Motorola's new Moto E has quad cores, LTE, costs $150 unlocked

While Samsung and Apple duke it out over the high-end segment of the smartphone market, Motorola has been making smartphones more accessible for the masses with models like the Motos G and E. Today, Motorola announced an updated version of the Moto E, its most affordable smartphone.

The original Moto E did without a camera flash, 4G connectivity, or a front-facing camera, but Motorola has baked some of those features back into the refreshed Moto E. Frugal smartphone buyers now get LTE support and a front-facing camera for the all-important selfies, though a rear flash is still missing. The 4.5" IPS screen is .2" larger than on the original E, while the five-megapixel camera seems like a carry-over, aside from a bump to 720p video capture. The slightly bolstered spec sheet comes at the expense of a $20 increase in price over the original E ($149 vs. $129).

Under the hood, the new E nets two more processor cores. CPU duties are handled by a quad-core, 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410. This 64-bit-capable SoC includes an Adreno 306 GPU running at 400Mhz, and it's all backed up by 1GB of RAM. The specs pale in comparison to those of the Galaxy Note 4 Scott recently reviewed, but hey: this is a $150 smartphone. That's kind of amazing in and of itself.

One might expect that such a cheap phone would be loaded with shovelware, but initial reports suggest the Moto E is running a largely untouched version of Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, which should come as a relief to fans of Google's stock Android experience. Motorola reserves the full-on customization experience for its higher-end Moto X, but the Moto E adds a little bit of custom flair with interchangeable rubber bumpers that snap onto the outside of the phone's frame.

As if a $150 unlocked smartphone weren't cheap enough, Motorola will soon offer a non-LTE version of the new E (albeit with a Snapdragon 200 quad-core SoC and Adreno 302 graphics) for only $119.99, as well. I'd gladly pay the extra $30 for 4G connectivity, though.

If that $150 price tag has your impulse-buying finger twitching, Motorola says the Moto E is being rolled out for purchase today in over 50 countries. Buyers in the U.S. can order a Moto E direct from Motorola's product page.

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