The new Moto E is a budget phone that boasts impressive hardware for the price — but how does it stack up against Motorola's flagship device? The Moto X, launched last summer, remains one of the best business phones around, thanks to a handful of unique, productivity-boosting features. Of course, you'll have to make some sacrifices if you pick up the budget-priced Moto E instead.
Both devices are decent smartphones, so your needs and budget will determine which one is better for you. Check out full reviews of the Moto E and Moto X on our sister site Laptop Mag, or read on for a feature-for-feature comparison of the two devices.
Moto E: The Moto E's standout feature is its low price point; the phone will sell for just $129 off-contract. In other words, that's the price you'll pay for the phone, without the need to sign a pricey two-year contract; you can pay less for cheaper month-to-month coverage instead. To get an idea of how affordable the Moto E is, consider that the Moto X retails for $400 off-contract. For business users on a budget — especially those with only basic computing needs — the Moto E offers a great bang for your buck.
Moto X: If you don't mind signing a two-year contract, you can get the Moto X for dirt cheap. In fact, Verizon and AT&T are currently offering the phone for free when you sign a new contract. But keep in mind that maintaining a pricey data plan through a major carrier adds up over two years. In the long run, you could end up paying a lot more for the Moto X.
Moto E: The Moto E packs a relatively compact 4.3-inch display, with a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels. It offers decent picture quality, but isn't very bright. The smaller screen isn't necessarily a downgrade for users who want a more portable device that fits easily in their pocket.
Moto X: The Moto X packs a 4.7-inch display that's a fair compromise between compact phones like the Moto E and phablets like the 6-inch Galaxy Note 3. The 1280 x 720-pixel screen isn't as sharp as some other flagship phones', but it offers crisp, bright visuals nonetheless. And the bigger screen size is a plus for business users who want to perform real productivity tasks on their smartphone.
Moto E: At this price point, the Moto E's speed and performance won't blow you away. But its modest hardware should provide plenty of oomph for entry-level users. The handset packs a reasonably snappy 1.2 GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM. Those specs can't stand up to flagship devices, but they're better than the average budget smartphone. And in terms of functionality, the Moto E blows away feature phones in the same price range.
Moto X: In terms of performance, the Moto X can't compete with juggernauts like Apple's iPhone 5s or Samsung's Galaxy S5. But for everyday use, the phone's 1.7 GHz dual-core processor is plenty fast, and the phone's 2GB of RAM give it much better multitasking power than the Moto E. Overall, business users can expect smooth and responsive multitasking for checking email, browsing the Web and running their favorite productivity apps.
Moto E: From a software standpoint, the Moto E is mostly no-frills, but there are a few highlights. Unlike most budget Android devices, the Moto E will ship with Android 4.4.2 KitKat, the latest version of Google's mobile operating system. Motorola is also touting new features for the Moto E, including Find Me, which lets you quickly text your current location to a contact with just a few taps. That could come in handy for business meetings.
Additional software features the Moto E shares with the Moto X include Motorola Assist, which lets you set context-sensitive responses to incoming calls. For example, the phone can notify callers if you're in a meeting, sleeping or driving.
Moto X: Unique software features are what really make the Moto X shine. The phone's claim to fame is its hands-free control options. Even when the Moto X's screen is off, simply say, "OK, Google" — you'll train the phone to recognize only your voice — and you can activate the full set of Android voice commands. There's no need to wake up your phone, unlock it or open any app; the Moto X is always listening for your next voice command.
Motorola also packed in a unique and useful notification system that will help business users notice and respond to messages. The Moto X's AMOLED display pulses notifications for emails, text messages or missed calls as they arrive, even when the phone is asleep. It helps conserve battery life because users don't have to activate the entire display every time a notification arrives.
Finally, the Moto X's unique unlocking system is another productivity booster. The phone uses its built-in accelerometer to activate the display anytime you pick it up or pull it from your pocket, so you can simply swipe and get to work. It's a small but time-saving feature for business users who constantly lock and unlock their phones to act on incoming notifications.
Moto E: The Moto E offers lackluster battery life compared to more premium smartphones; it lasted just 5 hours in tests that involved continuous Web surfing. That's well short of the smartphone average, which is a little more than 6 hours. Still, with moderate use, the Moto E should get you through your workday. If you're a heavy user, you'll have to get used to a midday recharge.
Moto X: The Moto X has good battery life, despite lacking a high-capacity battery. It lasted about 7 hours in the same battery life test, giving it above-average longevity. That's a real boon for business users who depend on their smartphones to keep them connected when they're away from the office.
The Moto E and the Moto X are similar-looking smartphones with similar names, but they offer very different feature sets. The Moto E is a budget device for a budget price, but it's a good pick for business users who only need the basics — and who don't want to be locked into a pricey two-year contract. The Moto X, meanwhile, offers better performance, a bigger display and handy features, such as always-listening voice commands. It's up to you to decide if those extras are worth the price of admission for the more premium smartphone.