Wileyfox Swift review
|Review: March 2016|
In a nutshell: The Swift is the entry-level smartphone from new British phone maker Wileyfox. Retailing for just over £100, the Swift is a nice-looking phone with features that compare favourably with rivals at this price point. Of particular note are the Android-based Cyanogen operating system, and the generous amounts of memory included.
The new British smartphone company, Wileyfox, has released two phones initially. We've already reviewed the mid-range Storm, and now we're taking a look at the entry-level model, the Swift. Retailing for £129, the Swift isn't quite in the budget sector, but it's a good price for a basic smartphone, provided that there are no nasty surprises in store. Let's peek under the carpet and see if we can find any.
Design & looks
It's rare to find a phone in this price range that stands out in looks. The Samsung Galaxy A3 is one that does, but it's right at the top end of the budget price-range, and the Swift is near the bottom, so it's not a fair comparison. You won't find any metal casing in evidence in the Swift, but you will find a nicely tailored phone designed by a company that obviously cares about how its products look and feel.
Simple in style, with the distinctive Wileyfox logo on the easy-grip back, and nothing to dislike, the Swift is a stylish and very usable phone. Width a thickness of 9.4mm, it's not a slim phone, but it's light in weight, a good size to handle, and is just very easy to live with. It comes in a choice of White or Black.
The Swift is kitted out with a 5 inch screen, which is pretty much the ideal size for most people, and it's a good quality IPS screen from LG. The Swift doesn't manage the same high resolution as the more expensive Storm, but with a HD screen giving a 294ppi pixel density, we have no complaints. The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass for added durability.
If so far our description of the Swift has made it sound like any budget Android phone, this is where our review departs from the usual script. Wileyfox has taken the brave step of releasing its phones with the Cyanogen OS installed. Cyanogen is an open OS built on top of Android. The current version 12.1 is built on Android Lollipop 5.1.1.
Cyanogen is designed to give users greater customisation, performance, security and privacy than standard Android. If you've used Android before, you won't find Cyanogen too much of a learning curve.
Quadcore with decent memory
The Swift, despite its name, uses a very standard Snapdragon 410 processor. An entry-level effort, the 410 has 4 cores running at 1.2GHz. It's enough for an entry-level phone, but nothing more, and there will be plenty of phones released this year that use faster processors than this.
Having said that, it does the job, and the 2GB of RAM certainly helps to keep things moving along. 2D games - no problem. 3D games - problem.
The 16GB of built-in storage is more than many phones at this price, and is another factor that helps to set this phone apart from the crowd. You can add a microSD card too, for an additional 32GB of storage.
Unlike the Storm, which uses Sony Exmor cameras, Wileyfox has chosen Samsung as the supplier of its cameras for the Swift. These are competent cameras, offering decent performance for the price.
The rear camera has a resolution of 13 megapixels, and includes all the features we could want - BSI, HDR, autofocus, a dual LED flash, face detection, etc. The results aren't as good as the Storm - even in daylight - but are quite acceptable. It can also record video at Full 1080p HD resolution and in slow motion.
The front camera has a 5 megapixel resolution, and is good for selfies.
Just like the Storm, the Swift is a 4G phone, and can accept two sim cards - a micro and a nano sim. 4G compatibility is limited to just 3 bands, although the phone can always fall back on 3G HSDPA or GSM. Single-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB are also included, but not NFC.
The Swift has a good-sized battery when you consider its specifications. The 2,500mAh battery has the same capacity as the more demanding Storm, and gives longer battery life in the Swift. You'll get about 8-9 hours of continuous use before the battery runs down. In practice, this should easily get you through a normal day. The battery also has the benefit of being removable.
Conclusion - well worth considering
At S21, we very much welcome the arrival of a new player in the smartphone market, especially a British company, and one that has already shown itself to be brave and innovative. We wish Wileyfox every success.
Of the two initial offerings from the company, the Swift is the one that has impressed us most. For a phone costing a little over £100, it's nicely styled and offers a good all-round package of features. While most of the spec sheet reads like a standard budget Android phone, the 16GB of storage is more generous than most rivals, the 2GB of RAM is also more than many, and the Cyanogen OS really makes it stand out from the crowd.
At the same time, the Swift has limited options when it comes to connectivity, and there isn't enough here to deserve a 5 star "outstanding" rating from us. We're like that at S21, you know. We're meanies.
Wileyfox Swift features include:
- Operating system: Cyanogen 12.1
- 13 megapixel BSI camera with flash, 1080p HD video
- 5 megapixel front camera with flash
- Display: 5 inch IPS screen, 1280 x 720 pixels
- Processor: Qualcom Snapdragon 410 64-bit quad-core 1.2GHz
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, micro USB, 3.5mm audio jack
- Memory: 16GB, microSD memory card slot (up to 32GB), 2GB RAM
- Sensors: 3D G-Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Gyroscope, E-Compass
- 4G LTE
- Size: 141 x 71 x 9.4 mm
- Weight: 135g
- Battery: 2500 mAh
Got a question? This is the place to ask it!
Please don't ask a question that has already been asked. Duplicates will be removed.
Can this phone be used as a wireless hotspot?
Asked by Paul Harper
on 9th Nov 2016
I use my existing phone as a wifi hotspot to get online with my iPad if I'm away and my phone is picking up 4g or sometimes 3G.
Please advise me if I will be able to use this in the same way.
Wileyfox Swift user reviews
Love this product? Hate it? Please share your experiences to help other people choose the product that's best for them. Please do not review this product if you have not used it, and please ask questions in our User Questions section above. Please do not use swear words or offensive language, and please, no advertising!
Average rating from 2 reviews:
Reviewed by Lee
from NW England
on 29th Jul 2016
Had a few phones in my time and actually bought this as a trial over a Z3 Compact (which i sold on) WHY because its SOO customisable WELL RECOMMENDED !!! cycanogen is a real improvement on top of android...tho I am thinking of getting the Spark + This is the best phone ive ever owned.
Reviewed by Beanwell
on 6th Apr 2016
I bought this from Amazon for £99.99. You cannot really go wrong with this device. The screen is nice and bright, the sound is very good and it feels a quality product in the hand. It does everything I need it to do. I would rate this as a complete bargain. 16 gb of memory with 2 gb of ram plus expandable memory and dual sim. Whats not to like at this price range. All I can say is, there margins must be tight.
This phone is a real deal and I would highly recommend.