Moto E5 Plus vs. Moto E4 Plus: Battle of the ultra-budget Motos

The Moto G series may make the most headlines when it comes to Motorola’s budget handset lineup, but there’s another series that offers arguably even better value for money — the E-series.

At the same time it unveiled the new Moto G6, the company also announced the new Moto E5 Plus. How does it stack up against last year’s Moto E4 Plus? Is it really much of an upgrade? We put the two phones head to head to find out.

Specs

Moto E4 Plus Moto E5 Plus
Size  155 x 77.5 x 9.6 mm (6.10 x 3.05 x 0.38 inches) 162 x 75.3 x 9.35 mm (6.37 x 2.96 x 0.37 inches)
Weight 198g (6.98oz ) 200g (7.05oz)
Screen Size 5.5 inches 6 inches
Screen Resolution 1,280 x 720 pixels 1,440 x 720 pixels
Operating System Android 7.1.1 Nougat Android 8.0 Oreo
Storage Space 16GB, 32GB 32GB
MicroSD Card Slot Yes Yes
Tap To Pay Services No No
Processor MediaTek MT6737 Qualcomm Snapdragon 435
RAM 3GB 3GB
Camera Rear 13MP, front 5MP Rear 12MP, front 8MP
Video 720p at 30 fps 1,080p
Bluetooth Version Bluetooth 4.2 Bluetooth 4.2
Ports MicroUSB, 3.5mm headphone jack MicroUSB, 3.5mm headphone jack
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Water resistance No No
Battery 5,000mAh 5,000mAh
App Marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support All major carriers All major carriers
Colors Iron Gray, Fine Gold, Oxford Blue  Black, Mineral Blue, Flash Gray, Fine Gold
Price $180 $288
Buy From Motorola Sprint
Review Score 4 out of 5 stars Hands-on

Performance, battery life and charging

Adam Ismail/Digital Trends

The first thing to notice about a new phone is how it performs. While the Moto E4 Plus features a MediaTek MT6737, the Moto E5 Plus instead went with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor. The two chips perform similarly, but the Snapdragon 435 should be slightly faster than the MediaTek chip. Both phones feature 3GB of RAM. When it comes to storage, the new Moto E5 Plus features 32GB, while the older device offers either 16GB or 32GB.

Both of these phones feature pretty huge batteries, too. You get a 5,000mAh battery in both the Moto E4 Plus and the Moto E5 Plus, and it should get you through more than a day of solid use. Then there’s charging, and the new Moto E5 Plus boasts 15W TurboPower, which should get you 6 hours of use in 15 minutes of charging. The Moto E4 Plus, on the other hand, offers 10W “rapid charging,” so the newer phone should charge a little quicker.

The Moto E4 Plus and Moto E5 Plus are similar — but we expect the Moto E5 Plus to perform a little better, and charge a little faster.

Winner: Moto E5 Plus

Design and durability

Moto E5 Plus Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Motorola has updated its design sensibility for 2018, and the new phone looks much more modern. Like other Moto phones, it features an 18:9 aspect ratio, plus it offers a glass back and the now standard large camera module on the back. The glass back is something that helps make the phone look much more modern — the Moto E4 Plus uses metal instead.

One major difference between these two phones is that the Moto E4 Plus retains a home button under the display, while the Moto E5 Plus instead uses software buttons and moves the fingerprint sensor to the back. Thankfully, both phones have a headphone jack, and both have a MicroUSB port, too — though we hope Motorola will move to USB-C in the next iteration.

When it comes to durability, we think it’s likely that the Moto E4 Plus will be the tougher option. Neither of the two have water-resistance, but given the metal back on the Moto E4 Plus compared to the glass on the Moto E5 Plus, it should fare better when dropped.

We think the Moto E5 Plus is a much better-looking phone, but the Moto E4 Plus is probably slightly more durable.

Winner: Moto E5 Plus

Display

Adam Ismail/Digital Trends

Both the Moto E4 Plus and the Moto E5 Plus feature a 720p display, but considering the aspect ratio on the Moto E5 Plus, 720p translates to a slightly different resolution. They also feature different screen sizes — so the pixel density is also a bit different.

For starters, the Moto E4 Plus offers a 5.5-inch display with a resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels, which translates to a pixel density of around 267 pixels per inch. The Moto E5 Plus, on the other hand, offers a 6-inch display with a resolution of 1,440 x 720 pixels, giving it a pixel density of 268.

Given the fact that the pixel density is pretty much the same, the larger screen size makes the Moto E5 Plus the winner here.

Winner: Moto E5 Plus

Camera

Moto E5 Plus Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Both of these phones feature the Moto-style camera module, but the cameras are slightly different. The camera on the Moto E4 Plus comes in at 13 megapixels with an aperture of f/2.0, while the Moto E5 Plus’ camera comes in at 12 megapixels, also with an f/2.0 aperture. In general, the E5 Plus offers more features than the E4 Plus, including phase detection autofocus, HDR, and more. The front facing camera on the E4 Plus comes in at 5 megapixels, while the E5 Plus steps things up to 8 megapixels.

We’re going to have to wait and see just how the camera on the Moto E5 Plus performs in the real world, but it’s likely to be an improvement over its predecessor. While we expect the Moto E5 Plus to perform better, despite its lower megapixel count, budget handsets can sometimes surprise you in terms of how poor their cameras are. We’ll call this a tie for now.

Winner: Tie

Software and updates

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Moto E4 Plus ships with Android 7.1.1 Nougat, while the Moto E5 Plus instead ships with the newer Android 8.0 Oreo. We don’t expect the Moto E4 Plus to get updated to Android 8.0 anytime soon, and Motorola has outright said that the E5 Plus won’t be getting any major software updates. In other words, if you’re looking forward to Android P, neither of these two phones are for you. The phones will, however, still get security updates.

Moto phones feature almost stock Android, but the company does add a few extra features to the software. For example, the phones have Moto Actions, which allow for you to open apps and control software through gestures — like double twisting your wrist to open the camera.

Given the fact that the Moto E5 Plus features a newer version of Android, it’s the winner here.

Winner: Moto E5 Plus

Special features

When it comes to special features, there really isn’t much to report. They both feature Moto Actions — though given the fact that the Moto E4 Plus has a home button, it offers one-button navigation, meaning you can use gestures to control the phone rather than using the software buttons. Both phones offer other Moto Actions, and they could be helpful to some users.

Winner: Tie

Price and availability

The Moto E5 Plus comes in at $290 while its predecessor is available for $180. Although the specs and design have been updated for 2018, the steep price increase is tough to swallow.

Overall winner: Moto E5 Plus

The Moto E5 Plus is simply the better phone here. It’s more powerful, has a more attractive, modern design, and boasts a larger display. Of course, that doesn’t mean the Moto E4 Plus isn’t worth buying — and if your budget is tight then look out for an E4 Plus price drop when the E5 Plus lands.

Editors' Recommendations