Product Reviews

Moto E4

Motorola has made it dead simple to stumble upon not just an affordable Android phone, but a really good one, at that. 

The new Moto E4 is no exception, and at the low cost of $129/£129, it honestly had me fooled that it wasn’t gunning for the mid-range alongside the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus.

It’s easy enough to see why I was mistaken. Loaded with Android Nougat alongside its quad-core processor, the 2.5D glass front covering the E4 gives it an undeniably fresh look and the fingerprint sensor is an unexpected treat at this price point. Finally, add in a few crowd-pleasers like Google Assistant, a removable battery and microSD support and you’ve got the makings for what seems like a robust mid-range option on paper.

Obviously, having all of this in a budget package makes the E4 all the more appealing and once again, Moto has upped its own bar by bringing yet another well-designed budget phone to market that will suit many users perfectly.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Moto E4 isn’t a gaming powerhouse or the premier choice for enjoying your multimedia compared to high-end options. But for the price, there’s surprisingly little compromise here.

Moto E4 release date and price

The latest budget phone from Moto will be available starting today at Verizon on a prepaid basis for $69.99. If you snag that model, it’ll be tied to that network for a year or until you make $75 in payments. Then, it will be unlockable.

If you don’t mind waiting just a small while, there will be an unlocked Moto E4 for $129/£129 on June 30 from Amazon, NewEgg, Best Buy, B&H, Fry’s and official Motorola’s website. Moto tells us that like its previous budget phones, an ad-supported E4 will eventually be available subsidized through Amazon, though we don’t know the official price as of yet. It’s a relatively safe call to say that it will cost around $99.

No matter where you choose to purchase the Moto E4, it will support both CDMA and GSM signal, meaning that carriers like AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile and other MVNOs will work out of the box.

Design

Affordable smartphones are better than ever. Not only are the specs fairly respectable on the whole, but design cues from the high-end range of smartphones have seeped in, making cheap phones not look so…cheap.

The Moto E4 impresses off the bat with its slightly curved 2.5D glass panel, melding into the all-plastic chassis almost seamlessly. The small lip at the display’s edge where the glass transitions to glossy plastic breaks the illusion a bit.

On its front, you’ll find the usual suspects, like a front facing camera, an LED flash and an earpiece that doubles as a speaker. More surprising an inclusion is the fingerprint sensor, which looks to be lifted from the Moto G5. The concave sensor is easy to find without looking for and it’s as responsive and secure as one’s your find in phones that cost two to three times as much.

Around the phone’s sides, you’ll find a 3.5mm headphone jack, a microUSB port for charging, and combo of volume rocker and notched power button along its right edge.

The phone’s rear will look different depending on where you live. In the UK, you’ll be treated to an all-metal body, which gives it a more premium look. In the US, it’s made up of lightly textured plastic. Personally, I’m more a fan of the plastic since it gives it a distinct look when sitting next to the G5.

Both feature a circular camera system that sticks out just a bit, which has oddly become somewhat of a signature Moto feature. We’re not sure why it couldn’t have sat flush given that the sensor doesn’t feature any high-end features, but thankfully, the bump doesn’t detract from the experience much given that it’s a near-$100 phone.

Popping off the plastic cover reveals the battery, SIM slot and microSD slot. People, including myself, love having the flexibility of swapping out a battery, so the fact that this phone offers it is a big plus.


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