/ Technology

£89 – a smart price for a smartphone?

Moto E

Are you still to make the step-up to the world of smartphones? Well, despite the number of ads showing that everyone owns an all-singing, all-dancing handset, that’s far from the case. Could the Moto E change that?

The Moto E is a new smartphone from Motorola, which it hopes will lure non-smartphone owners by virtue of its wallet-friendly £89 price tag.

You might assume that, for £89, the Moto E will have cut so many corners that it will have lost the speed and convenience that makes a smartphone, well… smart. But, having had a chance to get my hands on one at yesterday’s unveiling, that’s far from the case.

Keeping up with the Joneses

Motorola is actually going so far as to claim that the Moto E can outperform the Galaxy S4 in everyday tasks, such as the time it takes to launch the camera app and get back to the phone’s homescreen.

That said, there’s no doubt that Motorola has been savvy with the specifications – a 1.2GHz dual-core processor is hardly world-beating, nor is 1GB of RAM or its 5 megapixel camera. But, pound-for-pound, the value more than outweighs the downsides of not having the fastest phone on the market.

Interesting too is the fact that the Moto E is fast enough to run the latest version of Android (4.4 KitKat), and it will even run 4.5 apparently. That means you’ll be able to keep your phone as current as the much more powerful (and expensive) handsets on the market.

It’s also one in the eye for numerous other phone manufacturers whose handsets have been made obsolete by the introduction of Android KitKat. A fate that’s befallen even former flagship phones such as Samsung’s Galaxy S3 (which, on paper at least, is actually a more powerful phone than the Moto E).

Tempted by the Moto E?

So what do you think about the Moto E? Is the relatively low price tag of £89 enough to tempt you into buying your first smartphone? Or, if you already have a smartphone, is the price low enough that you might consider buying it mid-contract, just to have a change of handset?

We’ll be subjecting the Moto E to our expert tests soon to find out just how much of a bargain the Moto E really is when compared to other cut-price phones, such as the Nokia 520 and even the Moto G. So keep a look out on our smartphone reviews if you’re on the fence.


Seems a great idea for my student son. I think upgradability is key for phones although eventually the hardware will not be up to the spec needed. At this price though its ok to get a few upgrades (2 years) before a change is needed. Most people dont need a high spec to tweet, browse and email.

Dave Harsh says:
19 May 2014

In what way is a smartphone a step up?

I have found that smartphones are actually a step down in terms of telephony. The only manufacturer that focuses on quality of calls is blackberry, but all their apps are rubbish.

So I’ve been from a Sony Ericcson “pre-smart” phone, to an iphone 3gs, HTC Desire, Blackberry pearl, Samsung Galaxy ace2 and the back to the Blackberry Pearl.

Ah the blackberry pearl, it has a numeric keypad, holds calls excellently, has great call quality, google maps + directions, great music player, alarm, wifi, but a frankly awful set of apps and browser.

Guess what? I hardly ever use the interweb on the go so I have an iPad mini if I want to use any “apps”.

Forget a “smart” phone, stick with your real phone and buy an iPad (or similar)

Don’t be pressured into buying what is essential a poor portable computer.

A smartphone is very much a multi-function device. Like a Swiss army penknife it will not function well at every task. Furthermore, additional smartphone features are very much a selling point, so they might not have been developed or be useful to many users.

From smartphones to tablets to laptops, there is plenty of demand for mobile devices. There is not a one-size solution that fits everyone.

Dave harsh says:
23 May 2014

Thanks for that marketing response wave change.

Have you ever considered that your comment implies that you are accepting a smart ‘phone’ not being very good at it’s supposed core function?

The point I am making, and you appear to have missed, yet confirmed, is that loading a phone with features, that it won’t be powerful enough to run well, is completely stupid.

Don’t fall for the marketing guff that you’ve just deposited, if you want a phone buy a phone. Java phones, whilst not great at ‘smartness’ are light years ahead in terms of telephony.

Apple make smartphones, Google Android is a cheap imitation smartphone for cheapskates, blackberry makes phones that have a few extra capabilities. Don’t ever try and think you’re getting something ‘like’ an apple, just buy what you need, not what marketing is trying to con you into buying.

Surely someone somewhere could fit a good quality ‘phone into a tablet computer then we can finally ditch these useless gadgets…

I use Skype on an iPad2 when I find I have gone out without my mobile phone. I don’t know if it’s good quality but it works reliably. I cannot remember how much it costs to phone a landline or mobile but I’m still using credit I bought years ago to keep in touch with a friend on holiday on a cruise ship.

Peter M says:
22 July 2014

“Google Android is a cheap imitation smartphone for cheapskates”

Boy, oh boy, thanks for the insult made to millions of buyers of Android mobiles (myself and two sisters, for starters). It’s YOU that seems to have written a marketing piece, on behalf of Apple, slagging off Android (and in your earlier piece, promoting the overpriced (my view) iPad.

There’s plenty of scope for different people to want different things. I have a number of phones, of which about a third are Android, including the Sony Tipo, Samsung Galaxy “Ace”, “Europa”, and “Mini”, plus a couple of Huawei. I use them to monitor a multitude of GMail accounts, watch security CCTV web cams, and assist me (with network and wi-fi tools) when fixing client network problems. While I admit to having a couple of games, the majority of apps I use relate to ‘office’ functions – keeping notes, sending e-mail, calculator, calendar and reminders. I also view random webcams worldwide, listen to radio broadcasts and podcasts from all over the globe, and do some web browsing (Dolphin browser can be set to default to ‘landscape’ and ‘desktop’ so does not show mobile versions of web sites).

Additionally, if I want to use the features of Android on a bigger screen, I have a unit with HDMI output that can plug into any of the TVs I have (19″, 21″, 32″, 40″ and 42″) and there’s no iPad to match those screen sizes !


Interesting article as to who really is Motorola. I actually think £89 is a great price point if you want a smart-phone.

All I can say is that aged 70 I’ve just bought the Moto E without having any experience whatsoever of a smart phone (or an android programme). Well to start with, the customer service is astonishingly good – Panos didn’t only help me set it up, he passed on useful tips and then sent me the written instructions for the phone and the programme. From then on in, I’ve managed to teach myself, and am impressed by the number of tasks this little phone can perform. Calls, messages, texts, emails, directions, news & weather all together in one little gizmo – I love it.

Having once said I couldn’t see the point of having a smart phone, I’m now already in a position where I can’t bear not to have it with me. Best value for money I’ve had in years!!