Second Generation Moto E 

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As with some of the company’s other products, such as Moto G and Moto X, Lenovo has released the second generation of its Moto E smartphone offering. Aimed specifically at the budget market sector, this latest version of the Moto E is now available in 3G and 4G LTE varieties depending upon the needs of the user.

Motorola Moto E 2nd edition
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With the second generation Moto E you have a choice of a black or white model.  While this might seems a little limiting, you can personalise the handset as you brighten up the appearance of your handset with interchangeable Motorola Bands of various hues and Grip Shells.  Among the available Motorola Bands will be turquoise or raspberry offerings.

Size-wise this new version of the Moto E is slightly larger and 3g heavier than the original offering.  The plastic casing of the unit’s body still suffers from a tendency to slip and slide, which I noted with the previous model, if it is not held firmly in the user’s grip.

Dominating the front of the Moto E is a 4.5 inch screen again showing an increase in size over the earlier model.  This is a qHD screen with a resolution of 540 x 960.  The screen has an anti smudge coating.  The screen is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 3.  The screen is bright and colourful with clear visibility in various lighting conditions.

The arrangement and positioning of the external connection options and controls do remain the same as that used with the original Moto E.  Positioned rather close together are the power switch and volume rocker on the right side of the handset.  A micro USB port, for recharging the internal fixed battery and a computer link up, is located at the bottom of the handset while a 3.5mm jack socket is positioned conveniently at the top of the body for attaching headphones.  A front-mounted VGA camera, for video calling and the popular trend for self-capture, has been added to supplement the main 5GB camera positioned on the rear of the Moto E.

Earlier I mentioned “external” connections and I did this for a reason.  Like its predecessor, this new Moto E conceals some connection options from sight.  By removing the default Motorola Band running around the edge of the unit’s body, you reveal slots for inserting a nano SIM card and an optional SD card.  The SD card will allow you to increase the amount of storage from the claimed 8GB (double the previous version).  When I checked out my review sample, I was informed that storage was 5GB of which 4.24GB was available for my use.  I am at a loss to explain the disparity between the claimed and reported figures.

Incidentally, the removal of the Motorola Band is not the easiest exercise.  You are meant to use a thumb or fingernail to carry out this task. There is a warning not to use a sharp implement as this could cause damage.  However you could find that damage is caused to your finger or thumbnail as you attempt to remove the Motorola Band.  Fortunately this is not a task that needs to be carried out on a regular basic.

Lenovo has upgraded the processor used with the second generation of the Moto E.  You now get a more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor with a 1.2GHz quad-core CPU with an Adreno 306 GPU.  The supplied 1GB of RAM remains the same as that provided with the original offering.  Providing the power is a 2390mAh battery with a claimed 24 hours of light to reasonable usage.

Firing up the Moto E was a little disappointing.  Following a 3 second depress of the start button, a further 44 seconds was required before arriving at the Home screen.  This was approximately 9 seconds slower that the original Moto E.  Some of the blame for this delayed start could possible be laid at the feet of Android’s latest Lollipop operating system and the demands it makes.

This Home screen features the usual Back, Home and Menu buttons arranged below Phone, Messages, Apps, Browser and Camera options.  Google and Play Store are the only other occupiers until you personalise this screen with some of your favourite apps.  You can also add your choice of wallpaper.

With regards to the camera facility, you are also meant to be able to activate it with a couple of wrist twists.  Unfortunately I often found this action had to be repeated several times.  Sometimes I would finish up with a sore wrist before getting the camera app to load.  Once loaded, the camera app was easy to use with options to switch between the front and back cameras with a choice of still or video capture with adjustable settings and a burst mode.

Pre-installed on the Moto E are a mixture of standard Google offerings and Motorola developed apps for the benefit of the user.  These latter items include Alert which can send an emergency message to a selected group of friends and family plus Migrate which can automatically transfer settings between two handsets.

As you might expect with a smartphone that has a price point of under £110, there are some features that have not made it into the design of the new Moto E.  I have already mentioned the lack of ease-of-use with regards to gaining access to the SIM and SD card slots.  The handset also does not support the NFC or OTG technologies that some find useful.  Just remember you get what you pay for and the Moto E is a reasonable, but not exceptional, device priced at £109.

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