Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus review

Solid specs, strong camera and superb price

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Interface and reliability

  • Upgradable to Android 8.1 Oreo
  • Fast, fluid, and customisable

The Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus arrived running Android 6.0.1, which at the time wasn't the very latest version of Google’s operating system, but the good news is the software updates have kept following for this handset and it's now running Android 8.1 Oreo.

You get an almost stock version of the Android operating system, which keeps things fresh, but there are additional customization options in the settings menu if you like to tweak your handset to your personal preferences.

It’s the kind of Android customisation we wish there was more of, sticking with Google’s fundamentally sound design and adding unobtrusive layers that you can choose to exploit or ignore.

The app drawer is one of the better examples we’ve seen on Android, too. Apps are clearly laid out in vertically-scrolling alphabetical order, but there’s also the option to scrub horizontally to the letter you want, or to type out the name of the app you want.

We also appreciated the intuitive way you can lock individual app folders - perfect for those who frequently share their phones with kids, friends, or colleagues.

Because it’s a relatively lightweight interface, too, navigating through the home screens and menus on the Swift 2 Plus always feels fluid and fast - another touch that makes you feel like you’re dealing with a much more expensive phone.

There are annoyances, but they’re minor. We don’t see the need for a dedicated Bing search app, and less still for it to take up one of the default permanent app slots along the bottom of the home screen.

We also wondered why Google Keep - one of the most useful Google apps, we find - was preinstalled but not stashed in the Google folder. We said they were minor issues, didn’t we?

Movies, music and gaming

  • Strong gaming performance at this price
  • AudioFX app lets you fine-tune sound profile

The Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus is a perfectly decent media player that can handle more or less anything you throw at it. But movies, music and gaming aren’t exactly what you’d call its speciality.

That’s perfectly illustrated with its 5-inch 720p display. It’s large and bright enough to offer a clear, comfortable video-watching experience - particularly when it comes to the kind of short video content you get on YouTube and Facebook.

But its sub-optimal resolution means you probably wouldn’t want to stream too many Netflix movies to it.

Of course, at this price point, you wouldn’t expect the Swift 2 Plus to be a media powerhouse. So it’s gratifying to report that the phone handled all of the games we tested on it. From Reckless Racing 3 to PinOut and test favourite Dead Trigger 2, we didn’t feel like our gaming experience was suffering for using a cheaper handset.

Qualcomm’s capable 1.4GHz octa-core Snapdragon 430 chip seems more than up to the task of driving such advanced 3D games on this 720p display.

When it comes to music, the Swift 2 Plus is an accomplished player. You get Google Play Music as standard, as well as an FM radio player (once you plug a set of headphones in), but the real interesting software here is AudioFX.

This lets you switch between multiple sound profiles according to the sort of tone you prefer. There are options for Small Speakers as well as genres like Folk, Dance, Hip Hop and the like. Alternatively, you can use a custom setting.

You’ll definitely want to plug in a set of headphones, anyway. While it looks like there are two drilled speakers on the bottom of the phone, one either side of the USB-C port, only the right-hand example actually functions as such.

That’s a little disappointing, but premium stereo audio remains a luxury for a higher price band.

One little UI quirk that takes some getting used to when it comes to video and gaming media - but actually makes a certain amount of sense - is the way the volume button switches around according to which way up you’re holding the phone, so that the button always corresponds to the direction of the on-screen volume slider.

Specs and benchmark performance

  • Snapdragon 430 CPU and 3GB of RAM ensures smooth performance
  • Geekbench scores are unremarkable but par for the course

For the money, we couldn’t fault the performance of the Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus. Its Snapdragon 430 processor, aided by a generous 3GB of RAM, has resulted in generally smooth experience.

Doubtless the phone’s 720p display and its lightweight interface help with this, demanding less of Qualcomm’s budget processor. Regardless, we didn’t notice so much as a stutter when navigating through the phone’s home screens. Switching between apps through the multitasking menu isn’t what you’d call snappy, but nor is it laborious.

As we’ve already mentioned, advanced 3D games pose no problem for the phone, while recent 2D action games like Burrito Bison: Launcha Libre and Dan the Man run smoothly too.

The phone’s Geekbench 4 benchmark results are hardly astounding, but they’re about average for an affordable phone. In particular, an average multicore score of 2073 puts it between recent cheap phones like the ZTE Blade V7 Lite (1164) and the Bush Spira E3X (2891).

Benchmarks aside, all you need to know is that the Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus doesn’t struggle with any day to day tasks, which is precisely what you want from an affordable smartphone.