Motorola e32 – cheap as chips and just as satisfying (review)

The Motorola e32 4G (RRP $229 but $183 at JB Hi-Fi) shows you can still buy a very competent 4G phone with Motorola heritage and quality that will do the job without fuss.

Sure, it has a virtually unknown UNISOC T606 System on a Chip (Soc), 4/64GB (and microSD to 1TB), a 6.5″ 720p display (but it is 90Hz), 5000mAh battery, 10W charger (18W capable), and tri-rear-camera but that is all you need. It only lacks NFC for Google Pay.

Because it is a low-cost device, we won’t perform the full suite of 70+ tests, not because it won’t pass them all (it will), but because at this price, you are only concerned with three things

  1. Decent phone reception
  2. Decent battery life
  3. Reliability

It aces all those and is the <$200 class leader.

Market Position

I have been thoroughly impressed with this latest round of new 2022 Moto models. From the excellent, not quite, flagship Edge 30 and 30 Pro, the rock-solid g-series and value e-series.

The Motorola 2022 phones currently include

  • e32 64GB (this review was $229 now $183)
  • g22 128GB (was $299 now $239)
  • g50 128GB 5G (was $299 now $250)*
  • g51 128GB 5G (normally $349 now $279 on special)*
  • G62 (was $399 now $319)
  • Edge20 Fusion 128GB 5G (was $449 now $359)*
  • G82 (was $499, now $399)
  • Edge20 128GB 5G 128GB ($479)*
  • Edge30   128GB 5G (normally $699 now $559l)
  • Edge20 Pro 256GB 5G (was $899 now $719)*
  • Edge30 Pro 128GB 5G (was $999 now $799)

* These are 2021 runout models, and new models are coming soon. In any case, there are some real bargains there.

5-minute review Motorola e32, 4/64GB, Dual sim, 4/64GB/dedicated microSD Model X2227-3, Retapac firmware

WebsiteProduct Page
Price:$229 but on special at JB for $183)
ColoursSlate Grey or Misty Silver
From:Special prices from JB Hi-Fi
Warranty:12-months ACL
Country of Manufacture:China
CompanyOwned by Lenovo (Est 1984) – a multinational technology company with its primary operational headquarters in Beijing and Morrisville, North Carolina. It is the world’s largest PC maker, and it purchased Motorola Mobility from Google in 2014. Most of Lenovo’s smartphone business is now under the Motorola brand, with grand plans to become a ‘top five’ smartphone maker.
MoreOther CyberShack Motorola news and reviews

Most section headings have FAIL (did not meet expected standards), PASS (all you can expect) or EXCEED (better than you can expect).

First impression – punches above its weight – Pass+

It is a basic glass slab with a centre O-hole top camera, mono speaker (earpiece and bottom firing), and PMMA back, all in a nicely square-edged plastic frame.

Size-wise it is 163.95 x 74.94 x 8.49mm x 184g and has basic IP52 water resistance.

Screen 6.5” 1600 x 720, 268ppi, 90Hz LCD – Pass

A screen’s function is to see icons and photos with reasonable clarity and brightness – it passes nicely. It is not overly bright (you will probably run it at close to 100%) and is not for use in direct sunlight.

The screen supports Auto, 60 or 90Hz refresh. During all our tests, Auto remained at 60Hz.

Processor – 12nm UNISCOC T606, 4/64/microSD 1TB  – Pass

It is an engine, perfect for a phone and to do a little AI on photos. It is actually pretty close to a MediaTek Helio P70 or Qualcomm SD660, so it is not exactly a shabby performer. Where it chokes is multi-tasking, multiple Chrome Browser Tabs, and yes, it can be laggy. Nokia uses it in their new G11 and G21. Geekbench 5 single/multi-core test is 307/1180. OpenCL is 505 – too slow for any game.

Interestingly it did not throttle over the 15-minute, 100% load test recording 126,352 GIPs.

It has 64GB eMMC (45GB free).The nice thing about this is the microSD card to 1TB, so you can move photos and other files to that.

