Though Motorola has a few choice premium phones, like the and the 5G-enabled Edge Plus, the phone maker is mostly known for its affordable, well-made handsets. Case in point, its $300 Moto G Stylus and excellent $250 Moto G Power, which were released earlier this year. But there are two more, even cheaper new phones under Motorola’s belt, the $200 , which repackages some of last year’s tech from the into a new body that costs $150.
Both phones are solid options if your budget is under $200, and you’ll likely be able to buy them for even less given that Moto G and E phones are usually discounted or bundled with a contract from carriers with a digital rebate. Currently, you can buy either phone from Best Buy and receive $50 off the price when you activate it on AT&T, Verizon or Sprint. And $50 really changes things because that means you can snag a Moto G Fast for $150, which is simply an amazing deal, or get the Moto E for just $100 — a great price that seems too hard to believe for the phone you’re getting.
Between the two, the Moto G Fast is better in pretty much every way and that would be the phone I’d choose to buy. But here’s the wrinkle, Motorola’s more expensive budget phones also get discounted. That means you might find the Moto G Stylus for $200 or get the Moto G Power for $150. Both the Stylus and Power represent a much better value at those discounted prices than the Moto G Fast or Moto E.
Motorola Moto G Fast
Incredible value for a $200 phone
From its solid build and striking iridescent white and chrome looks, the Moto G Fast doesn’t seem like it would cost $200. That’s because it largely has many of the features of the more expensive Moto G Power, like a 6.4-inch hole-punch display, a triple-rear camera array, a Snapdragon 665 processor, Android 10 and all of Moto’s clever software shortcuts like twisting your wrist to open the camera.
But with the phone’s low price, it does make some sacrifices. The Moto G Fast has a smaller battery than the Moto G Power, as well as less RAM and half the storage. The screen has a lower 720P resolution. These compromises aren’t exactly negatives when you consider the price, and I’d still pick it over the new Moto E.
Motorola Moto E
A Moto G7 in a new shell
Though it’s not as good as the Moto G Fast, I still like this device and it’s Motorola’s most affordable option. It blends old features, like a teardrop notch display, and last year’s Snapdragon 632 processor, but with a modern, sleek body and Android 10, so you’re not necessarily getting an obsolete phone.
On the back there are two cameras that include a 13-megapixel main shooter and a 2-megapixel depth camera for portrait mode photos. Curiously, instead of a USB-C port it has a Micro-USB port. Don’t worry, I checked and it’s still 2020.
How we tested
Design: The Moto G Fast has a ‘better’ screen albeit with a low resolution
Both phones have a 720p resolution LCD screen, which in 2020 is pretty low. In use, the displays look just okay. Text often looks a touch soft and you can even see the pixels that make up app icons and animations. I should clarify that these displays aren’t bad or unusable, but it’s definitely one area where you get what you pay for. I do miss the higher resolution screens on the Moto G Stylus and G Power.
The screen on the Moto G Fast has better color accuracy and is much brighter than the Moto E’s display. The hole-punch camera on the Moto G Fast’s screen looks incredibly premium compared to the water drop notch on the Moto E, too.
Both phones come with 32GB and support expandable storage via a microSD card, which you might need to use seeing as I easily filled my review units with photos and videos during the couple of weeks I had the phones.
There’s a fingerprint reader on the back of both phones, which works excellent and each phone has a rating of IP52 for water-and dust-resistance that protects against splashes and light rain.
Unfortunately, both phones have a single bottom speaker and they sound okay at best. When watching YouTube videos or playing games, I found it very easy to cover it up with my hand and muffle the speaker. On the upside though, both have a headphone jack.
Winner: The Moto G Fast has a better screen even if it’s not the best screen on a budget phone.
The Moto G Fast has three rear cameras
Probably the biggest difference between the phones are the cameras. The Moto G Fast inherits its triple-camera array from the Moto G Power. In bright conditions, photos are good, but pictures taken indoors or in low light look soft and suffer from image noise. Ultrawide-angle photos have decent image quality but are a “pinch of salt” too soft. The macro camera is a blast and can be used for photos and videos. That said, I just don’t know if this is more of a novelty or a nice-to-have feature. Oh, and you need a lot of even light when using it because the macro camera is easily susceptible to image noise.
And as far as video, the Moto G Fast can shoot 4K. Take a look at the video below.
On the front of the Moto G Fast is an 8-megapixel camera which shoots 1,080P video. I used the camera in a few video chats including Zoom and it was fine.
