Wileyfox Swift 2 X review

A budget phone that defies expectations

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Interface and reliability

  • Android 6.0.1 with Cyanogen UI
  • Solid customisation options
  • Will be updated to Android Nougat

The Wileyfox Swift 2 X isn’t the most up to date phone when it comes to software. Despite Android Nougat having been available for months, it runs Android 6.0.1 out of the box, skinned with Cyanogen.

It’s an elegant offering, but one that’s come on little over the past year. It’s also not going to be around for long.

The Swift 2 X won’t always run this appealing skin because Cyanogen is no more. Between the Swift 2 X being finalised and making its way to retail shelves, Cyanogen has confirmed it’s to close its doors, leaving OEMs like Wileyfox with serious decisions to be made on the future of its phones.

Fortunately, Wileyfox has acted swiftly and confirmed that it will upgrade the Swift 2 X, and its other phones to Android 7.0 moving forward. An exact timeframe has yet to be confirmed.

What you’ve got right now, however, is clean and accessible. There are plenty of customisation options for those who want them, and for those happy to take the phone out of the box and stick with what it offers, this Cyanogen skin lacks unwanted clutter.

Delve beneath the surface and you can tinker with the size, layout and appearance of apps to give your phone a unique, personal look. There are also a number of themes you can download in order to give the phone further personal appeal.

Despite all these options, this is a relatively lightweight skin. You can still see the influence of stock Android shining through and that’s a key benefit.

It keeps the phone running smoothly and fluidly. There are no stutters and starts, just a pleasingly seamless user experience that further helps the Swift 2 X feel like a phone far more advanced than its asking price would suggest.

It’s a skin that stands out amongst entry-level fudge jobs that force limited phones to further struggle.

Almost as clean and crisp as the stock Android running Moto G4 Plus, the Swift 2 X features an app drawer, accessed by clicking the Wileyfox logo. This gives it an edge over the Honor 6X, which lacks one.

Despite its largely appealing style, there are still elements that irk, most notably the dedicated Bing search app that’s on the app launcher bar. Fortunately if you don’t want it, you can kill it pretty quickly.

Movies, music and gaming

  • 5.2-inch Full HD display makes for pleasant viewing
  • Decent audio, but that second speaker’s a scam
  • 3.5mm headphone jack remains

As much as we’ve sung the praises of the Wileyfox Swift 2 X so far, this is still a phone at the lower end of the price arc, and as such reduced performance has to be expected somewhere.

But although true flagship phones will leave it in their wake when it comes to gaming, at its price, the Swift 2 X is hard to fault when it comes to entertainment.

Having made the jump to a 5.2-inch, 1080p display, the phone’s screen is sharp and bright enough to offer impressive video playback and streaming options in a form that’s immersive and engaging without being too big to hold or slot in your pocket.

Although the phone’s design suggests there are stereo speakers on the base, those dual speaker grilles are a con. Just one - the right-side grille - hides a speaker. The one on the left is there purely to create a balanced look.

Audio output is solid without ever being enough to get you to ditch your Bluetooth speaker or favourite headphones. Wileyfox claims the phone is capable of pumping out audio up to 90db. You’re not going to want to though. Crank the volume up towards its upper limits and things start to get a bit crackly and a distinct, tinny hollowness creeps in.

At standard levels though, the sound is adequate for movies and gaming. The phone’s Snapdragon 430 chipset doesn't crumble under the pressure of a gaming session, either.

Casual games such as Hill Climb Racing 2 are knocked out of the park. Gaming is fluid, load times minimal and visuals on point. Even more demanding games such as Asphalt 8: Airborne are tackled comfortably by the phone.

The lag and skipping you’d usually expect on an entry-level device are nowhere to be found. Things can take a bit of time to spring into action, but once you’re racing, you’re free to enjoy an uninhibited experience.

Benchmarks and performance

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset paired with 3GB of RAM
  • Geekbench scores don’t inspire but real world use satisfies

In terms of performance, the Wileyfox Swift 2 X is hard to fault. Its Snapdragon 430 chip is partnered with 3GB of RAM to deliver a pleasingly smooth experience.

It’s not overly fast – when switching between apps in the multitasking menu the phone’s more of a stroller than a sprinter - but neither did it trip up once during our testing. At times, there was a moment’s hesitation before apps sprung into life, but this was very minor, and only noticeable compared with true flagship phones.

The lightweight UI is a major contributing factor to this smooth, fluid experience, with no overblown skin causing the phone to run slowly or over tax Qualcomm’s entry-level chipset.

The phone’s Geekbench 4 benchmark results aren’t going to turn too many heads, but for a phone floating around the £200 mark, they’re bang on the money. An average multicore score of 2016 is pretty low, especially when the Honor 6X racked up a score of 3275.

In real world tests, however, the Swift 2 X didn’t struggle performing day to day tasks or more demanding jobs such as a bit of 3D gaming.