Moto G (second generation) vs Moto E (second generation): How do the cheap Motorola phones compare?
The latest Motorola Moto G 2 and Moto E 2 are two of the best low-cost phones currently available. If you have £150 to spend, then your money is well spent here. These budget smartphones can compete with handsets that cost cloer to £200. We're looking at you Sony and Samsung.
However, they are two completely different phones, so which should you buy? We compare the two budget smartphone wonders to find out which is right for you.
Watch our Moto E 2 video review below
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Moto G 2 vs Moto E 2 – Price and Deals
Moto G 2 - From £139.99
Moto E 2- From £109
The Motorola Moto E 2 is, as we’ve already mentioned, cheaper than the second generation Moto G. You can buy it for around £109 SIM-free, or as little as £99 with a pre-pay SIM from Tesco.
In comparison, the non 4G version of the Moto G 2 costs around £30 more and you can currently get a SIM-free version for £139.99 from Carphone Warehouse.
If you want a 4G-packing Moto G 2 to benefit from those increased internet speeds, then that pushes things up to £159.99. For that extra £30-40, you're getting some impressive mid-range features. So if you value a good camera and a good screen you will want to spend a little more.
Moto G 2 vs Moto E 2 – Design
Moto G 2 - Plastic, Gorilla Glass 3, 11mm thick, 149g
Moto E 2 - Plastic, Gorilla Glass 3, 12.3mm thick, 145g
The Moto E 2 is a slightly smaller phone than the Moto G 2, but they’re otherwise quite similar in look and feel. Both have plastic bodies, and both trade slimness for a curvature they sit nicely in the hand as well.
The Moto E 2 is a bit thicker than the Moto G 2, which is a common effect in smaller phones. It is 12.3mm thick to the G’s 11mm – but it would be unfair to label it as ‘chunky’.
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Being slim is still a desirable phone feature, but these look much better than most of the budget competition. There are no awkwardly labelled soft keys – both use software buttons instead – and contemporary minimalistic designs of both Motos look good.
The phones have slightly different finishes in comparison. Where the Moto G 2 uses a hard, matte-finish plastic, the back of the Moto E 2 has a soft touch finish giving it a much smoother feel. The Moto E 2 can also be personalised using coloured Moto Grip Shells or Moto Bands - available for around £14.99.
There’s very little to pick these two apart on looks alone, but the slimness and 5-inch screen of the Moto G 2 sways it for us. It looks a bit more high end in contrast to the Moto E 2's streamlined look.
Moto G 2 vs Moto E 2 – Storage
Moto G 2 - 8GB, microSD support
Moto E 2 - 8GB, microSD support
The Moto E 2 now matches the storage capacity of the Moto G 2 offering the same 8GB internal space plus the option of adding additional storage via micro SD up to 32GB.
To put that into perspective, the first generation Moto G offered 8 or 16GB options but lacked the micro SD card slot that many users complained about.
If you compare both to similarly priced phones, there's few that can offer this amount of internal and external storage. So which ever one you choose, you'll have a good amount of space to save photos, video, apps and games.
Moto G 2 vs Moto E 2 – Screen
Moto G 2 - 5.0-inch 720p IPS screen
Moto E 2 - 4.5-inch 960 x 540 pixel IPS screen
This is where the two phones begin to part. While the Moto E has a smaller, 960 x 540 resolution screen, the Moto G 2 has a bigger, sharper 5-inch 720p HD screen. Even some more expensive Sony and HTC smartphones struggle to match the screen quality on offer with the Moto G 2.
The greater pixel density on the bigger Moto phone really shows against the Moto E's 4.5 inch screen plus you get more brightness to improve outdoor visibility.
A larger, sharper screen is the most convincing reason to upgrade from the Moto E 2 to the G 2. It’s more suitable for browsing, gaming and watching high-resolution videos.
That's not to say that the Motorola Moto E screen is terrible. It’s higher-quality than we’re used to at the price, and colours are - surprisingly enough - slightly richer in the than the Moto G 2. Low-cost phones generally suffer with quite muted colours but both the Moto G and E are solid. Contrast is commendable in both phones too.
Moto G 2 vs Moto E 2– Software, CPU and Performance
Moto G 2 - Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, Snapdragon 410 quad-core 1.2GHz
Moto E 2 - Android 5.0.2, Snapdragon 400 quad-core 1.2GHz
There’s very little to pick between the software of the Moto G 2 and Moto E 2. They both use a stock version of Android 5.0 Lollipop, and Motorola promises they’ll both receive support to keep them up-to-date with the latest version of Android.
Using a streamline version of Android means the Moto G and E perform quite similarly day-to-day, even though the E has a newer and faster Snapdragon 410 processor.
The Motorola Moto E uses a Snapdragon 410 chip, based on the quad-core Cortex A53 architecture. Where as the Moto G uses a quad-core Cortex-A7 chipset. The difference in performance between the two is negligible. Both phone’s use four 1.2GHz cores, and have 1GB RAM so you’d be splitting hairs to give the advantage to one phone over the other.
