Wileyfox hasn't been around for long compared with rivals like Samsung, but this British handset maker has bold aspirations. It wants to shake up the budget sector by offering the kind of design and functionality that is normally reserved for the higher end of the market.
After the likeable Wileyfox Swift, the company has returned with a sequel, this time looking to bring premium materials and everything but the kitchen sink when it comes to core features.
Since launch, Wileyfox has also updated the Swift 2 to Android 7.1.2, showing a commitment to its budget phone.
Retailing for just £159, the Swift 2 is fighting for the same turf as the Moto G5, LG X Screen and Honor 5C. It's also in competition with its stablemate, the Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus, which has slightly better specs but retails for £189.
- Aluminium frame
- Rear-facing fingerprint scanner
While the original Swift boasted a plastic design which reinforced its status as a budget handset, Wileyfox has stepped things up with this sequel. The main bodywork is brushed aluminium with plastic sections at the top and bottom of the device – an effort to cut corners, but one that many other manufacturers have resorted to.
The use of metal predictably gives the Swift 2 a premium feel as well as some welcome heft in the hand; in terms of build quality, there's more positive news – this is as solid feeling as you're likely to get from a low-cost Android smartphone, with no movement or creakiness under pressure.
In terms of ergonomics, Wileyfox has scored another win here. The Swift 2 has gentle curves on the sides which allow the device to slip effortlessly into your palm, while the edges of the phone are angled slightly to increase grip.
The fact that Wileyfox has avoided turning the Swift 2 into a phablet means it's easy to use with one hand – not quite as easy as the likes of the iPhone SE, but still a damn sight more agreeable than many of the super-large Android phones currently hitting the market.
The front of the Swift 2 has lots of visual features, but no physical buttons or inputs – instead, all interaction is handled via the touchscreen and the traditional three-button, on-screen navigation bar at the bottom.
Where you'd expect to find a physical home button there's the rather fetching Wileyfox logo, while the earpiece is housed in a circular metal grille at the top. Alongside this you'll find the front-facing camera and ambient light sensor.
Turning the phone around reveals a configuration that is quite common in the world of Android – especially with LG's handsets. The fingerprint scanner and camera lens are positioned near the top of the device, while the Wileyfox logo sits proudly in the middle of the back panel.
The location of the fingerprint scanner means that your digit rests naturally on top of it; this is the preferred arrangement for Google's Pixel and Pixel XL phones as well, so you could argue that the Swift 2 is in good company.
However, there are those mobile users who point out – with some justification – that putting fingerprint scanners on the back of phones means you can't unlock them when they're lying face-up on a flat surface, like a table. It's a matter of preference to be sure, and we can see the benefits of both configurations.
On the right-hand edge of the handset you'll find the volume rocker and power button, both of which emit a satisfying click when pressed but nevertheless feel a little spongy under pressure. On the opposite side, there's the SIM card and microSD card tray.
The top edge is home to the 3.5mm headphone socket and what appears to be a noise-cancelling mic, while on the bottom you'll find a USB Type-C port and two speaker grilles – although only one of them actually houses a speaker; the other is where the in-call mic resides.
- 5-inch 720p IPS screen with Gorilla Glass 3
The Swift 2's 5-inch IPS screen has a 720p resolution and a pixel density of 294 pixels per inch, which is quite low when compared to leading Android phones – and many other low and mid-range challengers, like the Moto G5.
However, as any iPhone 7 owner will tell you, not having a 1080p screen isn't the end of the world. Sure, it's possible to discern individual pixels on the Swift 2's screen, but this is hardly a disaster, and the quality of the display in this case helps soften the blow.
It's reasonably bright and colours look convincing and natural rather than oversaturated; there's a warmth to the panel which is quite welcoming. This is a fully laminated screen too, avoiding the recessed look you’ll see in some budget phones.
Its top layer is fashioned from 2.5D curved Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and has a smudge-resistant oleophobic coating. Corning is now up to version 5 of its hardened glass, but what's used here should be fine for most budget buyers.
Wileyfox ships the phone with a plastic screen protector. We managed to scratch it up pretty nicely in the first few weeks of use, but you can always replace it or rely on Gorilla Glass’s scratch resistance when that happens.
There’s also the now-popular ‘night’ mode, which cuts down the blue light put out by the display to reduce eyestrain and stop late-night phone use ruining your sleep (well, slightly). It makes the Swift 2’s screen appear orangey.