Looks pretty impressive
I'm not in the market for a 'droid phone, but this does look very nice indeed. In fact my only quibble would be that the microSD slot only supports cards upto 32GB (my musical needs would probably insist on a 128GB).
If someone asked me what my ideal smartphone would be I’d say one that costs no more than £120, has 16GB of storage, at least 2GB of RAM, a 5-inch IPS screen, a removable battery, two SIM slots, space for a microSD card, the best iteration of Android available (that’s the Cyanogen OS Android fork, in my opinion) and is …
> In fact my only quibble would be that the microSD slot only supports cards upto 32GB
Generally speaking the quoted maximums are tested with rather than limited to.
My N900 supported only 16gb cards but ran happily with 32gb. My Moto G 4G supported only 32gb but ran happily with 64gb.
You would be rolling the dice of course; but if you format in FAT32 (rather than VFAT) and use a branded card then you have a better than even chance of it working fine.
I'd read recently that this is partly down to the filesystem. I took a gamble based on that and bought a 64GB card for my phone (that's only meant to take 32GB).
I've allowed the phone to format the card itself (to FAT32) and it's fine. There will be a size limit per file (4GB?), however as I'm mainly interested in storing MP3's and MAME roms, this isn't a concern.
Why can't we have a phone that has all these decent specs, but still small enough to hold in one hand?
The original Moto G was exactly this. The only decent sub-5" phone out now is the Moto E, but that's decidedly lacking.
It's a real shame, could've been perfect =/
Hear hear !
5" phones like this used to be mocked as ridiculously oversized phablets, but now every manufacturer only makes decent phones in that size ( and stupidly thin ) and the review drones act as if that is that is what everyone now wants.
Well millions of us Don't.
We want a quality, small ( but as thick as necessary ) high-spec phone.
I had the same thought about the size being wrong but in the other direction. After going from a Note 2 to the Nexus 6 I couldn't go back to anything smaller. Why can't they offer two display options with the same spec one small for those who prefer that a 3.5 inch screen could be popular with many and the full man sized option for those that prefer more heft,
Then again I also have a 13' tablet and work from home so portability is not my main concern and I love oversized devices.
When I do go out and am worried about pocket space I picked up an old 8850 from ebay, micro sim into sim adapter and I've got a tiny phone that if I lose it's easily replaced without a mortgage.
I was tempted when the 1st Moto G dual-sim came out - liked its feel in my hand; its screen, FM radio makers so love to disable, but was put off mainly by its lack of TV-out, to lesser extent by lack of WiFi-AC, & poor camera. So I went for a Nexus 5 even though 5" is TOO BIG for my jeans and Google don't like FM-RDSradio (because not their ads) or memory expansion (means less need for downloads, i.e less ads again). I only discovered later, its ringtone & volume are way too low, so I cannot use the Alarm feature, and often miss incoming calls unless in quiet room.
This 'Swift' improves on 2 of the above deficiencies (Camera & FMradio) but will not easily fit into my jeans or shorts pocket, and so is an encumberance. My ideal phone screen is 720p in 4.5 to 4.8". (where have all the complainers about huge phones gone?) It surely is not that hard to incorporate TV-out (MHL or the Google Slimport version). Also, surely the difference in cost between a WiFi-AC radio chip and the previous N standard isnt so big 3 years down the line ? All my other WiFi devices are AC, so rather not hobble their speed with 1 slow device.
I like your subjective review style but it makes no mention of ringtone or call volume - important specs for a phone. I appreciate, unlike El Reg, gmsarena specialises in mobile phones, so like their reviews for their comprehensive measurement of all audio parameters. However, we may have to wait some time before they might consider reviewing a British phone.
I was intrigued by your reference to the improvements in privacy confered by cyanogen. Can anyone point me to a review of the security situation of say vanilla Android 5, to Cyanogen ?
Have you tried rooting it to adjust volume control? The Faux sound app, with the right supporting kernel, means I can double the loudest volume on my Nexus 4. Made a huge difference for me. I never miss a call and can listen to the radio while riding my moped into a 70 mile an hour gale. Its my number one reason for rooting the device.
