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Motorola Moto E5 Play Smartphone Review

Stefan Schomberg, 👁 Florian Schmitt, Andrea Grüblinger (translated by Finn D. Boerne), 02/07/2019

Everything but playful. In recent years, Motorola's E-series smartphones were usually less than or around $150 and more often than not well worth their money. Let's find out whether or not this is still the case with the company's latest effort, the Motorola E5 Play.

Moto E5 Play

For quite some time midrange smartphones have been equipped well enough to satisfy even more-demanding users. However, the sub-$100 range is still a tough range to compete in despite the advances smartphones at large have made in recent years. Motorola’s E-series has been a notable exception, and the entire E-series line-up has been updated by Motorola once again with the Moto E5Moto E5 Plus and today’s contender, the Moto E5 Play. The latter is the cheapest of the series yet still offers a large display, a fingerprint reader, and supposedly decent camera quality.

Competitors with comparable display sizes at a comparable price point are the Wiko Harry 2, the Nokia 3.1, and the Gigaset GS100.

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Motorola Moto E5 Play (Moto Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
1024 MB 
Display
5.2 inch 18:9, 960 x 480 pixel 206 PPI, capacitive touchscreen, IPS, glossy: yes
Storage
16 GB eMMC Flash, 16 GB 
, 11.9 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5-mm audio, Card Reader: microSD up to 128 GB, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: accelerometer, proximity sensor
Networking
802.11 b/g/n (b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.2, 2G (850/​900/​1,800/​,1900), 3G (B1/​B2/​B5/​B8), 4G (B1/​B3/​B5/​B7/​B8/​B20/​B38/​B40), Dual SIM, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 9 x 147 x 71 ( = 0.35 x 5.79 x 2.8 in)
Battery
8 Wh, 2120 mAh Lithium-Ion, removeable
Operating System
Android 8.1 Oreo
Camera
Primary Camera: 8 MPix f/2.2, LED flash, 1.12µm pixels
Secondary Camera: 5 MPix 5 MP, selfie flash
Additional features
Speakers: mono speaker at the top of the device, Keyboard: virtual keyboard, 24 Months Warranty, Head SAR: 0.572W/​kg, body SAR 1.588W/​kg - LTE Cat 4 (150Mbps/​50Mbps), fanless
Weight
150 g ( = 5.29 oz / 0.33 pounds), Power Supply: 63 g ( = 2.22 oz / 0.14 pounds)
Price
99.99 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

At first glance, the Moto E5 Play looks rather functional than cheap despite the prevalence of plastic. Build quality was superb, and we found no uneven gaps around the case. The phone also resisted our warping attempts very well and remained quiet. The power button and volume rocker at the right-hand side are firm and offer very pleasant travel and feedback.

The rear side is rather simple, with the fingerprint reader in the middle and a slightly protruding round camera module at the top. There are no optical highlights at all. The rear cover is removable, and underneath you get access to the user-replaceable battery, two SIM cards and a microSD card slot. The only color currently available is matte black.

Moto E5 Play

Very clear indications for its low price of less than $100 are the wide bezels all around the display. While smartphones in the $200 range are starting to implement a notch more and more often in order to offer a superior screen-to-body ratio, Motorola’s E-series seems to be stuck in 2015.

Nevertheless, the bezels at the top and bottom are still acceptable. It’s the bezels on the sides that are more bothersome and that make the E5 Play look like it’s from another era. The 3.5-mm headphone jack at the top and the microUSB port at the bottom of the device do little to refute that notion.

In return, ergonomics is where the E5 Play truly shines. Granted, at 14.8 x 7.1 cm (5.8 x 2.8 inches) it is fairly large, mostly due to its wide bezels, and at 9.2 mm (0.36 inches) it is not particularly thin either. But it feels great in the hand thanks to its rounded edges and its roughened and slip-proof backside. Its weight of 150 g hits the sweet spot between heavy enough to feel premium yet not too hefty to feel cumbersome.

Motorola Moto E5 Play
Motorola Moto E5 Play
Motorola Moto E5 Play
Motorola Moto E5 Play
Motorola Moto E5 Play

Size Comparison

Connectivity

16 GB of internal storage (12 GB user-accessible) is nothing extraordinary in this price range, but thankfully storage can be extended with microSD cards of up to 128 GB. RAM, on the other hand, cannot and it is therefore limited to just 1 GB. In our opinion, no smartphone released in 2019 should feature just 1 GB of RAM since this limits the device’s usability quite dramatically. The microUSB port (USB 2.0) at the bottom supports USB-OTG but once again feels incredibly outdated given that it is, after all, 2019.