The Moto E has two rear cameras, though you’ll only really capture photos with the 13-megapixel main camera because the 2-megapixel depth camera only helps with portrait mode photos. Generally, the Moto E doesn’t capture as much detail as the Moto G Fast, but I like the punchy contrast and colors it produces even if its dynamic range is limited.
One bright point on both phones is that they are excellent at taking portrait mode photos. It’s really nice to see how refined the effect is and that it works on both the front and rear-facing cameras.
Winner: At its price, it’s amazing that the Moto G Fast has an ultra-wide camera, a macro camera and 4K video. (Though, if cameras are important to you, you’re best to pay nearly twice the price to get a Google Pixel 3A or iPhone SE which have much better camera systems all around.)
The Moto G Fast is faster and has a longer-lasting battery
Both run a nearly-stock version of Android 10 and include Motorola’s fun and helpful gesture shortcuts like doing a double-karate chop to turn on the flashlight. Motorola is committed to one major OS update with the phones and two years of bimonthly security updates. That’s really important since Apple keeps older phones updated with software and security updates for four to five years. Because of this, a phone like the iPhone SE costs twice as much as the Moto G Fast but will mostly likely last you twice as long. Nevertheless, it’s good that Motorola has plans to keep both phones relatively updated.
The Moto G Fast comes with 3GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 665 processor, while the Moto E just has 2GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 632 processor. Keep in mind the Moto G Stylus and Moto G Power both come with 4GB of RAM.
When it comes to opening apps, using Google Assistant and editing photos, the Moto G Fast feels slightly peppier. When I had multiple apps open and running in the background on the Moto E, it became laggy. Not horribly so, but I wonder what this means in, say, a year or so and how it will handle newer versions of apps as well as Android 11.
I played games like Alto’s Odyssey and PUBG just fine on both phones, but when I played Asphalt 9 on the Moto E, the phone immediately got hot. However when it came to performance tests, the Moto G Fast unsurprisingly scored the same as the Moto G Power, while the Moto E scored the same as the Moto G7 and better than the new Samsung Galaxy A01. See below for test results.
Battery wise, the Moto G Fast has a 4,000mAh battery and it had no problem making it through a day. At the end of two days the battery was down to 11%. Meanwhile, the Moto E has a 3,550mAh battery. It made it through a day no problem, but I found myself having to charge it midway through the second day.
Winner: With a faster processor and bigger battery, the Moto G Stylus is the clear winner.
Motorola Moto E specs vs. Samsung Galaxy A01, Moto G Fast, Moto G Power, Moto G Stylus
|Moto E||Samsung Galaxy A01||Moto G Fast||Moto G Power||Moto G Stylus|
|Display size, resolution||6.2-inch LCD; 1,520×720 pixels||5.7-inch LCD; 1,520×720 pixels||6.4-inch LCD; 1,560×720 pixels||6.4-inch LCD; 2,300×1,080 pixels||6.4-inch LCD; 2,300×1,080 pixels|
|Dimensions (Inches)||6.29 x 3.01 x 0.34 in||5.81 x 2.79 x 0.33 in||6.37 x 2.98 x 0.36 in||6.29 x 2.98 x 0.38 in||6.24 x 2.98 x 0.36 in|
|Dimensions (Millimeters)||159.77 x 76.56 x 8.65 mm||147.5 x 70.9 x 8.3 mm||161.87 x 75.7 x 9.05 mm||159.85 x 75.8 x 9.63 mm||158.55 x 75.8 x 9.2 mm|
|Weight (Ounces, Grams)||6.52 oz; 185g||5.32 oz; 151g||6.68 oz; 189.4g||7.01 oz; 199 g||6.77 oz; 192 g|
|Mobile software||Android 10||Android 10||Android 10||Android 10||Android 10|
|Camera||13-megapixel (standard), 2-megapixel (depth camera)||13-megapixel (standard), 2-megapixel (depth sensing)||16-megapixel wide-angle, 2-megapixel macro, 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle||16-megapixel wide-angle, 2-megapixel macro, 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle||48-megapixel wide-angle, 2-megapixel macro, 16-megapixel ultra-wide angle|
|Processor||Snapdragon 632||Snapdragon 439||Snapdragon 665||Snapdragon 665||Snapdragon 665|
|Expandable storage||Up to 512GB||Up to 512GB||Up to 512GB||Up to 512GB||Up to 512GB|
|Special features||Stylus, Action Cam|
|Price off-contract (USD)||$150||$150||$200||$250||$300|