Moto E4 Plus

Motorola's E4 Plus is the latest phone from the company, packing a huge battery and trying to up the spec despite a low-end price.

Battery life is a big concern of almost everyone who wants to buy a new phone, and Motorola has packed this phone with a massive cell that should be able to last at least two days.

The Lenovo P2 – made by Motorola’s parent company – impressed us earlier this year with its two-day battery life, so we expect some big things from the new E4 Plus, which in some respects replaces that phone.

Given that its specs are limited in other areas, leaving the phone with less heavy lifting to do, we expect the Moto E4 Plus to do some fantastic things in the battery department, but do the rest of the components add up to make this a worthwhile phone?

Moto E4 Plus release date and price

  • Out now in the US and UK, no word on Australian release
  • Costs $ 179.99 or £159, making it a touch more expensive than the Moto E4 

All the color options for the Moto E4 Plus.

The Moto E4 Plus is out now in the US and UK, so you can buy this phone for $ 179.99/£159 (around AU$ 240).

In the US the phone is available through Verizon or selected retailers SIM-free. In the UK you can buy it from Argos and a selection of other stores.

That price is a touch more expensive than the Moto E4, a phone which we liked enough to give four and a half stars and which is priced at $ 129/£129, but the E4 Plus is not that much more money considering the slightly improved spec.

There’s no currently no scheduled Australian release date and considering the Moto E4 wasn’t released there we wouldn’t an E4 Plus release either.

Design

  • Premium feel metal design, unlike the Moto E3
  • Thicker and heavier than your average phone
  • Curved and smooth back means it sits comfortably in the hand 

The rear of the Moto E4 Plus.

The Moto E4 Plus is encased in a full metal shell that gives it a premium feel many other affordable phones aren't able to replicate. It has a curved back, helping it sit in your hand comfortably too.

On the bottom of the phone there's a speaker and a micro USB port. On the top there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack if you want to use wired headsets for listening to music.

The speaker is on the left with the microUSB port in the middle.

It may sit comfortably in your hand, but the Moto E4 Plus isn't very light – it weighs 198g – and it’s also quite thick at 9.6mm. That makes it chunkier than the 9.3mm-thick Moto E4, and it’s down to the much bigger battery that's been packed in.

You’ll likely notice this in your pocket more than the Moto E4 or Moto G5, which come in at 151g and 145g respectively.

The Moto E4 Plus is heavy, but it sits comfortably in the hand.

That said, it doesn't make the E4 Plus ugly. Its metal shell leaves it looking good, and overall Motorola has managed to build in a bigger battery without compromising the design too much.

There’s no SIM slot on the metal outside of the phone – you pull off the back cover to insert your microSD card and SIM (you can’t remove the battery though). We found it to be particularly difficult to pull off, so swapping your SIM card or microSD may not be as easy as you’d hope for, although it’s unlikely you’d be doing so regularly.

There's also a fingerprint scanner below the screen, which we found to work well. You may find the sensor a little small  compared to those on some other devices, but it always picked up our fingerprint for a simple unlock.

The fingerprint scanner on the E4 Plus is small, but works well.

Having a fingerprint sensor on a phone this cheap is a major plus, and you’ll likely appreciate it as a fast and simple way of unlocking your phone.

The design of the Moto E4 Plus certainly isn’t perfect, but considering the price point of this phone, and the fact that the earlier Moto E3 line came with a much uglier plastic shell design, this is a big improvement.

Display

  • Large display with a HD resolution, but only 720p
  • May prove too large for some, but it’s a bright and clear screen 

The 5.5-inch 720p screen on the E4 Plus is bright and clear.

The Moto E4 Plus has a 5.5-inch HD (720p) display, which you may see as a low-resolution option. 

It does offer 267 pixels per inch though, which means you'll struggle to spot any pixelation in images unless you're looking closely.

It’s not, however, as high a resolution as previous Lenovo-built devices like the P2, Moto G5 or the Moto G5 Plus. If you’re looking for a higher resolution you may be able to get the Moto G4 or G4 Plus, which features a Full HD display, for a similar price.

