Thursday, April 12, 2018

Tech Review: Motorola Moto E4 [Update after 1 month]

I needed a backup phone as my old Nexus 6P had battery problems (this phone is known for bad batteries; Huawei and Google are being sued for it).

The battery would only last about 5 hours per charge, with 2.5 hours screen on time after 1 year. Sometimes, the phone would shut down at 20% battery. Expensive junk. Fuck you, Huawei/Google. Google's Nexus program was such a disappointment.

So I went to a local shop and picked up a Motorola (aka Lenovo) Moto E4 16GB for NZ$200 (~US$140) as a backup phone. It's a 5 inch (720p resolution) phone with 4G cellular (dual-SIM), micro-SD card slot and a removable 2800 mAh battery.

imagebam.comimagebam.com

Screen:
The screen is actually really good for a cheap device. It's very sharp and bright. 8/10

Sound:
Average. There is a tiny speaker at the back, as you can see from the second photo. 6/10

Camera:
Pretty good. Way better than most cameras that were on phones a few years ago. It even has HDR, but it doesn't make much difference. Front facing-flash is cool. 7/10

Software:
It runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat (or 'Nugget' as Flossy Carter would say it), mostly stock as you can see from the photo above. It has some Motorola-only features built-in, such as fingerprint gestures, etc. I got 3 software updates the day I bought it. 8/10

Performance:
It lags sometimes because of the cheap processor. Browsing Facebook's news feed and image-heavy websites is a bit slow. But it is expected; mostly fine though. 7/10

Battery:
Pretty good. Lasts 12 hours easily with a single charge. Removable too. It takes ages to charge though (2 hours+). 8/10

Overall:
For $200, it is good value. I'd recommend it for someone on a budget (and don't mind the low performance) or kids. But for me, it can't be a main phone because (1) the amount of storage is too small (16 GB is not enough to install all my apps and you cannot install apps on SD card) and (2) the lag is unacceptable.

Update (April 12)
Now that I've used it for a month, I can add some more information.
  • The fingerprint sensor is trash. Just a bit of dirt or moisture will stop it from working, and l have to push down on the sensor (instead of just touching it). Apple TouchID and Google Nexus Imprint never has this problem.
  • The glass cover of the camera is easily scratched because of the hump. The flash cover is plastic and is even more easily scratched.
  • The camera is very slow to focus and is unusable at night.
  • 720p resolution is too low by today's standards, some websites won't fit on the screen and splitscreen doesn't work well.
  • Bluetooth audio problems. I have a UE Wonderboom speaker, and sometimes the audio just stops. Especially in YouTube.
  • The position of the fingerprint sensor is too close to the home button. Because I use on screen buttons, I often hit the home button by mistake when using the sensor.
  • The official Facebook and Messenger apps are bloated so much they lag like a bitch on this phone. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise (Facebook sucks).
  • The touch screen is a bit too sensitive. Just laying my finger there on the screen when scrolling gets sensed as a tap.
I know I'm being harsh on a phone that only costs NZ$200, I just wanted to point them out.