Motorola Moto E4 Plus review: A bigger screen and battery make a better smartphone? - Page 2

Rating:
3 out of 5 stars

The smartphone experience on the Motorola Moto E4 Plus

The Motorola Moto E4 Plus is a relatively large device. A big screen is always better for multimedia activities and for browsing the web, but it also means that the smartphone is not going to be easy to use with only one hand. The size and thickness also make it pretty difficult to slip in your pockets. Add the gargantuan 5000 mAh battery to the package, and you get not only a large but also a heavy smartphone. It is probably not too heavy for men, but women and teenagers might not like carrying something that feels like a brick. :)

The display looks good, has wide viewing angles, vivid colors, and high brightness levels. However, its large dimensions combined with the rather small resolution of only 1280 by 720 pixels, mean that the pixel density is low. This means that images and fonts lack detail and also the fonts have rough edges.

In usual daily tasks, the Motorola Moto E4 Plus works well. The processor is weak but together with the 3 GB of RAM found inside this smartphone, is enough to make the user interface feel snappy and the apps open and run well. However, if you are an avid gamer, do not expect to get a great experience. The smartphone has a weak video chip which can run games but at low quality and low framerates.

As for the radio signal reception, the Motorola Moto E4 Plus does well. Phone calls are stable, and the voices are clear on both ends. Concerning data transfers, you should know that we managed to use this smartphone on a 4G LTE network even in a room with two concrete walls where other smartphones struggle to keep the connections stable.

The 5000 mAh battery is monstrous in the purest sense of the word. It is huge and can keep this smartphone going for two days in a row without having to charge it. Probably even more if you are using it lightly.

The smartphone experience that you get on the Motorola Moto E4 Plus is not spectacular, but it is good. We wished that the display would have had a higher resolution, but other than that, the Motorola Moto E4 Plus has all it takes for common daily activities people do on their smartphones. Moreover, the huge battery can keep you going for more than two days, which is excellent!

The camera experience on the Motorola Moto E4 Plus

The rear main camera found on the Motorola Moto E4 Plus has a 13-megapixel image sensor, a f/2.0 aperture, and an LED flash to aid it in low light environments. However, although the image sensor resolution sounds better on paper than the 8-megapixel sensor found on the Motorola Moto E4, the truth is that the cameras on the two smartphones have a lot in common. Except for the higher resolution, the Motorola Moto E4 Plus is not better at photography or video recording than its smaller brother. The photos you take with this smartphone are of rather poor quality. Even in environments with good lighting, photos lack detail, and their contrast is either too low or too high, especially when HDR is enabled. In low light conditions, it is even worse, as photos are full of noise and managing to shoot photos that are not blurry is quite a challenge. Just like the Motorola Moto E4, the Plus model also needs a fairly long time to save photos on its internal storage space. Use it for taking photos of lists or other kinds of information, but do not rely on it for shooting beautiful Christmas family photos. :)

In the gallery below, you can see some photos that we have taken using the cameras on the Motorola Moto E4 Plus, both indoors and outdoors. They should help you in getting a better idea of their performance.

Even if it has 13 megapixels, the main camera on the Motorola Moto E4 Plus is not capable of filming videos at high resolutions. It can only go up to 720p, which is quite low by today's standards. The camera does not have any optical stabilization either, which means that videos are always shaky unless you use a tripod (who does that with a budget smartphone?). Here is a sample of a video that we took while standing, in which you can see how the smartphone handles videos with little movement:

Next, you can watch a video sample that was filmed while riding a bicycle. It shows what to expect when filming a video with movement.

The camera experience we had on the Motorola Moto E4 Plus is not a good one. On paper, the main camera should have been better than the one found on the Motorola Moto E4, but the quality of the photos and videos we took was similarly bad.

Android 7 Nougat and the default apps

The Motorola Moto E4 Plus smartphone comes with Android 7.1.1 Nougat pre-installed. The operating system and the user interface are the stock Android experiences. Motorola is among the few smartphone brands that come with a stock Android that is unaltered. There are no useless apps or clones of Google apps bundled. It is a good approach which more manufacturers should use. However, you should be aware of the fact that, if you buy the Motorola Moto E4 Plus from a mobile operator, you might also get some other apps that have been bundled by that operator.

To find out more about all the features available in Android 7 Nougat, you can check its official webpage: Android 7 Nougat.

