Moto E5 Play

Price: £89 inc VAT from

Android Advisor - - Contents -

The E series is Mo­torola’s bud­get range, and the E5 Play is the bud­get-est of the cur­rent bud­get phones, clock­ing in at just £89 in the UK. In­evitably any phone this cheap comes with some se­ri­ous com­pro­mises, and any­one used to a faster phone may find the E5 Play a chal­lenge to get along with – but at less than £100 it’s re­ally hard to com­plain too much.


The E5 Play looks sur­pris­ingly at­trac­tive for its price, though make no mis­take: you won’t fool any­one into

think­ing this is a flag­ship de­vice. The 5.3in dis­play is in the thin­ner 18:9 as­pect ra­tio that’s be­come more pop­u­lar in re­cent years, though is still flanked by thick bezels at the top and bot­tom of the screen – the lat­ter of which in­cludes the Mo­torola logo.

At 147.9x71.2x9.2mm the phone is com­fort­able to hold, and any fans of smaller phones will likely get on with it. The choice to build the body out of plas­tic rather than alu­minium makes it feel a bit cheaper, but un­for­tu­nately hasn’t re­ally made the phone any lighter: at 152g it’s hardly heavy, but you’d hope for some­thing more light­weight given the size and build.

There’s a fin­ger­print sen­sor on the rear, em­bla­zoned with the Mo­torola stylised ‘M’, but the place­ment is a bit low – I have to arch my fin­ger to reach it com­fort­ably, though any­one with smaller hands might find it more nat­u­ral.

While the other E5 phones have a choice of colour op­tions, the E5 Play is only avail­able in black.


The 5.3in LCD screen is re­ally the first give­away of what you’re in for. It may boast a mod­ern 18:9 as­pect ra­tio, but the 960x480 res­o­lu­tion is a dif­fer­ent mat­ter en­tirely. To any­one used to even your av­er­age mod­ern smart­phone the dis­play will look out­dated, with the knock-on ef­fect of forc­ing you into an over-sized UI, with lim­its to how many app icons you can fit on a screen. View­ing an­gles are poor, with no­tice­able sat­u­ra­tion prob­lems if you’re look­ing at any an­gle other than dead-on, and it’s not es­pe­cially bright ei­ther, mak­ing it chal­leng­ing to use out­doors.

Pro­ces­sor, me­mory and stor­age

In­ter­nal specs are also de­cid­edly lim­ited. The E5 Play runs the same Snap­dragon 425 pro­ces­sor as the rest of the E5 series, but pairs it with just 1GB of RAM and 16GB of in­ter­nal stor­age – which isn’t much once you take into ac­count the fact that An­droid it­self takes up about a quar­ter of that. Luck­ily you can ex­pand stor­age with a mi­croSD card up to 128GB if you wish.

Those specs are lim­ited, but about what you should ex­pect for a phone be­low £100. Things run a bit slowly – ex­pect a par­tic­u­larly no­tice­able de­lay when you switch be­tween apps – but there’s not a ma­jor im­pact on sim­ple stuff like web brows­ing or check­ing email.

In our bench­mark­ing tests the E5 Play lagged be­hind the reg­u­lar E5 and G6 Play in pro­cess­ing power, but made up for that in the graph­ics tests

– ben­e­fit­ting from ren­der­ing to a lower res­o­lu­tion. It also out­per­formed the sim­i­larly priced Voda­fone Smart N8 on ev­ery test, mak­ing it a clear win­ner there.

Con­nec­tiv­ity and au­dio

Con­nec­tiv­ity is bet­ter at least. The big down­side is that the E5 Play uses Mi­cro-USB for charg­ing, rather than USB-C, so you’ll have to keep us­ing the older cable. This also lim­its the charg­ing and data trans­fer speeds the phone can man­age. You also get a head­phone jack, which is al­ways wel­come, and there’s a mi­croSD slot if you want to ex­pand your stor­age. Nat­u­rally, you also get Wi-Fi and Blue­tooth 4.2, though there’s no NFC – which we’d never nor­mally ex­pect on a sub£100 phone, but is in­cluded on the £119 E5.


Cam­eras are an­other se­ri­ous weak point here. The main shooter is just 8Mp and f/2.0, with a 5Mp selfie cam­era – a no­tice­able drop from the 13Mp rear cam­era in the reg­u­lar E5.

There’s a dis­tinct lack of de­tail in pho­tos, though the colour range is ad­mit­tedly bet­ter than we ex­pected, with sup­port for ba­sic HDR. Low light per­for­mance is very rough though, with lim­ited light cor­rec­tion, faded colours, and con­sis­tent grain through­out pho­tos.

Geek­bench 4


Land­scape shot

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