Review: Motorola’s Low- to Mid-Priced Moto E5 Plus and Moto E5 Play Smartphones

The new 5th generation mid- to low-range Motorola E5s are some of the best value-for-money smartphones that do the job but without the thrills and the frills of the pricier versions out there

Review: Motorola’s Low- to Mid-Priced Moto E5 Plus and Moto E5 Play Smartphones

With Motorola taking the wraps off six mid- to low-end phones, including the sixth-generation Moto G6 line and the Moto E5 series which is now into its 5th generation, arguably, there’s never been a better time than now to shop for cheap smartphones.

While we have already reviewed the Moto G6 phones – which includes the G6 Play and the G6, as well as the G6 Plus, which, by the way, is not meant for U.S. customers – today we’re going review the Moto E line of phones.

Out of the three phones that make up the 5th generation E series, we shall cover only the Moto E5 Plus and the Moto E5 Play, leaving out the Moto E5, which like the Moto G6 Plus is not making it to the U.S. market.

Moto E5 Plus

To begin with, the Moto E5 Plus is not much different from last year’s Moto X4, or, for that matter, the new sixth-generation Moto G6, at least in so far as design-language is concerned.

However, the body of the E5 Plus is relatively bigger and feels remarkably premium for a phone that’s going to sell for a little over $200.

Not unlike the Moto G6s, the E5 Plus has Max Vision display with an aspect ratio of 18:9; so, needless to say, it’s going to be super tall.

The E5 Plus owes its somewhat unwieldy girth mostly to the massive 5,000 mAh battery inside, which Motorola claims– like it does in the case of the G6s – is good for 36 hours of mixed use.

The one-and-a-half-day battery life, which is pretty impressive if the Motorola claim holds, is also made possible by the modest Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 chipset– that’s an octa-core chipset which clocks speeds of up to 1.5 GHz – as well as the 3GB of RAM.

Battery life aside, with those specs, it wouldn’t be realistic to expect the E5 Plus to be the fastest smartphone device you’ve ever put your hands on.

But, regardless of being on the slower side of, arguably, every phone we’ve seen this year, the Moto E5 Plus is most definitely big value for money when you consider Motorola’s attention to detail on the software side of things, not to mention the big battery and the big display that this piece of affordable technology boasts.

It must be pointed out, though, that the display is not as perfect as you’d like it to be, what with a lower screen resolution of 720 pixels, which, again, Motorola can’t really be blamed for, given the phone’s $184 price tag.

However, as bad as it may sound, it actually worked pretty well under bright light conditions during tests.

While you are more than likely to lose a bit of detail when looking at photos on the E5 Plus’ Max Vision display, the trade-off, again, is well worth the price tag.

Out of the box, the phone comes with 32GB of internal storage, which you can actually expand by way of a Micro SD card.

Then, there is the micro USB port for charging and the nice headphone jack around the back, where you also have your 12-megapixel camera.

Of course, you’ll be far from thrilled with the results of that back-facing camera but, again, don’t forget the price this phone is being made available for; and keeping that in mind, it wouldn’t be stretching it too far to say it’s not a bad bargain by a long shot.

The face detection autofocus works reasonably well and the color quality is not bad at all for the price you’re paying for it.

Like the Moto G6 Play, one of the most appealing features of the E5 Plus is on the rear; it’s the fingerprint sensor we’re talking about here – integrated into the famous Moto logo – the stylized “M” insignia.

With the new Moto E5 Plus, Motorola is, probably, looking to change the E series reputation of being the cheapest, least exciting smartphones in its repertoire to one of being hailed as the most impressive devices within the $300 price threshold.

Moto E5 Play

Moving over to one of the more traditional Es, the Moto E5 Play does not boast the Plus’ Max Vision display nor does it have that shiny big body-beautiful to flaunt.

Well, it is what it is – just a very cheap small phone at $184 and the best part is, everything works pretty much fine for that price.

It comes with a 5.2-inch HD display and an 8MP camera, which will excite you even less than the one on the Plus – it goes without saying.

The Play is being made available with either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 chipset or a 427, depending on where you’re buying that phone; however, the difference does not really translate to a big disparity in performance, which is great.

Either which way, you’re getting 2GB of RAM with a 2,800 mAh battery inside – a far cry from the 5,000 mAh monster inside the Plus.

Well, now, that we know what the Plus and Play have to offer, the $25 price difference between the two will probably be the determining factor when we have to choose between the two.

For some of us the difference may seem too little to forego the additional features of the Plus, which may not be the case for others; so no recommendations here but if you can afford the extra 25, go for it!

All said and done, Motorola has certainly brought together a hefty set of budget phone options that are well worth their salt – and some.

So, if you are looking for a decent workable smartphone with a relatively pure Android Oreo experience, without having to empty out your bank account, then the Moto E5s and the Moto G6s are the phones you should be rummaging through.

These phones certainly don’t promise the excitement associated with high-end devices, which is to be expected, they will, however, do the job.

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