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A relatively no-name phone from an unknown manufacturer at a very competitive price point, the BQ Aquaris M4.5 has a lot going for it, but against such strong competition can it really succeed?
The BQ Aquaris M4.5 is an excellent phone for one-handed use. The low weight, ergonomic design and restrained dimensions make this very comfortable to use even if you're not endowed with large mitts.
Snaps from the rear-facing camera are nicely detailed for the price point and have good colour, while the flash on the front is surprisingly useful in a number of different situations.
Battery life is fantastic, easily lasting throughout the whole day and then some.
Although the screen has many good points, the low resolution is becoming an increasing weakness as the competition go HD and full HD, sometimes at lower price points. The Dragontrail coating is also prone to collecting fingerprints.
The chipset struggles with demanding apps and doesn't handle multitasking especially well.
Though the camera is decent, the in-built app is strangely designed and very laggy.
BQ has done well in Spain, offering a line of well-spec'd, popular devices that don't break the bank. Now it is hoping to do the same in the UK, and the Aquaris M4.5 is leading the low-end budget charge.
In many ways, this is a phone that belies its origins. A great deal of thought has been put into the design, into the experience behind the handset, and this approach has paid off handsomely.
This is a phone with a lot to offer, with a practical screen, great battery life, decent performance, an acceptable pair of cameras and pretty good audio reproduction.
As such, someone looking for a backup phone, a first phone or even a replacement for an old budget handset will likely be wowed, this is a solid option, for there is certainly plenty to love.
Though the agitated power-hounds and spec heads will dismiss it outright, this is a cracking little handset, and shows that BQ could be a name to watch in years to come, especially as other phones become phablets.
First reviewed: June 2016
Sean is a Scottish technology journalist who's written for the likes of T3, Trusted Reviews, TechAdvisor and Expert Reviews.
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