Wileyfox Swift 2: Hands-on with the British Moto G rival

After the utterly dreadful reception received by the Spark earlier in the year, Wileyfox had a lot to prove with its latest launch, the Swift 2.

The first thing worth noting is that this is a really affordable phone. The basic Swift 2 costs £159.99, while a slightly souped-up version costs £189.99. That’s right in Moto G4 territory, but it’s smaller and much more manageable than Lenovo’s handset.

Considering the price, the Swift 2 feels really nice to hold. It’s metal, with curved sides and a circular fingerprint scanner below the camera sensor. I assumed it would be plastic made to look like metal, but it’s not. It has a heft to it too, again adding to the impressive feel.

Related: Best budget phones

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One criticism are the buttons, they’re just too mushy and my power key already started to get dislodged after only a few minutes of use.

While metal might be a rarity at this price – and the addition of the fingerprint scanner is as well, even the basic Moto G doesn’t have that – the bunch of internals are pretty standard fare.

The 5-inch 720p display seems quite poor, with a lack of colour pop and jagged edges everywhere. I’m also not sold on the Snapdragon 430 CPU which seems underpowered, but I will have to put it through some more rigorous testing to know for sure. There’s also 2GB RAM in the Swift 2, with the Plus model bumping that to 3GB.

Storage is also improved on the Plus model, with it having 32GB instead of 16GB. There is a microSD card slot too, so you could always expand your storage that way. If you don’t need more storage, that slot doubles as a second sim tray for when you’re travelling.

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I really like that Wileyfox has used USB-C here, especially as it’s still quite rare to see the new reversible standards on more affordable phones. There’s Qualcomm Quick Charge 3 support too and I was told the _phone_ will fully charge in about an hour. With 15 minutes giving you 15%. Again, it’s great to see features like this included on cheaper phones.

One of the biggest differences between the two versions of the Swift 2 are the cameras. Both have an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, but the Swift 2 Plus benefits from a Samsung made 16-megapixel sensor on the back as opposed to a 12-megapixel version. I’ve been using the Plus model and while the camera seems surprisingly fast to both open and shoot, pictures look rather over processed and have an odd artificial tinge. I’ll have to test it much more though to fully know what it’s like.

Android 6.0.1 is the software of choice here, but it runs on the custom Cyanogen OS which has a focus on privacy and extra customisability. It won't be to everyone's tastes and it seems to have hampered the device shipping with the latest version of Android. I was told a Nougat update was coming "in some form", but that doesn't exude confidence.

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Wileyfox Swift 2: First impressions

I'm not completely sold on the Wileyfox brand quite yet, mostly because I feel if it really wants to be 'disruptive' like it claims then why is this _phone_ so safe? But I can't argue that you do get quite a lot of bang for your buck.

The metal body is nice, and the moderate size will likely suit a lot more people than the hulking Moto G4. It's also nice to see features like Quick Charge 3.0, USB-C and a fingerprint scanner trickle down already to the lower range.

So it really boils down to whether the internals are good enough. And that's my biggest concern.