Motorola E series of smartphones have been catering to the sub-Rs 10,000 segment for quite some time now. The Moto E40 is the newest smartphone in this series and is the successor to the Moto E7 Plus and the Motor E7 Power in India. This new smartphone brings new hardware and features which are uncommon in this segment of the market. Has Motorola only changed its naming strategy or does the Moto E40 pack in enough goodies to be the de facto choice on a budget? I put this new smartphone to the test to find out.
The Moto E40 is priced at Rs. 9,499 in India for its lone 4GB RAM, 64GB storage configuration. It is available in two colour choices, Carbon Gray and PInk Clay. I had the former with me for this review.
The Moto E40 is a budget smartphone but it is well designed. It has a big 6.5-inch display with a rather large camera hole in the top-centre, which some might find distracting. The bezels are thick, but acceptable considering the price of this smartphone. There's a tiny notification LED in the top right corner just above the display. The Moto E40 has a plastic body but it did not feel flimsy. Motorola has also curved the sides of the smartphone, and gripping it is easy.
You'll see all the buttons on the right of the Moto E40, which makes it look cluttered. Motorola has positioned the power button towards the middle of the frame, and it is easy to reach while holding the phone. The volume buttons and the dedicated button for Google Assistant are just above it. With four buttons in close proximity, finding the right one can turn into a guessing game. Motorola could have moved the Google Assistant button over to the left side which only has the SIM tray. The top has a 3.5mm headphone jack while the bottom has the primary mic, loudspeaker, and USB Type-C port.
The back of the phone is relatively black, and has a curvy pattern. This phone has a triple camera setup in the top left corner, and it doesn't protrude too much. There's also a fingerprint scanner with Motorola's Batwing logo on it.
The Moto E40 weighs 198g, which is noticeable when using it for longer durations. You get a 10W charger in the box. Motorola also bundles a transparent case with this phone.
The big 6.5-inch LCD panel has an HD+ resolution and a 90Hz refresh rate. High-refresh-rate panels aren't very common in the budget segment, but you can find a few other examples such as the Infinix Hot 11S (Review). Powering the Moto E40 is the Unisoc T700 octa-core SoC. This processor is paired with 4GB of RAM, and you also get 64GB of storage and a 5000mAh battery. Motorola isn't offering variants with more RAM or storage but you can expand storage by up to 1TB using a microSD card. The Moto E40 has an IP52 certification which means it should be splash resistant. It has support for dual-SIM dual-VoLTE, Bluetooth 5, Wi-Fi, and six satellite navigation systems.
The Moto E40 runs Android 11 with Motorola's My UX customisations. My review unit was running the September Android security patch. These customisations are minimal and so you get a near-stock Android experience on this smartphone. The Moto E40 had Google apps and Facebook preinstalled, and the latter can be uninstalled. The Moto app, which lets you control all the Moto features on other phones, is missing, but some shortcuts are still available in the Gesture section within the Settings app. Motorola uses a three-button navigation layout by default but you can switch to gesture navigation. Overall, I quite like the near-stock Android experience, and the fact that there are no spammy notifications on the Moto E40.
The Moto E40 can handle regular usage easily, so if you use your phone mostly for WhatsApp, phone calls, and a few casual games, this phone can handle all of it without breaking a sweat. The high refresh rate makes scrolling smooth. Motorola has set this to Auto by default, but you can manually choose between 60Hz and 90Hz as well.
The display has decent viewing angles and the brightness was adequate indoors. The Moto E40 only has a single bottom-firing speaker that sounds shrill at higher volumes. Watching videos for a while did make the lower half of the body slightly warm to the touch. I was able to unlock the smartphone quickly and without any issues using the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. Multitasking between a few apps was easy as well.
The Moto E40 managed 351 and 1,333 in Geekbench 5's single-core and multi-core tests respectively. In PCMark Work 3.0, it managed 8,971 points. In AnTuTu, the phone did skip the GPU test, but ended up with a total of 173,202 points. It also managed 58fps and 15fps in GFXBench's T-rex and Car Chase benchmarks respectively. The Motorola E40 performed slightly better than the Realme Narzo 50A in most of these tests.
I played Battlegrounds Mobile India on the Moto E40, and it took longer than usual to load. Once running, it defaulted to HD graphics and High frame rate. The game was playable at these settings without any noticeable stutter. I played for 26 minutes and noticed a 7 percent battery level drop. The top half of the phone was warm to the touch after gaming.
The Moto E40 did offer good battery life, easily lasting beyond a day and a half with my usage. The big 5,000mAh battery lasted 15 hours and 7 minutes in our HD video loop test. While battery life is good, charging is slow. The phone only got to 21 percent in 30 minutes and to about 41 percent in an hour. You will have to wait for over two hours to fill the battery completely.
You get a triple camera setup on the Moto E40, consisting of a 48-megapixel primary camera, a 2-megapixel depth sensor, and a 2-megapixel macro camera. The primary camera has an f/1.79 aperture, and pixel bins photos to produce 12-megapixel shots by default. For selfies, it has an 8-megapixel shooter on the front. Motorola's camera app is very similar to what we've seen on previous models, but features are limited on this smartphone. You can take portraits, and there is a Night mode to help you in low-light scenes.
The Moto E40 was fairly quick to focus but there were times when it needed a second. Daylight photos were average and I had to set HDR to auto since it was turned off by default. Objects at a distance did not have good detail and slight grain was visible in darker areas of scenes.
Close-up shots had good detail, and the phone managed good separation between the subject and the background. However, the Moto E40 isn't the fastest to lock focus and I occasionally needed to tap the screen to get it to focus where I wanted it to. Portrait shots took about a second or two to process, but the phone could detect faces quickly and allowed me to select the level of blur. I found blurring to be too aggressive even at the medium setting, so you might have to dial it down all the way for it to look natural. Macro shots were okay but not very sharp. Also, the low resolution limits any possibility of magnifying and cropping shots. I would have liked an ultra-wide angle camera over a macro camera, but that wasn't possible at this budget level.
Low-light photos were below average. While the phone managed to keep noise under control, photos appeared soft and colours were off too. The Night mode needs over 5 seconds to take a shot, and you need to stay still during this time. This mode does help with slightly better sharpness and more light in darker areas.
Selfies shot in daylight were decent while those shot in low light appeared flat. Selfie portraits had good edge detection but it takes about 1-2 seconds to capture a photo.
Video recording tops out at 1080p for the primary as well as the selfie camera and this phone does not offer any form of stabilisation. Daylight footage looked average, and the phone did manage to keep noise under control in low light. However, the footage is shaky due to the lack of stabilisation you will g
The Moto E40 is the latest offering from Motorola in the sub-Rs. 10,000 market. It offers decent hardware, and for a casual user, I see no reason to complain. The Unisoc T700 SoC chugs along just fine until you launch something heavy. For large apps and games, the load time is longer than ideal. While the near-stock Android experience might keep purists happy, its camera performance won't impress anyone.
If stock Android appeals to you and you're on a tight budget, the Moto E40 makes a strong case for itself. Those looking for alternatives can look at the Realme Narzo 30A (Review) or the recently reviewed Infinix Hot 11S (Review)..