The Rise of the Budget Phone

With my Pixel XL coming up on its final year of updates, I’ve been busy looking at replacement phones. The Pixel 3 XL is a clear favorite, but after purchasing the Motorola e5 Supra (a.k.a. Motorola e5 Plus) for my husband, I’ve been thinking about the possibility of saving some cash and going with a budget phone. That’s right, the Motorola e5 Supra impressed me that much.

The Motorola e5 Supra is available only through Cricket Wireless, but it’s the exact same phone as the Motorola e5 Plus. I wish carriers would stop playing these games.

NOTE: The US version does not support NFC*

The Motorola e5 Plus is a solid phone to hold, has a premium look and feel, is responsive, and takes decent pictures. And on top of all that, it’s already received an update. I have no idea how often these updates will arrive, but it’s a good sign that it’s already received one. And on top of all this, my husband loves it. He’s even said he’ll never go back to a premium phone again.

If you read my previous post The Motorola e5 Plus, Project Treble, and Updates, you already understand how Google is making it easier for manufacturers to update their handsets via Project Treble.

A Phone is More Than the Specs

Let’s face it, most people can’t tell you which processor their phone uses, or the specifics on the CPU and RAM, but they can tell you if they’re happy with the performance. And when purchasing a budget phone, the end-use should matter more than the specs. As I said in a previous post on buying a budget phone, How to Find a Good Phone for Less Than $200.00, you need to focus less on the specs and more on the performance. There are a lot of budget phones out there that are responsive and have 32 gig of storage or more.

You do not need the latest and greatest specs to have a phone that runs smooth. A processor that’s a year or two old will work just fine on a phone that’s properly optimized for it. And if anything, the Motorola e5 Plus proves it. Not only does it have a nice HD screen, it also has plenty of pep.

What About the Camera

Budget phones have always been known for sub-par cameras, but that seems to be going away. I will say that Motorola has never been known for putting the best cameras in their phones, so the fact that I’m impressed with the camera in the Motorola e5 Plus says something. I am not saying that the camera in the Motorola e5 Plus would make me buy one for myself, but it’s not nearly as bad as I expected. In fact, for a phone priced under $200.00, it’s damn good. I’ll also add that my husband is very pleased with the camera.

Here are two pictures of a small garden in Wayland Square in Providence, RI. Both pictures were taken with auto on, so the phone made all the focus and light decisions. Both photos are fine, although the one taken with the Motorola e5 Supra is more washed out.

Taken with Pixel XL ƒ/2 1/551 4.67mm ISO 50
Taken with Pixel XL ƒ/2 1/551 4.67mm ISO 50
Taken with Motorola e5 Supra ƒ/2 1/120 3.88mm ISO 64
Taken with Motorola e5 Supra ƒ/2 1/120 3.88mm ISO 64

We recently went to Rosecliff Mansion in Newport, RI and took some pictures. Take a look at the details and colors in each set.

Pixel XL ƒ/2 1/30 4.67mm ISO 578
Pixel XL ƒ/2 1/30 4.67mm ISO 578
Motorola e5 supra ƒ/2 1/17 3.88mm ISO 800
Motorola e5 Supra ƒ/2 1/17 3.88mm ISO 800
Pixel XL ƒ/2 1/3106 4.67mm ISO 51
Pixel XL ƒ/2 1/3106 4.67mm ISO 51
Motorola e5 supra ƒ/2 1/1450 3.88mm ISO 50
Motorola e5 Supra ƒ/2 1/1450 3.88mm ISO 50
Pixel XL ƒ/2 1/2114 4.67mmI SO 51
Pixel XL ƒ/2 1/2114 4.67mmI SO 51
Motorola e5 Supra ƒ/2 1/1057 3.88mm ISO 50
Motorola e5 Supra ƒ/2 1/1057 3.88mm ISO 50

While the Pixel XL does have the better camera, is it worth dishing out an extra $500.00? And even if the picture you took on your phone isn’t up to snuff, you can easily fix it with Snapseed, Photoshop, Lightroom, or whatever photo tool you use.

If you’re interested in getting the most of your mobile photos, feel free to check out my mobile photography tutorials.

While I’m not sold on the camera on the Motorola e5 Plus, the rest of the phone is enough to make me consider purchasing one for myself.

I’m also interested in the OnePlus 6 and the upcoming OnePlus 6T. Keep in mind that the OnePlus 6 retails for $529.99, which is a lot more than $179.99 for the Motorola e5 Supra. Again, how much is a better camera worth to you? Also, will the camera on the OnePlus 6 really be that much better than the one on the Motorola e5 Plus?

Let me know if you have any questions or comments below.

*updated 8/5/18

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