WileyFox Swift 2X

WileyFox’s phones aren’t made in the UK, but they are designed here, and its first model, the Swift came as a pleasant surprise. Since then it’s released a succession of less interesting phones at higher prices, which says something about the state of today’s consumer-technology market. Now the Swift 2X, heads dangerously for the border between budget and mid-range.

IT HASN’T BEEN long since Wileyfox launched its Swift 2 and Swift 2 Plus handsets, but there’s already a more upmarket version of the former . The Swift 2 X, for a big price jump, adds a larger, 5.2in Full HD display and an upgraded 16-megapixel rear camera. Since our primary issues with the Swift 2 family were their 720p displays and low-quality cameras, this puts the Swift 2 X – theoretically – in good stead.

It’s still the same slightly rounded rectangle with a navy blue tinge and chamfered edges. In fact, aside from that screen size bump to 5.2in, it’s more or less the same device we’re already familiar with.

It’s an elegant handset, nonetheless. While the original 2015 Swift was a plastic mess, the 2 X is far fancier, sticking with a clean, all-metal finish. The fingerprint scanner is still on the back, but it isn’t as responsive as, say, Huawei’s P9 Lite.

SMOOTH THINGS OVER

The move to a 1,920×1,080 IPS panel also means the jagged-looking icons of the previous Swifts are gone, with a far more impressive 423ppi pixel density on display. A contrast ratio of 1,385:1 helps produce some lovely, detail-rich images, and with a peak brightness of 625cd/m 2 , the 2 X’s screen is a dazzling improvement over the dull Swift 2 Plus.

The fact that it covers only 86.6% of the sRGB color gamut isn’t great, though. Images aren’t particularly saturated as a result, with what should be bright colors looking a touch on the dull side.

Overall, though, this display is a big step up.

Despite the new sensor, we weren’t impressed by the Swift 2 X’s test shots, with the 16-megapixel camera producing some seriously drab pictures.

Even outdoors with plenty of light, images looked dull, although graininess was largely kept at bay.

The camera clearly struggled with exposure, too.

HDR mode is supposed to balance out exposures, reducing the occurrence of overexposure in bright areas and lifting it in shadows; enabling it here, however, saps details from images, casting a washed-out look across entire photos. If you want a budget smartphone with photography chops, stick with the Motorola Moto G4.

At least indoor shots are more presentable. Colors were more natural, with the dual-LED flash cutting through the darkness when necessary. Our colorful test shots showcased a surprising richness picked up by this otherwise disappointing camera. The Swift 2 Plus’s sluggish Snapdragon 430 chip clocked at just 1. 4GHz; easily outperformed by its chief rival, the Moto G4. Sadly, this isn’t an area on which Wileyfox has sought to improve, and so that same processor can still be found in the 2 X – and it’s looking more dated than ever.

The Swift 2 X’s Geekbench 4 scores – 629 in the single-core and 2,072 in the multicore test – were near identical to its 2016 cousin. This is reflected in the feel of the phone; even swiping between homescreens is painfully slow. Google Maps was horrendously sluggish, with the Swift 2 X struggling to keep up with rapid multitouch gestures.

Gaming performance isn’t brilliant, either, with a 7fps average in the GFXBench offscreen Manhattan test. That’s no better than the Swift 2 Plus, and only marginally better than the G4’s 6.6fps. Simple games such as Threes! posed little risk, while Sky Force: Reloaded slowed down a little during frantic encounters.

CELL OUT

Wileyfox handsets have never been particularly impressive when it comes to battery life, and the Swift 2 X is no different, squeezing out a mere 9h 18m from its 3,010mAh battery. That’s not a patch on the Moto G4’s 13h 39m, and it’s also down slightly on the Swift 2 Plus’s time of 9h 32m.

At least there’s USB Type-C charging with Quick Charge support. You can get roughly 75% charge after just under an hour plugged into the wall.

The Swift 2 X isn’t a bad phone, but there’s little that puts it ahead of the alternatives, especially considering its price. Nowadays, that’s verging on the mid-range.

