The budget smartphone tier is getting more interesting as every month goes by. What you can get for your money on a low budget these days is fantastic. And it gets better every time any company releases a new competitive low-end phone. While some might look to the likes of the Moto G, or Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 as the ultimate in bang-for-buck device, there’s a new company from Britain in town which might have just released one of the most disruptive phones so far.
That £129 gets you a phone with a 5-inch 720p IPS LCD display, Snapdragon 410 processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage (expandable), Dual SIM support, a 13MP camera and a 2,500mAh removable battery. But those numbers don’t tell the whole story, the overall experience of using the device is one of the best I’ve ever had on a budget smartphone and that’s no exaggeration.
The removable plastic shell on the back has a sandstone black finish giving it a really soft texture. Combined with the slight curve, it ensure the phone feels really comfortable in-hand. That’s also thanks in part to the device’s relatively small size. It’s a great one-handed device and has a subtle smokey chrome trim around the edges, and an orange trim around the camera housing to give it a little flair. On a personal note: I love the embossed Wileyfox logo in the middle, it’s a far cry from the usual, dull, printed brand logos you normally see.
When I read spec sheets and see ‘720p IPS LCD’, I normally expect the worst. Normally that means dull, washed out and a little fuzzy. With this display though, that’s not the case. Wileyfox has cranked the brightness up to 11 and managed to give the display a lot of life. Colors are great and — although contrast could be improved — it’s generally a very good panel. It has its downsides, for instance, you can tell it’s not 1080p, but on a budget-friendly 5-inch phone, you wouldn’t expect it to be.
There is a downside to the brightness: screen on time. Because the screen is so bright, it seems to suck the life out of the battery pretty fast when powered on. Still, the removable cell is still enough to get me through a full day’s use without any trouble. But if you watch a lot of videos, or game a lot in a normal day, you may want to be sure the screen’s brightness is turned all the way down to the bare minimum. And the camera more than matches expectations offering great color, fast shutter action and accurate focus in good light. Like many though, it struggles when light levels drop.
The Cyanogen OS software isn’t just wonderfully customizable, it’s also efficient, fast and fluid. Even on a low-tier phone like this transitions are smooth and effortless. I spotted some slight stuttering and lag here and there, especially with background processes going on. However, it was never slow enough to get me frustrated, which is more than I can say for quite a few other, more expensive phones.
As a wrap-up, the entire experience is fantastic. There’s not one element of the phone that’s terrible. Each aspect outperforms the price tag, making this one of the best all-round phones you can buy if you’re on a limited budget. It’s light, easy to use, fast and has a good display and camera. There’s really not much else you can ask for in any smartphone. The Wileyfox Swift is available to order now, with delivery expected from the middle of this month.
If you’re in the US, the price difference between this and the Moto G doesn’t compare as well using current exchange rates. You can pick up the Moto G 3rd gen for as little as $180, which is still probably the best choice for value Stateside.