Moto E4: Full, in-depth review

Motorola E4
  • Motorola E4
  • Motorola E4
  • Motorola E4
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Snappy processor,
  • Better than expected camera
  • Lightweight form factor

Cons

  • Dim screen,
  • Average battery life

Bottom Line

For the $249 price-tag, you get all the features that count, and executed well to boot.

Would you buy this?

Design

The aesthetics of the Moto E4 play things pretty safe, sticking closely to the formula found in the more expensive Moto devices. However, this ends up working in the device’s favor.  The corners cut concerning the specs and camera here result in a form-factor that feels a lot like the higher-end Moto device, only much lighter. It’s more metal than glass, and feels all the better for it.

Credit: Motorola

Read more: ​Moto G5 Plus phone: full, in-depth review

Likewise, the display on the E4 can’t really hold a candle to some of the flagships out there. However, compared to the rest of the budget crowd it shores up nicely. With a maximum brightness of 395 nits, it’s unlikely to win any awards for and in some situations glare can be an issue. Still, for the most part, it does a solid job of keeping things both visible and usable enough - particularly given the asking price.

The fingerprint sensor, located where the home button used to be, acts as another nice inclusion. You don’t usually see fingerprint sensors make it into the sub-$249 smartphone market - and it’s a reliable and much appreciated addition here.

Performance

In practice, the Moto E4 is probably one of the smoothest budget phones we’ve ever spent any real time amount of time with. Apps didn’t load “Galaxy S8 fast” but they did load more-or-less quick enough that it never became a major issue. The E4 handled multitasking with much more visible smoothness than a lot of the other budget phones we’re spent time with in the past. Nevertheless, on the whole, performance is about what you’d expect from a device in this price range. Maybe even a little better in spots.

Read more: Moto X4 review: This is what a world without MotoMods looks like

In terms of benchmarking, we compared it to both the new Nokia 3 and Huawei’s Y5. Geekbench’s testing kit saw it come second place to Huawei’s Y5. That said, the E4 more than made up the difference when it came to 3DMark.

Credit: Fergus Halliday | IDG

In Antutu, the E4 came away with a score of 31375. This is pretty close to the average for a phone in the price range but it outpaced the Nokia again here while continuing to trail the Y5.

Still, we’d probably recommend the E4 over either of these phones regardless. Our direct hands-on everyday experience with it saw it deliver a much faster and smoother experience than either of the Nokia or the Huawei budget phones.

Camera

While the camera in the E4 doesn’t have a huge amount of megapixels to its name, it still manages to deliver some surprisingly pleasant results. As with performance, you’re not getting flagship levels of quality here but it feels like you could probably get by with it. Just.

Landscape shots (seen below) are crisp and defined enough (when HDR is enabled) to get the job done. Overall, they don’t look “Google Pixel good” but they definitely look sharp enough that you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. Maybe a little more than that even.

Credit: Fergus Halliday | IDG

Moto’s own marketing for the E4 highlight the strengths of its camera in low-light situations. In practice, the results were a little too grainy for our liking. You get what you pay for.

Credit: Fergus Halliday | IDG

In addition, we often found that saw normal photos become a little overexposed when taken with the E4’s camera. See a close up of Jabra’s new Elite Sport Wireless Earbuds below as an example of this phenomenon.

Credit: Fergus Halliday | IDG

In terms of video, the E4 can shoot in 720p quality at 30FPS. Again, you get what you pay for here. Video shot using the E4 looked like video shot using a $249 smartphone.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Read more on these topics: Motorola, Moto, Moto E4, Budget Phones
Show Comments

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?