Wileyfox Spark Plus review

Budget in all the wrong ways

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Battery life

  • 2200mAh battery drains rapidly
  • No fast charging

With a 2200mAh battery included, we didn't have great hopes for the longevity of the Spark Plus, and unfortunately our fears were well founded.

Starting at 7:00am, with Bluetooth headphones playing music and some website reading through a 50-minute commute, by 12:00pm we'd be on 62%, which would then drop to a paltry 10% following a similar journey home.

This was with the phone drawing email on push notifications from 3 accounts, interspersed with a few calls and some social media consumption.

In all, this isn't a device for power users who need a day from every charge. Moreover, while the battery is replaceable, replacement units are sold for £22, which is a significant outlay given the price of the device.

Standby drain wasn't great either. Even with the battery enhancements of Android 6.0 Marshmallow baked-in, the Spark Plus typically lost around 15-17% of charge every night, making plugging in a real necessity. If you want battery on a budget, consider the longer-lasting BQ Aquaris M4.5.

No fast-charging is included, unsurprisingly given the price of the device, with a full charge of the handset typically taking more than 3 hours.


  • Disappoints, even in ideal lighting
  • Camera app is easy to navigate

Whether budget or premium, the modern smartphone experience is increasingly hinging around camera performance. And that doesn't just mean the rear sensor, but the selfie snapper too. Today's consumers want the complete package, even when paying a hair under £120.

So, what can the Wileyfox Spark Plus offer? Well, on paper the results are mostly promising, with a 13MP camera on the rear, and 8MP to play with on the front.

Beyond the megapixel count, no great claims are made regarding the specifications of the camera. As such, with no information to go on such as aperture or autofocus, the only real metric for the camera's quality is, shock its performance.

Unfortunately, the performance is fairly pants. In good conditions (no harsh light on a sunny day), the colour produced by the Spark Plus is muted, and dynamic range less than stellar. What's worse, is that sharpness is poor across the frame, with detail produced being soft and mushy.

At 100% zoom, it has the unpleasant 'oil painting' effect that used to dog cheap cameras in the 2000s. In other words, the noise reduction is too aggressive and quite sloppy. Autofocus too is quite jittery, just about coping with static scenes but struggling with any sort of movement.

For sharing at low-resolutions, this may be OK, but even at this price point there are better options available camera-wise, such as the Moto G4 Play.

The selfie sensor doesn't really fare any better, blowing out highlights easily and smearing fine detail a little too judiciously.

On the plus side, camera operation is mostly quite smooth. Although the autofocus is generally inaccurate, it locks on reasonably quickly, and snapping pictures is lightning-fast in most instances.

Navigation is also much improved in some areas, compared to previous versions of the camera app (which is created by Cyanogen).

Moving between video, single shot mode and panorama modes is simple, and there are toggles at the top to move between the back and front camera, toggle flash modes, move to settings and to jump to a more advanced mode.

This allows white balance and more to be altered, and also offers a bewildering assortment of scene modes, many of which seem to be a little too obscure to be useful. Through this, HDR can also be toggled (although it makes little difference).

There is little to write home about with regards to video either, with the results being choppy and over-exposed.

Overall, for roughly £30 less the BQ Aquaris M4.5 offers mostly better image quality, as do many competitors at the £120 mark (including, oddly, the ageing Wileyfox Swift). This isn't the phone for you if you want quality imaging.

Camera samples

Sean is a Scottish technology journalist who's written for the likes of T3, Trusted Reviews, TechAdvisor and Expert Reviews.