The same can be said about the 3.5-mm headphone jack at the top of the device. More and more midrange and premium smartphones do not come with an audio jack anymore. Given that Motorola does not even include a headset with the device, the port will only benefit those that still have an older headset at home that they intend to use. However, we would have preferred a USB-C port for sound, charging, and data transfers. NFC is not supported.

Software

The Moto E5 Play comes preloaded with Android 8.1.0 Go, which has been specifically tailored to low-cost devices with meager amounts of RAM and slow SoCs. It uses less internal storage, less RAM, and it is more efficient than regular Android. As is almost always the case with cheap smartphones we would not expect an update to Android 9 Pie. A telling indicator is the fact that security patches were still as of November 2018 when we reviewed the phone in early February 2019.

Besides the Moto help app there are no other apps preloaded on the device. Even the useful Moto Actions are missing completely. On the plus side this also includes unwanted bloatware. Several Google apps, such as Google Maps or YouTube, are available in a special Go version only.

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Communication and GPS

More often than not cheap smartphones are characterized by poor wireless support, and the Moto E5 Play is no different. While it does support LTE, the featured bands are fairly limited, and the modem only allows LTE speeds of up to 150 Mb/s. That being said, the supported LTE bands should suffice unless you travel abroad regularly. Many midrange and premium smartphones support a wider variety of bands and are usually also much faster. Overall cellular reception in urban environments was excellent.

Wi-Fi is another category where Motorola had to opt for the cheap alternative. The device does not support the lesser-used 5 GHz range or ac-Wi-Fi. When connected to our Linksys EA8500 reference router the E5 Play turned out to be pretty slow and scored below average. Similarly priced devices, such as the Nokia 3.1 or the Gigaset GS100, transferred data around twice as fast.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Average of class Smartphone
  (5.9 - 939, n=342)
215 MBit/s ∼100% +287%
Nokia 3.1
Mali-T860 MP2, MT6750N, 16 GB eMMC Flash
112 MBit/s ∼52% +102%
Gigaset GS100
PowerVR GE8100, MT6739, 8 GB eMMC Flash
97.9 MBit/s ∼46% +76%
Wiko Harry 2
PowerVR GE8100, MT6739, 16 GB eMMC Flash
61 (min: 50, max: 63) MBit/s ∼28% +10%
Motorola Moto E5 Play
Adreno 308, 425, 16 GB eMMC Flash
55.5 (min: 49, max: 57) MBit/s ∼26%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Average of class Smartphone
  (9.4 - 703, n=342)
208 MBit/s ∼100% +267%
Nokia 3.1
Mali-T860 MP2, MT6750N, 16 GB eMMC Flash
100 MBit/s ∼48% +77%
Gigaset GS100
PowerVR GE8100, MT6739, 8 GB eMMC Flash
99.6 MBit/s ∼48% +76%
Motorola Moto E5 Play
Adreno 308, 425, 16 GB eMMC Flash
56.6 (min: 29, max: 61) MBit/s ∼27%
Wiko Harry 2
PowerVR GE8100, MT6739, 16 GB eMMC Flash
52.7 (min: 27, max: 57) MBit/s ∼25% -7%
010203040506070Tooltip
; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø55 (49-57)
; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø55.6 (29-61)
GPS Test indoors
GPS Test indoors
GPS Test outdoors
GPS Test outdoors

In return, GPS connectivity was excellent. The E5 Play performed remarkably well on our bike ride around the block, during which we compared it to a professional Garmin Edge 520 GPS unit. Occasionally, it was even more accurate than the latter, and at the end of our trip the overall tracking results were very similar between the two. This accuracy was further confirmed during our indoor GPS tests.

Indoor accuracy was determined to be around 15-20 meters after about a minute, which is remarkable for a cheap smartphone. Out in the open the E5 Play only took a few seconds to connect to more than 10 satellites and obtain GPS lock at an accuracy of 5 m.

