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Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus Review: In Depth

4.5

The Good

  • Affordable
  • Decent cameras
  • Customisable OS
  • Solid design
  • Fingerprint sensor

The Bad

  • Basic performance
  • Occasional glitch

Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus Review: British brand Wileyfox is back with this 5-inch Moto G4 and G4 Plus rival, boasting some pretty decent specs including a fingerprint sensor and HD screen for just £189. Here’s our full review of the Swift 2 Plus.

Wileyfox first hit the smartphone scene at the end of last year, kicking off with two mobile phones: the Wileyfox Swift and the Wileyfox Storm. The Swift was the more enticing handset of the pair, offering a 5-inch HD screen, 13-megapixel camera and the rather good Cyanogen OS for just £129. Cheap for sure, and certainly very cheerful.

A year on and Wileyfox has just launched two follow-up phones, the Swift 2 and Swift 2 Plus. These handsets are obvious rivals to the Moto G4 and G4 Plus, offering a full range of the most desirable smartphone features at a surprisingly affordable price.

What’s the difference between the Swift 2 and the Swift 2 Plus? Well, the Plus model is a wee bit more expensive than the standard Swift 2, but offers more memory and storage as well as an updated camera - see our Swift 2 vs Swift 2 Plus comparison for full details.

So, is the Swift 2 Plus worth forking out for and is it worthy competition for the Moto G4 Plus? Here’s our in-depth review to tell you all you need to know.

Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus Review: Design

Last year’s Swift was quite an attractive budget blower, offering a soft-touch plastic backing complete with a funky orange fox head logo. This year, Wileyfox has plumped for an aluminum design instead. The Swift 2 Plus actually reminds us of the HTC 10, thanks to that chunky metallic frame complete with chamfered edging. Of course, Wileyfox’s cut-price handset doesn’t have the same premium finish, with more joins and cracks for dust to settle inside. But this is a reassuringly rugged mobile, with no evidence of flex.

At 5-inches the Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus fits neatly in the hand, while that solid build and a decent heft means it feels anything but cheap. One-handed use is a bit tricky at times however, thanks to the large bezels above and below the screen. You’ll definitely struggle to reach the top edge of the screen without using two mitts.

Still, the Swift 2 Plus is more compact than the Moto G4 and G4 Plus and we prefer the metallic finish here to Moto’s plastic frame. Wileyfox’s logo still looks pretty damn cool too. Which is just as well, as you get it plastered on the backside of the phone as well as beneath the screen. Sadly not in orange, though.

Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus Review: Screen and media

Like the original Swift and the standard Swift 2, you get a 5-inch 720p display packed into the Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus. At this price point we’re happy enough with the quality of the visuals, which should satisfy any media fans looking for something to stream a bit of Netflix on.

The 1280x720 resolution means you’ll have to look close and squint a bit to see any individual pixels. Movies and photos look pleasingly sharp, even though this isn’t a Full HD panel like the Moto G4’s. Contrast levels are pretty strong for a budget blower too, with deep blacks and clean whites. And while colours are far from punchy, image reproduction is rarely dull or lifeless.

You also get a handy LiveDisplay mode, which like Apple’s Night Shift mode can filter out blue light after sunset for a more comfortable viewing experience. Sadly you can’t manually adjust when this activates and deactivates, which seems a bit strange and incredibly inflexible.

As for the built-in speakers, they’re positioned on the bottom edge of the Swift 2 Plus and they’re not exactly face-shatteringly powerful but they’re fine for catching up with YouTube clips with a buddy.

With the Swift 2 Plus you get 32GB of built-in storage space, of which 24GB can be used for your apps, media and so on. Thankfully this can be expanded easily by slipping a microSD memory card inside, so you have plenty of space for lugging around a massive music or movie collection.

Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus Review: Features and OS

Both of the Swift 2 models come with a fingerprint sensor mounted on the back, something rarely found at this price point. We recently saw one on the ZTE Blade V7 Lite, but that scanner was rather unresponsive, which made it frustrating to use.

