Our Verdict

EE's strategy is to make the Hawk seem classy for the cash, rather than packing in as much spec-power as the budget allows. It works, but is better for the casual user than the mobile app and games obsessive.

For

  • High-quality Gorilla Glass back
  • Looks a bit like an iPhone
  • Affordable

Against

  • Only 720p
  • Slow camera HDR, no Auto HDR
  • Locked to EE

The EE Hawk is in many ways a quite basic Android phone. It's affordable on a "pay as you go" deal, and doesn't add much to the price of a cheap contract.

You wouldn't guess it's so cheap from a quick feel though, as a glass back makes the EE Hawk seem a more expensive phone than it is. It's a slicker looker than the Moto G5.

It also has a "4G+" modem, letting it theoretically make use of mobile data speeds of up to 300Mbps on EE's network.

However, low screen resolution and slow app loads ensure its build and appearance are the strongest elements.

EE Hawk price and availability

  • £149.99 on Pay As You Go
  • Only on EE

The EE Hawk costs £149.99 on Pay As You Go, subject to a £10 top-up that gets you 1GB of data and 250 minutes, lasting 30 days.

It's also available for "free" on contracts of £12.99 a month and higher. That bargain basement contract offers 300MB of data and 300 minutes of calls, so isn't for high-end users. A quick reminder: at the time of writing you'll pay £99.99 on top of £47.99 a month for a 1GB of data deal for an iPhone 8 from EE.

If you're a data guzzler, the £18.99 EE Hawk plan offers 2GB of data and a generous 1000 minutes.

Key features

  • Cat 6 LTE (up to 300Mbps)
  • Glass back
  • Octa-core CPU

The EE Hawk does a great job of impressing with its surface features. Most obvious of the lot, it has a glass back and front, and has the dense feel of a more expensive phone.

Its back also glints in the sun, thanks to a layered finish. The EE Hawk is no Honor 9 in terms of eye-catching design, but it's not plain either.

There are also modern touches like a rear fingerprint scanner and a USB-C charge socket. However, the real aim of the EE Hawk other than looking good is to provide solid entry-level specs at a good price.

These include an octa-core CPU, 16GB of storage and a 13MP rear camera. And the one EE is proudest of is Cat 6 LTE, which you may see called 4G+.

This makes download speeds of 300Mbps possible, although most of EE's contracts only allow for speeds of up to 60Mbps. The Moto G5 offers similar real-world 4G speeds too, so don't get too excited.

In pure box-ticking terms the EE Hawk has everything we're after in an entry-level phone. And it's not a bad choice if you want to pair-up with EE.

However, fresh app loads can be a little slow and the camera is not as useful, and doesn't take as good photos, as the Moto G5.

Design

  • Smart Gorilla Glass design
  • Slim and pocketable
  • Looks similar to an iPhone 8

The EE Hawk looks a lot like a black iPhone 8 without a Touch ID pad from the front. Its curves have that Apple flavour and thanks to the 5-inch screen the phone is a manageable size.

A glass back separates the Hawk from the budget competition, which tend to - at best - use some aluminium. The back and front are tough Gorilla Glass, the sides very solid plastic you could easily mistake for aluminium if you don't look too closely. Those sides don't have the cool feel of metal, of course.

The EE Hawk also lacks an ultra-slim screen surround, but we don't expect one at this level.

At £150 this phone looks and feels great, among the very best in this class. The finish isn't entirely simple either. Behind the glass on the back there’s a layer that catches the light, revealing it to be very dark blue rather than the black it appears in some photos.

If light catches it at the right angle, you'll see a laser-like beam splaying out from the centre. It's subtle, and we needed to use a spotlight to bring it out more in our photos. But it is there, giving the EE Hawk another hit of flair.

The fingerprint scanner is more important, if anything. It sits on the back and is indented, making finding it with your finger very easy. You just put your finger here and the Hawk does the rest.

It seems a little picky if you don't land your fingerprint dead on the circle, but place it squarely and the scanner works very well.

It'll wake your phone up from standby in around a second. It's not the fastest around, but if you're looking at buying the EE Hawk it seems unlikely you'll have been spoilt by many £500+ phones with lightning fast fingerprint scanners.

Screen

  • Not the sharpest, but looks good after tweaks
  • 720p LCD display
  • Customisable via MiraVision

The EE Hawk has a sensible, non-flashy 5-inch screen. It's small, but not too small to put you off games or mobile Netflix, and it uses a standard IPS LCD display.

Resolution is the obvious shortfall. The Moto G5 has a 1080p screen, the Hawk just a 720p one. As a result, text looks softer, and you can see pixellation if you look too close.

However, even after years of having 1080p budget phones we're still surprisingly happy with how the Hawk's screen looks. It doesn't appear blocky, just a little softer than a higher-end 1080p phone.

Of course, you can get one of these for around the same price, so let's not be too nice to EE.

Colours look slightly cold fresh out of the box and at extreme angles the white balance goes a bit blue or yellow. However, there's a MiraVision feature that lets you tweak the saturation, and other elements like temperature.

By making the colour temperature much warmer with MiraVision, you can make the EE Hawk's display look rather nice.