Wileyfox’s Swift 2X is a decent Swift 2 successor, but it’s still no Moto G4
- Dazzlingly bright Full HD screen
- Elegant design
- Performance outclassed by its rivals
- Disappointing rear camera
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.
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.
Prime Day Deal: Wileyfox Swift 2X, was £219 now £149
Amazon’s third annual Prime Day heralds an influx of fantastic deals on a number of consumer electronics. Among them is the Wileyfox Swift 2X, which is receiving a 32% price reduction in Amazon’s flash sale.
If you’re after a Wileyfox handset, and you are an Amazon Prime customer (or if you’re interested in becoming one), now’s the perfect chance to grab one at a fraction of the original price.
The deal is available starting 18.00 on Monday the 10th of July 2017 through to 23:59 on the 11th.
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.
Wileyfox Swift 2X review: Performance
Last year’s Swift 2 was hardly an avid performer. Outclassed by its rivals, the Swift 2’s sluggish Snapdragon 430 chip clocked in at 1.4GHz and was outperformed by its chief rival, the third-generation Moto G. Alas, that same processor can still be found in the 2X and it’s looking more dated than ever.
As you might expect, the Swift 2X’s Geekbench 4 scores were near identical to 2016’s Swift 2 (629 for single-core and 2,072 for multi). And this is something very much reflected in the feel of the phone; even swiping between homescreens was a painfully slow ordeal at times. Google Maps was horrendously sluggish, with the Swift 2X clearly struggling to keep up with frenetic multi-touch gestures.
Gaming performance isn’t brilliant, either, with a 7fps average in the GFXBench off-screen Manhattan test. That’s no better than the Swift 2, and only marginally better than the G4’s 6.6fps average. Simple games such as Threes posed little risk, while Sky Force: Reloaded suffered a little slowdown during those frantic screen-filled encounters.
Wileyfox Swift 2X review: Battery life
Wileyfox handsets have hardly been pioneers when it comes to lengthy battery life, and the Swift 2X is no different, squeezing out a mere 9hrs 18mins from its 3,010mAh battery. Obviously, that’s not a patch on the Moto G4’s 13hrs 39mins lifespan and is hardly an improvement on the Swift 2’s 9hrs 32mins.
That’s not great, but we’ve got USB Type-C charging with Quick Charge support this time around. Expect to achieve roughly 75% charge after just under an hour plugged into the wall.
Wileyfox Swift 2X review: Verdict
Wileyfox’s Swift 2X isn’t a bad phone, but there’s hardly anything about it worth recommending, especially considering it’s £220, which is verging on the mid-range when it comes to smartphones these days.
Sure, it’s an improvement over the Swift it supersedes, with a proper Full HD screen, but it pales in comparison with the cheaper and far more impressive, Moto G4.
For around £160 you still get best-in-class performances with the Moto G4. Its camera is still the best for the price, performance is miles better than the Swift 2X and its 13-hour battery life still makes an appearance in our best battery-life leaderboards. I wouldn’t waste your time with the Wileyfox Swift 2X. Get the Moto G4 instead.