GPS Garmin Edge 520 – overview
GPS Garmin Edge 520 – overview
GPS Garmin Edge 520 – roundabout
GPS Garmin Edge 520 – roundabout
GPS Garmin Edge 520 – overpass
GPS Garmin Edge 520 – overpass
GPS Motorola Moto E5 Play – overview
GPS Motorola Moto E5 Play – overview
GPS Motorola Moto E5 Play – roundabout
GPS Motorola Moto E5 Play – roundabout
GPS Motorola Moto E5 Play – overpass
GPS Motorola Moto E5 Play – overpass

Telephony and Call Quality

Unsurprisingly, Motorola opted for the default Android Go telephone app. However, call quality was disappointing by and large. While voices were very clear and loud in general, the speaker tended to reverberate and clatter very noticeably at high volumes. The microphone was very reliable in recording both loud noises and low murmurs. Speakerphone call quality was decent, and the speaker performed well and loud enough.

Cameras

Moto E5 Play front-facing camera
Moto E5 Play front-facing camera

As expected, the cameras were not the most sophisticated. The rear-facing camera features an 8 MP sensor while the front-facing shooter is limited to just 5 MP. Both feature an LED flash that helps to alleviate their biggest weakness: poor light sensitivity. Unsurprisingly, the cameras performed rather poorly when compared to more-expensive counterparts. However, they did a fairly good job in bright daylight.

Images sharpness was decent overall, however we would advise against large prints or magnification. Image quality and focus deteriorated very dramatically with decreasing light, and the increased exposure led to even more loss of focus. In addition, shutter lag increased noticeably as well, and the combination of these two factors resulted in a very blurry image since the camera is regularly moved too quickly after releasing the trigger.

We found a rather pronounced noise in darker areas of the photos. In addition to low light, both cameras - particularly the front-facing once - also suffered from low contrast. Even in bright daylight photos taken with the rear-facing 8 MP camera were visibly pale. At least the Auto HDR feature made for decent dynamic range. The front-facing shooter lacks this feature, and accordingly bright backgrounds are overexposed and dark foregrounds are too dark due to lack of dynamic range. Color accuracy could also need improvement. We found significant deviations when reviewed under normalized conditions in our lab, which were fortunately invisible to the naked eye under normal circumstances in everyday use.

Videos are recorded in FHD at 30 FPS and are smooth as long as the camera is held perfectly still. Unfortunately, panning resulted in noticeable frame drops due to the low frame rate, and the lack of optimal image stabilization requires a very steady hand or, better yet, a tripod.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3

Our initial observations regarding color accuracy, noise, and lack of focus were further corroborated by the results from our tests performed under normalized conditions in our lab.

Moto E5 Play color accuracy
Moto E5 Play color accuracy
Moto E5 Play color accuracy
Moto E5 Play color accuracy
Moto E5 Play color accuracy
Moto E5 Play color accuracy

Accessories and Warranty

In order to keep the price as low as possible Motorola opted to include only the bare minimum in the box: a USB cable, a charger, a quick-start guide, and a warranty leaflet. The 5 W charger only takes around 1.75 hours to charge the smartphone from near empty to full. Unlike their European counterparts, devices sold in the US are limited to just 12 months of warranty.

Input Devices & Handling

The E5 Play’s capacitive touchscreen was sufficiently snappy and accurate, and it worked very well up to its edges. Due to the slow hardware, rotating the screen from portrait to landscape mode can be painfully slow. Unfortunately, even in 2019 this sort of lag is still fairly common for devices in this price range. In return, our review unit boasted a fingerprint reader, which worked remarkably well considering the E5 Play’s low price.

There is a short lag between the vibration that signifies a successful unlock and the activation of the display but at least the fingerprint reader was very accurate and reliable. The physical buttons on the right-hand side offered a very nice pressure point and decent travel and feedback.

Keyboard (landscape mode)
Keyboard (landscape mode)
Keyboard (portrait mode)
Keyboard (portrait mode)

Display

Subpixel array
Subpixel array

The 5.2-inch display features a native resolution of just 960x480 pixels, and accordingly it has a comparatively low pixel density of just 206 PPI. Truth be told, the low resolution is noticeable at close distance. We would have expected at least 720p or more even in an entry-level smartphone.

The modern 18:9 display ratio has its pros and cons. On the plus side it offers additional screen real estate when browsing the web, but on the downside 16:9 YouTube videos are framed with massive black bars on both sides.

