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.
- 3,000mAh battery much bigger than previous Sparks
- Poor battery life under strain
If there was one component that really needed upgrading from the Wileyfox Spark and Spark Plus, it was the battery. Whether it was the compact 2,200mAh unit itself, poor software optimisation, or some other power-hungry component, it could be hard to make it through a day of usage with those phones.
Fortunately Wileyfox has used the bigger form factor of the Spark X to fit a substantially beefier 3,000mAh battery. The result is a phone that can get you through a day of light usage, but it’s still not particularly great in this department.
Running our standard battery test of a 90-minute looping 720p video with the display brightness cranked right up, the battery life dropped by a staggering 32%. That’s a massive 10% more than we lost with the Moto G5 with its sharper (if smaller) display and smaller 2,800mAh battery.
Interestingly, we got the exact same result with the Wileyfox Swift 2, which has a different chipset and a smaller display. Perhaps Wileyfox needs to look at its optimisation work here.
On the plus side, 15 minutes of Guns of Boom gameplay sapped 7% of the battery. That’s not particularly great, but it’s not awful either.
For a phone with such modest specs and a battery that’s bigger than many budget alternatives, we’d expect the Wileyfox Spark X to make a real statement on stamina. As it is, there’s absolutely nothing to write home about here.
- Struggles with dynamic range and close-ups
- Selfie cam couldn’t seem to focus
Wileyfox has gone with a 13MP main camera with the Spark X, which is the same as the Spark Plus. This is a problem, as we didn’t think much of the latter.
We’re not sure if Wileyfox has made any improvements to the setup, but the Spark X suffers in all the ways you might expect of a budget phone - plus a few extra.
While it can capture some decent detail in good lighting at fairly close distances, landscape shots tend to deliver dull, mushy results.
The Spark X camera seems to suffer with extremes, too, such as when there are both bright skies and shady areas in the same frame.
There is an HDR facility, but activating it in the settings menu seemed to make no difference, almost as if it wasn’t activating. The result was that any outdoor shot that contained significant shade and bright light looked poor - either overexposed or murky.
The camera also struggled to focus on close-up subjects. On one occasion we tried three successive shots of a flower, moving the camera back a few inches each time and tapping to focus on the subject in the centre of the viewfinder, but it failed to do so each time.
We were almost impressed with some of the indoor shots we were able to get from the Spark X in terms of capturing realistic colours, though of course the camera still suffered from blowing out brighter areas and under-serving shady ones. Zooming in on the image, regardless of lighting conditions, would reveal masses of noise.
There’s an 8MP front-mounted camera too, but this seemed to have great difficulty focusing on faces in fairly normal indoor (but daytime) lighting conditions.
Wileyfox’s camera UI is quite pleasant to look at, but has a few faults of its own. There seemed to be a glitch with our review model that stopped the image preview feature from working. Fresh snaps would briefly appear at the top right, then vanish, and no amount of prodding in this area would bring it back.
The UI could also probably do with placing its filters and modes (such as HDR) nearer the surface - as it is, you need to press two buttons just to access them.
Camera samples gallery
Current page: Battery life and cameraPrev Page What's it like to use? Next Page Verdict and competition