To Top

Is Motorola’s Moto E the best budget phone around? Here are its top five contenders

Made to last, priced for all. That’s how Motorola teased its latest entry-level, low-cost Android effort a little while back, delivering roughly 24 hours ago when the Moto E broke cover.


Obviously, it’s way too early to rate E’s durability and, with no Kevlar backing or “premium” build materials apparent, it’s entirely possible the “made to last” buildup was merely advertising mumbo-jumbo.

Unless Motorola referred to software, as the Moto E is destined to stand its ground, being guaranteed to get at least one major update beyond KitKat.

Moto E intro

As for the “priced for all” aspect, do I need to spell it out for you? The E may just be the cheapest half-decent smartphone around, and it’s deemed by many the dumb phone’s executioner. You had a good run, clamshells, candybars and feature sliders, but now it’s over, you’re done.

Meanwhile though, a few budget contenders are bound to put up a fight against the Moto E, and here they all are, rounded up and ready to tussle:

Nokia X vs Motorola Moto E – a no contest

The X clearly has nothing on the E, you don’t have to be an expert or mobile “power user” to tell that, but since it’s relatively new and relatively popular in certain parts of the world, it deserved a chance to challenge the low-cost throne.

Nokia X vs Moto E

Unfortunately for Nokia, their first stab at Android is not affordable enough. Nowhere near enough, at $130 or so, with a cramped, crappy 4-inch 800 x 480 pix res display, sluggish dual-core 1 GHz Snapdragon S4 Play chip, sub-par 512 MB RAM, 3.15 MP rear camera, tiny 1,500 mAh battery and, last but not least, laggy “X platform 1.0 UI”.

That’s a highly skinned, highly forked copy of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, for the record, and I hope I don’t need to tell you why it can’t even play in the same league as Moto E’s near-stock 4.4 KitKat. Remember, the E costs $130 stateside, so just as much as the X with far superior specs in each and every department.

Nokia Lumia 520 vs Moto E – closer but not close enough

To show you we’re not prejudiced, we’ve decided to give another Nokia a shot. This time, a Windows Phone. The cheapest of them all. Sure, we could have taken the upgraded 525 for a comparative spin, however at the moment, the 1 GB RAM-touting little guy is a smidge too expensive.

Nokia Lumia 520

The 520? It’s $65 (!!!) with AT&T GoPhone prepaid plans, $80 on T-Mobile via Amazon, and $105 unlocked and SIM-free. Sooo, cheaper than the E all-around. Plus, it has a few things going for it. Like twice E’s built-in storage (8 gigs). A slightly superior 5 MP cam too, and a skinnier profile.

But alas, the 512 MB RAM, 4-inch 800 x 480 screen, dual-core 1 GHz CPU and 1,430 mAh battery can’t compete with E’s 1 gig, 4.3-inch 960 x 540, dual-core 1.2 GHz and 1,980 mAh juicer. And don’t get me started on WP’s lack of apps. Sorry, Nokia, but keep trying. Preferably, with Android.

Sony Xperia M vs Moto E – a fair fight, a clear winner

Oh, it’s on now! You didn’t think Sony would go down without putting up a fight, right? And the 9-month-old Xperia M, while stuck on Jelly Bean and roughly 20 bucks pricier than the Moto E, is a worthy rival.

Sony Xperia M

A mighty worthy rival, thanks mostly to cameras. The rear snapper features LED flash and there’s even a secondary VGA cam. The design is pretty cool too, and something tells me the Xperia M is “made to last” longer than the E.

In the end, what keeps the E ahead, aside from more aggressive pricing and up-to-date software, is the larger panel, slightly punchier processor and comfier battery.

LG Optimus F3 vs Moto E – nothing to choose between… for now

LG’s best budget bet is a fairly atypical, refreshing low-cost effort, as it cares primarily about autonomy. Courtesy of modest specs but a mind-blowingly huge 2,460 mAh ticker, the 4 incher is rated at 16 hours of continuous talk time use and up to 460 hours (!!!) on stand-by.

LG Optimus F3

But wait, there’s more. Like the Xperia M, the F3 carries dual cameras, one with 5 megapixels and LED flash and the other a VGA unit. The cherry on top is the on-board dual-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 chip, no doubt zippier than Moto E’s S200.

And get this, you can score the Optimus F3 through Virgin Mobile for $80 and MetroPCS at $99. Game over for the E? Not so fast. Sure, right now, it’s more expensive. But I bet Motorola has plans to bring it to Verizon or AT&T and slap it with a $50 or so prepaid price tag.

Moto E-2

In which case it shall prevail, also aided by its larger, higher-res screen and newer, smoother OS.   

Moto G vs Moto E – a Cain and Abel story

Will Moto E’s own brother stab the 4.3 incher in the back? Don’t rule it out, as the G is hands-down the better all-around slab, basically trumping the E everywhere. Superior processing speed? Check. Higher-caliber rear camera? You got it. Larger, higher-res display, more storage wiggle room, extra-spacious battery, prettier exterior? Check, check, check, check and check.


Granted, in its standard variation, the G lacks expandable storage options. And it’s costlier, at $180 unlocked. But the Moto E needs to pull off a mighty low prepaid price tag if it wants to fend off a five-star mid-ranger Verizon sells for $90.

Bottom line, if there’s one device the Moto E has to fear, it’s the Moto G. But you see, for Motorola, this is a can’t-lose situation. Bravo, Moto, bravo!

More in Android

  • [Deal] Sony Xperia Z5 Premium for $483.77

    Sony’s high-end flagship from 2015, the #XperiaZ5Premium, can now be snatched up from eBay for just $483.77. The smartphone comes with...

    Valerie RichardsonOctober 21, 2016
  • [Deal] Unlocked Galaxy Note 4 for $179.99

    The unlocked model of the #Samsung #GalaxyNote4 can now be yours for just $179.99 on eBay. The smartphone belongs to #VerizonWireless,...

    Valerie RichardsonOctober 21, 2016