Still using my lovely old Nokia Lumia 620 3.7". Fits perfectly in the hand/pocket/back. Has great display - ClearBlack or something - removable back for Battery, SD Card etc. Has NFC as well. Only really let down by Windows 8.1.1 OS lack of Apps - the OS itself is OK in a basic sort of way. Only real issue is no FM Radio chip but hey who cares?
...perhaps because those 'decent specs' require a bigger battery and battery size is constrained by screen size? There's a reason all the 'S' versions of flagships have lower specs, not just a smaller screen. How much battery time do you want to sacrifice and/or how much fatter do you want the case for a thicker battery (in a world that overwhelmingly wants thin phones).
Or maybe you don't need a flagship and the problem is imaginary.
'decent specs' are not necessarily measured in CPU, resolution or battery life.
To me the decent specs are the features of this phone (dual SIM, removable battery, SD Slot, Cyanogen), I don't care if it runs at 4.6GHz or has a 3200x1800 resolution, and those features I mentioned could very well be available in a 4-incher. If the smaller size means smaller battery, means lower performance, I can live with that. I can also live with a thicker phone, I've had a N95 for years.
Don't worry, these things go in cycles... I'm sure the race to the tea tray size phone will soon stop, and we'll begin the race to the USB stick size again...
I for one am not looking forward to the Nokia 8210 scale devices, my sausage fingers are way to big for such toys...
/me lovingly strokes Nexus 6...
Re the Swift - I can see a big market for this phone, not bad at all!
Its funny I could manage perfectly with my Pre 2 and the slide out keyboard but I really struggled last week having to type in three email accounts details into a customer iPhone 5.
Goodness that was tedious and frustrating.
Man I miss my Pre 2.
I still have an HP Veer tucked away somewhere, which is even smaller. I still find it amazing how accurate a tiny physical keyboard with nicely-raised buttons can be. It doesn't get much use now for a variety of reasons, but I still get a feeling of nostalgia over it from time to time.
on a related note I just replaced my Note 2 with a Blackberry Passport, one of the major reasons is that it seems I am increasingly having physical coordination issues, which on a touchscreen are a friggin nightmare...
Have tried various touchy-alternatives, all drove me crazy, it has been a long time since I have had a qwerty phone (N900), the Passport is a fabby bit of kit.
I had similar issues too when I tried it for the first time on a Mini Pro. It was refusing to power down when connected to a charger, the charger was doing weird things too. I think that is sorted in newer builds (and for newer phones).
My biggest gripe with Cyanogen is Bluetooth, followed by GPS. Bluetooth was just not usable neither on my Arc, nor on my Nexus 7. Dropping connections, interrupted audio, etc.
GPS was working. Sometimes. Other times it was showing a systemic error of 200m west from where it should have been which could be resolved by one or more soft restarts - not something you want to do while driving and getting directions.
I still run the Arc with Cyanogen as it is the only way of keeping it up to date (it will run out of app space with its factory build + updates), but I had to give up on it as a primary phone as you could not use it for navigation.
So, may I suggest an addition to El Reg battery of tests (especially for Cyanogen): GPS (multiple application starts), Bluetooth (including battery life with bluetooth on).
The stability of the GPS and bluetooth subsystems in CyanogenMod depends heavily on the binary blobs that the third party manufacturers provide (or don't provide) and whether or not the open source alternatives are compatible with the quirks of the device.
On a CyanogenOS device like this I would expect the binary blobs to work fine, considering the manufacturer supports it as the device's default or at least supported OS.
Looks very nice apart from the huge screen, I'd much rather have a smaller screen, similar or smaller than the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. Some like the larger screens, I prefer the smaller screens.
I also like the idea of the dual-screen Yota: in fact I could be tempted by a 4-G capable phone without any cameras, an e-Ink screen, wifi, loads of RAM & micro-SDcard capability, good processor. (I want a quality phone to last ages & I'm prepared to sacrifice the screen.)
