Best Places To Buy A Moto E3: The UK’s Cheapest Deals

October 18th, 2016

The third-generation Moto E3 from Lenovo and Motorola is now available to buy from £90 unlocked in the UK.

Moto E3

If you’re looking for a highly-affordable entry-level smartphone, Motorola’s third-generation Moto E3 is a great value choice starting at just £90 unlocked.

Running a bloatware-free version of Google’s Android 6.0 Marshmallow, the Moto E3 has some highly-competitive specifications for its price point including a high-definition 5.0-inch display, a quad-core processor and an 8 megapixel camera with LED flash. It also has a splash-proof design with protection against water and a long-lasting 2,800mAh battery.

In this article, we’ll look at the best value deals for buying a third-generation Moto E smartphone in the UK. We’ll also look at the Moto G4 Play: a similarly-specified alternative with twice as much storage, a faster processor and NFC connectivity.

SIM Free & Unlocked

In the UK, you can currently buy the Moto E3 from a number of electronics retailers. You’ll get a handset that’s already unlocked so you’ll be able to use the Moto E3 on the network of your choice (perhaps by ordering a free Pay As You Go micro-SIM or getting a low-cost SIM-only deal).

Cheapest SIM-Free Retailers

Moto E3 Design

At present, the cheapest places to buy an unlocked Moto E3 are John Lewis and They’ll each charge £89.95 for the handset.

Rather than buying the Moto E3, we strongly recommend the Moto G Play as a higher-specced alternative. With our voucher code discount, the Moto G Play is available for just £109 (only £19 more than the Moto E3). The Moto G Play comes with a number of highly worthwhile upgrades:

  • You’ll get twice as much storage. The Moto G4 Play comes with 16GB of storage, whereas the Moto E3 has only 8GB of storage. This means more space for your apps, photos, music, etc. The Moto G4 Play also has support for larger micro-SD cards (up to 128GB rather than up to 32GB).
  • You’ll get a faster processor. The Moto G4 Play has a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor (1.2GHz quad-core). This will give better performance than the Moto E3’s 1.0GHz quad-core Mediatek processor.
  • You’ll get NFC connectivity for Android Pay. On the Moto G4 Play, you’ll also get NFC connectivity. You can use this for contactless payments through the Android Pay service. The Moto E3 lacks NFC connectivity so doesn’t allow you to use Android Pay.

You can benefit from a £10 discount on the Moto G Play by using the UKWELCOME10 voucher code on Motorola Direct.

The following table shows the UK’s cheapest deals for buying an unlocked Moto E3 or Moto G4 Play:

Retailer Moto E3 Moto G4 Play
8GB Storage / 1GB RAM 16GB Storage / 1GB RAM
Motorola Direct £99.00 £109.00 with voucher
with £10 voucher*
John Lewis £89.95 £129.95 £89.95 £115.98 £95.00 £120.97
Argos £109.95 £129.95
Carphone Warehouse £129.99
Clove £125.00
Lenovo £99.99 £129.99
Very £99.99 £129.99

* On Motorola Direct, use the UKWELCOME10 voucher code for a £10 discount on the Moto G4 Play.

If you’d like to add extra storage to your smartphone, you may also wish to buy a micro-SD card. For the Moto E3, you can buy a 32GB micro-SD card for around £8. Combined with the 8GB of built-in storage, this will give you 40GB of storage in total. If you instead choose the Moto G4 Play, you can buy a larger 128GB micro-SD card for around £30. Combined with the 16GB of built-in storage, you can have up to 144GB of storage in total.

Pay As You Go

Top Up LogoIf you’d like to save a bit of money upfront, you can also buy the Moto E3 on Pay As You Go. You’ll get a subsidised handset from the mobile network but it will typically be locked so you’ll only be able to use it on that network. Typically, there will also be a minimum initial top-up of £10 when buying a Pay As You Go handset.

At present, O2 is the cheapest Pay As You Go network for both the Moto E3 and Moto G4 Play. You can get the Moto E3 for an upfront price of £89.99 and the Moto G4 Play for an upfront price of £109.99. You’ll get the handset on O2’s Big Bundles tariff where a £10 monthly top-up will buy you 250 minutes, 1000 texts and 500MB of data.

Should you need to use your handset on another network in the future, it will cost £15 to unlock it from O2 (also, you’ll need to wait until you’ve had the handset for at least 12 months). For this reason, it may still work out better value to pay the small amount extra to get a fully unlocked SIM-free handset.

