EE Kestrel flies network's nest as budget 4G phone

EE Kestrel flies network's nest as budget 4G phone
Does the Kestrel give you wings?

EE has launched its first (in what will be a family) own-brand smartphone in the form of the EE Kestrel, as the network looks to attract more people to 4G.

The main selling point of the Kestrel - named after the British bird of prey - is its £99.99 PAYG price tag, making it the most affordable 4G smartphone on the market.

A quick glance at the handset though and you'll get that strange feeling of deja vu - where have you seen this phone before? We let us tell you.

It's an almost carbon copy of the Huawei Ascend G6 which we saw at MWC 2014, hardly a surprise as the Chinese firm is the OEM behind the phone.

Copy cat

In fact the EE Kestrel boasts the same 4.5-inch qHD (540 x 960) display, 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage (plus microSD slot), Android 4.3 Jelly Bean OS, 2000mAh battery and LTE CAT 4 support.

There's a bit of bad news in the camera department though, as the EE Kestrel comes equipped with a 5MP rear and 1MP front snapper - down from the 8MP and 5MP setup on the G6.

EE Kestrel

Slim build, but the headphone jack is on the side

It's obvious competitor is the equally well priced Motorola Moto G which sports a higher resolution screen, sturdier build quality and stock Android 4.4 KitKat, although it's only capable of 3G speeds and has no microSD slot.

If you don't fancy picking up the EE Kestrel on a pay-as-you-go deal it can be yours for free on 24 month 4G contracts starting at £13.99 per month, which gives you 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data.

New plan

The £13.99 tariff is also launching today, and it is the cheapest 4G plan on the market. That's also being joined by the new, lower cost EE Extra Plan which gives customers access to double speeds and a double data allowance.

For £21.99 per month the EE Extra Plan provides 1000 minutes, unlimited texts, 2GB of data and unlimited calls and texts when you're abroad in any EU country.

EE Kestrel

The Kestrel keeps Huawei's Emotion UI

If you're not on an EE Extra tariff the network has also announced that you can still get unlimited calls and texts in the EU for £2 per day.

You'll be able to get hold of the handset before the end of April, but we haven't got a firm EE Kestrel release date just yet.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.