Moto E5 Plus review: Large and charged

More than a Plus



While all the premium smartphones push boundaries in innovation, it’s up to the lower-end models to increase numbers like their shelf lives depend on it.

ASUS and Xiaomi have been the champs at this for as long as most consumers can remember, but brands like Moto have always been around to take away a fraction of that market.

In this review, we look at the Moto E5 Plus, which is special for its massive 5000mAh battery and equally daunting 6-inch display. It unfortunately competes against some stiff rivals in its US$ 200 segment, so some assessment is in order.

Let’s start by looking at its physique.

It’s definitely a handful even for large palms and long fingers

Nearly 10mm in thickness and 200g in weight

The fingerprint reader is right under this logo

This is a clever way to maximize space

Its rear camera protrudes a bit…

Causes slight wobble when laid flat on a table

… but the bundled jelly case evens out the back

It gets really smudgy and tough to clean, though

The thick bezels…

No notch, however

… only add to the already-large real estate

From here, you can see how much space is wasted

The older micro-USB port is used here…

No reversible USB-C for you

… but there’s a handy triple-card tray available

Allows you to have two SIM cards and a microSD card at the same time

Oddly, there’s only one rear camera

Despite looking like it has two at first glance

How well does it perform?

Normally, we’d be lenient on an entry-level Snapdragon 430 processor inside a US$ 200 phone, but you can find much faster chipsets at this price range from the likes of ASUS, Honor, and Xiaomi. Yes, the E5 Plus’ chip is efficient, but it’s relatively slow compared to the competition’s.

It doesn’t help that our unit only comes with 3GB of memory and 32GB of expandable storage, so you’re not exactly getting a complete multitasking phone out of this. And although the 6-inch screen is bright and spacious, its 1280 x 720-pixel resolution offers a very low pixel density.

Watching Netflix wasn’t enjoyable on the low resolution

It would’ve been great to have at least a 1080p resolution on a screen this large. Since it comes with decent speakers and a 3.5mm audio port, the E5 Plus could’ve become a much more recommendable budget option for multimedia users.

I wasn’t too impressed either while playing demanding titles like Asphalt 9: Legends and Dragon Ball Legends on the E5 Plus. While the phone did well at the start, it would often slow down when the action gets too intense. In addition, opening heavy apps leads to every other active app shutting down to give way.

Alto’s Odyssey runs well on the Moto E5 Plus

It doesn’t help that the handset only comes with Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box with no update to the much fresher Android 9 Pie until now. Motorola used to brag about timely software updates, but has since slowed down in dishing out new flavors, even for its newest flagships.

Still, the interface is quite pure for a skinned Android device, and the added Moto options make the experience feel more complete as compared to vanilla Android. If Pie finally rolls out to this neck of Moto’s woods, the performance may get drastically smoother.

Can it take nice photos?

Interestingly, even though the camera setup on the back seems rather large, there’s only a single 12-megapixel camera inside the bulge; the round space beside the lens simply helps in autofocusing. I don’t understand why the bulge is so huge for such a simple design.

As expected, photos during daytime are okay. The rear camera tends to oversaturate shots when it feels there isn’t enough light. It comes down to personal preference if this is a good or bad thing for you. As for nighttime photography, output is generally noisy and slow.

Here are some samples from different times of the day in various environments:

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Moto made sure to throw in some extra settings and modes to keep things interesting, although I was usually satisfied with sticking to Auto mode. Selfies taken with the E5 Plus aren’t that impressive, as well, but I honestly wasn’t expecting wonders from a phone marketed as a battery champ.

Does its battery last as advertised?

Speaking of champs, endurance is the one category the E5 Plus aces. With a 5000mAh battery, how can you go wrong? I myself find phones with a 4000mAh capacity more than sufficient for a full day’s use, so anything beyond that is fantastic.

In the case of this handset, battery endurance is outstanding. I could easily get over a day of usage out of a full charge — two whole days if I turn on Wi-Fi and mobile data sparingly. This feature alone makes the price of admission worth it.

To put that into perspective, I could finish an entire second season of Iron Fist — which contains ten episodes — on a single charge with some juice left to spare. This instantly makes the E5 Plus a go-to choice for long-haul flights without other forms of entertainment.

