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Motorola unveils new budget smartphone wonder with £89 Moto E

Motorola has taken the wraps off the much talked about Moto E, and this latest low-cost phone comes with a capital "B" for budget handset, and a price tag of £89 SIM-free.

Motorola boasts that this low priced device will bring the feature phone era to an end for good, and the Moto E certainly offers good value for money on the face of it.

Motorola commented: "We're pushing the boundaries of the value equation even further with Moto E, a new class of smartphone that's fully loaded and fairly priced - a perfect combination for savvy shoppers and first-time smartphone buyers."

The core specs – much of which have already been leaked, so aren't a great surprise – include a 4.3in display fashioned from Gorilla Glass with a resolution of 960 x 540 and a pixel density of 256 ppi. The phone will also benefit from a water-resistant splash guard, so has some chops on the durability front, particularly for a sub-£100 model.

A Snapdragon 200 dual-core CPU will be running the show, backed up by 1GB of RAM, and the latest version of KitKat, Android 4.4.2, will be on board. The Moto E will have a 5 megapixel rear camera, a 1980 mAh battery (which Motorola claims will last all day away from the mains for the average user), and 4GB of storage, plus a microSD slot to allow for 32GB of memory expansion. An FM radio will also be on hand.

Customisation options, something Motorola is fond of, will also be offered in the form of Motorola Shells – separately sold interchangeable rear covers which will be different colours. There will be over 20 different colour and design combinations, apparently, though exactly which are available will depend on the territory in question.

The phone will be available in 40+ countries worldwide rolling out over the next few weeks, on a large range of networks and retailers. In the UK, those will include EE, O2, Phones 4u, Tesco Mobile and Vodafone; those are the outlets Motorola mentioned, but there'll be others, of course. As already mentioned, the SIM-free price will be a very tempting £89.

The obvious initial point of comparison is the Moto G, the popular budget predecessor from Motorola, which has pretty much held its price since the phone's launch last November, currently selling for around £150 SIM-free at most online retailers.

The Moto E may have considerably downgraded specs in some respects – most notably the display, which has taken a step down from the Moto G's 4.5in 720p screen (1,280 x 720 pixels) to a 960 x 540 resolution on the new model. While resolution isn't the only consideration in terms of screen quality, it's obviously a big one; but some corners had to be cut to get the price down.

After all, the Moto E is launching at coming on for half of the Moto G's price – and the good news is that Gorilla Glass has still been kept on for the display. It sounds like the overall build quality will be good, particularly for this price point – and it's worth noting that the Moto E has a microSD slot, which the G didn't have.

The other major downgrade is the CPU, which drops from a Snapdragon 400 to 200, but as the Moto E has a lot less pixels to push around, that hopefully won't matter much in terms of overall performance levels. We'll have to wait until we have a chance to actually test drive the handset before we draw any real conclusions, though – stay tuned for more feedback on this phone very soon.

Also, speaking of the Moto G, Motorola has announced an upgraded version of this handset which supports 4G LTE (as was previously rumoured). It will pitch in at £149 SIM-free, which again is an impressive price point, and indeed should see the price of the 3G version drop.

Motorola is certainly doing its bit to make smartphones even more affordable, and it has to be commended on that front.

For more on the Moto E, check out our live coverage of the phone's launch event.