The Motorola 2021 Moto e7 is part of the new Motorola breed – one that focuses not only on affordability but on how a Moto smartphone can help reduce Joe and Jane Average’s typical use pain points. The Motorola 2021 Moto e7 is pretty well everything you could expect for the price – Android 10 with My UX, a decent MediaTek Helio G25 processor, plenty of RAM and extendable storage, a large 6.5″ HD+ Screen, dual sim and a 4000mAh battery.
This is a mini-review as that is all a value device needs. Regardless we have still conducted over 70 tests, and it meets or exceeds all. It gets both the value tick and a buy recommendation.
Motorola 2021 Moto e7 Model XT2095-3 4/64GB RETAPAC Dual Sim
From JB Hi-Fi, The Good Guys, Officeworks, Big W and the Motorola online store
Warranty: 12 months ACL if purchased from an authorised reseller or Motorola online.
Country of manufacture: China
Company: Owned by Lenovo (Est 1984) – a multinational technology company with its main operational headquarters in Beijing and Morrisville, North Carolina. It is the world’s largest PC maker. It purchased Motorola Mobility from Google in 2014. Most of Lenovo’s smartphone business is now under the Motorola brand, and it has grand plans to become a ‘top five’ smartphone maker.
Yes, it is another big 6.5″ glass slab, albeit with a pretty metallic look milled texture back (its plastic), a dual camera, and thankfully 3.5mm audio and USB-C ports. If you only have $199, this is a no brainer. However, there is an e7 power* ($149) and a g10 ($249) and g30 ($299) that are all tempting. All that is missing from the e-series is NFC, and you can’t expect that in the value price bracket.
Moto shines in its My UX, which is more a companion to Android. This offers a range of tools, gestures and value-added apps (camera) but can still easily upgradable. I understand that it may get Android 11, but regardless, it will get regular security patches and updates.
* e7 power is essentially the same device with 2/32GB, 5000mAh battery, and a different (non-binned) camera. If you are on a tight budget, consider this as well. The specification comparison is at the end.
Screen – 6.5” 1600×720, 269ppi, 20:9, 60Hz IPS, centre teardrop
The price bracket decides the screen specs, and this is one of the better 720p ones I have seen. It is not overly bright and is not overly readable in direct sunlight.
Tests show a maximum of 470nits, but the typical is closer to 440nits. The contrast is 1300:1. Don’t expect true colours – It has three colour settings – natural, boosted, and saturated, and the best we could get is 90% sRGB.
Processor – MediaTek Helio G25 12nm
Interestingly the ‘g’ stands for its gaming versions – details here but based on GFX Bench Tests; it is only a casual gamers device. Geekbenck 5 single/multi-core is 152/844, which puts it at the low-end Qualcomm SD4XX series. The G25 brings 4G LTE (4GX compatible) dual sim, VoLTE (carrier dependent), a reasonable amount of AI photo processing (including EIS video), and a 720p screen with up to two days of battery life.
4GB LPDDR4X/64GB (42GB free)/microSD to 512GB is tons for most users, especially with microSD expandability. Sequential storage read/write is 288/221Mbps – typical of eMMC flash storage. It has OTG and can support exFAT formatted drives up to 2TB
Surprisingly good and stable over the 15-minute tests. It has a maximum of 84,145GIPS and averages 79,264 – about a 5% loss over 15 minutes. CPU temperature went to 50°.
To shave a few pennies, it has Wi-Fi 4 N 2.4Ghz, BT 5.0, and single-band GPS. All are well within spec for this price range. Wi-Fi was -11dBm (excellent) and 78Mbps (average for 2.4Ghz). It held speeds reasonably well to 30 metres.
It does not have NFC for Google Pay. You will need to spend $49 more for the new moto G10 to get that as well as Wi-Fi AC. BT supports SBC and AAC codecs only. There is plenty of volume via the cables, earphones and BT headphones. Sensors are basic – combo accelerometer and gyroscope, proximity and ambient light sensor. If you plan to use it as a pedometer – don’t rely on the step count. Security is via a rear fingerprint sensor. It was fast and accurate.
