Mo­torola Moto E4

Get what you pay for with this bud­get phone – plus a bit more

Computer Active (UK) - - Contents - PHONE ❘ £120 from Ama­zon www.snipca.com/25551

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.

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