The Motorola moto e family shows that the size of the sticker price of a smartphone is in no way related to its hardware and software features.

Ever since Google sold Motorola to Lenovo in 2014, the engineers have been working away on a range of devices that provide a robust and elegant form-factor matched to the 9th Generation of Google’s Android operating system.

The moto e6s is a new entrant for Motorola in the Australian market. With an RRP of $179 this is one of the best value for money devices available today. Let’s break it down a little further to understand why…

Highlights

6.1″ HD+ Screen (1560×720 pixels) with almost edge-to-edge coverage3000mAh Battery with 5W fast-charging capability via micro-USB slot
Android™ 9 Pie OSRear Camera
13MP (f/2.2, 1.12um) | PDAF
Features & Effects: Bokeh, Video, Panorama, Face beauty, and HDR

Front Camera
5MP (f/2.2, 1.12um)
Features & Effects: Bokeh, Video, Panorama, Face beauty, and HDR
Fingerprint reader, Proximity sensor, Accelerometer, Ambient Light sensorVideo
Rear camera: FHD (30fps) | HD (30fps) | VGA (30fps) | CIF (30fps)
Front camera: FHD (30fps) | HD (30fps) | VGA (30fps) | CIF (30fps)
Dual SIM (2 Nano SIMs + 1 microSD)Water repellent design
Bluetooth® 4.2FM Radio with 3.5mm headphone jack
GPS, A-GPS, LTEPP, SUPL, GLONASS Location ServicesMediaTek Helio P22 with 2.0GHz octa-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU, 650MHz IMG GE8320 GPU with 32GB of internal storage and 2GB of RAM

Hardware

Featuring a ‘peacock blue’ exterior and weighing only 160g, the moto e6s is a great starter-phone for anyone. Other exterior features include and 3.5mm headphone jack and a micro-USB port (USB 2.0). There’s also dual-SIM slots with an additional slot for a micro-SD card. Another great inclusion is a clear plastic cover to keep that blue case looking good, always.

At the back there’s a small speaker opening as well as a dual-camera set-up. The main lens is 13MP with Motorola’s PDAF (Phase Detection Autofocus) system meaning moving objects stay sharp and in-focus. Built-in functions include Video, Panorama, Face beauty, and HDR. The second 2MP lens is used for features such as depth of field adjustment for the Bokeh effects and low-light flash calculations.

The close-up photo capabilities of the moto e6s is very impressive. This is not specifically Macro, but it’ll more than do.

Video is 30fps (frames per second) across FHD, HD, VGA, and CIF. Sadly there’s no image stabilisation which does make your videos a little wobbly on the move.

The other great feature that comes built into the moto e6s is the fingerprint sensor mounted on the rear of the device. I will happily put my hand up and say that I thought this was odd when it was launched years ago. After using the moto e6s for a few weeks, I now find it completely intuitive.

On the right-hand side are the customary volume buttons and a single power button. All easily accessible with your thumb.

Software

As I mentioned above, the moto e6s comes loaded with the 9th generation of Android – called “Pie”. This is a significant step forward for Google and unlike other manufacturers, Motorola doesn’t burden you with any ‘bloat-ware’. Out of the box, this is a near-perfect extension of Google as you know it on your desktop or laptop.

The set-up is perfectly intuitive and takes no more than 5 mins to set-up. Being a rusted-on Google user, it’s so nice to have just one app for all the key functions. One Photos app, one Mail app, one Calendar app, one Maps app.

Android 9.0 Pie also introduces Google’s gesture controls where a swipe to up or down, left or right, gets you where you want to go.

The use of Google’s family of apps also removes any storage anxiety as almost all your content and data is stored in the cloud leaving the moto e6s to hum along with resources to spare.

Sadly there are a few omissions – but remember this device only cost $179. There’s no NFC, so Google Pay is only good for loyalty cards and boarding passes (remember them?). No image stabilisation on your videos is noticeable and the single microphone doesn’t like any kind of breeze. And finally, wireless charging really is second nature these days.

Verdict

This is a great smartphone if you are looking for a first device for those teenagers in your life, or if the in-laws just want a simple phone that will keep them connected to you and the world around them.

The battery life is more than reasonable. It takes a great photo. Makes music easily accessible via the built-in FM radio or your favourite streaming app. Yes it does lack a few niche features but these are not deal-breakers.

The Motorola moto e6s is available from the Motorola Store for $179.