EE Rook review

EE ups the price wars with a 4-inch 4G handset for just £49

EE Rook review

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There's not much to be had for £50 these days, and while there are some disappointing areas of the EE Rook, there are also positives shining through.

We liked

The quad-core 64-bit processor is surprisingly nippy, and provides a smooth experience for day-to-day apps and web browsing, without showing too much slow-down when zipping between menus.

Although the screen viewing angles are poor, the resolution is higher than some ultra-cheap smartphones around.

The latest stock version of Android Lollipop is very welcome indeed, and all the Google apps you'd expect are included too.

We disliked

The limited space means that you won't be able to install many games, and watching anything longer than a quick YouTube clip on the 4-inch screen becomes something of a chore.

The fixed-focus camera is really awful, so this phone can only be recommended to users completely uninterested in smartphone photography.

The screen viewing angles are poor and the speaker is both quiet and tinny – not best suited for sharing media with friends, that's for sure.

Final Verdict

If you're an existing EE prepay customer, the Rook can be had for under £40, and is only £50 to anyone else. At this price you're getting a full Android smartphone with access to apps, videos and maybe even the odd game, making it a perfect budget smartphone or even backup device should your main handset fail.

Being the only phone at this price point with 4G, it offers quick internet access when you're out and about, and the Rook would even serve well as a portable Wi-Fi hotspot for larger devices.

Old-hat screen technology, poor speaker and camera aside, there certainly are positives to be found in the Rook, and (with help from ZTE), EE has crammed in as much tech as is feasible for a tiny price.

If you're willing to spend a little more, consider Motorola's Moto E, or the Honor Holly, both of which still come in under £100.

First reviewed: August 2015