There's very little lag when navigating around the phones - a consequence of using standard Android rather than a bulky, resource-draining custom interface.
Even under stress both quad-core Snapdragon phones hold up well playing higher-end 3D games and should be able to run most games without too much of a speed compromise.
Benchmarks are the only way to tease the performance of these phones apart. While the difference isn’t huge, Geekbench 3 reveals that the Moto E is about 25% more powerful on average.
Moto G 2 vs Moto E 2 – Camera
Moto G 2 - 8MP rear autofocus, 2MP front, LED flash
Moto E 2- 5MP rear autofocus, VGA front camera, no flash
The Motorola Moto E 2 hasn’t received a resolution upgrade, but the Moto G 2 has. It's now up to 8-megapixels, from 5MP in the original model. The camera applications themselves are near identical, but looking at the images captured using the main camera on these devices there’s some clear divergence. The Moto E is warmer in tone, while the Moto G sports a wider lens but is much cooler in tone. Accurate colour reproduction unfortunately resides somewhere in between the two phones.
The pictures from the Moto E aren’t going to blow you away and lack dynamic range, but for Facebook and Twitter, the results when taking pictures in fair light are more than good enough. We wouldn’t describe the Moto G as having a great camera either. But it is better than the Moto E.
Other than that the Moto E doesn't have a flash but this time round it does at least have a VGA front-facing camera, and the main camera now has autofocusing. It’s a significant improvement over the older generation Moto E, but it’s still outshone by its more advanced stable mate.
Let's take a closer look at actual image quality.
Detail and Colour
Here are 1:1 pixel crops from the above photos:
The Moto G’s images look a touch muted, although it’s coolness creates an image that feels faithful in tone. The Moto E shots look more immediately attractive because they’re warmer. The colours reproduced by the Moto E are less biased so the pictures look more like how we’d imagine them to be.
Our close-up comparison. Look at the doorway in the middle of the frame. In the Moto E shot it appears to be more saturated. It looks slightly sharper than the Moto G picture too. Whereas the Moto G picture looks smudged from overly aggressive noise cancelling.
The pair seem largely matched for dynamic range but if I had to pick I would say the Moto E edges it because it holds more detail in the shadows. There isn’t a huge amount in it, but the overall scene capture by the Moto E looks better.
No longer constrained by a fixed focus lens, the Moto E can now take close up pictures too. On small screens the Moto E image looks better, its colours are more accurate. However, on closer inspection, macro-style fine detail is much sharper in the Moto G picture.
Also, these shots once again show that the Moto G’s photos are colder-looking than the Moto E’s and are less saturated. The longer focal length on the Moto E has the advantage of getting you closer to your subject without you having to actually get closer, but the Moto G offers great shallow depth of field, which can look more attractive with close-up photo scenarios.
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 particularly great in either of these phones' cameras. In the above photos, the top image is without HDR, the second is with HDR.
The Moto E shot is a little more lively and again we see the warmer colours of the E come in handy, resulting in a more pleasing photo. The effect is a bit too harsh and there’s no way to adjust the effect so I’d be inclined not to use it. But in some scenarios, like high contrast scenes, it’s probably your best bet at getting a half decent picture.
Moto G on the left, Moto E on the right
How bad are these cameras?
We don't think that either of these cameras are particularly good. However, the Motorola Moto G's is better across the board and has a flash – the Moto E is unusable in lowlight. It’s sharper, wider and even though it produces colder images, you can always warm them up using an editing app.
Moto G vs Moto E – Battery Life
Moto G - 2,070mAh
Moto E - 2,390mAh
Both Motorola Moto phones have pretty respectable batteries for their screen size and spec. The Moto G still has a 2,070mAh unit, the Moto E 2 now has a larger 2,390mAh 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 the Moto G, but the Moto E managed almost 2.5 days. We never found the batteries running dry within the day.
Power saving modes are available in both phones in case of emergencies and I found them effective in both cases, although I used it more often with the Moto E. I tended to push it harder and forget to charge it because it had a larger battery.
The Moto G seemed to deliver the quickest charge when resurrecting the battery from critical. 30 minutes delivered about 30%, where as the Moto E delivered about 20% within the same time frame.
Motorola are really onto something with both of these product lines. It's created two strong no-nonsense devices that offer a supreme balance between value and features for their respective price-points.
If you have a little extra to spend, the new Moto G gives you a better screen and a slightly better camera. But if you're on an absolute budget the Moto E is one of the best phones that money can buy in its class.
Some people may have the luxury of being able to spend a little bit more and get the Moto G. But if you're buying a budget phone, you're usually trying to get what you need for as little money as possible.
Why spend extra when the 4G capable Moto E has a fast processor, great battery life and can be picked up for around £100?