On the face of it, the Moto E looks the same as Motorola's other recent handsets with a simplistic pebble-like design. It's not particularly thin or light but it settles in the hand nicely and is easy to use one handed.

With almost identical design and build quality, there had to be some cost cutting somewhere and it comes in the form of hardware.

The Moto E features a 4.3in screen and although a qHD resolution might not sound great compared to the Moto G or other budget and mid-range phones, it's rather impressive when you consider the price. See also: See also: Best smartphones: The best phone you can buy in 2014.

Moto E: performance

Other specs include a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM which is also decent. There's a measly 4GB of internal storage but Motorola includes a microSD card slot so you can add up to 32GB more – and you'll need to since there's only about 1.5GB available out of the box.

We're used to budget smartphones offering frustratingly jerky performance but the Moto E is light on its heels, able to multi-task fairly well. Games run pretty well too.
Photography is something of a downside with an unimpressive 5Mp rear camera which struggles to focus and doesn't have a flash. There's no front camera whatsoever.

There's no scrimping when it comes to software so the Moto E comes pre-loaded with Android 4.4 KitKat and Motorola has promised an update to the next major version.

The firm chooses to use the stock version of Android so there's no fancy user interface over the top. This not only keeps things simple but helps with performance.

Motorola does add a few of its own apps including Migrate and Assist plus a new one called Alert. This can do things like let friends and family know when you've arrived somewhere for peace of mind.

Although the rear cover comes off and the battery is visible, it can't be removed. Motorola says the Moto E can last a day of use and we can vouch for this after our tests. Be prepared to charge nightly unless you're a particularly light user.

At £89, the Moto E is a bargain basement smartphone but comes with a nice design and pretty respectable specs. However, the Moto G price has dropped below the £100 mark so is worth the extra if you can afford it.

We award four stars.  (Also see: Motorola Moto E vs Moto G video review: What's the best budget smartphone?)