Moto E5 review

A lot of features for little money

Motorola Moto E5

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The Moto E5 is, in some ways, an astonishing smartphone. By bringing this screen, battery life and build to this segment of the market it allows for a value for money that would previously have required shopping for grey imports.

That isn’t to say that it comes without compromises however. Performance, though never a strong suit of the budget segment as a whole, is poor generally.

Apps take a long time to load, and though screen-on time is good, much of this is spent waiting for the phone itself to catch up. The reported inability of Lenovo to commit to software updates in future is also worrying.

The camera also may prove to be a sacrifice too far for many. It typifies many sensors of this price point in that it lacks detail, produces poor color and that it shouldn’t be used as a primary photographic tool.

If you can look past these flaws however, the Moto E5 is a strong sell. For less than the price of a night out for two, it offers a reliable experience that it is realistically very difficult to better.

Motorola Moto E5

Who's this for?

Anyone looking for a bargain: students looking for a phone to see them through university, a back up phone for those who need it, elderly relatives and schoolchildren.

Should you buy it?

Given its price the Moto E5 may be an impulse purchase or it may be more considered, however beyond the hardcore iPhone crowd and the most demanding of power users, this will suit almost everyone, especially those on a tight budget.

Here are several alternatives you might want to consider:

Honor 7S

The main competitor at this price point, the Honor 7S is generally available for £100 (around $130 / AU$180).

The screen is a stretched, bright 720p affair which matches the Moto, however a worse camera experience and the presence of EMUI make this a difficult sell over the E5.

Read our full Honor 7S review

Moto E5 Plus

The big brother of the Moto E5 comes with a bigger screen, a bigger body and a battery with even greater capacity - traded off for a slightly higher price.

Like the Moto E5, no further software updates have been promised for this device, limiting its longevity, and unless you need the extra size or battery the smaller device is a stronger pick.

Read our full Moto E5 Plus review

Nokia 3 (2018)

Coming with a storied name behind it, the Nokia 3 (2018) comes offering the same stretched aspect ratio, the same screen resolution and a similarly promising feature set - all for around the same price, making it a strong alternative.

Read our hands on Nokia 3 (2018) review

First reviewed: September 2018

Sean is a Scottish technology journalist who's written for the likes of T3, Trusted Reviews, TechAdvisor and Expert Reviews.