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Moto E6s review: the Moto E series is back in the game

The Moto E series phones were once considered among the best VFM smartphones in the sub-Rs 10,000 category, and the latest launch from Motorola, the Moto E6s (first impressions) seems to be living up to that reputation. Coming in as the first dual-camera smartphone in the E-series lineup, the phone goes up against similarly-priced phones from Xiaomi, Realme and more. I used the Moto E6s for a week to find out if it has what it takes to survive in the budget segment, and here’s my take on it.

Design and display

The Moto E6s has the same form factor as the Moto E5 Plus, but with several cosmetic changes. To start with, the camera module is no longer circular, and the display has a waterdrop notch. However, what stood out more to me was the highly glossy back panel, which is a solid mirror-like surface on the Graphite variant of E6s that I have. Additionally, Motorola has kept the sides of the phone matte, which offers an attractive contrast to the back panel. The phone is very comfortable to hold, thanks to the even weight distribution and slightly curved back panel.

On the flip side, the glossy back panel attracts fingerprints like a moth to the flame, and those are very hard to get rid of as well. For this very reason, I prefer the Cranberry Red colour variant, which is less prone to getting smudged. Additionally, the glossy feel and flimsy plastic back panel of the phone feels tacky, which might be the deal-breaker for some. You have to remove the panel to insert the battery, dual SIM and microSD card. On the topic of the back panel, the dual-camera module has been placed on the top left corner with the LED flash and the dimpled Motorola logo with a fingerprint scanner in the centre. The fingerprint scanner was pretty fast and accurate during my time with the phone. I found the face unlock to be very fast as well.

As for other elements, the volume keys and power button with a textured finish are located on the right edge. You will find the 3.5mm audio jack on the top and micro-USB port with the speaker grill at the bottom.

On the front, the Moto E6s ships with a 6.1-inch HD+ LCD panel. Despite being a 19.5:9 screen, there are considerable bezels all around and a thicker chin than usual. Moreover, the corners of the display are more rounded than usual, thus eating into the screen real estate a bit. However, if you can look past all of these, the screen itself is sufficiently vibrant and sharp. I did feel that the brightness was a tad bit on the lower side in sunlight, but that was a given at this price point.

Cameras

As I mentioned before, the Motorola Moto E6s is the first E-series phone to feature a dual-camera module on the back panel. The setup comprises of a 13-megapixel autofocus primary sensor, accompanied by a 2-megapixel depth sensor. Selfies and video calls are handled by an 8-megapixel shooter on the front. The camera app is minimal with all modes laid out on the viewfinder including beauty, portrait, panorama, HDR, video and photo. You can also turn on the AI scene detection from the settings menu.

The rear camera exceeded my expectations while shooting outside in broad daylight. The camera was able to capture details and highlights accurately. I prefered clicking pictures with HDR mode turned on as the AI detection and HDR mode working in tandem produced some really impressive pictures. As for the portrait mode, the 2-megapixel depth sensor was able to detect edges accurately and produce a natural-looking blur. I also liked the fact that in the portrait mode, you can change the level of blur in real-time.

Coming to the selfie mode, the 8-megapixel camera also captured impressive selfies for the price tag. You also get the portrait mode for selfies, however, due to the lack of a secondary shooter, you will find halo effect around the edges. Moreover, the pictures taken in low light turn out to be noisy.

Performance, software, and battery

The Moto E6s runs stock Android 9 Pie out of the box, without any bloatware to mar the experience. You get Google goodies like Digital Wellbeing as well as Performance Optimization features from Motorola.

Speaking of the performance, the Motorola Moto E6s features the MediaTek Helio P22 SoC which is ubiquitous in this segment. However, the processor is backed by a generous 4GB RAM and 64GB of expandable storage. Needless to say, the combination of the vanilla Android interface and ample RAM ensures smooth performance. During my time with the phone, I was impressed by the way Moto E6s handled multitasking and other routine tasks without busting a vein. You might experience slightly slower app loading times, but that’s a given for an entry-level phone.

If you’re wondering how the Moto E6s handles gaming, the mass favourite RPG game, PUBG starts in the low graphics setting as expected. While the gameplay is smooth during shorter sessions, if you like to play PUBG for hours at a stretch, you will find the phone heating up after four sessions or so, and that’s when you will find the performance faltering with jitters and frame drops. For such users, I would suggest using PUBG Mobile Lite instead, which is more optimised for low-power devices. Basic games like Subway Surfer and Stick Cricket run just fine. The Performance Optimization feature I mentioned earlier can be toggled on for individual games to get a smoother gameplay.

The 3,000mAh battery is on the smaller side compared to what you get on similarly priced devices from Xiaomi and Realme, however, I managed to push through an entire day on a single charge.

The competition

The Motorola Moto E6s has been launched at Rs 7,999 in India, and at this price point goes up directly against the likes of the Redmi 7A and Infinix Hot 8. The latter goes neck to neck with the Moto E6s in most departments, barring its third low-light camera sensor and massive 5,000mAh battery. However, the Infinix Hot 8 (review) also costs Rs 1,000 less than the Moto E6s, which is a significant difference in this price range. The Redmi 7, on the other hand, features a more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 chipset and larger 4,000mAh battery, but offers half the RAM and storage for the same price.

Verdict

It goes without saying that at Rs 7,999, the Moto E6s is a compelling offering. Unfortunately, the segment is an ultra-competitive one and there are better options available in the market. However, if you are a stock Android fan on a budget and want a good set of cameras, Moto E6s should be your top pick.

Pricebaba’s rating: 7 / 10

What works:

  • Stock Android
  • Good battery life
  • Decent cameras
  • Ample RAM and storage for the price

What doesn’t:

  • Glossy back attracts fingerprints
  • Gaming performance is average
  • Display could have been brighter

Photos by Raj Rout

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