Motorola is back in the market. The renowned brand has decided to completely redesign its ranges to offer a clear line and products for all prices. We used the entry-level Motorola for a few days, the Moto E4. Here is our complete test!
Motorola is back! This is the message sent by the brand to signal its return in force. The younger ones may not know it, but Motorola is one of the companies that were behind the mobile phone with models like the famous Startac. But since the advent of smartphones, Motorola has lost its superb.
Yet, its products have always been of high quality, and very original. Unfortunately, poor communication and successive takeovers by Google and then Lenovo have sowed trouble in the minds of consumers. We did not really know who Motorola was, if the brand still existed as such.
In 2017, Motorola decided to start on a healthy footing. Even if the brand still belongs to Lenovo, it will be a full-fledged entity dedicated to mobile. For its great return, Motorola is launching a complete line of new products for different audiences. From the pre-teen to the most tech-savvy adult, there’s something for everyone.
We were able to take in hand for several days one of the new products of Motorola. The Motorola E4 is the entry-level smartphone from Motorola. Offered for a cheap price, its target is clear: young teenagers looking for a first smartphone quite comprehensive, consistent.
During our test days, the Moto E4 was surprising for a smartphone sold at this price. Motorola has put the little dishes in the big ones so that the quality is at the rendezvous in spite of a content tariff. Here are all our impressions in our complete test of the Moto E4.
What’s in the box?
The box of the Moto E4 marks us by its bright colors, flashy, very young and dynamic. Orange, blue, white, all in a compact format rejoicing. In the box, no big surprise. But a small one anyway. We find the Moto E4, its charging block, a cable with a classic mini USB port, white headphones and … a battery!
Yes, the Moto E4 has a removable battery. We will talk about it in the “design” part, but the smartphone surprised us by proposing the removable battery. Motorola did not want to make a concession between the elegant design and the practical side. The hull is well made of aluminum but it is removable. A nice surprise as soon as the box opens.
The phone is armed with a 5-inch HD display and a screen resolution of 720×1280 pixels, thus ensuring outstanding clarity for a phone in this range. It runs on the latest Android 7.1.1 Nougat and houses a 2GB RAM.
From the first moments, the Moto E4 surprises us. Its design has nothing to do with a smartphone sold below 200 euros. The first surprising element is the presence of a fingerprint sensor at the front. On products at this price, the fingerprint reader is a real luxury. Here it is not a physical button on which it is possible to “click” but a reader like the OnePlus 5 for example. I will come back to this fingerprint reader.
Let us return to design. Overall the Moto E4 does not deny its origins. From the first glance one recognizes the lines of Motorola smartphones. The lines are curved, the corners rounded. Two black bands at the top and bottom frame a 5-inch screen. On the upper band is the speaker for telephone conversations, the photo sensor and a flash. On the bottom band, the fingerprint reader.
On the lower slice, there is a classic USB port and a microphone, on the upper slice a jack port. The left slice is devoid of any key, everything is concentrated on the right slice with the volume keys and on / off (with a small relief sympathetic to the touch). It will also be noted that on the bottom edge one can observe a small notch allowing to remove the shell of the smartphone and to access the removable battery, the port for SIM card and microSD.
This shell precisely is the most beautiful surprise on the design side. If in this range of smartphones it is rather used to see plastic smartphones (more or less worked), Motorola has made the choice of aluminum.
On our dark gray model, we have two brighter bands at the top and bottom of the hull. The speaker is located at the bottom right of the hull, quite astonishing. In the center, we find the logo of Motorola and at the top again, the camera. As for its high-end models, Motorola has taken over the round and imposing design of the photo lens. On the Moto E4, the whole fits very well.
In hand, the Moto E4 is very compact and very pleasant although it may seem a little thick. Aluminum tends to slip a little bit but nothing very troublesome. Despite its mini format, the smartphone weighs its weight, which is rather reassuring. The Moto E4 looks robust without being too heavy, a very good point.
In general, the Moto E4 displays a stunning design for a smartphone of this range. Motorola has just seen by making an effort on design. Because today it is one of the main criteria of choice for the consumer. Even more for the target audience, teenagers.
For Motorola, small price does not mean moldy screen. The manufacturer has made the choice of a screen of 5 inches with definition HD. Be careful, do not expect a madness screen either, you are not on Full HD or QHD. But in this compact format, the result is quite astonishing. Motorola has done a very good job on the screen.
The color management is rather surprising with deep blacks and bright colors. Note just a small tendency to press a little too much on the yellow, but in general it is very balanced.
The maximum brightness makes it possible to use the E4 Moto in all conditions. In the sun, we will sometimes struggle a little with the different angles of view, the reflections are sometimes numerous. But for a smartphone of this range the quality of the screen is really surprising.
