 510 runs Android KitKat and may as well be stuck forever on this version, as HTC isn't keen on updating its low-end phones. The user feedback isn't on the positive side, as the Desire 510 is bulky, the plastic quality is questionable and the price at some markets is unreasonably higher. If you are a fan of HTC Sense, maybe you should give it a try, though we'd recommend sticking to the Moto E.

HTC Desire 510

HTC Desire 510

The price of the LTE-enabled flavor of the LG G2 mini has recently dropped to bargain levels. It has a 4.7" IPS qHD display, a Snapdragon 400 chip and an 8MP snapper. If you like LG's innovations such as the rear control deck, KnockON and Knock Code, and QuickMemo, among others, you should definitely check the G2 mini before making your final decision. Do remember, that for now, this one is stuck on Android KitKat as well.

LG G2 mini LTE

LG G2 mini LTE

The Motorola Moto G 4G from 2014 costs about €30 more than the Moto E (2nd Gen) and offers a higher-res display, equal performance and a LED flash for the camera. The new Moto G 4G (2015) puts a 5" 720p display and an 8MP cam, but those add additional €55 on top of the Moto E (2nd Gen) €125 price tag.

Motorola Moto G 4G
Motorola Moto G 4G (2nd gen)

Motorola Moto G 4G • Motorola Moto G 4G (2nd gen)

Finally, the Nokia Lumia 635 (recently updated with 1GB of RAM) will give you a smooth and fast enough Windows phone experience with excellent Microsoft services integration, plus free lifetime worldwide voice-guided navigation. Windows is getting better by the day and Windows 10, which is set to for release this summer seems to be a real game changer.

Nokia Lumia 635

Nokia Lumia 635

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen) builds upon the traditions established by the original Moto E and brings about a balanced feature mix combined with a wonderful price tag. Sure, there are better phones out there, but none of them has the Moto promise for lightning-fast updates for the years ahead. And that's something no faster processor, or LED flash or slightly higher video recording can make up for. But then again, your preferences may lie elsewhere and we wouldn't blame you.

Retail package

As other affordable Moto smartphones, the new Moto E comes in a very basic retail box with just a microUSB connectivity cable. Motorola relies on you to have at least one charger plug at your home or you would have to use a USB port on your computer to charge the phone.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

The retail box and its contents

The lack of a headset is a bigger omission, but it may as well be our specific regional version.

Moto E (2nd Gen) 360-degree view

The second-gen Moto E comes with a bigger 4.5" display and thus has a slightly larger footprint. It spreads at 129.9 x 66.8 x 12.3 - this is 5mm taller, 2mm wider than the original Moto E, but the thickness stays the same.

Design and build quality

You'd expect Motorola Moto E 2nd Gen to be visually quite similar to its predecessor and you'd be right. The feeling of holding it in your hand however couldn't be different.

Both are made entirely of matte plastic and don't mind lugging along a thinker than average waistline, but the new Moto E is made of higher quality materials and the back is made of rubbery feeling soft plastic. There is also a new design element - a strip that runs along the sides of the phone, which has a grippy textured pattern.

The back panel is not removable but that's not a significant change. On last year's model we could pop open the rear panel, but only to access the SIM and microSD slots - the battery wasn't user replaceable. It isn't now either. To gain access to the card slots, you remove the side strip instead. It's an unusual solution, but quite clever and practical.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

The removable frame is also made of rubbery plastic, but it has a textured pattern, which improves the grip tremendously. The tiny piece is very easy to pop off and you can also change it for a strip in another color, which means you can use it to add color accents to your phone. Motorola calls it the Motorola Band and sells the extra colors in sets of three.

The matte plastic isn't as prone to fingerprints and smudges as the glossy materials, but it still gets smudged over time and requires cleaning.

The iconic 'M' logo at the back sits in a slightly depressed circle, just enough for your index fingertip to rest comfortably during a call. This, plus the grippy sides, provide a perfect handling experience for the Moto E.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Handling the Moto E (2nd Gen)

Controls

The Moto E (2nd Gen) is stripped of any hardware controls at the front - the Android OS is providing on-screen controls instead.

Above the display sits the earpiece, which also doubles as a loudspeaker. Next to it is the secondary VGA camera. The proximity and ambient light sensors are also there.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Above the screen - earpiece/loudspeaker, VGA camera and a couple of sensors

The right side of the Moto E houses the textured power key and the volume rocker, both made from silver plastic. There is nothing on the left.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

A peek at the right and left sides of the Moto E

The 3.5mm audio jack is on top of the Moto E, while the bottom has the lonely microUSB slot.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Moto E's top and bottom

The centered 5MP auto-focus camera lens is at the back accompanied by the Motorola's logo. The secondary microphone for active noise-cancelling and stereo sound during video recording is next to the camera as well.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

The back of the new Moto E

Finally, the primary microphone is also at the back, placed around the bottom.

Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

Popping the frame

Removing the frame, which requires a bit of fingernail work, reveals the microSIM and microSD slots. You can hot-swap both cards anytime.

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