While I would like to believe this is a straightforward 'plucky brits give johnny foreigner a bloody nose' story, I wonder if there is something more.
It looks like a great phone and well put together at a knockout price, that manages to undercut some big boys.
It is running cyanogen.
Now let me think, who owns a chunk of cyanogen, has failed completely at mobile, has lots of money, and wants to piss through Google's letterbox?
Would be interesting to look through WileyFox's accounts and see just how much they are being subisidised.
it looks like a phone that's been put together using the cheapest good commodity parts (including OS) and the given a decent brand design. Everything about this phone screams thats its been taken from a parts bucket.
While some people might think the above is a criticism its absolutely not meant that way, putting together a good usable system from cheap reliable parts is a skill.
More to the point, Cyanogen is essentially Android plus some features; the vast majority of people are still going to use it with gmail, google play, etc... I seriously doubt that Google cares how many people use this particular fork as from their perspective its really just the same as any hardware or network based skin.
It is a bad thing, in a sense. Until Google realise that non-techie ease of use is a worthy goal, Apple will rule the profitability roost.
Let's face it, most Android buyers (not the tech-savvy Reg-reading bunch) are buying an Android because they can't afford an iPhone. Like it or not, that's the truth of the situation as it is now.
I totally don't understand this fascination that smartphone manufacturers have with these enormous screen sizes.
Back in April I picked up an iPhone 6 (not the 6 plus) thinking that finally I'd have an opportunity to discover the large screen delights that Android users have had for years. What a mistake. The thing is totally unbalanced in my hand due to the size, it's awkward to pocket, and just plain irritating to use because of it's size. Not to mention the battery is shit.
I used it for a month and then went back to my iPhone 4S, The 6 now lives in my back only to operate as a hotspot and as an oversized iPod (unfortunately my music collection is well over 64Gigs).
I'd be well up for a powerful Android phone if it was done in a 3.5 - 4 inch format. Anything else is just to big to be useful as a phone.
Again, I'll repeat my comment about music streaming services. They've moved on *massively* in the last year or two. If you think you need a lot of storage for all "your" music, try a trial subscription to one of the streaming services. Apple Music or Spotify or whatever. You'll be shocked at how far the state of the art has come.
What I'd like to see is a good phone with all the features of this, but with wireless charging and no external ports... with bluetooth LE etc you don't need a headphone socket, USB data sync is long since redundant, and the SIM and SD cards slots should be inside the back cover.
So ditch all the external connectors, which means the phone can be 100% waterproof and dust-proof.
And even if it means making it a little thicker, (more room for battery?) for the love of god recess the camera lens to protect it... having it sticking out just gets it scratched.
There are lots of comments here about what different users want in an Android phone, which is fine, people have different needs.
Every week or so I read an article on El Reg about a new phone manufacturer making a different and interesting Android phone, some of which I think sound awful, and some which I think are interesting.
This would fit into the latter camp for me, but I would like a slightly smaller screen, (as do several other commentards).
I have no doubt that when I am next in the market for a new phone, I will be able to purchase pretty much exactly what I want such is the variety of offerings available.
Also, no-one seems to have commented on the FM radio in the WileyFox. That's a great feature to me, and a sign that these plucky Brits have ignored the carriers when they designed it. Well done chaps.
Why are the screen shots showing it loaded with propriatery Google apps like Chrome when you're running CyOS ?
Surely if you want Google bloat you'd just as well run Google Android or couldn't Wiley persuade Google to allow it to use the 'official' Android?
And if that's the case did you sideload Gapps or did it come preinstalled (which is a big no-no and the G-men will be after you if that is the case)?
Mind you, not for any ideological reason. No straight answers from a quick Google, but I assume the Google Play store either comes pre-installed or,easy enough to get?
But what about availability of this wondrous device? It sounds too good to be true, and its availability seems to reflect this.....
CyanogenOs is the same as Touchwiz, or Sense, or any other OEM Overlay - they've been through google certification, and no separate install of gapps is needed. Also, it has some Proprietary stuff installed.