Obviously, we are not entitled here to a borderless screen. The borders are not fine, we are not in the air of time, but the whole is quite effective, and it is well what one seeks for a smartphone at this price. On the side of the screen, the Moto E4 is not a killer but it does wonders in its range.
The Moto E4 boasts a MediaTek MT6737M processor clocked at 1.3 GHz Quad Core ARM Cortex-A53. It is supported by 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal memory (expandable via microSD). With such a technical sheet, there is no point in expecting mad performance. The benchmarks are rather unanimous, the Moto E4 is not a smartphone that offers good performance.
And that’s a shame. Because the target targeted by Motorola is resolutely young. But young does not mean that performance is neglected, quite the opposite. For the uses of adolescents still require power. They mainly use social networks with very greedy applications like Facebook Messenger or Snapchat for example, but they are also very numerous to play on their smartphone. Above all, they use dozens of multitasking application.
And this is where the product lacks coherence. Because in terms of performance the Moto E4 is absolutely not adapted to its target. Once several applications are installed in the terminal, you can quickly feel slowdowns. For the most basic uses one feels a lack of fluidity, bugs, lags, crashes. It’s a shame.
It seems obvious that the 2 GB of RAM is largely insufficient even if Motorola has opted for a light interface. Start Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram at the same time, and the Moto E4 will already show some limits.
The performance is clearly for us one of the biggest disappointments of this Moto E4. A small effort on this side would have allowed Motorola to propose a truly coherent terminal. There, the lack of performance shows that the brand has not really studied the needs of its target.
The Moto E4 is equipped with Android 7.1.1 Nougat. As usual, Motorola offers here a virtually pure version of Android. The constructor just adds some features here and there, but nothing more. We are entitled to a pane of applications that appears by scanning from the bottom up, as can be seen on Google Pixel for example.
All the “originalities” of the smartphone are actually grouped in an application called Moto. As explained in the introduction to the app, “With Moto, the actions you make on your phone every day become easier”. Be aware that Moto is not mandatory, you can activate it or not. If you do not enable it, you will enjoy a pure Android experience.
Moto’s features are divided into two parts. The first concerns the gestures that make it easier to use. The second is the screen that can be configured to save energy, receive discrete notifications or even customize the color of the screen at night.
Let’s start with the gestures. Motorola offers a welcome feature called “one-finger navigation”. The principle is simple: thanks to the fingerprint reader we can by gestures replace the navigation keys of Android. Thus, the return is replaced by a scan from right to left on the sensor. To return to the homepage, you touch the fingerprint reader and to access the multi-task you sweep from left to right.
This feature has two advantages: first it is intuitive and allows to use the smartphone with one hand, but in addition it allows to gain of the surface of display on the screen. Because once this feature is enabled, the navigation bar disappears. Well seen.
The other function, less innovative but still welcome: the reduction of the screen. A sweep from an upper corner to the opposite bottom corner (diagonally) reduces the screen. Here, the 5-inch screen being quite simple to use with one hand, this option is more gadget than anything else.
Let’s now look at the screen-related features. Motorola offers two functions. The first, called “night screen” allows to change the colors used by the smartphone at night. Automatically the system will use warmer tones to promote better sleep conditions. A kind of integrated blue light filter.
Simply put, convenient notifications appear when the screen is off. One way to access notifications without having to turn on your smartphone every time. This function notably makes it possible to improve the autonomy of the Moto E4.
By opting for a version of pure Android enhanced with some house features, Motorola offers one of the best experiences of Android currently. One always takes as much pleasure to use a smartphone of the mark. An excellent point since the Motorcycle E4 is the smartphone of the first step towards Android for Motorola. Both have good impressions right away.
For the audio part, no surprise. Top-of-the-line models do not do wonders, so do not ask too much for an entry-level model. The sound quality here is not terrible but it is still not good. For example, the loudspeaker on the back does not allow you to view a video by placing the phone on a table.
Same when playing, when you hold the smartphone in landscape mode, you plug the audio output. The location was not really well chosen, it’s a shame. Apart from that, the quality of the sound that escapes the speaker is really mediocre.
The treble is pretty well controlled but the medium is bad and you can hear sizzling noise when the volume is at its maximum. The bass, however, clearly lacks punch.
Despite these defects, the whole is not horrible. Some manufacturers do not offer this audio quality on models 2 to 3 times more expensive. A good point for Motorola that will certainly reach its target of young teenagers music lovers.
It should be noted, in conclusion, that the headphones provided are quite sufficient on a daily basis. The audio quality through these earphones is much better than through the speaker. In public transport, it will be arranged even if we will always favor earphones more upscale. Somewhat logical.