Comms – Wi-Fi g 2.4Ghz, BT 5.0 and no NFC – Pass

Wi-Fi g 2.4Ghz means that you get half-duplex 2.4Ghz speeds of around 86/86Mbps at the router and because 2.4Ghz carries further, it is fine out to 20m. This is not for video streaming.

Bluetooth has SBC codecs for ear/headphones and speaker connections. GPS was a little slow, especially recalculation – not recommended for highway speed navigation.

4G Phone – Pass for city or suburbs

It has bands 1/2/3/5/7/8/18/19/20/26/28/38/40/41 and finds the closest tower at -79dBm and from 4 to 12pW – quite strong. It finds the second tower at -110dBm (almost unusable), so it is best for major cities or suburbs with good tower coverage. Not recommended for low signal strength zones.

It has dual sim slots but a single ring tone.

Battery – 5000mAh – Pass+

We recorded 15 hours video loop (50% volume and brightness, aeroplane mode). PC Mark 3.0 Modern Office was 20 hours and 30 minutes (typical use). Discharge at 100% load was 5 hours 41 minutes. Accubattery reports an average of 24 hours screen off, 18 hours combined and 5 hours at full load.

Charge time with the 5V/2A/10W charger is 2 hours and 40 minutes. We did not test the 18W charger but expect that it would be around 2 hours.

Because it uses a 12nm SoC and an LCD screen, it uses more power, about 4—500mA screen-on at idle and 1000-1500mA under load. Yes, it is a two-day between charges, but only if you are a light user.

Sound – mono – Pass

The sound is purely for clear voice, and it does that well. The maximum volume is 85dB. Hands-free is fine as long as there is not a lot of extraneous background noise. It has a 3.5mm 3-pole jack for earphones and a mic.

Build – Pass

It has a 12-month warranty, a pretty solid build and comes with a bumper cover and buds. It should last a few years.

Android 11 and My UX – Pass

At this price, there is no expectation of an OS upgrade or regular security updates (the phone had an April update in July 2022). That is fine.

Missing – No deal breakers

Apart from NFC (not expected at this price), you have all the necessary features.

Motorola e32 camera – Pass

The rear camera is 16MP (Hynix HY1634), 2MP macro (Galaxy Core GC02m) and 2MP depth (Galaxy Core GC02m). The selfie is 8MP (Samsung S5K4H7). There are no bells and whistles, no real AI post-processing – what you see is what you get.

Given that Motorola uses the Google Camera app, there are many features, but frankly, the hardware is not quite up to the promise.

Camera summary

  • 1X Day Primary sensor – the colours are OK, but it has limited dynamic range. Reasonable details in the background, shadows, and highlights.
  • 2X Day Primary sensor – as above. The background is getting noisy.
  • 4X Day: Primary sensor – pushing the limits
  • Ultra-wide: N/A
  • Macro: The 2MP means a 4cm focus is critical. We tried dozens of shots but could never achieve a good, focused macro shot.
  • Indoor office light: Colours are a little muted, and dogs’ face/ears are grey instead of deep black
  • Bokeh Depth: A 2MP sensor helps for bokeh shots.
  • Dark <40 lumens: Don’t go there. The noise shows it struggles.
  • Night mode brings up the detail and saturates the colour, but there is still too much noise
  • Selfie: The 8MP selfie has natural skin tones and details and a range of filters to enhance any image. Best in day and office light
  • Video (we are not video experts): You can shoot at 1080p@30fps but the processor struggles. Best at 720p@30fps

While the camera may seem limited, it is perfectly acceptable for social media shots.

CyberShack’s view – The Motorola e32 offers good features for a rock-bottom price

It is essentially a lower-cost version of the Motorola g22 using a UNISOC processor and a less demanding camera rig. If you can afford $239, the g22 has NFC as well.

All credit to Motorola for producing a solid, reliable, low-cost phone with few compromises.

Motorola e32, Motorola e32

Motorola e32 4G

RRP $229 but $183 at JB Hi-Fi
8

Features

8.0/10

Value

9.0/10

Performance

6.0/10

Ease of Use

9.0/10

Design

8.0/10

Pros

  • 2 day battery
  • Decent 720p screen
  • Decent camera - better than social media standard
  • Low-cost does not man shoddy

Cons

  • No NFC (not expected)


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