CyanogenMod is slightly different (fully Open Source, for starters), and no OEM would pre-install that, as it doesn't contain Gapps - a fatal flaw for any Western-targeted Android phone.
I just picked up a 2nd Gen Moto G a couple of months ago, and this comes along with slightly better specs for just £3 more than I paid.
The call blocking and individual app feature blocking appeals to me a great deal... things that google have promised time and time again and then reneged on.
More than happy with my phone... just typical of the way my luck goes... Pick up the best phone on the market for less than £200 and a better one comes along that's even cheaper than the RRP of mine (I got it on sale).
Seeing as phones tend to last 3-4yrs before I upgrade... I'll probably be looking at one in 2018... so a 3rd or 4th gen if they're still around.
In the meantime... call blockers for lollipop that actually work... Mr Number no longer does on 5.0.2 and was effectively worthless... suggestions on a postcard please.
"As screens of that resolution go it’s sharp and bright and viewing angles are very strong."
Can someone explain why wide viewing angles are important on handheld devices? I would expect a narrow viewing angle would improve battery life as less light needs to be emitted. Also I'd prefer it if the person next sat next to me in the pub/train/bus couldn't read my screen.
Swift's all very good (if you're not as fussy as me, get one) but I want a real back/home/menu button set, not something stealing a goodly bit of my screen. 128GB SD and 1080p (for the occasional VR headset use) are nice to have, too.
I will be on the list when the Storm launches, no doubt about it. That fixed battery isn't really a problem if it's like the one in the Moto G - changing that is a five minute job. I just hope the build finds its way into the public Cyanogenmod repo but, as long as I can get root and fastboot access, I don't care enough for it to be a blocker issue.
While we're on the subject of CyanogenMod, please note that CyanogenOS and CyanogenMod are two very different things. The former does take a lot from the latter but there's no guarantee that the CyanogenOS devices will be backported or that a CyanogenOS device will be CM-like in the things you can do to it, eg bootloader and custom recovery. cyngn.com is a commercial entity, cyanogenmod.org is a community site.
I have a Symbian phone that is on it's last days. Been waiting for a decent, unlocked phone with a SD card slot. Seeing the specs for the Storm, I want one as my next phone here in Canada. I doubt it will be available before my Nokia dies.
My daughter would get one as well.
I wonder how hard it would be to replace the CyanongenOS after purchasing. I guess we will have to wait and see.
I've just switched from an Nokia N8 to the Wileyfox Swift and its been a pleasant experience. The camera is good in video and stills mode except in low light conditions.Speaker volume is slightly limited but adequate. The GPS is good and I am running Here Maps with offline maps.I also have Pastilli Labs Situations and the Microsoft Office apps, to deliver a simialr experience as Symbian.
The fact that it has a removable battery is very attractive. If I can't find a new phone with one, I'll just stick with my old HTC Amaze 4G until I can't get new batteries for it.
I hope having Cyanogen won't, however, prevent it from being able to access Google's App Store. That would kill general consumer interest in it.
Since I don't drink tea, having Red Rose tea available here in Canada doesn't make up for having to wait longer for this phone to be available here...
Well, my last phone was Moto G 2014, but as it refunded by Amazon, so I need a new one, but this time it won't be Moto G 2015, as it gone worst (no dual sim in Europe, no compass, no notification led) costs more and as Lenovo is new owner, this means no latest Android updates anymore.
I have looked few weeks for alternative, found none, until now. Storm would be better, but no onscreen buttons, unremovable battery, micro/normal sim/sdcard combo and same battery as swift, doesn't sound great. I'm not so big CM fan, but at least not like a lot other overpriced brands, they provide updates for a long time.
So I will go for Swift, hoping they will sell and deliver phone to Europe and most of all, have decent support.