Mobile Network Moto E3 Moto G4 Play
8GB Storage / 1GB RAM 16GB Storage / 1GB RAM
O2 £89.99 £109.99
Tesco Mobile £69.00 £149.00
Vodafone £79.00
EE Get it SIM-free and then order a free EE SIM card.
giffgaff Get it SIM-free and then order a free giffgaff SIM card.
Three Get it SIM-free and then order a free Three SIM card.

If you’d like to use the Moto E3 or Moto G4 Play on a Pay As You Go mobile network that doesn’t sell it directly, you can do this by ordering the unlocked version of the handset and then picking up a free Pay As You Go SIM card for that network.

Pay Monthly

  • O2
  • Talkmobile
  • Tesco Mobile

The Moto E3 is currently available on Pay Monthly contracts from O2, Talkmobile and Tesco Mobile. Talkmobile makes use of coverage from Vodafone and Tesco Mobile makes use of coverage from O2.

In this section, we’ll compare 24-month contracts for the Moto E3.

With 500MB of Data

For light users, the Moto E3 is currently available on some entry-level tariffs with 500MB of data per month. For this, you’ll typically pay around £8 per month:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
No tariffs could be found matching this criteria.

With 1GB of Data

Realistically, we’d probably recommend choosing a data allowance of at least 1GB per month (this reduces the likelihood of you running out of data mid-month). For 1GB of data per month, you’ll be looking to pay around £12 per month.

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
No tariffs could be found matching this criteria.

With 2GB of Data

For regular smartphone users, a 2GB tariff could be much more suitable. The following table shows 24-month contracts with a Moto E3 and with at least 2GB per month:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
No tariffs could be found matching this criteria.

Before ordering a Moto E3 from any of the networks above, it’s strongly recommended you check the coverage in your area. Please select a mobile network to see their online coverage map:

  • O2
  • Talkmobile
  • Tesco Mobile

About the Moto E3

Moto E LogoThe Moto E3 is Motorola’s latest-generation entry-level smartphone. It runs the Android 6.0 operating system from Google and is distinguished from other handsets by the fast, bloatware-free interface.

Aside from the operating system, the Moto E3 also has some very competitive specifications for its price point. This includes a high-definition 5.0-inch display at 720p resolution, a quad-core processor and an 8-megapixel camera with LED flash. There is also a long-lasting 2,800mAh battery and the handset is protected by a waterproof nano-coating against accidental spills and splashes.

The following table compares the Moto E3 to the Moto G4 Play and Moto G4:

Motorola Moto E3
Motorola Moto G4 Play
Motorola Moto G4
Release Date2016, Entry Level2016, Mid Range2016, Mid Range
SoftwareGoogle Android 6.0Google Android 6.0Google Android 6.0
Size5.0-inch display5.0-inch display5.5-inch display
Resolution1280x720 pixels1280x720 pixels1920x1080 pixels
Pixel Density294 pixels per inch294 pixels per inch401 pixels per inch
Rear Camera8 megapixels8 megapixels13 megapixels
Flash LED flash LED flash Dual-LED flash
Front Camera5.0 megapixels5.0 megapixels5.0 megapixels
ProcessorMediaTek MT6735PSnapdragon 410Snapdragon 617
Speed1.0GHz quad-core1.2GHz quad-core1.5GHz quad-core &
1.2GHz quad-core
Internal Storage8GB8/16GB16/32GB
External Storage Up to 32GB micro-SD Up to 256GB micro-SD Up to 256GB micro-SD
Handset Weight141g137g155g
Mobile Networks
3G Networks Up to 42Mbit/s Up to 42Mbit/s Up to 42Mbit/s
4G Networks
SIM Card TypeMicro SIMMicro SIMMicro SIM

The Moto E3 replaces the second-generation Moto E 4G from 2015. Reviewers called the second-generation handset “a fantastic budget smartphone” and “the budget phone to beat”.

For more information about the Moto E3, please see the official Motorola website.

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About Ken

Ken Lo

My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.

Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.

Your Comments

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 13 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. Joy Carol said:

    Hi, what a great website and clear explanation. I have been looking for smartphone for husband BUT we live in Cuba where there is virtually no wifi and most young Cubans say Androids are better than Apple there, so trying to decide on not too expensive phone for basic calls, texts, email and photos as husband doesn’t do much else with phone so not sure whether Moto E basic or E4G. And naturally it needs to be SIM free and unlocked but if I’ve understood correctly Tesco’s is sim free but not unlocked? Sorry, not good at this stuff!

