Hands on: STK X2

A low cost Samsung Galaxy S7-a-like

What is a hands on review?
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Early Verdict

A solid Android smartphone with good power and attractive looks slides into a crowded market, but its 24/7, 365 days a year live chat support with an actual human, sets it apart.

For

  • Decent amount of power
  • Reasonable price
  • Premium looks

Against

  • Screen 'only' 720p
  • No NFC

British smartphone manufacturer STK has been in the smartphone game since 2011, but it's yet to become a household name. However, with the introduction of the STK X2 at MWC 2018, it's looking to change that.

The STK X2 is the most expensive smartphone it's produced, but don't worry about parting with a lot of cash - this is still a distinctly budget device.

You get a reasonably standard array of features on the X2 for the price, but with the added bonus of 24/7, 365 days a year live text chat support direct on your device the firm has a potentially appealing USP.

STK X2 price and availability

The STK X2 price is £279.99 (around $340, AU$440), making it the firm's priciest smartphone to date, but it still just about slips into the affordable bracket.

You can currently pre-order the phone from the STK website, with the STK X2 release date set for May.

Design and display

There's something rather familiar about the look and feel of the STK X2 in the hand. It's flat front and gently curving sides on the rear are reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy S7, and that's a good thing.

It means the X2 sits nicely in the hand, and it feels like you can really grip it. It's still a large device though and those with smaller hands may feel for comfortable holding it with two hands.

The curved edges and shiny gloss finish make the X2 look premium, although it is noticeably plastic once you pick it up.

You'll find the power and volume keys on the left of the handset, while on the base you get a headphone jack and microUSB.

There's a fingerprint scanner on the rear, which falls nicely under forefinger, and just above that is a dual-camera setup as well. There is one omission though - no NFC. 

That means you won't be able to use Android Pay to make contactless payments with this phone.

Up front there's the 5.7-inch HD display, which is a little disappointing resolution wise as we're starting to see full HD screens enter this price bracket, and the cheap Alcatel 3V offers up a QHD display.

It does have the popular 18:9 aspect ratio though, making it taller than the 16:9 we've been more accustomed to in recent years, and just making it better for movies and gaming.

That said, the screen is still bright and clear. Movies and games won't look quite as good, but Android is still perfectly usable and unless you'll be downgrading in resolution in the switch, or constantly comparing it to more detail displays, you're unlikely to have any real issues.

Camera and battery

On the back, the dual rear camera of the STK X2 is made up of a 13MP snapper, and a 0.3MP offering, with the later there to record depth data for Bokeh-effect shots.

During our brief hands on time with the phone on the STK booth, the camera was able to take a few solid shots. The SLR mode (Bokeh-effect) was less impressive though, as it struggled a little to really define our subject from the, admittedly crowded, background.

Selfie fans will be pleased to learn that the STK X2 is equipped with a 16MP front facing camera, perfect for Instagram, Snapchat and video calls.

Under the hood of the X2 you'll find a 3,000mAh battery, but you'll have to wait for our full review to find out how it performs.

Performance and interface

A MediaTek MT6750V octa-core chipset and a sizable 4GB of RAM ensure the STK X2 has a decent slug of power behind it.

They're in charge of keeping Android 8 Oreo out of the box, which was snappy when we gave it a spin.

It's a stock Android experience on screen too, but the X2 does come with the STK Life app pre-installed. This provides access to a live text chat with a real person 24/7, 365 days a year. If you have any issue with your handset, you can jump on the app and get help.

There's no additional cost for this service, and STK says you'll receive a response within two minutes of your first message - which we did when we tried it out.

Early verdict

The STK X2 is a solid Android smartphone offering just enough at its price point to be competitive, but it's a crowded place to be.

There are a lot of good phones around this price, but if the offer of any-time customer service is an appealing one to you, then the STK X2 could well be perfect.

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2018 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.