It was 2014 when Motorola Mobility, a Google Company about to being sold to Lenovo, introduced the follow-up to its killer Moto G line: the Moto E. Carrying a $130 price tag and Motorola's software experience, it became one of the best selling phones of the year. Two years later, the new Moto E3 is back.
Now coming in two versions, the Moto E3 and the Moto E3 Power. While the E3 comes with 1GB of RAM and a 2,800mAH battery, the E3 Power doubles the RAM and increases the battery capacity to 3,500mAH. As for now, it seems that the Moto E3 Power might remain as an Asian exclusive while the rest of the world gets the E3, but we got a Moto E3 Power before its launch (next week), Thanks to Ivan YK Leung. Spoiler alert: It's awesome, though it reminds us of the older Motorola rather than Google's and Lenovo's Moto.
If you've seen the Moto G4 and G4 Plus packaging this year, don't expect anything new: Both Motorola and Lenovo brands coexist, with Motorola's brand appearing more than Lenovo's brand. Although many reviewers have called this year phones as "Lenovo Moto", the phones carry the Motorola brand, legally and technically, and you can find in the package that the official names of all the new devices are Motorola XTxxxx.
The box contains some user manuals, the regular white headphones Motorola has always included (in Asia, anyway), a usb cable and a charger. Sadly, it's not a Turbo charger.
The new Moto E3 Power is a departure from last year's Moto E (2nd gen). It's actually very similar to 2014's first generation Moto E. You'll see its 5" HD screen on the front with its front facing speaker, now on the bottom of the device. This year's Moto G series didn't include it on the bottom.
Size-wise, the phone's got the same size as the Moto G3 and Moto G4 Play. In fact, some might say the G4 Play and E3 are the same phone, but they actually differ speaker-wise and also in the location of the headphone jack. While both are on the top, the G4 Play's one is not in the middle. The E3 series stay true to Moto's design language in that aspect.
Other than that, the phone looks very similar to the Moto G4 series: removable backs, same camera module design coming out of the rather flat back, a huge -and iconic- rear Motorola dimple. But as you may have seen, the E3 Power comes with a removable battery. This is the first Motorola phone since 2013's RAZR D1 to come with a removable battery.
By the way, notice the huge Motorola trademark in that battery. It certainly reminds us of the old days, doesn't it? It's here to remind us that the new Moto phones are still Motorola phones.
The phone is a bit bulky, though it feels good in the hand. If you've ever carried a Motorola Atrix 2 or a Droid Turbo, its weight in the hand and thickness might give you an idea of the E3 Power. After all, it comes with a huge 3,500mAH battery.
It feels very premium too, dare I say more premium than the Moto G4 series. Oh, and it's dual SIM too, which is always a plus!
Display, software and performance:
The IPS screen is now upped to HD resolution, although it doesn't look as bright as previous HD screens from Moto (as you can see it above). The phone comes with some cool stock wallpapers, similar to the G4 series. They look good and help the screen look better.
Software wise, you'll be disappointed since there's no Moto goodies in it, and it might be because of its processor. Yes, it comes with Device Help, File Manager, Motorola's FM Radio and the new camera app which is great, but even quick-capture was replaced with a "double tap the power button to open the camera" feature. It's nice, but we've come to expect so much more from the Moto E series. The most shocking thing is that there's no Moto Display in it, and the notification light is back. Last year's 2nd generation did come with Moto Display, so this was a strange move, most likely due to the MediaTek processor, so don't expect the "Moto" app with all its awesome features inside.
The Moto E3 Power is the first Motorola phone since 2013 to come with a MediaTek processor. It's a quad core MT6735P chip paired with 2GB of RAM. There's a huge misconception about MediaTek processors, and we can assure you that the Moto E3 Power performs flawlessly. Apps and games perform well, and we've noticed no lags at all. Motorola's pure-Android approach helps this.
There's 16GB on-board memory with about 10GB available memory, plus a microSD card slot. The retail unit runs Marshmallow 6.0 with June's security patch, with some newer security patches coming soon, most likely.
Audio quality is nice, comparable to Moto G4 series and last year's Moto E. Motorola never disappointed us in this department, so expect what you've come to expect from them here. Front-facing speakers are always appreciated.
Its camera app is the new Moto Camera app found on the G4 series. There's more options than before and it's more pleasant visually. It's rather fast, and it comes with the quick-capture replacement we told you about (double-press power button) but don't expect pictures to look as good as on a Moto G4 Plus or even a G4.
In fact, expect pictures to be similar to Moto G4 Play and a bit better than 2014's Moto G. It's definitely a huge improvement over last year's 5MP camera, and the front-facing 5MP shooter is very good, even in low-light. You don't expect a low-end phone to come with such a good front-facing cam.
Motorola's removable battery performs really well. With moderate usage, it died on day 3 of our test. Its capacity, software optimization and small low-res screen help it get amazing screen-on-time numbers. And even with heavy usage it lasted two days. People value this on a low-end phone.
Apart from noticing how dim its screen is compared to Moto G2 and G3, you can check its scores and some other processor specs in the following pics. As you can see, its scores don't differ much from Moto G2 but are far away from Moto G3. You won't notice this with daily usage, but many people care about benchmarks so here they are:
Motorola did it again! Their $150 phone is back (that's the price for the E3 Power) and thanks to its huge battery, comfortable design and optimized software, it can become a nice contender in the low-end smartphone market.
The Moto apps are missing, though, and its screen is just average, plus we don't understand why a G4 Play and a E3 Power are needed in the same price ranges. We feel like the G4 Play and E3 Power should have been merged into one phone before release. We don't know what to say if someone asks us which one is the better choice.
But you know what they say...divide and conquer! Maybe people will understand the value and differences of each Moto and get the one that suits them the most. Overall, it's a very nice value smartphone that performs well and gets the job done. That's why it reminds us of the older Motorola: good build quality, great sound and impressive battery life.