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Moto G vs Moto E: What's the Difference?

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Moto G vs Moto E: What's the difference?

Moto G vs Moto E: Comparing the cheap Motorola smartphones

The original Motorola Moto G and Moto E are two of the best low-cost phones ever made. You can get each for under £100, but they can compete with some mobiles that cost £150-200. We're note quite sure how Motorola has managed it.

However, they are two completely different phones, so which should you buy? Here we'll compare the two budget wonders to find out which is right for you.

Don't know much about the Moto E? Watch our hands-on video below

Moto G vs Moto E – Price and DealsBlue line

Moto G - From £100
Moto E - From £70-80

The Motorola Moto E is, as we’ve already said, a bit cheaper than the Moto G. You can buy it for around £70 SIM-free, or as little as £60 with a pre-pay SIM from Vodafone. We found those particular deals through Amazon.

It really is one of the cheapest high-quality phones around at present. The standard version of the Moto G costs at least £20 more and you can currently get a SIM-free version for £129.99 from Amazon.

There are two other, more expensive, versions of the first generation Moto G as well – one with 16GB memory rather than 8GB, and another with 4G mobile internet (and 8GB storage). The RRP for both phones is the same - £159.99. You can generally find a SIM-free 16GB version for about £150, but as the 4G edition is a bit newer you’d be lucky to find one for much under the standard price. Here’s a quick run-down of what to expect to pay for each model.

There is of course the second generation Moto G with a larger 5-inch screen, but for now we will be focusing on the two smaller Motorola handsets for this comparison.

SEE ALSO: Moto G 2 (2014) review

Moto G vs Moto E – DesignBlue line

Moto G - Plastic, Gorilla Glass 3, 11.6mm, 143g
Moto E - Plastic, toughened glass, 12.3, 142g

Motorola’s Moto E is a slightly smaller phone than the Moto G, but they’re otherwise quite similar in look and feel. Both have plastic bodies, both trade slimness for a curvature that sits in the hand well.

The Moto E is a bit thicker than the Moto G, which is a common effect in smaller phones. It is 12.3mm thick to the G’s 11.6mm – both deserve the ‘chunky’ label, and the Moto E doesn’t kick it up into the next category of chubbiness.
Motorola Moto G vs Moto E 4
Being slim is still cool among phones, but these look a bit better than some of the budget competition. There are no awkwardly labelled soft keys – both use software buttons instead – and the curves of both Motos look pretty good.

They have slightly differenty finishes. Where the Moto G uses hard, matt-finish plastic, the back of the Moto E has a soft touch finish giving it a much smoother feel.

We think the Moto G looks marginally better as its front is all-black, lacking the silver strips that are a Moto E special. These strips are where the call speaker and main internal speaker live, making this one of the only cheeap phones to have a front-facing speaker. The Moto G's speaker is more traditional, sitting on the back.
Motorola Moto G vs Moto E 2
Moto E on the left, Moto G on the right

Moto G vs Moto E – StorageBlue line

Moto G - 8/16GB, microSD (4G model only)
Moto E - 4GB, microSD

The Moto E has a lot less storage than the Moto G. It has just 4GB when each variant of the Moto G has at least 8GB.

This does become annoying if you're into 3D games, as they often demand upwards of a gigabyte in storage, and it can't always be dumped into a memory card. The Moto E does have a memory card slot, though. You'll find it under the phone's back cover.

The original versions of the Moto G, the 3G editions with 8/16GB of internal storage, do not have a card slot. It's probably the biggest issue Moto G owners complain about.

After seeing how much people want memory card slots, Motorola added a memory card slot to the 4G edition. It was released a good six months after the first models. As in the Moto E, the card slot sits under the back panel. In order to keep costs low, the 4G version of the Moto G has just 8GB of internal storage.

SEE ALSO: Best cheap phones to buy
Moto G rear

Moto G vs Moto E – ScreenBlue line

Moto G - 4.5-inch 720p IPS
Moto E - 4.3-inch 960 x 540 pixel IPS

The Moto E has a smaller, lower-resolution screen than the Moto G. It’s a 4.3-inch display of 960 x 540 pixel resolution, where the G has a 4.5-inch 720p screen.

The Moto G is a good step or two above its more affordable sibling, with a sharper image and slightly higher maximum brightness. Having greater pixel density makes the Moto G display look much more immactulate, where there's a bit of fuzziness throughout the Moto E's display. This is normal, but is a sign that your eyes can perceive the pixels and pixel structure making up the phone's picture.

Motorola Moto G vs Moto E 1

A larger, sharper screen is the most convincing reason to upgrade from the Moto E to the G. It’s better for browsing, better for games and better for watching high-resolution videos. The extra 0.2 inches of pure screen size comes in handy for the latter too.

However, the Motorola Moto E screen certainly is not bad. It’s higher-quality than we’re used to at the price, and colours are - surprisingly enough - slightly richer in the Moto E than the Moto G. Both have class-leading colours, though - low-cost phones normally have quite muted colours but both the Moto G and E are solid. Contrast is commendable in both phones too.