Sadly, there’s a downside: The large battery takes ages to charge. It can take more than three hours to get to a hundred percent using the bundled charger. If you try using a faster adapter, you could top up in less time, but not by much. The fastest I got was two hours and 50 minutes.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Without great cameras or a sharp screen to its credit, the Moto E5 Plus heavily relies on its hefty battery to attract users. It doesn’t help that the software feels outdated, and speed isn’t a strong point, either.

On top of all that, the E5 Plus sits in a tricky position. With a price of EUR 170 in Europe, INR 11,999 in India, and PhP 9,999 in the Philippines, there are several options available that can beat this Moto in more ways than one.

We have a whole list of smartphones that give the E5 Plus a run for its money. Of all the phones in this segment, however, the E5 Plus has the most unique and sturdy design, as well as the cleanest Android interface.

I’d recommend this to the budget-conscious who value all-around endurance and clean software more than anything else. Even in the higher-end categories, those are becoming increasingly rare.


Lenovo Yoga C930 Review: It could have been the best

It’s just missing one thing…



It was during IFA 2018 when Lenovo introduced their latest premium convertible for consumers — the Yoga C930. It doesn’t have a good name, but it does offer everything a Yoga should, especially in media consumption.

Notebooks with flipping displays, like the Yoga lineup, are not just designed for typing. Most manufacturers market their convertibles to be perfect for entertainment, yet they largely fail in one aspect where they should shine — audio.

When Lenovo introduced the Yoga C930 with the rotating soundbar and Dolby Atmos, I hoped that it was not just a marketing ploy. But, is it? Let me share my thoughts about Lenovo’s newest convertible.

No fuss design

The Yoga C930 has a metal shell with a familiar aesthetic from Lenovo. My unit has a dark finish that’s aptly named Iron Gray. If you want a lighter shade, Lenovo is also offering the notebook in Mica, which is close to white. Everything about the body of the Yoga C930 screams premium; nothing here looks cheap or ugly.

To make it more special, the sides and the hinge of the Yoga C930 have a brushed finish. It’s a minor touch, but it’s highly noticeable whenever you’re checking where you should plug your peripherals. I also think that it helps hide unsightly scratches and gives the notebook a bit of shine.

While we’re at it, the available ports on the Yoga C930 are generally okay. It’s got two Thunderbolt 3 ports that fully support PowerDelivery, DisplayPort, and USB 3.1 functions. Both Thunderbolt 3 ports employ 4x lanes for PCIe, so you can connect the Yoga C930 to an external GPU, which is good because this laptop doesn’t have a dedicated graphics unit.

Apart from a couple of versatile USB-C interfaces, there’s also a classic full-size USB that we all know and love. Thankfully, Lenovo knows that this is still a widely used port and bringing a dongle just to read a thumb drive is a hassle. The 3.5mm audio port is also available when you need to plug in a pair of wired headphones.

All of the ports on the Yoga C930 are on its left side, leaving the right with just the power button. There are no volume buttons, either.

While I appreciate that Lenovo provided both USB-A and USB-C ports, I was still hoping for more; another USB-C with PowerDelivery on the right and a full-size SD card reader would do. The Yoga C930 is slim, but it’s not ultra-slim like the fan-less MacBook which got away with having one port (or maybe two if you count the headphone jack).

The Yoga C930 has a fairly large 14-inch display (13.9 inches according to Lenovo), but with minimum side bezels. Since this is made for watching videos, the aspect ratio is still stuck at 16:9.

There are two resolutions available for the Lenovo C930: Full HD or Ultra HD. The one I have here is just the Full HD variant, but it still has the key feature: Dolby Vision. The best way to fully appreciate the display is to play an HDR or Dolby Vision-enabled title. You can find some on Netflix if you’re using the highest-tier plan.

The display gets bright enough to be used outdoors and really dim when you need it to. It’s vibrant and has deep blacks even if it’s only an LCD panel.

When watching a video, I prefer to use the Yoga C930 in Tent mode. It can also be used in Stand mode with the keyboard facing down, but for some reason, Lenovo didn’t put little rubber feet to protect the keyboard when placed on a surface. You have to be cautious where you place the notebook or you risk scratching it.