356
cd/m²
344
cd/m²
323
cd/m²
378
cd/m²
369
cd/m²
341
cd/m²
399
cd/m²
358
cd/m²
354
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 399 cd/m² Average: 358 cd/m² Minimum: 5.65 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 81 %
Center on Battery: 369 cd/m²
Contrast: 923:1 (Black: 0.4 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 9.75 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 11.8 | 0.64-98 Ø6.4
78.6% sRGB (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.057
Motorola Moto E5 Play
IPS, 960x480, 5.2
Wiko Harry 2
1440x720, 5.45
Gigaset GS100
IPS, 1440x720, 5.5
Nokia 3.1
IPS, 1440x720, 5.2
Screen
47%
18%
46%
Brightness middle
369
479
30%
442
20%
506
37%
Brightness
358
491
37%
446
25%
490
37%
Brightness Distribution
81
87
7%
86
6%
93
15%
Black Level *
0.4
0.2
50%
0.35
12%
0.24
40%
Contrast
923
2395
159%
1263
37%
2108
128%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
9.75
6.17
37%
8.03
18%
6.4
34%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
18.28
11.46
37%
15.81
14%
11.1
39%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
11.8
7.1
40%
10.4
12%
7.5
36%
Gamma
2.057 107%
2.066 106%
2.02 109%
2.2 100%
CCT
11971 54%
8441 77%
10070 65%
8643 75%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
78.6
98.2
25%

* ... smaller is better

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 1961 Hz ≤ 15 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 1961 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 15 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 1961 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 52 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9247 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

With an average maximum brightness of just 360 nits the E5 Play was outperformed not just by more-expensive competitors. It also suffered from a rather poor brightness distribution, a high black level, and consequently also a low contrast ratio.

We barely noticed these downsides during everyday use. However, the slightly elevated color temperature resulting in a cool overall appearance was very obvious and further confirmed by our CalMAN measurements. At least we found no signs of PWM flickering. If it does exist at all then the frequency must be very high.

Display Moto E5 Play
Display Moto E5 Play
Display Moto E5 Play
Display Moto E5 Play
Display Moto E5 Play
Display Moto E5 Play
Display Moto E5 Play
Display Moto E5 Play

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
20 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 7 ms rise
↘ 13 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 19 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (25.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
50 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 23 ms rise
↘ 27 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 82 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (41 ms).

The display’s largest deficit was its poor viewing angles. Not only did it suffer from a fairly common shadowing and loss of contrast at acute angles, it also showed different levels thereof depending on what side it was viewed from. For example, in portrait mode the shadowing and loss of contrast and color when viewed from the top was very pronounced. In return, tilting it left and right was nowhere near as bad. The display’s low maximum brightness was quickly overpowered by reflections in bright sunlight.

Outdoors
Outdoors
Outdoors
Outdoors
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

Unlike many other entry-level smartphones the Moto E5 Play is not equipped with a MediaTek SoC but has a comparatively slow Snapdragon 425 combined with an Adreno 308 GPU instead. It performed as expected for its class.

