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The charge of the Androids

LiveMint logoLiveMint 20-05-2014 Vishal Mathur

New Android phones have been the focus of much excitement in recent weeks. The Moto E attempts to redefine the meaning of a budget Android smartphone, with features like water-resistant coating, fingerprint-resistant treatment on the screen, and the promise of quick updates to the very latest Android version. The HTC Desire 310, meanwhile, takes on the phone that is considered the benchmark among Android phones in the `10,000-15,000 range—the Moto G. Will the two succeed?

Motorola Moto E

This is the latest Moto smartphone, with a affordable price tag of `6,999.

The 4.3-inch, 960x540-pixel, Gorilla Glass 3 display is definitely one of the sharpest, and the colours look surprisingly good. However, the slight reflective nature of the screen does mean that you will have to bump up the brightness when using the Moto E in bright sunlight. The anti-smudge coating isn’t convincing, because the fingerprints on glass are easily visible. The water-resistant nano-coating was till now available in much more expensive phones.

The 1.2 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor is paired with 1 GB of RAM, and it is the latter specification that really makes the difference. Most phones skim on the amount of RAM, which in turn hampers performance. The first three-four apps open quickly, but once all these apps are open in the background, there is a slight lag in the user interface (UI). This phone is not meant for the power user, but for someone who wants to experience a smartphone for the first time.

The 1980 mAh battery rating may not seem much on paper but the Moto E lasts two full days on a single charge owing to the smaller screen.

The Moto E offers specifications and features that most similarly priced Android phones don’t have. It offers a better experience, though aspects like the 5-megapixel camera still need improvement.

HTC Desire 310

The Desire 310, priced at `11,700, is HTC’s answer to the Moto G. The design is quite understated, with acceptable overall build quality.

The 4.5-inch LCD display has a resolution of 480x854 pixels, a significant drawback considering the much lower priced Moto E packs in 960x540 pixels. The colours aren’t very rich or distinguished, but text readability is fine.

HTC’s Sense UI has been redone for this phone—a lighter version for the lower-specification hardware. Unfortunately, the phone comes out of the box with the old Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean). The Mediatek MT6582M processor, along with 1 GB of RAM, offers consistent, if not blazing fast, performance. Multiple app loads are handled well, but there will be the inevitable sluggishness when more than four apps are open in the background. The 2000 mAh battery gets through a day easily, with some charge left.

The Desire 310 is a fairly capable Android phone in isolation. Unfortunately, it comes up against the Moto G which, for a few quid more, offers a much better display, the latest Android version, and better performance.

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