Motorola Moto E4 Plus uses the modern Android 7.1.1 Nougat. The stock Android user interface is not changed, and there are no useless apps bundled. If you do not like manufacturer customized user interfaces, then you will probably like this smartphone.

Performance in benchmarks

To get a more mathematical view of the performance of the Motorola Moto E4 Plus, we also ran some benchmarks. Next, you can see the results that we got. Also note that, except for the battery tests, most of the benchmarks have ended up almost with the same results as those of the Motorola Moto E4. That was something that we have been expecting, as both smartphones have the same processor and video chip.

We started by using Vellamo, an app that is developed by Qualcomm. First, we ran its Multicore tests, which show how good the processor is when running multiple execution threads at the same time. The Motorola Moto E4 Plus got 1332 points. Unfortunately, that is a weak score, lesser than that of the ASUS ZenFone 3 Max 5.5. It is also a worse result than the one we saw on the Xiaomi Redmi 4A or an ASUS Zenfone 3 Max, but higher than that of an ASUS Zenfone Live.

We continued with Vellamo's Metal tests, which measure the processor's performance per each core. These tests tell how good the smartphone is when it runs older apps can use only one core, but also when it runs games or other demanding apps that need much performance per CPU core. The Motorola Moto E4 Plus obtained 1058 points, which is another poor result. It is a worse score than that of the ASUS ZenFone 3 Max 5.5, and it is less than what you get from a Xiaomi Redmi 4A for instance. However, it is more than you would get from an ASUS Zenfone 3 Max or from an ASUS Zenfone Live.

To see how well the Motorola Moto E4 Plus is at web browsing, we also ran Vellamo's Browser tests. It got 1824 points, a score which shows that this smartphone is about as fast at browsing as the ASUS Zenfone 3 Max or the ASUS Zenfone Live, but worse than a Xiaomi Redmi 4A or an ASUS Zenfone 3 Max 5.5.

Next, we moved on to check how well games run on the Motorola Moto E4 Plus. To do that, we used the GFXBench GL Benchmark app. We ran the tests called 1080p Manhattan 3.1 Offscreen and 1080p T-Rex Offscreen tests. We use only 1080p tests because they are performed using the same Full HD 1080p resolution, and that makes it is easier to compare the graphics performance to other smartphones, no matter what size or resolution they have.

We could not run the 1080p Car Chase Offscreen tests because the Mali-T720 video chip found on the Motorola Moto E4 Plus does not offer support for the OpenGL ES 3.2 graphics rendering API used in the latest games.

In 1080p Manhattan 3.1 Offscreen, Motorola Moto E4 Plus managed to render 86.13 frames. It is a weak result, and it is identical to that of the Motorola Moto E4. It is half the result of the Xiaomi Redmi 4A or the ASUS Zenfone 3 Max and 40 percent worse than what the ASUS Zenfone Live can do. The Zenfone 3 Max 5.5, a similar smartphone, can render more than 280 frames in this test. That is more than three times more frames!

The second gaming test, 1080p T-Rex Offscreen, ended up with another poor result: the Motorola Moto E4 Plus rendered only 334.5 frames. It is a similar result to that of the ASUS Zenfone 3 Max and ASUS Zenfone Live, but it is less than what you get from the Xiaomi Redmi 4A. Once more, it is only a third of what you would get on an ASUS Zenfone 3 Max 5.5 smartphone, which can render more than 900 frames in this test.

We also tested the 4G speed and reliability offered by the Motorola Moto E4 Plus. The measurements we made with Speedtest showed that the smartphone could achieve excellent data transfer speeds and in line with other smartphones.

In the end, we also tested the autonomy that you get from the huge 5000 mAh battery found inside the Motorola Moto E4 Plus. To do that, we used a benchmarking app called PCMark. Running the Work 2.0 battery life test, the Motorola Moto E4 Plus managed to stay on for 16 hours and 46 minutes. This is an impressive result, which shows that this smartphone should keep on going for two days between having to charge it. If you use it lightly, it might stay on even more than that.

The Motorola Moto E4 is a smartphone with modest performance, but it can handle any common task. The only thing that impressed us was its immense battery.

What is your opinion about the Motorola Moto E4 Plus?

You have read what we think about the new Motorola Moto E4 Plus and how it fared in our testing. Now, we would like you to tell us your opinion: are the large display and monstrous battery enough to convince you to buy it? Is the weak performance a show stopper for you?