Geekbench 4.3
Compute RenderScript Score (sort by value)
Motorola Moto E5 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917), Adreno 308, 1024
1397 Points ∼31%
Wiko Harry 2
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 2048
1131 Points ∼25% -19%
Nokia 3.1
Mediatek MT6750N, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
1908 Points ∼42% +37%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917)
  (1113 - 1460, n=13)
1345 Points ∼30% -4%
Average of class Smartphone
  (1131 - 21070, n=225)
4534 Points ∼100% +225%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Motorola Moto E5 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917), Adreno 308, 1024
1635 Points ∼37%
Wiko Harry 2
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 2048
1652 Points ∼38% +1%
Gigaset GS100
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 1024
1418 Points ∼32% -13%
Nokia 3.1
Mediatek MT6750N, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
2645 Points ∼61% +62%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917)
  (883 - 1939, n=15)
1757 Points ∼40% +7%
Average of class Smartphone
  (1635 - 11598, n=276)
4368 Points ∼100% +167%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Motorola Moto E5 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917), Adreno 308, 1024
647 Points ∼51%
Wiko Harry 2
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 2048
590 Points ∼47% -9%
Gigaset GS100
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 1024
579 Points ∼46% -11%
Nokia 3.1
Mediatek MT6750N, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
665 Points ∼52% +3%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917)
  (541 - 692, n=15)
656 Points ∼52% +1%
Average of class Smartphone
  (590 - 4824, n=277)
1267 Points ∼100% +96%
PCMark for Android
Work 2.0 performance score (sort by value)
Motorola Moto E5 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917), Adreno 308, 1024
3209 Points ∼68%
Wiko Harry 2
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 2048
2828 Points ∼60% -12%
Gigaset GS100
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 1024
2630 Points ∼56% -18%
Nokia 3.1
Mediatek MT6750N, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
3138 Points ∼67% -2%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917)
  (2829 - 3629, n=15)
3274 Points ∼70% +2%
Average of class Smartphone
  (2828 - 9868, n=286)
4687 Points ∼100% +46%
Work performance score (sort by value)
Motorola Moto E5 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917), Adreno 308, 1024
4152 Points ∼81%
Wiko Harry 2
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 2048
3977 Points ∼78% -4%
Nokia 3.1
Mediatek MT6750N, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
3885 Points ∼76% -6%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917)
  (4009 - 4813, n=15)
4082 Points ∼80% -2%
Average of class Smartphone
  (3977 - 13531, n=454)
5114 Points ∼100% +23%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Motorola Moto E5 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917), Adreno 308, 1024
877 Points ∼51%
Wiko Harry 2
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 2048
584 Points ∼34% -33%
Gigaset GS100
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 1024
611 Points ∼35% -30%
Nokia 3.1
Mediatek MT6750N, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
1013 Points ∼59% +16%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917)
  (375 - 911, n=14)
834 Points ∼48% -5%
Average of class Smartphone
  (375 - 4493, n=321)
1723 Points ∼100% +96%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Graphics (sort by value)
Motorola Moto E5 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917), Adreno 308, 1024
249 Points ∼12%
Wiko Harry 2
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 2048
134 Points ∼7% -46%
Gigaset GS100
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 1024
131 Points ∼6% -47%
Nokia 3.1
Mediatek MT6750N, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
397 Points ∼19% +59%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917)
  (118 - 250, n=14)
239 Points ∼12% -4%
Average of class Smartphone
  (131 - 14951, n=321)
2050 Points ∼100% +723%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited (sort by value)
Motorola Moto E5 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917), Adreno 308, 1024
296 Points ∼17%
Wiko Harry 2
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 2048
162 Points ∼9% -45%
Gigaset GS100
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 1024
159 Points ∼9% -46%
Nokia 3.1
Mediatek MT6750N, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
459 Points ∼26% +55%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917)
  (145 - 298, n=14)
283 Points ∼16% -4%
Average of class Smartphone
  (159 - 7856, n=322)
1735 Points ∼100% +486%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Motorola Moto E5 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917), Adreno 308, 1024
819 Points ∼52%
Wiko Harry 2
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 2048
512 Points ∼32% -37%
Gigaset GS100
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 1024
532 Points ∼34% -35%
Nokia 3.1
Mediatek MT6750N, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
1099 Points ∼70% +34%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917)
  (622 - 907, n=15)
861 Points ∼54% +5%
Average of class Smartphone
  (512 - 4215, n=413)
1580 Points ∼100% +93%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Motorola Moto E5 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917), Adreno 308, 1024
199 Points ∼12%
Wiko Harry 2
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 2048
104 Points ∼6% -48%
Gigaset GS100
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 1024
104 Points ∼6% -48%
Nokia 3.1
Mediatek MT6750N, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
103 Points ∼6% -48%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917)
  (31 - 199, n=15)
57.3 Points ∼3% -71%
Average of class Smartphone
  (46 - 8312, n=413)
1641 Points ∼100% +725%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Motorola Moto E5 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917), Adreno 308, 1024
239 Points ∼17%
Wiko Harry 2
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 2048
126 Points ∼9% -47%
Gigaset GS100
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 1024
127 Points ∼9% -47%
Nokia 3.1
Mediatek MT6750N, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
129 Points ∼9% -46%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917)
  (39 - 239, n=15)
71.7 Points ∼5% -70%
Average of class Smartphone
  (58 - 6454, n=421)
1406 Points ∼100% +488%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Motorola Moto E5 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917), Adreno 308, 1024
10784 Points ∼82%
Wiko Harry 2
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 2048
9182 Points ∼70% -15%
Gigaset GS100
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 1024
9159 Points ∼70% -15%
Nokia 3.1
Mediatek MT6750N, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
10044 Points ∼77% -7%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917)
  (3958 - 10784, n=15)
9751 Points ∼74% -10%
Average of class Smartphone
  (3958 - 37475, n=570)
13102 Points ∼100% +21%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Motorola Moto E5 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917), Adreno 308, 1024
5712 Points ∼31%
Wiko Harry 2
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 2048
2886 Points ∼16% -49%
Gigaset GS100
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 1024
2878 Points ∼16% -50%
Nokia 3.1
Mediatek MT6750N, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
8163 Points ∼44% +43%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917)
  (2546 - 5712, n=15)
5288 Points ∼29% -7%
Average of class Smartphone
  (1152 - 162695, n=570)
18358 Points ∼100% +221%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Motorola Moto E5 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917), Adreno 308, 1024
6379 Points ∼41%
Wiko Harry 2
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 2048
3405 Points ∼22% -47%
Gigaset GS100
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 1024
3395 Points ∼22% -47%
Nokia 3.1
Mediatek MT6750N, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
8517 Points ∼55% +34%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917)
  (2951 - 6379, n=15)
5847 Points ∼38% -8%
Average of class Smartphone
  (2915 - 77599, n=571)
15468 Points ∼100% +142%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Motorola Moto E5 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917), Adreno 308, 1024
7.6 fps ∼24%
Wiko Harry 2
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 2048
5 fps ∼16% -34%
Gigaset GS100
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 1024
5 fps ∼16% -34%
Nokia 3.1
Mediatek MT6750N, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
13 fps ∼41% +71%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917)
  (3.4 - 7.8, n=15)
7.38 fps ∼23% -3%
Average of class Smartphone
  (4.1 - 251, n=595)
32 fps ∼100% +321%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Motorola Moto E5 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917), Adreno 308, 1024
20 fps ∼78%
Wiko Harry 2
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 2048
8.2 fps ∼32% -59%
Gigaset GS100
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 1024
8.2 fps ∼32% -59%
Nokia 3.1
Mediatek MT6750N, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
20 fps ∼78% 0%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917)
  (6.4 - 20, n=15)
13.4 fps ∼53% -33%
Average of class Smartphone
  (6.9 - 120, n=598)
25.5 fps ∼100% +28%
AnTuTu v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
Motorola Moto E5 Play
Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917), Adreno 308, 1024
29054 Points ∼37%
Wiko Harry 2
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 2048
31755 Points ∼40% +9%
Gigaset GS100
Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 1024
30702 Points ∼39% +6%
Nokia 3.1
Mediatek MT6750N, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
43987 Points ∼56% +51%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917)
  (29054 - 39106, n=16)
36220 Points ∼46% +25%
Average of class Smartphone
  (23275 - 254229, n=422)
78766 Points ∼100% +171%

