The WileyFox Swift is made by a UK company, WileyFox, who currently sell two models, the Swift is the entry level model, priced at around £130 (Cashback offer between 1st March – 25th March 2016), with the higher spec model, the Storm, priced at around £200. The Swift runs Cyanogen OS (currently 12.1.1), a user developed version of Android (currently 5.1.1).
The WileyFox Swift, as a “budget” Android smartphone is competing with a number of other models, but offers an impressive range of features and specifications, considering the price point.
WileyFox Swift Key Features:
- 13mp main camera, Samsung BSI CMOS sensor, Dual-flash
- 5mp selfie camera
- FullHD video recording (rear and front camera)
- 5inch screen, 1280×720 (Corning Gorilla Glass 3)
- 1.2GHz Quadcore (Snapdragon 410, 64-bit)
- 2GB / 16GB built in
- MicroSD slot
- Dual SIM slots
- Removable 2500mAh battery
- 141.15mm x 71mm x 9.37mm
- Available in black or white
Alternatives include the following:
- Moto G (3rd Gen): 5inch, 13mp f/2.0 cam, 1GB/8GB, 1.4ghz quadcore, 2470mAh, 155g, 11.6mm, £130
- WileyFox Swift: 5inch, 13mp f/2.5 cam, 2GB/16GB, 1.2ghz quadcore, 2500mAh, 135g, 9.3mm, £130
- Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime: 5inch, 8mp f/2.2 cam, 8GB, 1.2ghz quadcore, 2600mAh, 156g, 8.6mm,£130
- Lenovo K5: 5inch, 13mp cam, 2GB/16GB, 1.4ghz quadcore, 2750mAh, 142g, 8mm, £130
- BLU Life Mark 4G: 5inch, 13mp f/2.0 cam, 2GB/16GB, 1.3ghz quadcore, 2300mAh, 150g, 9.5mm, £105
- Huawei P8 lite: 5inch, 13mp f/2.0 cam, 2GB/16GB, 1.2ghz octacore, 2200mAh, 131g, 7.7mm, £139
To get the Moto G (3rd Gen) to match the memory provided with the Swift as standard you have to go for the £159 version, and other smartphones at this price point often compromise on other features, including a lower resolution camera, or a lower amount of storage space.
The screen features a 720×1280 resolution, and the brightness can be adjusted easily. It’s quite bright on default settings, and seemed to be set so that it didn’t automatically adjust itself depending on the surrounding conditions (which was frustrating at first), and this was quickly resolved by finding the right settings.
The WileyFox Swift is reasonably quick and responsive, and the GPS and Sat-Nav features work well in real time, making it a suitable alternative to a dedicated SatNav device. Some budget smartphones, such as the Honor Holly (a £90 Android smartphone) can struggle, and seem a little slower in comparison. The Swift does not seem to have any problems playing back videos smoothly.
Battery life should last a day in theory, although it will also depend on how you use the phone, and we found that listening to music on the train with earbuds seems to drain the battery very quickly. Perhaps due to the phone regularly losing mobile phone signal going through tunnels. You could get a spare battery as the phone battery can be removed and replaced, or you could take a USB charger with you, and there are plenty of portable chargers available for not much money.
The camera – it’s quite good, with a 13mp sensor, and f/2.5 aperture, and it’s certainly reasonable, although with no optical image stabilisation, and not an especially fast aperture compared to some smartphones, low-light photography can be tricky. I’d prefer it if the camera increased the ISO speed, with additional noise, rather than having a blurry photo (and low noise). (The Honor Holly is good at increasing the ISO speed, giving you a sharp but noisy image, and features an 8mp f/2.0 camera). The camera does feature twin LEDs, which can help with close subjects in low light.
I was unimpressed by the built in camera app and have switched to using Google’s photo app. There are a good range of options and shooting modes using this app, including photo sphere, panorama, lens blur, camera and video, as well as HDR.
Overall – For the price it’s very difficult to find an Android smartphone with a better specification, without compromising on something. The simple fact is, that at this price, you get a highly capable Android smartphone with a decent screen, relatively stylish looks, a good enough camera, and 2GB/16GB memory, which means you can get a good number of apps and music on without the smartphone feeling slow. For the more advanced user, or for someone who uses the camera a lot, in a variety of situations, the slow-ish aperture and poor low-light performance will most likely have you looking at other smartphones pretty quickly.
Pros: Price, specification, design, 2GB/16GB built in, reasonable 13mp camera, 5inch screen, fairly quick, good GPS performance with Satnav, light and slim.
Cons: As a UK only mobile phone, the availability of spare parts, accessories, or repair by 3rd parties may be more difficult compared to a main brand that is sold Worldwide. Camera and battery life could be better, but are fairly reasonable considering the price. Generic looks on the screen side.