It has an extensive range of 2/3/4G bands – more than enough to travel overseas with it. Dual SIM is hybrid – shared with a micro-SD or two sims. Antenna signal strength is -105dBm and 39.8fW. It finds the next nearest tower at -110 and 31fW – good. It’s a city, suburbs and regional city phone. Data download (3-bar area) was 25.7/10.1Mbps and 37ms – not bad.
Sound – mono
It has an earpiece speaker that reaches 45dB (OK but not overly loud) and a mono back-firing speaker for music, system sounds and hands-free. It reaches 85dB max (loud) but with noticeable distortion. As a mono speaker it has no bass or low range mid (up to 500Hz) and strong mid and treble ranges for a clear voice.
The single mic has no noise cancellation, and its placement near the back speaker can lead to some feedback in hands-free use. The 3.5mm cable feed and BT 5.0 feed were clean and had plenty of volume. The 3.5mm earphones act as the FM radio aerial.
Battery – 4000mAh and 5V/2A/10W charger
Unless you are a heavy user, you will get at least one and a half days between charges. In our limited testing, it easily made 30+hrs in typical use. It comes with a 5V/2A/10W charger. Moto says it is 10W capable. We are concerned that we could not get the device to charge any higher than 5V/1A/5W, taking nearly five hours to charge. We did not run the full suite of tests
Video loop, internal storage, 50% screen, no sound – 19 hours
GFX Bench T-REX 538.5m and 1538 frames
Screen-on time – 7 hours (about 400-450mA at idle)
Heavy use – 10 hours
Work 2.0 Battery life – 11 hours
Lovely metallic finish over plastic and a plastic frame. The front is glass (not specified), so we recommend a screen protector. It is a nice pocketable phone at 165 x 75.7 x 9 mm x 180g with a 20:9 screen ratio.
You cannot expect operating system upgrades at this price – just regular ‘every other month’ security patches. As tested, the patch was 5/1/2021. Motorola provides its MY UX, which is a feature set enhancement to Android. It runs with Android rather than replace boot loaders etc., and makes the phone easier to upgrade.
My UX features
Personalise: Styles, Wallpapers, Layout Display: Peek Display, Single tap to wake Actions: Screenshot toolkit, Flip for DND, Pick up to silence, Media controls, Attentive display, Lift to unlock, Swipe to split, Gametime, Tips Gestures: Swipe fingerprint for notifications, Jump to the camera, System navigation, Lift to check phone, Prevent ringing, Fast flashlight, Three-finger screenshot
Camera – 48MP plus 2MP depth
The camera is essentially a 48MP sensor binned (combines four pixels) to 12MP (f/1.7, .8um binned to 1.6um, 68° FOV) with PDAF. So, all photos are computational photography – what the AI thinks looks best. And to its credit, it produces quite acceptable results.
The 2MP (f/2.4, 1.75um) sensor for macro use. Bokeh appears to be AI-controlled rather than using this sensor. Video is a maximum f 1080p@30fps, and it is quite acceptable with the CPU EIS helping to keep things steady. BTW EIS crops a ‘steady’ image from the larger 12MP frame. The front 5MP (f/2.2, 1.12um, 66.8° FOV) selfie camera is adequate but uninspiring with clearly evident pixelation and smoothing of details.
Camera summary: Better than social media quality.
The Motorola 2021 Moto e7 meets or exceeds all you can expect of a $199 device. When we review phones, we use at least five different paradigm sets based on price – what we expect. This is a budget phone. As it meets or exceeds all, we start at a pass mark of 8/10. We added points for Motorola build and quality, for a good camera, good battery life, and My UX that adds value to Android. At 9/10, it is pretty amazing.
It gets our unreserved buy recommendation for a $199 device. If you are skint, then the e7 power at $149 would get a similar recommendation. But I strongly recommend that you spend $50 more and get the mot g10 (not reviewed yet) to get NFC, Wi-Fi AC and a little more.
Warning: This has Australian firmware marked ‘RETAPAC’ in about the phone. Do not buy the 2/32GB version for ‘global’ sale.