Moto E5 and E5 Plus review: Hands-on with Motorola’s cheapest smartphones

Motorola recently announced its Moto E5 and E5 handsets alongside the new Moto G range at a global unveiling in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was slightly puzzling timing in the sense that one of the groups of phones could easily have stolen all the headlines away from the other.

Of course, that was never Motorola’s intention. Since 2014, the Moto E range has given customers a lower-cost option and the Moto E5 and Moto E5 Plus are no different. Now that prices for the Moto G have slowly crept up – the Moto G6 will set you back £220 – that just makes the Moto E5 and Moto E5 Plus more appealing than ever.

Moto E5 and E5 Plus review: Specs, design and features

The Moto E5 Plus offers an especially tempting alternative, with a larger screen and a bigger battery for less money than the Moto G6. It has a 6in, 18:9 720 x 1,440 display, a 12-megapixel f/2 rear camera and a massive 5,000mAh battery, while inside is a Snapdragon 425 processor running at 1.4GHz with 2GB or 3GB of RAM and 16 or 32GB of storage plus microSD expansion. To get your hands on one, you’ll need to part with £150.

[gallery:1]The Moto E5 is less interesting but it is even cheaper at £119. It has a smaller 5.7in 720 x 1,440 display, a 13-megapixel f/2 rear camera and a 4,000mAh battery – the same capacity as the Moto G6 Play. Inside, it runs predominantly the same hardware as the Moto E5 Plus and it comes with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.

Considering the bargain-bucket prices, you might expect both E5 phones to look and feel cheaper than their G6 counterparts but that’s not the case at all. The glossy Moto E5 Plus looks fabulous in either grey or gold and, although less interesting, the E5 is still reasonably smart. Both devices feel solid in the hand and have a rear-mounted fingerprint reader – it’s just where you want it on both devices, falling perfectly under the tip of your index finger.

Thanks to its whopping 5,000mAh battery, the Moto E5 Plus measures a fairly chunky 9.35mm from front glass to its plastic rear, but fortunately this doesn’t seem to add to much extra weight (the phone tips the scales at 197g). As for the screens, they’re both 720 x 1,440 in resolution and employ IPS panels that look nice and bright and colourful. Neither is as sharp as the 1,080 x 2,160 screen on the Moto G6 and G6 Plus, however.

[gallery:10]One notable difference between the E5 phones and the G6 handsets is that the cheaper devices charge via micro-USB instead of USB Type-C. This limits the speed at which the battery is topped up, which you’re especially likely to notice with the Moto E5 Plus, because of its super-size battery.

The Moto E5 and Moto E5 Plus cameras also haves none of the G6’s clever landmark recognition or its depth-editing skills, and neither device is water repellent. However, when you’re spending £150 or less on a phone, that’s hardly surprising.

Motorola Moto E5 and Moto E5 Plus: Early verdict

It hardly matters how quick the Moto E5 and E5 Plus are or, indeed, how good or bad the cameras are, or that they don’t have water repellency. They are budget handsets after all.

What will catch people’s attention – and rightly so – is the Moto E5 Plus’ enormous 5,000mAh battery. Its 65% larger than the 3,000 mAh battery in the Moto G6, nearly as large as the legendary Lenovo P2 and, hopefully, it’ll deliver two days, perhaps more between charges.

It won’t appeal to those looking for a more pocket-friendly smartphone, or something to play PUBG Mobile on, but if those two things aren’t a concern both Moto E5 phones look to be solid budget offerings, particularly the Moto E5 Plus with its absolutely enormous battery.

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