In everyday use the device was fast enough for simple tasks such as browsing the web, watching videos, or flicking through one’s photos. This quickly changed with an increasing number of simultaneously open applications or more-demanding applications in general. In these cases frame drops become quite common and images loaded noticeably slower when browsing the web.

JetStream 1.1 - Total Score
Average of class Smartphone (10.8 - 273, n=453)
37.3 Points ∼100% +140%
Nokia 3.1 (Chrome 67)
18.015 Points ∼48% +16%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (15.5 - 18.7, n=14)
17.6 Points ∼47% +13%
Wiko Harry 2 (Chrome 71)
15.603 Points ∼42% 0%
Motorola Moto E5 Play
15.54 Points ∼42%
Gigaset GS100 (Chrome 68)
13.378 Points ∼36% -14%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Average of class Smartphone (1506 - 43280, n=589)
5734 Points ∼100% +138%
Nokia 3.1 (Chrome 67)
3274 Points ∼57% +36%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (2412 - 3289, n=15)
2959 Points ∼52% +23%
Wiko Harry 2 (Chrome 71)
2775 Points ∼48% +15%
Motorola Moto E5 Play
2412 Points ∼42%
Gigaset GS100 (Chrome 68)
2093 Points ∼37% -13%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Wiko Harry 2 (Chrome 71)
17145 ms * ∼100% -27%
Gigaset GS100 (Chrome 68)
15962 ms * ∼93% -18%
Nokia 3.1 (Chrome 67)
14115.5 ms * ∼82% -5%
Motorola Moto E5 Play
13477 ms * ∼79%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (10742 - 16192, n=15)
13045 ms * ∼76% +3%
Average of class Smartphone (603 - 59466, n=609)
11271 ms * ∼66% +16%

* ... smaller is better

The internal storage was decently fast for its class; however, the microSD card reader was not. When reading from and writing to our Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 reference card the Moto E5 Play's competitors were up to twice as fast.