During our usage though we found the Moto E4 Plus to have a bright and clear display that looks good for watching video, despite the lower resolution. If you’re not fussed about the higher resolution screen, this display will still allow you to comfortably use your apps and watch video.

Plus the lower resolution puts less of a strain on the battery, contributing to the excellent battery life of the Moto E4 Plus.

Thanks to Currys PC World Business for supplying our Moto E4 Plus unit

Battery life

  • Impressive two-day battery life with average usage
  • Means you won’t have to recharge your phone every night, unless intensively using it 

The battery is certainly the highlight of the Moto E4 Plus. It's a huge 5,000mAh cell, and throughout our time testing the phone we found the battery life to be nothing short of incredible. If you’re looking for a device that can last two days from a single charge, this is it.

If you’re using your phone intensively the battery life will more likely be around a day and a half, but our usage was fairly typical, and we found that it would indeed last for a whole two days.

For comparison, the standard Moto E4 only has a 2,800mAh juice pack, while even the massive Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus has just a 3,500mAh cell.

The Moto E4 Plus also comes in gold.

Both those phones can last a whole day, but the Moto E4 Plus’ 5,000mAh battery is only powering a low-end device with a limited processor and 720p screen, so it’s not surprising that it’s able to offer even better battery life.

We ran our standard video test on the E4 Plus, which involves playing a Full HD video at full brightness with Wi-Fi turned on, and it came through with TKTK% left over.

There’s fast-charging tech built in here, but you’ll need to use the dedicated charger included in the box to make the most of it, so you won’t be able to fast-charge at a friend’s house or if your charger breaks.

When charging normally, the E4 Plus takes a particularly long time to top up on account of that 5,000mAh cell, so you’ll want to try and keep your fast charger on you if you’re out and about.

There are no bells and whistles here, such as wireless charging, you’re just getting solid battery life the old-fashioned way – and if that’s what you want from your device then you’ll have no complaints.

Camera

  • 13MP sensor looks better on paper than how it actually performs
  • It can take decent images, but lacks interesting camera features 

The rear camera on the E4 Plus is large with a 13MP sensor.

The Moto E4 Plus has a 13MP sensor on the rear, which may look great on paper, but the shooter is particularly limited.

For example, you'll be restricted to only 720p video recording, while there’s a noticeable lag between you pressing the capture button and the photo actually being taken.

We found the resolution of images to be acceptable and despite a high aperture of f/2.0 the images still seemed bright and captured with a lot of light in. Night time shooting saw the Moto E4 Plus struggle a little, but that’s expected on a phone at this price.

Images captured in good lighting looked nice and bright, and resolution was acceptable. Low light shooting saw the Moto E4 Plus struggle a little, but that’s to be expected with a phone at this price. 

There’s no real standout camera feature on the Moto E4 Plus. If you’re looking for a device that can take the odd image for uploading to Instagram or sharing with friends, you’ll likely be happy with the camera on the back here.

There's a 5MP selfie camera on the front of the phone that comes with an LED flash. Again it’s fine for the odd photo, but don't buy this phone specifically for its selfie camera, as features are limited here too. 

Camera samples

Anything else I need to know?

Motorola has included a Mediatek MT6737 chipset in the E4 Plus, which is a setup we saw struggle on the Nokia 3. It's clocked at 1.3GHz and it’s optimized a bit better on the Moto E4 Plus, but don’t expect this to be a powerhouse device.

It works in tandem with 3GB of RAM, which means the phone is capable of handling all the apps you’ll want it to, and it should be fine for some undemanding gaming.

There was a notable graphics drop on the Moto E4 Plus compared to other devices we’ve used, though, so you may not want to go for this phone if you’re looking for high-performance game graphics.

War Wings being played on the Moto E4 Plus.

All popular apps ran smoothly on the phone. You may just have to wait a little longer for your phone to load up certain apps if you have a lot running in the background.