The integrated soundbar of the Yoga C930 is designed to always face the user. That’s another advantage of watching videos in Tent mode; the speaker is facing upwards. I get to hear the sound directly without any muffle. I must say, the Yoga C930 has one of the clearest speakers I’ve tried on a notebook. It gets really loud, too.

It even has Dolby Atmos to enhance it further, but it’s not as immersive as advertised. To be fair though, I get to hear the stereo effect better than on other notebooks.

The device is least useful (for me) when it’s in Tablet mode. The Yoga C930 is too heavy to be a tablet, plus the 16:9 aspect ratio makes it feel like I’m reading from a really tall magazine. But, this is where the built-in pen comes in handy. The integrated stylus makes it easy for doodlers to annotate on screen.

Fast but not incredible

Let’s talk about power. The Yoga C930 I have is powered by the latest 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor paired with 12GB DDR4 memory and a 256GB M.2 PCIe SSD. Configurations may vary in some regions, so the Yoga C930 in your stores might be more powerful or inferior.

There’s one thing that’s missing though, and it’s not an option anyone can get either: discrete graphics.

As mentioned, the Yoga C930 is not an ultraportable. It has nowhere near the portability of Dell’s XPS 13 or even Lenovo’s own Yoga Book. It’s big enough to house at least a modest NVIDIA GeForce MX150 — just like the latest ZenBook from ASUS.

My usage includes multiple tabs on Chrome, some slight editing on Photoshop, and hours of binge-watching on Netflix. I primarily used the notebook for typing and browsing, which are not heavy tasks.

So far, I had no major performance issues during my time with the Yoga C930. I didn’t bother to install games because it lacks discrete graphics.

Of course, the notebook runs Windows 10. I got the October 2018 update just last week, and it made the dark mode better. It matches the gray motif of the device.

It’s ideal for my own use

Putting all the technical specifications aside, the Yoga C930 has been a great companion.

Aside from the soundbar, I also fully appreciate the notebook’s keyboard. It’s not as great as the one on ThinkPads, but it’s good enough for me. It’s well-spaced and has a good amount of key travel.

The touchpad uses Microsoft Precision drivers and it fully supports all the gestures of Windows 10. It has a glass surface and picks up all the inputs. A responsive touchpad and a good keyboard is the combo I need for work.

There’s also something about the craftsmanship of the Yoga C930 that gives assurance that it’s a well-built device. Perhaps it’s the balance between weight and dimensions.

Lastly, the webcam has a physically cover — just like a ThinkPad’s. It’s nice to see nifty features of Lenovo’s business laptops on a consumer device. I don’t have to cover the webcam anymore with a piece of tape.

Great battery life

I am generally impressed with the longevity of the Yoga C930. Lenovo promises all-day battery life, but we all know that is somehow a stretch. Based on my usage, I get around eight to nine hours. I also experience about the same when watching Netflix non-stop.

It’ll not beat records, but I am always assured that even if I leave my charger at home, I know I can rely on the Yoga C930 to get me through a full day.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

You probably already think that this is my GadgetMatch, which I’ll not deny. I had a good time with the Yoga C930, despite its shortcomings. It’s a premium convertible that managed to meet my expectations. I’m hoping Lenovo will soon have an option with discrete graphics. For now, you can maximize the device by plugging in an external GPU.

The Yoga C930 has a starting price of US$ 1,399. It’s a bit pricier than I expected from its specs, but it’s a premium convertible that offers more versatility than regular laptops.

SEE ALSO: Lenovo IdeaPad 530S, 330S, 330: Which is right for you?

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DJI Mavic 2 Pro Review: 1 month in

Not a perfect drone, but…



We won’t bore you with a rundown of its specs, but instead, we’ll give you the lowdown on DJI’s new drone — what works, what doesn’t, and what’s there to love. This is our DJI Mavic 2 Pro review.


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Apple iPad Pro (2018) Review: Not just a laptop replacement

It can be so much more



Apple’s new iPad Pro is more beautiful, more powerful, and more useful. In this review, we answer the question in everyone’s head: Can it replace your laptop?

To see the iPad Pro as merely a possible laptop replacement is an injustice to the purpose it serves. It’s already a given that this is a great tablet, but this is a pro device and is more than just that. Its premium price tag can be justified by what it can enable creative professionals, business people, and even journalists to accomplish.

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