 Motorola Moto G vs Moto E

Moto G vs Moto E – Software, CPU and PerformanceBlue line

Moto G - Android 4.4 (upgradeable to Android 5.0 Lollipop), Snapdragon 400 quad-core 1.2GHz
Moto E - Android 4.4, Snapdragon 200 dual-core 1.2GHz

There’s very little to pick between the software of the Moto G and Moto E. They both use a near-standard version of Android 4.4.3 KitKat, and Motorola promises they’ll both receive speedy updates to the next major version of Android, due to be revealed in June at Google I/O.

Using a streamline version of Android means the Moto G and E perform quite similarly day-to-day, even though the E has a significantly weaker processor.

The Motorola Moto E uses a Snapdragon 200 chip, the Moto G a Snapdragon 400 one. Both are based on the Cortex-A7 architecture, but where the G has four 1.2GHz cores, the Moto E only has two.

As they have 1GB of RAM a piece too, general performance is not hugely different. There's very little lag - a consequence of using standard Android rather than a bulky, resource-draining custom interface.

Moto 6

Put the phones under stress and you really to see the difference between a dual-core ad quad-core Snapdragon phone. There's a fair bit of slow-down in higher-end 3D games when using the Moto E, where the Moto G can play most games without too much of a speed compromise.

Benchmarks tell you why. While there's not all that much difference in the Javascript Sunspider benchmark (Moto G is slightly faster), which is a rough indication of how fast you can expect websites to load, in the Geekbench 3 and AnTuTu tests, the Moto G storms it.

In Geekbench 3 it almost doubles the Moto E's score, which is what you'd expect given the phone has effectively twice the engine power as its more expensive brother.

Moto benchmarks

Moto 3

Moto G vs Moto E – CameraBlue line

Moto G - 5MP rear autofocus, 1.3MP front, LED flash
Moto E - 5MP rear fixed focus, no front camera, no flash

The Motorola Moto E has a much worse camera setup than the Moto G in almost every respect. Don't be fooled by the fact that both have 5-megapixel camera sensors, as the E is a real dud next to the G. And the Moto G doesn't have a great camera to start with.
Motorola Moto G vs Moto E 3
Other than that the Moto E doesn't have a flash or a front camera, the phone's main camera doesn't use autofocus. Instead, it has a fixed focus, meaning you can't choose to focus on a specific subject. That's fine if you want to take pictures of far-off mountains, but makes the Moto E useless for taking a piccy of, for example, a flower on a summer's day. 

As it lacks much of the (pretty basic) hardware of the Moto G, the E's camera isn't particularly versatile. For night shots and close-ups it's no use at all.

Let's take a closer look at actual image quality.

Detail and Colour

Comp Moto G

Comp Moto G 3

Here's a 1:1 pixel crop from the above photos:
Comp Moto G 6

The Moto G performs significantly better in terms of general picture quality. The Moto E shots appears quite underexposed, and colours are more muted than in the Moto G photo.

Our close-up comparison also shows quite how poor the Moto E's dynamic range is. Look at the grey building towards the bottom of the scene. In the Moto E shot it appears quite flat as much of the gradations in shades between the sides of the structure have vanished. It's all much clearer in the Moto G picture.

This lack of dynamic range is also very clear in the tallest building in the close-up. Check out how much more fine shadow and colour detail is missed out by the Moto E, making the building look quite flat where its glass-fronted structure is (somewhat) clear in the Moto G photo.


Comp Moto G 1Comp Moto G 4

As we've already discussed, the fixed focus of the Moto E makes close-up shots impossible. But here's a demo to show exactly what we mean. The E is incapable of focusing on the flower, where some macro-style fine detail is very clear in the Moto G picture.

Also, these shots once again show that the Moto E's photos are colder-looking than the Moto G's thanks to their lesser colour saturation.


Comp Moto G 2
Comp Moto G 5

One area where the Moto G and Moto E are a little closer is one that's based on software - HDR. This is a mode that combines two exposures to improve dynamic range, something that is not great in either of these phones' cameras.

The Moto G shot is a little more lively and again we see the warmer colours of the G come in handy, resulting in a more pleasing photo. However, given how poor the Moto E's dynamic range is to start with, this is a demonstration of quite how good the Moto E/G HDR is.

How bad are these cameras?

We don't think that either of these cameras are particularly good. However, the Motorola Moto G's is significantly better across the board, and we'd put the Moto E's cameras into the 'flat-out bad' category.

Moto G vs Moto E – Battery LifeBlue line

Moto G - 2,070mAh
Moto E - 1,980mAh

Both Motorola Moto phones have pretty respectable batteries for their screen size and spec. The Moto G has a 2070mAh unit, the Moto E a 1980 mAh unit.

Battery stamina is pretty respectable in both phones. In use, we found that very careful use will get you almost two day's use out of them, while we never found the batteries running dry within the day.

Anything else to consider?

If you want to get hooked up with 4G mobile internet, you can only get this kind of connection from a Moto G. And not any Moto G.

Motorola only announced the 4G Moto G edition on 13 March, with all previous versions limited to HSPA 3G mobile internet. Motorola is going to continue selling the non-4G version in the future too, so make sure you know what you’re buying.


With a lesser screen and a lesser processor whose performance is occasionally noticeable, we think that the more avid mobile fan would be much better off with a Moto G than a Moto E. However, for casual use, or for someone not too familiar with high-end mobiles, the Moto E will more than do the trick. 

Next, read our Moto G tips and tricks article

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