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Motorola continues to set the bar when it comes to low-cost smartphones: The company introduced its new Moto E on Wednesday with a starting price of $119. That gets you a 3G handset but if you want 4G LTE, you can have it for just $30 more.
I was very impressed with last year’s Moto E, which cost $129 at launch time and didn’t have a 4G option. At that price, I though the handset represented a great value: A capable Android phone with long battery life, some unique Motorola software features and colored shells to customize the phone.
This year, Motorola has upped the ante, and not just with a 4G option.
Instead of the dual-core processor found in last year’s model, the new Moto E runs on a quad-core chip with 1.2GHz clock speed. The 4.3-inch display from 2014 is slightly larger, measuring 4.5-inches but retains the same 960 x 540 resolution as the prior edition. Storage gets doubled to 8GB and a front-facing camera was added.
The new Moto E also ships with [company]Google[/Google]Android 5.0 and Motorola is promising at least one software update for the phone in the future.
The company also added some nice features found in the more expensive Moto X flagship phone. You can twist your wrist twice to quickly open the phone’s camera app, for example. Another twist switches from the rear to the front camera. Moto Display is also included for pulsing notifications on your lock screen that appear without waking the handset.
You can still customize the look of a Moto E, which is available in either a black or white front. Motorola is selling six different bands, which look similar to bumpers, that let you jazz up the low-cost handset. Clear case shells will also be available.
Motorola sent the new Moto E with LTE out in mystery box to various publications just prior to the official phone launch. Mine hasn’t arrived yet — maybe the delivery time is the mystery — but once it does, I’ll spend a few days using this $149 smartphone and report back on my experiences in a future post.
In the meantime, here’s an overview of the new Moto E with LTE from Motorola, showing off just how much phone you get on a budget.