back to article Wileyfox Swift: Brit startup budget 'droid is the mutt's nuts

If someone asked me what my ideal smartphone would be I’d say one that costs no more than £120, has 16GB of storage, at least 2GB of RAM, a 5-inch IPS screen, a removable battery, two SIM slots, space for a microSD card, the best iteration of Android available (that’s the Cyanogen OS Android fork, in my opinion) and is …

  1. Slap

    Agree about the screen size

    I totally don't understand this fascination that smartphone manufacturers have with these enormous screen sizes.

    Back in April I picked up an iPhone 6 (not the 6 plus) thinking that finally I'd have an opportunity to discover the large screen delights that Android users have had for years. What a mistake. The thing is totally unbalanced in my hand due to the size, it's awkward to pocket, and just plain irritating to use because of it's size. Not to mention the battery is shit.

    I used it for a month and then went back to my iPhone 4S, The 6 now lives in my back only to operate as a hotspot and as an oversized iPod (unfortunately my music collection is well over 64Gigs).

    I'd be well up for a powerful Android phone if it was done in a 3.5 - 4 inch format. Anything else is just to big to be useful as a phone.

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: Agree about the screen size

      I'll relieve you of that awful iPhone 6, and I won't even charge you to do it!

      I will even pay postage!

      And I'll throw in my 32GB 4S, so you can have a backup! ;-)

    2. Craigie

      Re: Agree about the screen size

      You must have really good eyesight, and/or really small fingers.

    3. jzl

      Re: Agree about the screen size

      Again, I'll repeat my comment about music streaming services. They've moved on *massively* in the last year or two. If you think you need a lot of storage for all "your" music, try a trial subscription to one of the streaming services. Apple Music or Spotify or whatever. You'll be shocked at how far the state of the art has come.

    4. jzl

      Re: Agree about the screen size

      Also, the manufacturers don't have a fascination with large screens. The consumers do. The sales figures back this up.

  2. Super Fast Jellyfish

    Question about Cyanogen

    Will banking (etc) apps block it because they think the phone is rooted?

    1. dotdavid

      Re: Question about Cyanogen

      CyanogenOS and CyanogenMod don't enable root by default, although it is easy to turn on (and off). Therefore banking apps shouldn't be a problem.

      If they are you can always root, install xposed framework and RootCloak... :-P

    2. Al Taylor

      Re: Question about Cyanogen

      The Swift is not rooted and all banking apps work just fine.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shame......

    that their "register your interest" feature doesn't appear to work in either Firefox or Chrome !!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shame......

      Worked for me with Firefox a week or so ago.

  4. getHandle

    Hits my sweet spot!

    <Brucey voice>

    You're my favourite!

    </Brucey voice>

  5. Innocent-Bystander*

    Finally!

    An affordable phone with decent specs not coming from a Chinese company? Sold. I've been looking to update my trusty Lumia 920 this year. Looks like the search is over.

  6. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

    Too low a resolution

    I like a full HD resolution - so I will be interested in seeing what the Storm is like - however my current THL W8S has still got a lot of life left in it so I am not in the market at the moment.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too low a resolution

      I was tempted by this but ended up going for the 5.5" Meizu m2 Note for £108 as it had full HD and was out now instead.

      It arrived today, seems alright so far.

  7. casaloco

    Build me this...

    What I'd like to see is a good phone with all the features of this, but with wireless charging and no external ports... with bluetooth LE etc you don't need a headphone socket, USB data sync is long since redundant, and the SIM and SD cards slots should be inside the back cover.

    So ditch all the external connectors, which means the phone can be 100% waterproof and dust-proof.

    And even if it means making it a little thicker, (more room for battery?) for the love of god recess the camera lens to protect it... having it sticking out just gets it scratched.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Build me this...

      Yes the camera lens is always getting scratched on my iPhone, damn all that diamond dust I keep putting it in scratching the sapphire.

    2. Lionel Baden

      Re: Build me this...

      I would be sorely tempted as well !!!

      Only hangup would be the charging capability whilst using satnav, bluetooth & hotspot Whilst on car journeys.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Build me this...

      "for the love of god recess the camera lens to protect it... having it sticking out just gets it scratched."

      Put a silicone cover on the phone - BOOM! recessed camera lens :)

      Lets hope there will be silicone covers :)

    4. Caoilte

      Re: Build me this...

