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Wileyfox Swift 2X review: X marks the spot with this middling Swift 2 upgrade


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You’d be forgiven for thinking Wileyfox had faded back into obscurity. The British manufacturer kicked up quite a fuss back in 2015 when it launched its first handsets, but it hasn’t made the impact on the UK smartphone market that we thought it would. After all, the likes of Carphone Warehouse and others are still rammed with those usual big-hitters.

The original Wileyfox Swift’s upmarket sibling, the Swift 2, wasn’t much of an improvement on its forebear, either. At £160 it was a cheap option, but its low-resolution 720p screen, poor battery life and disappointing camera left it lagging behind the still well-regarded Moto G4. Bumping up the price, 2017’s Swift 2X looks to address the original’s faults.

The best budget smartphones you can buy in 2017

Setting aside those changes, it’s still that same slightly rounded rectangle with a navy blue tinge and chamfered edges. In fact, aside from that not-so-obvious screen size bump to 5.2in, it’s more or less the same handheld we’re already familiar with.

It’s an elegant handset nonetheless. While that original Swift was a plastic-ridden mess, the 2X is far fancier, sticking with a clean, all-metal finish that’s night and day compared to its low-rent predecessors. That useful fingerprint scanner is still on the back, but it isn’t quite as responsive as say, Huawei’s nippy P9 Lite.

Wileyfox is hardly gunning for style, but dig a little deeper and you’ll spot a few surprises.

Wileyfox Swift 2X review: Display

That second-rate 720p screen is dead and buried. Wileyfox has finally entered the Full HD revolution after two years, with the Swift 2X packing a 5.2in, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS panel. Those jagged-looking icons of the original are gone with a far more impressive 423ppi pixel density on display, while the 2X’s contrast ratio of 1,385:1 produces some lovely, detail-rich images.

At a peak brightness of 625cd/m2, the 2X’s display is dazzling. If you recall, the Swift 2’s screen was seriously dull at half that brightness, but I didn’t once find myself squinting at the 2X’s screen.

The fact that it only covers 86.6% of the sRGB colour gamut isn’t great, though, and is just shy of the Moto G4’s 91%. Images aren’t all that saturated as a result, with what should be bright colours looking a touch on the dull side. Overall, though, a marked improvement from Wileyfox this year.

Wileyfox Swift 2X review: Camera

There’s not a whole lot of difference between the 2 and the 2X’s rear snappers if my test shots are anything to go by. On the whole, I wasn’t all that impressed with the pictures I ended up with, with the 16-megapixel camera producing some seriously drab shots.

Even outdoors with plenty of light, images looked incredibly dull, although graininess was largely kept at bay. The 2X’s camera clearly struggled with exposure too, with an unnaturally fierce white sky contrasted against the dark buildings.

Don’t even touch HDR, though. In theory, HDR balances out exposures reducing the occurrence of overexposure in bright areas and lifting it in shadows; enabling it here, however, saps details from images already lacking in structure, casting a washed-out look across entire photos. If you’re the avid photographer type, definitely stick with the Moto G4.

At least indoor shots looked more serviceable. Colours were more natural with that dual-LED flash cutting through the darkness effectively when necessary. Cast your eyes to the colour swatch and pens in the test shot below and you’ll see what I mean, with surprising richness picked up from this otherwise disappointing budget smartphone camera. 

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