Motorola Moto E5 PlayWiko Harry 2Gigaset GS100Nokia 3.1Average 16 GB eMMC FlashAverage of class Smartphone
AndroBench 3-5
2%
-27%
-1%
-34%
3%
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard
28.83 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
63.4 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
120%
61 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
112%
59.84 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
108%
37.9 (6.38 - 65.4, n=116)
31%
46.9 (59.5 - 87.1, n=351)
63%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard
83.74 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
80.3 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-4%
79.5 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-5%
77.17 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-8%
57 (10.8 - 87.7, n=116)
-32%
65.2 (76.6 - 96.5, n=351)
-22%
Random Write 4KB
43.16
11.6
-73%
6.2
-86%
9.2
-79%
7.67 (0.49 - 43.2, n=231)
-82%
17.6 (0.14 - 250, n=637)
-59%
Random Read 4KB
46.31
35.47
-23%
17.6
-62%
48.62
5%
20.5 (2.49 - 61.7, n=231)
-56%
40.3 (1.59 - 173, n=637)
-13%
Sequential Write 256KB
52.2
59.13
13%
24
-54%
35.26
-32%
41.6 (8.74 - 97.6, n=231)
-20%
84.1 (2.99 - 253, n=637)
61%
Sequential Read 256KB
279
227.26
-19%
97.2
-65%
281.54
1%
160 (9.66 - 294, n=231)
-43%
238 (12.1 - 912, n=637)
-15%

Gaming

Why Motorola decided to suffix one of its slowest phones with the word “Play” remains a mystery to us. Due to its lethargic hardware the entry-level E5 Play was unable to even run all the games and is thus anything but future-proof. For example, we were unable to find and download Asphalt 9 in the Play Store because the developers have deemed the Moto E5 Play too slow for this game.

In return, Shadow Fight 3 ran smoothly with only minor occasional frame drops, and casual games such as Temple Run 2 or Angry Birds ran perfectly smooth. Touchscreen and orientation sensor worked flawlessly by and large.

Temple Run 2
Temple Run 2
Shadow Fight 3
Shadow Fight 3

Emissions

Temperature

When gaming, the E5 Play was significantly warmer than when idle. However, it never reached uncomfortable levels. Generally speaking, it remained inconspicuous.

Max. Load
 37.7 °C
100 F
36.7 °C
98 F
37.1 °C
99 F
 
 37.6 °C
100 F
36.4 °C
98 F
37.7 °C
100 F
 
 37.4 °C
99 F
36.9 °C
98 F
37.1 °C
99 F
 
Maximum: 37.7 °C = 100 F
Average: 37.2 °C = 99 F
34.7 °C
94 F
36.9 °C
98 F
37.4 °C
99 F
34.3 °C
94 F
37.7 °C
100 F
37.6 °C
100 F
36.4 °C
98 F
37.4 °C
99 F
37.7 °C
100 F
Maximum: 37.7 °C = 100 F
Average: 36.7 °C = 98 F
Power Supply (max.)  43.2 °C = 110 F | Room Temperature 21.5 °C = 71 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 37.2 °C / 99 F, compared to the average of 33.1 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 37.7 °C / 100 F, compared to the average of 35.6 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 37.7 °C / 100 F, compared to the average of 34.1 °C / 93 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 28 °C / 82 F, compared to the device average of 33.1 °C / 92 F.
Heat map rear
Heat map rear
Heat map front
Heat map front

Speakers

Pink Noise
Pink Noise

The single front-facing speaker was located at the top of the device. It is not just a speaker, it is also the device’s earphone. It was fairly balanced and loud enough and did not distort noticeably when playing media (even though it did on speakerphone). The device also supports Bluetooth and 3.5-mm headphones, and both worked flawlessly. A headset was not included in the box.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2027.6392527.2373130.4294028.434.85028.133.4632527.28017.721.91001823.112518.32416015.134.72001646.925015.753.831513.755.640013.355.650013.657.463012.465.380013.166.4100013.869.2125011.570.4160011.772.7200010.873.5250011.169.5315010.669.240001167.3500011.863.563001261.180001166.3100001170.31250010.769.71600011.158.4SPL63.260.524.981.1N15.712.10.547.7median 12median 65.3Delta1.910.233.930.528.436.636.133.230.930.330.629.922.23224.92524.427.923.52720.326.719.83118.237.317.447.516.657.117.159.415.963.815.970.515.969.716.773.21673.815.971.216.275.416.477.21776.816.573.516.472.716.675.81775.616.565.916.950.628.685.91.162.6median 16.6median 69.71.613.5hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseMotorola Moto E5 PlayNokia 3.1
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Motorola Moto E5 Play audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (81.1 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 25.6% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.4% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (4.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.2% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (5.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (18.8% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 7% of all tested devices in this class were better, 4% similar, 88% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 35% of all tested devices were better, 6% similar, 59% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Nokia 3.1 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (85.9 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 36.8% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (7.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.8% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 5.6% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (3.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (26.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 61% of all tested devices in this class were better, 9% similar, 30% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 76% of all tested devices were better, 5% similar, 18% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Battery Life

At just 2,120 mAh the removable battery is comparatively small. Accordingly, the E5 Play only lasted for 383 minutes in our real-world Wi-Fi test.