Network and GPS
Motorola was at the origin of its existence a brand specialized in telecommunications. It is therefore quite logically that the Moto E4 displays good performances at the level of networking, WiFi and GPS.
The Moto E4 is compatible with 4G, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, and WLAN 802.11 a / b / g / n. For an entry-level smartphone it is therefore pretty well equipped and will meet the needs of the Motorola target, young teenagers. In practice, the E4 Motorbike quickly hooks up 4G and WiFi.
In conversation, we do not have the best quality of the earth but Motorola has managed to offer something very good for this product line. Again, the brand does not make concessions, even though young teenagers have very little appeal in the vast majority.
On the other hand, the followers of WiFi connections will find their happiness. Again the Moto E4 connects quickly. Same for the GPS which is rather effective even if it can sometimes be a little inaccurate, especially when looking for his way on foot. But generally, it’s a good job.
The camera is the good surprise of this Moto E4 . Do not expect quality high-end, but do not underestimate the work done by Motorola. The manufacturer here proposes a smartphone at 170 euros, and at this price we very often get a camera botched, of poor quality.
Here the Moto E4 is not bad. It is even rather surprising. Both by the quality of its photos but also thanks to a few small ideas implemented in the photo interface. Let’s start with the photo quality as such.
As explained above, one should not expect a quality of high flight. So, forget the shots in low light conditions. The results are clearly not conclusive. We often get photos with grain, noise, and a big lack of details. In addition, the colors quickly turn yellow. Although powerful, the flash does not fix the problems. In low light, we forget.
On the other hand, in good light conditions, the Moto E4 is rather surprising. With its 8 megapixel sensor, it is capable of making pretty catches in broad daylight. The colors are slightly saturated but do not distort reality. On the other hand, there is always a lack of details compared to what is able to take out a smartphone today.
But in its price range, the Moto E4 is undoubtedly one of the best in the field of the photo. We take pleasure in juggling with the few settings available to try to get out beautiful pictures. The regulars of the high-end will find this bad, but for a first smartphone it is rather not bad at all.
These good impressions are enhanced by a clean and simple interface. We regret however the lack of functionality to push a little more creativity. Honor for example offers many features in its Honor 6A and allows to overcome the technical limits of the camera with filters of any kind. Too bad Motorola did not think about it.
We note however the presence of some sympathetic options and especially one that should please lovers of selfies. Motorola offers a way to correct faults of faces. In this way, plates with smoother skin are obtained. The color of the skin is rather well handled by the camera, and the applied effect does not seem coarse.
It should be added that a front flash has also been integrated to accompany the front sensor of 5 megapixels. Again this is a great idea.
Overall, the Moto E4 fills its contract well in the field of the photo. For a terminal at this price, Motorola offers something quite comprehensive. If in low light the Moto E4 does not make a miracle, it is nevertheless surprising in good conditions of light. What to fill the young users who would make this Motorcycle E4 their first smartphone.
If the performance is not at the top, the Moto E4 shines at the level of autonomy. For intensive use, the Moto E4 largely held the day without needing to be recharged. For the targeted Motorola, the autonomy is there to go.
We spent several days using mainly social networks, camera, a few calls, a lot of messages, surfing and Youtube videos. The Moto E4 has largely kept pace.
On the recharge side, on the other hand, you can only rely on a classic recharge, with a classic USB port, logical enough for a smartphone of this range. The 2800 mAh battery recharges in several hours. Let’s say that if like most users you recharge your smartphone at night, you will find your account.
The big highlight on the side of the battery is that it is removable, something extremely rare today. This extends the life of the product. On condition that it still holds the level of performance with future updates of Android. On this point, we are not necessarily reassured.
Price and Availability
The Moto E4 is available since the end of June 2017 at the price of 169.99 euros. A very affordable price ideal for a first smartphone. If the target of Motorola is the very young teenager, those who are looking for a smartphone at low budget should find their happiness. Provided you do not look for big performance.
The Moto E4 is one of the surprises of the summer. Motorola has decided to attack strongly for its great return to the market. And the brand takes care of all its customers, even those of the entry level.
The Moto E4 is far from perfect, with disappointing performance and an average camera. But Motorola operates a beautiful upgrade with a very affordable smartphone at the price of 170 euros, and overall coherent.
Today, in the entry-level, it is difficult to find a smartphone with a design which is so neat, with a long battery life, a multifunction fingerprint reader and an interface as intuitive. Motorola knocks hard and will surely seduce its target: very young teenagers. In any case, their parents will be seduced. Because the Moto E4 is ideal to take on the role of first smartphone.
If Motorola has created the Moto E4 to reach the youngest, there is nothing to stop older users from being tempted. If you have a small budget and not necessarily big needs, the Moto E4 is there again the ideal companion. In all cases, the Moto E4 has everything to be the smartphone of the re-entry.