    1. Ken replied:

      Hi Joy,
      The (Tesco Direct) offering is SIM-free and is unlocked for use on any network. The ‘Tesco Mobile’ offering is locked (this is because ‘Tesco Mobile’ is also a network in the UK).
      Hope this helps to clarify things!

  2. Ric said:

    I have just bought a Moto e on Tesco PAYG for £59 and it is indeed a good buy.
    The only thing to watch with the Triple Credit is that the Tesco data bundles can only be purchased with what Tesco call “real credit” – you can’t use the free credit. Free credit can only be used to buy data at 10p per Mb.
    So if you top up £10, then you get the extra £20 free credit but only £10 is available for a data bundle.

    That fact is not made really clear and I got caught out by not reading the small print ! If you wish to use a lot of data then some other package may be better value.

    1. Ken replied:

      Hi Ric,
      Thanks for the heads up about this limitation on Tesco! I covered it here in my review of Tesco Mobile – unfortunately there wasn’t enough space to mention it directly in this article.
      Thanks again for the reminder to other readers!

  3. P said:

    Hi Ken

    Many thanks for the advice. Actually my son already has Moto G 5-inch and he did suggest it. However, he just wasn’t sure how appropriate it would be for business. Your recommendation certainly helps in my final choice of phone.

    Kind regards


    ps It was my eldest son who recommended your website to me (you know him from uni) and am glad that he did. The clarity of your explanations make it so much easier to understand for people like me who do not have hi-tech expertise.

    1. Ken replied:

      Hi P,
      Thanks for the kind words – I’ll have to drop him a message to say thank you as well 😉
      I’d say that most modern smartphones should be suitable for running a business (though iPhone and Android are probably better for applications). The Moto G 5-inch is certainly recommended and runs on the latest version of Android.
      A really useful feature which is relatively unique to the Moto G 5-inch is the dual-SIM capabilities so you can have two phone numbers on the phone at the same time. This is useful, for example, if you wanted to have separate phone numbers for your personal and business contacts (e.g. so you screen out business phone calls after work and you can put all the work-related phone calls on one itemised bill). It’s optional whether you use the dual-SIM feature but it’s something I really like personally!

      1. P replied:

        Hi Ken

        Wow dual SIM capabilities certainly a plus. Am debating whether to go for Moto G 5 inch or Moto G with 4G. Tesco has special offer at the moment of £13.50 a month on Moto G with 4 G (4.5 inch): 250 minutes, 5000 texts, 500mb data. I know Tesco mobile runs on O2 network but am not certain how good they are as far as network coverage. I am currently with O2. Is it better to purchase a new phone and get sim or go contract?



        1. Ken replied:

          Hi P,
          To answer your questions in order:
          1. The dual-SIM capabilities are only on the Moto G 5-inch (the Moto G 4G is single-SIM only). This means you’ll need to balance the two features off against each other (dual-SIM vs 4G connectivity).
          2. As you mention in your comment, the coverage on Tesco is exactly the same as coverage on O2 (see the article here for more information). Hence, you shouldn’t experience any change from what you’re seeing as present. Another network that might be worth considering is giffgaff: they also use the O2 network. £10/month gets you 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of internet (you can order a free SIM card here). Obviously, you’ll need to pay for the handset upfront but the monthly cost savings should partially offset this.
          3. There are merits to both buying SIM-free and buying on a contract. The benefit of buying SIM-free is a wider choice of handsets (e.g. the Moto G 5-inch is only available SIM-free). Also, there’s the ability to use your phone on any network (ideal if you want to change network or if you’re travelling abroad). A handset purchased on contract will lock you in to that company for 2 years and there’ll normally be a fee of around £20 if you’d like to unlock it. Benefits of buying on contract are that you can sometimes save money (e.g. the handset will have a reduced upfront cost).
          Hope this helps!

          1. P replied:

            Thanks Ken. Certainly 🙂

          2. Steve replied:

            Hi Ken,

            Regarding active dual SIM Android phones, is it possible to ensure that apps use data on only one of the SIMs? Say if one SIM has unlimited data or roaming data and would be much cheaper to use that SIM’s dataplan than the other.


          3. Ken replied:

            Hi Steve,
            Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure about all the exact details when using a dual-SIM handset, but don’t you need to choose a primary SIM card with which to use the data service on? I believe the secondary SIM card will only be used for calling and texting.

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