BTW, seems swift is rebranded Micromax E455, with proper LTE bands - http://www.micromaxinfo.com/mobiles/smartphones/canvas/canvas-nitro-4g-E455
Sonys changes are subtle but worthwhile ,(also allowing things like tinkering with rgb adjustments to set you desired colour vibrance)
I also prefer Sonys camera and prompt update cycles, Sony also stick another 1gb of memory inside
Android M has the on request permission prompts, do cyanogen really doesn't offer much. (I stopped trusting them when their forums were hacked and attempted to install malware onto everyone PC. If they can't get that right, full OS security is questionable)
Samsung are crap at writing and releasing the drivers for their Exynos chipsets, which is why Cyanogenmod (and other custom ROMs) are buggy on certain of their handsets. And that's why my next phone will not be a Samsung - my Galaxy S3 i9300 will probably never get CM 12.1 (Android L) officially because all the device maintainers have given up in disgust.
That alone is a win for me, though I have to wonder how standard (i.e. easily available at at economic price) a part it is to replace? I think of this things more for durability of the phone beyond what the networks would like to believe is feasible rather than flat day-to-day endurance, though that helps too!
"Isn't this just a chinese-market phone with a brit label on it?"
There are a lot of them about. See here for other alternatives.
These are sold in large numbers to markets larger than the EU and US.
Unfortunately, we really do live in rip off Britain, where only certain products are advertised.
Supposed to be able to order this today, but still no way of ordering at the Wileyfox website. All you can do there is "register interest" (did that, heard nothing).
It is, however, available for pre-order on Amazon, against a 30th September release date.
Probably a great 'phone. Not sure about the communication skills of the company !
Thanks to El Reg, I too had 'registered an interest' in the Wileyfox Swift....
...had a nice automated email saying it would be on sale on the 22nd September. That's today.
So before breakfast I took a look - no buying options on the site. No explanatory emails lurking in my spam folder, nothing on TwitFace... Oh! Wait a bit!
Someone there has spotted it on Amazon.co.uk with a revised release date of 30th September.
...and here on El Reg, Branta has kindly informed us of that. So it must be true!
Still no purchasing option on the Wileyfox site, still no apologetic email. Oh well.
Now I know (first-hand) what a panic it can be getting products to market, but my feeling is that if they can't be arsed to update punters with money to spend, what chances will we have when we have spent it and want service/updates/whatever?
If we do end up buying one it will therefore be via Amazon, who (whatever other flaws they may have) does have a truly effective returns and refund procedure.
Bit disappointed, but I'll survive. Anybody know the details?
Thanks to Notional Semidestructor I found the Wileyfox page on Farcebook. The silence on the missed release date is deafening.
Also noteworthy is the number of unanswered (simple) questions there. I'm thinking that if one was to visit the Wileyfox offices there would just be a cardboard frontage, like a movie set !
I too have spent most of a lifetime in product development, and know only too well how release dates are prone to be missed (to the point where hitting them is actually a rarity !). But to have gone to the trouble of getting together all the marketing videos and sent out review samples, yet not to be bothered to keep potential customers in the loop is just unbelievable.
Customer service - we've heard of it.
Amazon says 28 Oct now.
Meanwhile, currently the Chinese apparently have a choice of over 500 phones with 5 inch screens:
Holy thread resurrection Batman!
But just in case anyone digs this thread up.
I've got a Swift.
It feels solid and well-built, it doesnt feel like a cheap Chinese clone.. CyanogenOS - NOT CYANOGENMOD!!! is lovely and customisable and best of all is not riddling with the wretched bloatware of the mainstreamers, and runs smoothly.
The quad-core processor can handle everything I need it to do. The most graphical intensive thing I run is probably Minecraft PE and that runs fine.
It's warrantied for a year, that can be extended.
This is a 2Gb RAM, 16GB onboard, dual-sim, quadcore 13mp camera phone for 130 quid.
Absolute bargain in my book.
"..Absolute bargain in my book..."
An even better one, if you'd waited a month.
Amazon were knocking these out at £99,99 today, as one of their Black Friday deals. I must admit that my trigger finger was itching, as I watched the counter tick down the minutes til midnight, when the deal ended. But then, in a rare flash of introspection, I suddenly realised that I was being played like a cheap violin by world capitalism —and I let the offer expire, with my hands safely away from the 'Add to Basket' button.