Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Moto E second-generation launched in India: Hands-on

NEW DELHI: Motorola today unveiled its second-generation Moto E smartphone for the Indian market, bringing both the 3G variant of the new smartphone to the market, but making us wait longer for the faster 4G model. We used Motorola's new low-cost smartphone at the event to bring to you the first impressions, and what we think about the model.

Unlike the second-generation Moto X and G smartphones, the new Moto E looks pretty similar to its predecessor. However, the design update is still big enough to distinguish the two upon closer inspection.

While the body is still retains the curvy, slopy elements of the original Moto E, it feels a little thicker and bigger in size when you hold it, even though the two have exactly the same dimensions. Moreover, it is still small enough to be used comfortably in one hand, but has better grip.

On the sides, Motorola has used user-removable bands, which come off pretty easily. In our view, the bands with rubber coating make gripping the second-gen Moto E a lot more easier, with no danger of slipping out of the hand.

Another change is the introduction of VGA camera in front and autofocus lens on the back.

The display size has increased, from 4.3-inch in the first Moto E to 4.5-inch the new one. Though the resolution stays put at 540x960p, the difference is pixel density is hard to judge through the naked eye.

What clearly is noticeable, however, is the improvement in viewing angles as the colours wash out a lot less on the new Moto E compared to its predecessor. The display is also very bright and colours appear vibrant.

The 3G version of the second-generation Moto E runs on the Snapdragon 200 processor with four cores (compared to just two cores in the original Moto E), with each core running at 1.2GHz. The phone runs on stock Android 5.0 Lollipop software, with a few Motorola apps thrown in. The combination of the Snapdragon 410 processor, 1GB RAM and Android Lollipop would allow the new Moto E to handle most tasks pretty easily.

The camera setup of Moto E has also received an upgrade, getting a VGA sensor in front. But alas, the camera still remains the Achilles' heel of the Moto E series.

The rear 5MP camera still shoots grainy photos even of objects close by. You, in fact, lose out on a lot of detail with this camera because of the poor sensor. Same goes for the front VGA camera, which barely does a job of a selfie machine. However, we must point out that the demo area where we clicked the images was not very well lit, so daylight images *may* appear better.

We feel that the photos you take with the new Moto E's front and rear cameras would hardly be worthy of your Facebook and Twitter pages.

What we think
The 3G variant of the new Moto E is a small upgrade to the original model, but worth much more than the Rs 1,000 premium it commands. The phone feels a little faster, camera is better, the body and design are more ergonomic and display is slightly improved, thus making this smartphone worth a buy at Rs 6,999.

However, with the launch of the 4G model just a couple of months away, we would hold off buying the 3G model just yet. In fact, unless you need a smartphone immediately, we suggest you wait for the Moto E 4G to hit the market as the smartphone's faster processor makes a whole lot of difference when you use it.