Mobile World Congress earlier in the year revealed a few new phones heading our way, one of which was a newbie from Motorola offering 4G without resorting to spending too much. Unfortunately it’s more than we expected.
Back in February, Motorola was one of the few major smartphone makers that didn’t reveal much that would be coming internationally. We had only just received the latest version of the Moto X, so it didn’t shock us, but there was something on the horizon if you weren’t down for spending high-end sort of money, and that was the E was going 4G.
Motorola loves its letters, and if you know them like we do, you know that “X” is flagship, “G” is mid-range, and “E” is entry-level. Motorola’s entry-level smartphones have never really brought 4G to the table either, with the G the first to do so halfway through last year for $299.
Meanwhile, the Moto E has generally fetched a price under $200 for a decent 3G device with strong battery life being the key feature, sitting next to a very user friendly version of Android that kept things mostly the way Google — and consumers — like them: easy.
Later this week, however, you’ll be able to find a Moto E that will let you get faster mobile speeds and a splash of colour at select retailers in Australia, as the next E arrives with updated specs across the board.
We’re told the processor has seen an upgrade, jumping from a dual-core Snapdragon 200 to a quad-core Snapdragon 410 which should improve performance, with the 4GB internal storage doubled to 8GB and a microSD slot included for as much as 32GB extra space.
The modem is faster too, an obvious thing as we jump from 3G to 4G LTE, though Motorola isn’t saying whether this will be a Category 3, 4, or 6 device. We’re guessing Cat 4, which means this will pull downloads as fast as 150Mbps and uploads up to 50Mbps, network dependent of course.
Other aspects aren’t changing dramatically, such as the screen which will keep the 960×540 display but run it on a slightly larger screen, jumping from 4.3 to 4.5 inches, which won’t make a huge dent on size. Likewise, there’s still a 5 megapixel shooter on the back, though we hope it’s better than the last E’s camera, and this time, Motorola has seen fit to include a front-facing VGA camera.
Android’s latest iteration is also here, “Lollipop”, which is no surprise since Motorola tends to roll out updates to its phones fairly quickly.
But while the phone looks like a decent little update, we’re a little surprised by the price.
Right now, the 3G Moto E fetches a recommended retail price of $179, providing something for the sub-$200 market looking to go for a name they know, but the 4G E doesn’t quite get that luxury, with Motorola telling GadgetGuy that it will arrive in Australia for $249, just $50 shy of its bigger brother, the Moto G 4G.
You can colour us confused on this one, because while the processors are similar between the models, the G outflanks its E sibling in almost every way, with a high-definition screen and a camera with a flash being the main reasons the G wins.
For the E to only come in $50 lower is a real surprise, and given that the current Motorola E can be found priced much lower than the $179 on street price, a cost of $70 more for 4G is a little shocking.
In any case, you’ll find it in stores very soon if you’re interested in it, with Motorola also releasing colourful bands and shells for the phone to spruce it up and protect it from small drops. Prices on these haven’t yet been announced, but we’re sure they can’t be too much, although Motorola has surprised us on price, so who knows.
UPDATE (June 18): Forget about making your Moto E 4G look pretty, because Motorola won’t be bringing in the grip shells or the colourful bands to Australia. Also, the older Motorola E will be disappearing, with this one replacing it. So much for a sub-$200 Moto.