      All that on a 4" screen with removable battery and I would also be sold. Until then there's just nothing compelling enough to make me dump my nexus 4.

  8. TWB

    I'd get one

    If I did not already have a Moto G.

    Now, could they make a decent 7 to 8 inch tablet.?.....

  9. Adam Inistrator

    DUAL SIM *OR* SD CARD!

    http://wileyfox.com/wp-content/themes/wileyfox/remote/download.php?file=/2015/08/WIleyfox_Storm_Specifications.pdf

    1. Al Taylor

      Re: DUAL SIM *OR* SD CARD!

      That's the Storm spec sheet. I've just reviewed the Swift. The Swift supports two SIM cards and a microSD card at the same time.

  10. Youngone Silver badge
    Happy

    What I want...

    There are lots of comments here about what different users want in an Android phone, which is fine, people have different needs.

    Every week or so I read an article on El Reg about a new phone manufacturer making a different and interesting Android phone, some of which I think sound awful, and some which I think are interesting.

    This would fit into the latter camp for me, but I would like a slightly smaller screen, (as do several other commentards).

    I have no doubt that when I am next in the market for a new phone, I will be able to purchase pretty much exactly what I want such is the variety of offerings available.

    Also, no-one seems to have commented on the FM radio in the WileyFox. That's a great feature to me, and a sign that these plucky Brits have ignored the carriers when they designed it. Well done chaps.

  11. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Why are the screen shots showing it loaded with propriatery Google apps like Chrome when you're running CyOS ?

    Surely if you want Google bloat you'd just as well run Google Android or couldn't Wiley persuade Google to allow it to use the 'official' Android?

    And if that's the case did you sideload Gapps or did it come preinstalled (which is a big no-no and the G-men will be after you if that is the case)?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I did wonder

      Mind you, not for any ideological reason. No straight answers from a quick Google, but I assume the Google Play store either comes pre-installed or,easy enough to get?

      But what about availability of this wondrous device? It sounds too good to be true, and its availability seems to reflect this.....

      1. Al Taylor

        Re: I did wonder

        It's not on sale until Sept 22. See last line of review.

        1. Quotes

          Re: I did wonder

          Their web site form to register pre-sales interest doesn't work. They didn't reply to a tweet I sent them about that. Unsettling for a pre-sales enquiry.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. launcap Silver badge

          Re: I did wonder

          > There isn't a legit way of getting play store if it's not pre-installed

          There is - there are multiple Gapps installs out there that an *end-user* can install. It might breach the T&C's that Google has for a supplier to do it but nothing prevents an end-user doing it.

    2. Al Taylor

      Google Apps

      Play Store, Gmail, Chrome, Drive, Maps, Google App, Hangouts, Photos, these all come pre-installed on the Swift.

    3. MrWibble

      CyanogenOs is the same as Touchwiz, or Sense, or any other OEM Overlay - they've been through google certification, and no separate install of gapps is needed. Also, it has some Proprietary stuff installed.

      CyanogenMod is slightly different (fully Open Source, for starters), and no OEM would pre-install that, as it doesn't contain Gapps - a fatal flaw for any Western-targeted Android phone.

      1. Al Taylor

        CyanogenOS

        "CyanogenOs is the same as Touchwiz, or Sense, or any other OEM Overlay - they've been through google certification, and no separate install of gapps is needed"

        Exactly. I should have made that point more overtly in my review rather than taking it as read.

  12. sheridan

    Having cracked the glass on my £500+ Nexus 6, I'm now faced with a £220 repair bill or £75 insurance excess with a Note 4 replacement. I'm done with big name flagship phones. Roll on the Wileyfox.

  13. I Like Heckling

    Dammit

    I just picked up a 2nd Gen Moto G a couple of months ago, and this comes along with slightly better specs for just £3 more than I paid.

    The call blocking and individual app feature blocking appeals to me a great deal... things that google have promised time and time again and then reneged on.

    More than happy with my phone... just typical of the way my luck goes... Pick up the best phone on the market for less than £200 and a better one comes along that's even cheaper than the RRP of mine (I got it on sale).

    Seeing as phones tend to last 3-4yrs before I upgrade... I'll probably be looking at one in 2018... so a 3rd or 4th gen if they're still around.

    In the meantime... call blockers for lollipop that actually work... Mr Number no longer does on 5.0.2 and was effectively worthless... suggestions on a postcard please.

