Moto e4 Review: Class On A Budget

In this Moto e4 review, Mister Mo shares his experience with using this handy, beautiful, lower mid-range smartphone.

I have a sentimental attachment to Motorola. My first mobile phone ever was a Motorola, the T2288 Talkback. The very first ancestor of the modern smartphone that I owned was also a Motorola, the touchscreen A008 Accompli.

Motorola pioneered the mobile phonewas once the world’s biggest mobile manufacturer, but eventually, the brand’s fortunes began to wane. The brand was divided into two entities, with Motorola Mobility being the mobile arm.

In 2011, Google acquired Motorola Mobility. Lenovo was to later acquire Motorola Mobility from Google in 2014. Since then, Lenovo has been pushing out a number of interesting devices under the Moto brand.

The Moto e4 is one of these newer models. We have had one in our hands here at MobilityArena and our review is ready.

moto e4 review

Moto e4 Review: Quick Pros And Cons

Before we dive into the review proper, starting with the major pros and cons of this device.

Key Features Cons
Beautiful design and solid, premium build with splash resistance Odd hardware “Home” button implementation
Sharp, crisp 5-inch display Network Mode does not let you peg to 4G
Near stock Android 7 Nougat

Moto e4 Review: Hardware/Design

The Moto e4 is pure class on a budget. Its smooth, metal body gives it a classy look and feel that is above its price. The Moto e4 does not look or feel cheap. Plus, there is a coating that protects the phone from water. Do not submerge your e4 in water. The coating is only protection against splashes.

The USB port at the bottom edge is version 2.0. There is a 3.5 mm audio port at the top edge. Below the 5-inch display is a hardware Home button. But we soon quickly found out that Lenovo chose a different implementation that took is some getting used to. By default, the home button works only as a fingerprint scanner. If you push it, it doesn’t take you t the homescreen. Above the button, the e4 has the three regular Android onscreen navigation buttons, including a Home button. See? Odd.

But Moto allows you to change how it works. You can disable the onscreen navigation buttons and enable the hardware home key to function as a one button navigation element – press down to go to the homescreen, swipe left to go back and swipe right to open recent apps.

If you want to return to the homescreen and press the hardware button a moment too long, it turns off the display. That is because the button works with light touches for navigation. The whole arrangement has merit and we prefer to use the phone this way, but it takes getting used to.

But the fingerprint scanner is very responsive and accurate. We have had no issues using it.

moto e4 review homescreen in hand

Moto e4 Review: Software

The Moto e4 runs a near-stock version of Android 7 Nougat. Our unit already runs 7.1.1. The UI is quite clean. From the homescreen, there is a pull-up menu that opens up the app tray. Are there any bloatware from Lenovo? There are three such apps apps – Moto (which lets you modify the hardware button functionality and onscreen notifications), Wallpapers and Downloads.Everything else is the standard Android OS suite.

Split screen is here, with an easy implementation. One of the benefits of running a near stock implementation of Android is speedier software updates, so users can expect to get their Moto e4 updated faster than the average Android smartphone out there.

Moto e4 Review: Network, Telephony

The Moto e4 is a 4G LTE dual-SIM smartphone. Audio quality of telephone calls on the Moto e4 is good but not stellar. The call sounds boxy to the person at the other end. But these are standard fare for devices in this price range.

The Moto e4 works with 4G LTE networks from MTN and Etisalat but not Glo. While it supports Smile’s 20(800) LTE band, we did not have a Smile nano-SIM or SIMs from Spectranet and Swift and so couldn’t put them to test.

As is standard for stock Android OS, the user is unable to peg network mode to 4G only. You can’t peg to 3G only either. So, the phone cycles between available networks depending on the maximum setting you choose. we were able to rectify that and peg network mode as we wished by installing and using the MTK Engineering app.

Moto e4 Review: Display and Multimedia

The Moto e4 has a bright, clear 5-inch display. People who prefer big displays will not want the e4, but those who want a handy smartphone with a premium feel know that this is what the doctor ordered.

The loudspeaker is loud but tinny, which is no surprise at this price point. You can get better a better audio experience With a headset.

moto e4 review back in hand

Moto e4 Review: Photography

How does the Moto e4 fare with photography? We put it to test.

Main Camera (8 megapixels):

moto e4 review main camera mug

Not bad at all for indoor shots.

Selfie Camera (5 megapixels):
moto e4 review selfie

Selfie camera messing with my swag like all selfie cameras do. Some day, someone will put a selfie camera that matches the main camera on a phone. Some day, but it isn’t today.

Moto e4 Review: Multitasking/Performance

The Moto e4 runs smooth for a smartphone with a 1.3 GHz processor and 2 GB of RAM. We will take it over other phones with a custom UI. But if you have used a smartphone with more RAM than the Moto e4 has, you will feel the limiting nature of the processor and RAM. It isn’t horrible, but it is there. And it has to be said again, performance is very good for a phone in its class.

As far as synthetic scores go, the Moto e4 scores 31,038 on AnTuTu. You can see the rest of our benchmark test results HERE.

Moto e4 Review: Battery life

The 2800 mAh battery on this phone is nothing special. It is a bit more than many of the Moto e4’s competitors have. We have seen 5-inch smartphones with 2,600 mAh batteries. If you use your phone moderately, especially with an active 4G connection, you will have to recharge it during the day.

Fortunately, there is fast charge available and you can steal a solid charge quickly whenever you need to.

moto e4 review box

Moto e4 Review: Final Words

The Moto e4 is a solid smartphone – a good blend of premium and budget. At N46,000, it is a good package at a good price. Asides the odd implementation of the Home button which takes some getting used to, the smartphone shines on all fronts. Definitely a phone we will recommend.

Other Moto e4 Resources

Here are some other articles available on the Moto e4:

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Mister Mobility

I started blogging about mobile in 2004 as a fun way to share my passion for gadgets and mobile services. My other interests include digital media, speaking and teaching, photography, travelling, and dancing.

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