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Motorola's new Moto E has LTE and a bigger screen for just $149

More screen, more speed, still cheap

Motorola teased an announcement in the form a hand-delivered package last week, and sure enough, today the company delivered a box with a new Moto E. The second-generation Moto E is still Motorola's most affordable smartphone in its lineup, but this time around it has a larger 4.5-inch (but still 540 x 960 pixel) display, faster 4G LTE networking, and a faster Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor.

Unless you're looking really closely, it's hard to tell the difference between the new Moto E and last year's model. But that's not really a bad thing: last year's phone kept Motorola's design philosophy and great ergonomics intact and felt a lot better than most other entry level smartphones. The new Moto E is no different in those respects, but this time around the removable backplate has been traded for simple colored bands that can be used to personlize the device. (The basic phone color options are black or white.) Motorola is offering six different color bands in addition to larger "Grip Shell" cases for the new Moto E.

Other upgrades include a new 5-megapixel camera that has autofocus, a VGA front-facing camera, 8GB of internal storage instead of 4GB, and Android 5.0 Lollipop software. Motorola has also added its Quick Capture feature, which lets you launch the camera with just a twist of your wrist and the Active Display feature that wakes the screen up with notifications or when you pull it out of your pocket.

The original Moto E was one of the best entry level smartphones you could buy, and from the looks of things the new model's upgrades will make it even more appealing. Motorola is selling the second-generation Moto E with LTE for $149 (3G models will cost $119), a slightly higher price than before, and it says the phone is available to purchase in 40 countries across the world starting today.

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