Power Consumption

Fortunately, overall power consumption was pretty good for its class thanks to the efficient Snapdragon SoC. In direct comparison, MediaTek SoCs tend to be more demanding.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.05 / 0.1 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 1.2 / 1.6 / 2 Watt
Load midlight 3.6 / 4.5 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Motorola Moto E5 Play
2120 mAh
Wiko Harry 2
2900 mAh
Gigaset GS100
3000 mAh
Nokia 3.1
2990 mAh
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917)
 
Average of class Smartphone
 
Power Consumption
-19%
-25%
10%
-20%
-5%
Idle Minimum *
1.2
1.2
-0%
1.3
-8%
0.68
43%
1.108 (0.54 - 4.02, n=16)
8%
0.881 (0.2 - 3.4, n=674)
27%
Idle Average *
1.6
2
-25%
2.1
-31%
1.33
17%
2.21 (1.2 - 6, n=16)
-38%
1.73 (0.6 - 6.2, n=673)
-8%
Idle Maximum *
2
2.7
-35%
2.9
-45%
1.37
31%
2.55 (1.62 - 6.64, n=16)
-28%
2.01 (0.74 - 6.6, n=674)
-1%
Load Average *
3.6
4.2
-17%
4.4
-22%
4.02
-12%
4.31 (2.9 - 9.6, n=16)
-20%
4.05 (0.8 - 10.8, n=668)
-13%
Load Maximum *
4.5
5.2
-16%
5.3
-18%
5.89
-31%
5.5 (4.3 - 7.34, n=16)
-22%
5.8 (1.2 - 14.2, n=668)
-29%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
6h 22.9min
Motorola Moto E5 Play
2120 mAh
Wiko Harry 2
2900 mAh
Gigaset GS100
3000 mAh
Nokia 3.1
2990 mAh
Battery Runtime
60%
39%
47%
Reader / Idle
WiFi v1.3
382.9
613
60%
532
39%
562
47%
Load

Pros

+ very low price
+ user-replaceable battery
+ relatively cool

Cons

- poor battery life
- not future-proof (1 GB RAM)
- poor viewing angles
- poor display resolution
- poor display brightness

Verdict

At the time of writing the lowest price we found was just $80, and thus significantly below Motorola’s MSRP of $130. At this price you cannot really go wrong with the E5 Play, especially considering that the similarly priced competition is not any better. However, don’t let the name “Play” fool you - if you intend to enjoy any kind of gaming on your smartphone then the E5 Play is definitely not the right phone for you. It still offers a very decent price-performance ratio, though.

In review: Motorola Moto E5 Play. Review unit courtesy of Motorola Germany.
In review: Motorola Moto E5 Play. Review unit courtesy of Motorola Germany.

In addition to its lack of noteworthy highlights we found a few drawbacks, chiefly among which was the fact that the device was limited to just 1 GB of RAM. Granted, it does come with Android Go, a flavor of Android specifically made for low-performance devices such as this. However, we should also keep in mind that smartphones are slowly moving into desktop PC territory when it comes to RAM, and devices on the other side of the spectrum can feature up to 10 GB thereof. The low-resolution display, the poor viewing angles, and the poor battery life do little to make the E5 Play more appealing. On the plus side the cameras are decent, the battery is user-replaceable, and the design is elegant and modern considering its low price.

Motorola’s Moto E5 Play is aimed at minimalists looking for a smartphone to last one or maybe two years.

If you are considering getting a smartphone for a year or two you might want to reconsider and look for a slightly more-expensive device with at least 2 GB of RAM, such as the Wiko Harry 2 or the Xiaomi Redmi 6A.

Motorola Moto E5 Play - 02/06/2019 v6
Stefan Schomberg

Chassis
67%
Keyboard
65 / 75 → 87%
Pointing Device
72%
Connectivity
36 / 60 → 60%
Weight
92%
Battery
88%
Display
74%
Games Performance
7 / 63 → 11%
Application Performance
39 / 70 → 55%
Temperature
91%
Noise
100%
Audio
53 / 91 → 58%
Camera
47%
Average
64%
73%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Motorola Moto E5 Play Smartphone Review
Stefan Schomberg, 2019-02- 7 (Update: 2019-02- 9)