For example, we found that if we tried to load up social media apps while the phone was playing music and running a few other applications in the background it could take a little time to load, but it was never more than a few seconds.

The Moto E4 Plus is available with either 16GB or 32GB of onboard storage. We’d recommend going for the 32GB version, as that will give you much more space for your videos, music and apps, but if you don’t tend to load much onto your phone you may be okay with the smaller version.

We tested the 16GB version of the phone, and before adding our own apps and media we found the software took up almost 6GB of that; 10GB of free space isn’t all that much. That said, both versions of the phone support microSD cards up to 128GB, so you can easily add more storage if you need it.

The Moto E4 Plus arrives running Android 7.1.1 Nougat software, and like all the other Motorola devices of recent years it's running a more or less stock version, so it looks very similar to how Google intended.

These screenshots show the UI of the Moto E4 Plus.

There are a few add-ons from Motorola, including what the company is calling Moto Actions. These are a few little gesture shortcuts that, once you learn them, you’ll likely find yourself using without even thinking about it.

If you make a karate chop gesture with the phone you’ll boot up the flashlight on the back, while you can turn the phone in your hand to bring the camera app up immediately. When you’re in a rush, you’ll find these features particularly useful.

Having Android 7.1.1 means you’ll be able to use multitasking and newer emojis, but we’d also expect Motorola to update this device to Android O in the future. We can’t promise the company will be quick at doing so though, so you may want to opt for the Moto G5 or Moto Z2 Play if you’re looking for speedy software updates.

Verdict

Motorola has continued its dominance in the affordable smartphone space with the E4 and E4 Plus. The E4 Plus in particularly is one of the best devices you can get for your money at this price point, which is remarkably low considering what you get. 

The extended battery life is a big bonus, but everything else on the E4 Plus adds up to a full package.

There are a few high-end features missing, such as a kick-ass camera and great performance, but if you’re looking for a cheaper device that can achieve everything most modern smartphones do this could well be it.

Who’s it for?

If battery is your biggest concern when purchasing a phone, the Moto E4 Plus is a great option for you to upgrade to. We found it could comfortably last two days on a single charge, and that’s something a lot of phones right now aren’t capable of doing.

You will be limited by the 720p screen and low-end processor, but you may feel it’s a trade-off worth making in return for the extended battery life.

This is also a device for anyone who’s looking for an affordable phone. At only $ 179.99/£159 (around AU$ 240) you get a lot for your money.

Should you buy it?

If you’re either looking for an affordable phone, or a device that will last you a couple of days on a single charge, go for the Moto E4 Plus.

There isn’t an incredible camera or a powerful setup under the hood, but it does everything you’ll need it to, and comes packed with that phenomenal battery, the likes of which we’ve only seen on a few devices in the past.

For comfortably under $ 200/£200, the Moto E4 Plus is a steal of a device, and it will likely be one of our most recommended affordable phones for the foreseeable future.

Don’t think the Moto E4 Plus is for you? Here are the other phones we’d recommend you take a look at.

First reviewed August 2017

The competition

Don't think the Moto E4 Plus is the right phone for you? Here are the other phones we'd recommend.

Moto E4

You’ll get a smaller screen and less battery than the Moto E4 Plus gives you if you opt for the Moto E4, but the phone is a lot easier to handle and it comes with all of the same features. If you want to spend less money on your Motorola device, you may well be happy with this phone.

Read our Moto E4 review

Moto G5

A touch more expensive than the Moto E4 Plus, the Moto G5 is the next level up from the E range Motorolas, and it’s one of our favorite phones in the world right now. It features a Full HD 5-inch display and comes with a more powerful processor, but you’ll lose out on that incredible battery of the Moto E4 Plus.

Read our Moto G5 review

Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus

This is a phone that’s limited to the UK for now. It won’t give you such incredible battery life, but it does come with a more premium-feel design and smoother performance.

Read our Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus review

TechRadar – Technology Reviews

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