THE BUDGET END of the Android smartphone market is an increasingly hotly-contested arena. If you wanted a good phone between £150 and £300, it used to be all about Motorola, but now you can also choose a phone by Honor, OnePlus, ZTE and Wileyfox.
This relative newcomer has taken its place as “the UK’s OnePlus,” in the sense that the not-so-well-known brand offers low-cost, good-spec phones, sold directly through the Wileyfox website. The firm’s latest is the Swift 2 X, an update on the Swift 2 in the style of the OnePlus 3 becoming the 3T. However, unlike many brands, they haven’t discontinued its predecessor.
At £219 to buy outright, the Wileyfox Swift 2 X is a very affordable phone – but is it worth the money? Would you be better off spending a little more, or plumping for a competitor like the £224 Honor 6X?
Out of the box, the Swift 2 X is a pleasant surprise. It’s classier and more expensive-looking than you’d expect for the price, and while it’s not going to stand out too much among other shiny rectangles, it’s still a good-looking handset.
The Wileyfox Swift 2 X comes in a choice of Midnight or Gold – so no black, and no Rose (why does no one want to call it pink?) as we saw on the Swift 2. However, the Midnight colour is lovely – a deep slate blue that could be mistaken for charcoal until it catches the light. It’s a refreshing compromise between the professional-but-boring black and colourful-but-loud chassis approaches we’re so often stuck with. The Gold, too, is a pale Champagne rather than full-on 24K yellow gold, and in some lights it looks more silver.
The two colourways differ in the faceplate, too: the Midnight has black while the Gold comes with white. Both are sleek and glossy, though unsurprisingly with thick black bars above and below the screen, the latter decorated with Wileyfox’s subtle branding.
The back panel follows the same aesthetic, with the cool aluminium finish punctuated by the round, centred camera lens and circular fingerprint sensor directly below. The Wileyfox logo and wordmark are also centred, which recalls Motorola’s design language, though while the USB C port is also in the middle of the bottom edge, the headphone jack (3.5mm!) sits to the left of the phone’s top edge.
The handset is a fairly average size at 72.2 x 144mm, with edges rounded and thinned to 8.8mm. The dual-SIM tray sits on the top side and the body-coloured volume rocker and power button are over on the right. These, and the handset in general, feel sturdy and well-made, with an overall weight of 155g.
Hardware, storage and performance
We’ve mentioned the price, so obviously we’re not expecting a PC replacement here. But that said, it’s constantly impressive how much can be squeezed into a budget phone these days – it wasn’t so long ago these specs would have made a flagship (although of course an age in smartphone terms. I’m just old.).
The Wileyfox Swift 2 X comes with 32GB of onboard storage – more than fair, when they could have gone for 16 – and the second SIM slot doubles as microSD to add up to 64GB more. The Snapdragon 430 octa-core CPU (1.4 GHz) and Adreno 505 GPU are a little older and less sparkly than you’ll find on a current mid-range phone, but together with 3GB of RAM, this phone is capable of handling most people’s daily usage without problems.
The benchmarks are a little disappointing even for a phone of this price: AnTuTu gave a score of 43234, which is lower than the £150 ZTE Blade Velocity (44354) and quite a bit lower than the £224 Honor 6X’s 56213 – not ideal considering the Swift 2 X’s price tag is only £5 less. Geekbench 4’s multi-core CPU test came out at 2015 for multi – the Honor 6X scored 3286, while the ZTE got 1976. For comparison, the Nexus 5X averages at 2162.
Finally, the PCMark Work 2.0 test gave a slightly poor output of 2778 – phones with similar scores include the LG G3 (2723) and the Sony Xperia E5 (2813). This clearly isn’t a performance phone, though, and for most people’s casual use (social media, texting, reading the internet…) it’ll be more than enough. It’s not infallible – ours got a little warm and laggy at times – but while it’s not winning any speed contests, it should serve all but gamers perfectly well.
The 2 X includes NFC for Android Pay, and there’s a speedy fingerprint sensor on the back. The Honor 6X also has both, but not every budget phone can say the same. The fingerprint sensor in particular makes a fairly big difference to how you use the phone day-to-day, and it’s really missed on phones without one – so the inclusion here is appreciated.
Audio output from the speaker on the bottom edge is average – not amazing, not rubbish. However, while it looks like there are two speaker grilles, only the one on the right puts out any sound. Worth knowing in case you thought yours was faulty!
Next page: Display, battery and software
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