Motorola Moto E4
Get what you pay for with this budget phone – plus a bit more
The Moto E4 is a smartphone that costs £120 and actually isn’t bad. In fact, it’s better than not bad. It has most of the features you’d find at four times the price, with – as you might expect – a few compromises. The fingerprint sensor on the front, coupled with an NFC chip for contactless payments in shops, works flawlessly. The 8-megapixel camera on the back, however, doesn’t. Colour and detail are fine, but exposure is poor, it struggles in low light and video is limited to 720p.
That resolution is matched on the 5in touchscreen, looking reasonably sharp, with good brightness and contrast. Our colour meter was unimpressed by its accuracy, but for this price it’s really quite a decent screen. All this is wrapped up in a classy-looking case, with a nice metallic sheen on the back and 2.5D glass – with expensive-looking rounded edges – on the front.
Inside is a basic 1.3GHZ Mediatek processor that keeps Android 7.1.1 running nicely and coping with most games. Our video-playback test ran the battery down in 10 hours 20 minutes, which isn’t great, but suggests it’ll get you through a day of moderate use.
Overall, the E4 is more convincing than the pricier Moto G5 (see our review, Issue 500). Part of the G5’s problem was that it was up against (its parent company) Lenovo’s more impressive P2 (see Issue 498), which now seems to have disappeared, and the likes of Vodafone’s Smart V8 (£159 from www. snipca.com/25468, see Issue 510). At £120 the E4 is not in the same league as these, but outshines the rival Nokia 3 (£130 from www.snipca.com/25133, see Issue 508).
The E4 might struggle more to justify its bigger price tag than the Vodafone Smart N8 (£79 from www.snipca. com/24956, see Issue 507), which has similar performance. But the N8’s battery life is nearly two hours shorter, and when you factor in the £10 top-up and 30-day wait required to switch from Vodafone to your preferred network, there’s not that much to choose between them.
For this price you get a phone that does everything you need and more
Some steps can make your existing router less vulnerable. Its default passwords – the WPA2 passphrase, which you type to connect a new device, and the admin password, to let you change settings – are often printed on the unit. That’s fine if they’re unique, not defaults like ‘11111111’ or ‘admin’, and if nobody is ever in your house who you may not trust. Otherwise, log into the admin page (following the instructions in the manual) and change them. Set the network name (SSID) to something vague, not your name or house number.
WPS, which connects a new device without having to type the passphrase, is not secure even if you change its 8-digit PIN, so if possible turn it off. If there’s an option to activate it with a button instead of a PIN, it’s OK to leave that on.
Your router’s security protocol should be WPA2 (see screenshot), not WEP, which is insecure. WPA2 encrypts all your Wi-fi traffic. Many routers offer a guest network to let visitors connect without having to tell them your WPA2 passphrase. This network is separate, so they can’t access your PCS or printers, but it’s usually not encrypted, so nearby wrongdoers could intercept data. You can add a password that guests need to access the internet (after joining the network), so at least neighbours can’t easily scrounge your broadband. But if you don’t need the guest network, turn it off.