Sure, it’s broadly an improvement over the Swift 2 Plus it supersedes, with its proper Full HD screen, but it pales in comparison with the cheaper and far more impressive Moto G4. This still offers best-in-class performance and camera quality, and its 13-hour battery life makes an appearance in our best battery-life leaderboards.

We know we end almost every budget smartphone review this way, but the point still stands: you’d be better off with a Moto G4.

Nathan Spendelow

WileyFox Swift 2X

WileyFox’s love-it-or-hate-it navy blue color scheme remains, but this is now an all-metal phone with an Android Pay fingerprint reader on the back. We found it wasn’t as quick to unlock as rivals, including the Huaw’ei P9 Lite (above), but it has a larger 5.2in screen which is now proper Full HD, making it sharp. Contrast is good and it’s unusually bright, lagging only on color reproduction, with just 87 per cent of the sRGB range. The 16-megapixel camera, though, hasn’t noticeably improved, giving us drab shots with poorly judged exposure.

SPECIFICATIONS

5.2in 1980×1080-pixel screen • 16-megapixel rear camera • 8-megapixel front camera • 32CB flash storage • MicroSD card slot • 802.11n Wi-Fi • Bluetooth 4.1 • 3C/4C • 143x73x8.2mm (HxWxD) • 153g • One-year warranty

PROCESSOR Octa-core 1.4GHz Snapdragon 430
SCREEN SIZE 5.2in
SCREEN RESOLUTION 1,920×1,080
REAR CAMERA 16 megapixels
STORAGE 32GB
WIRELESSDATA 4G
DIMENSIONS 143x73x8.2mm
WEIGHT 153g
OPERATING SYSTEM Cyanogen OS 13.1
WARRANTY One year RTB
DETAILS www.wileyfox.com

Nor has the 1.4GHz Snapdragon processor been upgraded, and Cyanogen OS 13.1 (the version of Android 6 used by WileyFox) now feels sluggish, although it coped with games reasonably well. Cyanogen’s makers have recently stopped support for it, so its future is uncertain.

At nine hours 18 minutes of video playback, battery’ life is another feature that hasn’t risen to the 2X’s price tag.

VERDICT:

At a lower price this might be worth considering, but the impressive screen doesn’t outweigh its shortcomings. The larger , higher-resolution Swift 2 X is a decent
Swift 2 Plus successor , but it’s still no Moto G4

Battery life

ALTERNATIVE:

Motorola Moto G4

Sorry to sound like a stuck record, but you can’t beat this at the moment

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2 Comments
  1. ive been using this phone for about a year now and i can honestly tell you it is the worst phone ive ever had!
    appart from the usual problems (bad battery, bad camera) there are some quite interesting (massive glaring) problems.
    the fingerprint scanner only works when it wants to which isnt often and when it does unlock the phone more often than not it ‘unlocks’ to a black screen (i figure the scanner isnt unlocking the phone at all)
    the speaker is so quiet i often dont hear it ring when its in my pocket and the vibration is so weak i cant feel it
    quite often apps will force close or have errors for no reason i can discern (this error is intermitent)
    it doesnt support OTG (i mean come on! some of the cheapest bricks of phones support OTG)
    it doesnt charge properly, it gets to around 90% charged but says ‘charged’ at the bottom of the screen and theres no dfference between the green light when its at 90% and the green light when it does get to 100% so theres no way of tellng if its fully charged appart from checking it every so often
    it reboots itelf randomly
    the touch screen doesnt work properly and is virtually unuseable when its on charge
    i ordered the gold option os the midnight was out of stock it turns up and its pink, i send it back and all of a sudden its called champagne gold (doesnt say that anywhere on their site or my recipt)

    and the icing on the cake is when you try to send it back to wileyfox to fix all the problems and all you get is insulted by their support staff and then when you find one that actually realizes/admits theres a problem you have to pay a stupid amount for recorded mail to send it back to them only fo them to have it less than a day, factory reset the phone then send it back

    if youre considering buyng one of these phones i would seriously consider just burning a wad of cash instead cos thats what youll be doing anyway

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