WileyFox Spark review

A plausible price tag, but it's less bright spark and more damp squib

WileyFox Spark review

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Battery life

Peel off the rear plastic cover of the WileyFox Spark and you'll find dual SIM ports, a microSD slot, and something that's a rarity in today's smartphones – a removable battery.

WileyFox says the 2,200mAh power pack should see the phone through a full day on a single charge, but I found that almost impossible to achieve.

I'm generally a moderate to heavy smartphone user, but due to the Spark's terrible performance I found myself using it less than I would a more capable handset. That said, any form of usage appeared to kill the battery. It's not like I was even pushing it overly hard.

WileyFox Spark review

A couple of hours of Spotify streaming, some infuriatingly slow social networking and email action, and some short-lived web browsing was generally all I put the Spark though – and, to be honest, was all I could bare to do on it most of the time – and it still was hitting 15% come 6pm.

I found myself requiring a top-up before leaving work each evening if I wanted the Spark to see me through until bedtime.

Leaving it off-charge (and connected to Wi-Fi) overnight, around eight hours, the Spark dropped by a whopping 25%. No screen-on time, just pure, idle drain.

WileyFox Spark review

Things didn't get much better when running the TechRadar video test. Turning screen brightness up to max, connecting to Wi-Fi with accounts syncing in the background and running a 90-minute HD video saw the Spark's battery life drop from 100% to 65%.

That's a loss of 35%, which puts it some way behind the Motorola Moto E (lost 22%), Vodafone Smart Prime 7 (15%), HTC Desire 530 (24%) and Moto G4 (17%), and which is far from convincing.


On paper the WileyFox has a surprisingly punchy camera line-up, with 8MP snappers adorning both the front and rear of the device. Round the back the camera is accompanied by a single LED flash, while the front offering is a more than acceptable selfie snapper.

There are HDR and night modes, plus the ability to capture full HD video. Not bad for a phone that costs just £89.

Thing is, performance once again gets in the way of what could be an impressive camera showing at an entry-level price.

WileyFox Spark review

The camera app takes a second or so to load up, and shutter speeds jump between fast and cripplingly slow, but in good light – and with a steady hand and a lot of patience – I was able to snap a couple of pleasing pics.

The Spark struggles more indoors and in low light, with noticeable detail loss and colours that lack vibrancy, but it's still not an awful showing from a sub-£100 handset.

The camera interface is relatively fuss-free, with video and panorama modes flanking the central shutter button, and further options at the bottom/left of the screen, depending on which way up you're holding the phone.

WileyFox Spark review

There are exposure and white balance controls, along with a variety of modes including Beach, Candlelight, Fireworks and Landscape.

In truth these modes don't add a great deal to the overall quality of your images, with the Spark lacking the processor powering to make the most of them.

Round the front, the secondary 8MP camera provides a perfectly serviceable selfie snapper. You can opt to use the power button as a shutter button, making it easier to snap those all-important selfies, while the volume rocker can be utilized as a zoom control.

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.