    1. Tommy Pock
    2. Lionel Baden

      Re: Dammit

      Just mentioned it earlier to some-one else, Try "Should I answer".

      Free and Ad free

      I Swear I am not the developer, although I believe I share the same hatred of Nuisance calls

      1. I Like Heckling

        Re: Dammit

        Thank you Lionel Baden & Ol'Peculier for the suggestion, testing it out to see if it works for me... Calls aren't the biggest problem, it's the damn sms spam I hate the most.

    3. Ol'Peculier

      Re: Dammit

      +1 for "Should I answer" - plus it can pull details from their database to show you information such as if it's a call centre, nusance call etc. which shows whilst the phone is still ringing.

  14. Jagged

    Website woes

    Can't seem to register my interest via their web site :(

  15. Graham 32

    "As screens of that resolution go it’s sharp and bright and viewing angles are very strong."

    Can someone explain why wide viewing angles are important on handheld devices? I would expect a narrow viewing angle would improve battery life as less light needs to be emitted. Also I'd prefer it if the person next sat next to me in the pub/train/bus couldn't read my screen.

    1. Jagged

      "Also I'd prefer it if the person next sat next to me in the pub/train/bus couldn't read my screen."

      - the could even market the limitation as a feature

    2. The Mole

      When you are using it as a GPS in the car a good viewing angle makes placement much easier.

      Also if you like to show photos/videos/youtube clips to groups of other people.

      Or glance down at it to lying on the desk to see the time.

      Plenty of potential reasons... some better than others

  16. Chronos Silver badge
    Happy

    Looking forward to the Storm

    Swift's all very good (if you're not as fussy as me, get one) but I want a real back/home/menu button set, not something stealing a goodly bit of my screen. 128GB SD and 1080p (for the occasional VR headset use) are nice to have, too.

    I will be on the list when the Storm launches, no doubt about it. That fixed battery isn't really a problem if it's like the one in the Moto G - changing that is a five minute job. I just hope the build finds its way into the public Cyanogenmod repo but, as long as I can get root and fastboot access, I don't care enough for it to be a blocker issue.

    While we're on the subject of CyanogenMod, please note that CyanogenOS and CyanogenMod are two very different things. The former does take a lot from the latter but there's no guarantee that the CyanogenOS devices will be backported or that a CyanogenOS device will be CM-like in the things you can do to it, eg bootloader and custom recovery. cyngn.com is a commercial entity, cyanogenmod.org is a community site.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smart Ultra 6 - 5.5" HD IPS, Octacore processor, up to 128Gb SD, relatively bloatware free, £125. Ticks nearly all the boxes....

    But its only on Vodafone. Still who needs to call people these days!

  18. Xyra

    Arg, and I bought my wife the Huawei Honor 4X less than a week ago... (£119 after discount on their own website)

  19. MelinaWalker

    can it be unlocked?

    Will it allow bootloader unlocking?

    PS: Terms and conditions page does not even list a "telephone number"

  20. Robin 12

    Nice phone, now I want one in Canada.

    I have a Symbian phone that is on it's last days. Been waiting for a decent, unlocked phone with a SD card slot. Seeing the specs for the Storm, I want one as my next phone here in Canada. I doubt it will be available before my Nokia dies.

    My daughter would get one as well.

    I wonder how hard it would be to replace the CyanongenOS after purchasing. I guess we will have to wait and see.

    1. giddyrobot

      Re: Nice phone, now I want one in Canada.

      I've just switched from an Nokia N8 to the Wileyfox Swift and its been a pleasant experience. The camera is good in video and stills mode except in low light conditions.Speaker volume is slightly limited but adequate. The GPS is good and I am running Here Maps with offline maps.I also have Pastilli Labs Situations and the Microsoft Office apps, to deliver a simialr experience as Symbian.

  21. John 104
    FAIL

    Fail

    Any handset that is made today that isn't waterproof is a big fail in my book. It can be done, has been done, and should be done. These devices spend time in the elements and around kitchens and bathrooms...

  22. John Savard Silver badge

    Only in Britain, you say? Pity.

    The fact that it has a removable battery is very attractive. If I can't find a new phone with one, I'll just stick with my old HTC Amaze 4G until I can't get new batteries for it.

    I hope having Cyanogen won't, however, prevent it from being able to access Google's App Store. That would kill general consumer interest in it.

    Since I don't drink tea, having Red Rose tea available here in Canada doesn't make up for having to wait longer for this phone to be available here...

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