Fortunately, that thrifty instinct doesn’t keep me from enjoying everything I love about smartphones anymore. (Well, everything except a decent camera.) The difference between last year’s top phone and this year’s top phone is a crack in the sidewalk compared to the chasm between, say, the Motorola Q and the first iPhone. In his review of last year’s Moto E, Vlad Savov called it "the people’s smartphone — the smartphone that makes all others look stupidly expensive." The same is true for Motorola’s latest attempt, and it’s a refreshing counterpoint to the maelstrom of hype that just came out of Mobile World Congress.
I didn’t grieve for my shattered Nexus 5, but I did agonize for the phone that came before it: an HTC One I bought from T-Mobile at full price in 2013. Last year, a week after its one-year warranty expired, I woke up and found that my One died overnight. It was really upsetting! I couldn’t afford to replace it, and I’m still paying T-Mobile $20 a month for a broken phone. It turns out there’s a huge emotional gulf between dropping a $180 phone on the ground and losing nearly $600. So the best part about a competent, affordable smartphone like the Moto E? It doesn’t control me. I won’t worry as much about losing it, or having it stolen, or dropping it on concrete. That peace of mind is something the newest iPhone or Galaxy can’t offer.