Hands on with Motorola's £89 Moto E: An affordable revolution?

So without any ado to further, Motorola has lifted the lid on its latest smartphone offering: the Moto E. At a packed launch event in London this budget handset was revealed to a room full of journalists who, clutching their laptops in shock, let out an audible gasp at the price – an extremely reasonable £89.

You may think that for a handset costing the same as fifty nine shots of Caffé Nero Espressos, you'd be better off taking the caffeine fix. But put away your wallet, the Moto E actually packs some impressive specs into an affordable package.

Related: Moto E launch live from London: Price, specs, analysis

On first glance the Moto E is not without its charms. The model we played around with had a monochrome chassis with a white body and black rim that made it look far classier than its price tag may suggest.

Ultra-tough gorilla glass protects the 4.3in display with a 960 x 540 pixel resolution. That works out as 256ppi, which is pretty paltry when set alongside the smartphone greats but actually sets Moto E apart as boasting the highest resolution in a device of its class.

The design fits snuggly in your hand with a perfectly curved back. It's also small, slotting easilly in a front pocket, though don't be surprised if you end up walking hunched forward scraping your knuckles along the ground – it weighs in at a hefty 140g.

Still, despite being finished in plastic it doesn't feel like a budget handset. The design is solid with no cracks, lending the Moto E a smooth finish that stands it head and shoulders above its other cheap rivals.

So what about under the hood? The Moto E packs a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 chipset clocked at 1.2GHz alongside 1GB of RAM. We only had five minutes to play with it, but applications launched smoothly and cleanly with very little lag time.

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This is largely down to the fact that the Moto E is imbued with the latest version of Android 4.4 KitKat. Motorola hasn't cluttered the smartphone with a complicated UI but instead leaves the operating system relatively similar to how Google intended, ensuring a responsive experience.

Not only that, Motorola has promised all customers a swift update to the next iteration of Android when it's eventually launched in the coming months.

Budding photographers and selfie lovers, however, will be disappointed. The Moto E only had a rear-facing 5 megapixel camera with no front-facing snapper for video calls.

One of Motorola's big promises is that the smartphone's 1,980mAh battery will boost all-day performance, though that's hard to tell from a brief play. If the simple interface is anything to go by, however, it's certainly a possibility.

Overall, our first impression of the Motorola Moto E is that it's a solid offering for those whose pennies are truly pinched. Most smartphones at this end of the market feel cheap and plasticky, but the Moto E manages to elevate itself to elegance without breaking the bank.

For a handset to use away on business trips or just for someone who wants a phone to make calls, texts and launch general apps this is an ideal handset that could really set Motorola apart as the Robin Hood of the smartphone world.

To live all the launch action as it happened, check out our liveblog of Motorola's launch celebration in the heart of London.