Thankfully Wileyfox’s effort is much less coronary-inducing. Setup is quick and simple, with up to five prints supported at one time. And while there’s a short delay of almost a second between tapping your finger and the phone waking up, the sensor is pretty accurate. As long as your hands aren’t wet or mucky, you’ll usually only have to tap once for the Swift 2 Plus to recognize your print.

Cyanogen OS is still as lovable as ever, and here you get version 13.1 sat on top of Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. If you’re new to Cyanogen, head over to our complete review for more info, but essentially it’s a sexed-up version of Android with a lot more customisation built in. You can tweak pretty much every aspect of the OS, and even merge together different themes to create your own personal layout.

Don’t worry if you’re coming from an Android phone either, as the layout is very similar and easy to pick up.

Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus Review: Performance and battery life

A simple octa-core Snapdragon 430 chipset is stuffed inside the Swift 2 Plus and for everyday running it seems up to the job. You’ll occasionally have to wait while an app loads up, but we never found ourselves frustrated by the handset. The latest games such as Asphalt Extreme also play with a solid frame rate, so good news if you want to download a few time-killers.

Unfortunately we did see the occasional little quirk in our time with the Swift, such as the power button suddenly becoming unresponsive and the odd unprompted reboot. Thankfully these issues seemed to diminish the more we used the phone, so here’s hoping they were mere teething issues.

Of course, we can’t vouch for long-term smooth running until we’ve used the Swift 2 Plus for a few months. We’ll be bringing you a long-term review to see if the handset starts to creak further down the line, but at least the phone clearly shows you what apps have been hogging the memory. In that way, you can shut down any that may be slowing you down.

As for battery life, we found we could regularly make it through a full 24 hours with pretty heavy use, although nothing too draining. Lots of web browsing and messaging and camera use will give you a day of life, but start to stream video and indulge in some gaming and the Swift probably won’t survive until bedtime.

The good news is that Quick Charge 3.0 is supported by the Swift 2 Plus, so you can power it back to full in just under an hour and a half.

Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus Review: Cameras

On the back of the Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus you’ll find a 16-megapixel snapper with dual-LED flash, a step up from the standard Swift 2’s 13-megapixel camera. And at this price point it’s a pleasingly dependable shooter.

Photos take pretty much the instant you hit the shutter button, with the ability to burst shot by pressing your finger down. You get a number of different camera modes, which can be flipped between with a flick of the finger, as well as some basic manual controls, but auto mode does the job in the majority of cases.

Our test photos packed plenty of detail, providing lighting conditions were reasonable. You get realistic colour reproduction, while the autofocus deals well with everything from up-close macro shots to sweeping vistas. Even fast-moving subjects like pets and kids are usually caught without too much blur to ruin the photo.

If the sun is being a pain and giving you some difficult contrast, or you’re shooting against a bright backdrop, then you can expect some murkiness and over-saturation. That’s to be expected from a budget snapper, however. And while low light shots are typically grainy, that dual flash is a surprisingly powerful assistant.

You can shoot up to Full HD video, and again the results are perfectly fine for everyday home movies. Our test footage again packed plenty of detail, and was only foiled by crazy lighting.

The 8-megapixel front-facing camera does a solid job with selfies, expertly capturing the majority of wrinkles, sags and other bits you’d rather were left concealed. Contrast is again its greatest enemy, but at this price point we’re definitely impressed.

Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus Review: Verdict

The Swift 2 Plus is a fantastic follow-up phone, building on the solid foundations of the original Swift and giving us an improved camera experience, fingerprint security and Quick Charge support. If you’re on a budget, this is definitely a worthy rival to the Moto G4 and G4 Plus.

Key Specs

  • 5-inches
  • 1280x720
  • N/A
  • Cyanogen 13.2
  • 16MP
  • 8MP
  • Snapdragon 430
  • 3GB
  • 32GB + microSD
  • Yes
  • Fingerprint sensor

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