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Xperia E3 vs Moto G: Which cheap smartphone is best?

Michael Sawh

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Xperia E3 vs Moto G

Does the Xperia E3 have Moto G-slaying powers?

Keen to cover all of the basis at its IFA 2014 press conference, Sony announced the Xperia E3 as an affordable LTE 4G phone. Sony has yet to stick a price on the budget handset but specs suggest it will be gunning for the current king of the cheap smartphones, the Moto G.

currently, you can buy the 4G-capable Motorola phone for £149, so how does the Xperia E3 compare? We square up the two cheap phones to find out if it’s worth considering.

Xperia E3 vs Moto G: Design

Xperia E3: Plastic with matte finish

Moto G: Plastic, Gorilla Glass 3, 11.6mm thick, 143g

Unsurprisingly, there’s no premium materials on either phone. Both have plastic bodies and trade slimness for a more curvaceous frame. It’s an all-black affair as well with the matte finish on the E3 giving it the feel of a cheap Windows Phone handset. There’s some premium styling inspired by the more expensive Xperia handsets but it ultimately feels like an entry level handset. It also lacks the water resistance powers of the more expensive Xperia handsets so you can't take it for a dip. Compared to other budget phones, the Moto G and the Xperia E3 are firmly in the good-looking cheap phone category.

Sony Xperia Z3

Xperia E3 vs Moto G: Screen

Xperia E3: 4.5-inch 854x480 screen

Moto G: 4.5-inch 720p HD screen

Motorola set the benchmark for screen quality at this price and sadly the Xperia E3 doesn’t match up. It’s a lower resolution screen similar to the one on the Xperia M, predecessor to the Xperia M2. Our experience with the 4-inch Xperia M was not all that positive. It misses out on all of Sony's Bravia TV engine-inspired features and lacks the sharpness and vibrancy of 720p HD displays. The Moto G in comparison should offer sharper images and greater pixel density making better suited for reading and watching video.

Xperia E3 5

Xperia E3 vs Moto G: Software and Processor

Xperia E3: Android 4.4 KitKat, 1.2GHz Quadcore Snapdragon 400 CPU, 8GB storage, 1GB RAM, micro SD card support

Moto G: Android 4.4.2, 1.2GHz Quadcore Snapdragon 400 CPU, 8GB storage, 1GB RAM, micro SD card support

There’s very little to pick between the two for software and power. Both will run the latest version of Android and have quadcore Snapdragon 400 CPUs to keep things running slick and efficiently. They are clocked slightly different but that shouldn’t mean much for general performance for everyday tasks or some gaming. They also match for RAM to help with multitasking plus the 8GB of onboard storage is backed up micro SD card slots.

Xperia E3 vs Moto G: Camera

Xperia E3: 5-megapixel main camera, LED flash, HDR mode

Moto G: 5-megapixel main camera, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, LED flash

One of the weakest aspects of the Moto G is the camera. This is ultimately where Motorola cuts costs and as a result, photos are mediocre at best. The same can similarly be said about the camera up front. Sony's E3 has pretty much a similar setup. While it hasn't confirmed the quality of the front-facing camera or whether it will be missing just like it is on the Xperia E1, we are not expecting anything radically different from the Moto G. The Moto G can shoot in 720pHD, which is a feature usually reserved for more expensive phones though.

Xperia E3

Xperia E3 vs Moto G: Battery Life

Xperia E3: 2,330mAh battery

Moto G: 2,070mAh battery

On paper, the Xperia E3 has the bigger capacity but we don’t imagine there will be much in it. The Moto G is a respectable performer and even in careful use, you can get two day’s use out of them and the battery shouldn’t run dry within a day. The Xperia E3 is set to get the same power saving treatment as the more expensive Z3 and Z3 Compact so we are expecting the budget phone to be on par if not better especially when there's a less power-sapping display in place.

First impressions

There’s very little to sway us from the opinion that the Moto G still offers more value for money. Screen apart, they are virtually identical so much will come down to how much you value a good screen and whether you prefer the E3 or the Moto G’s design. The Xperia E1 cost £69.99 at launch so it follow suit, the Xperia E3 good be a decent option. At this time, we'd still be persuaded to spend that little extra to get a phone with a better screen and solid battery life.

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