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Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus review: Another mediocre Moto G4 rival

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £189
inc VAT (SIM-free)

An attractive metal smartphone for under £200, but the Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus just isn't as fleet-footed as its budget rivals


  • Great metal design
  • Rear fingerprint sensor


  • Poor battery life
  • Screen isn't very bright
  • Not as fast as its rivals
  • Camera is very underwhelming


Processor: Quad-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 430, Screen Size: 5in, Screen resolution: 1,280 x 720, Rear camera: 16 megapixels, Storage (free): 32GB (23.8GB), Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Dimensions: 144 x 72 x 8.6mm, Weight: 158g, Operating system: Cyanogen 13.1

When British smartphone manufacturer Wileyfox launched its inaugural Swift handset last year, it gave our then top budget smartphone, the 3rd Gen Moto G, a run for its money. Its specs were nigh on identical and it was also a fraction cheaper, making it a tempting alternative to Motorola’s cut-price champion.

Now, Wileyfox is back with the Swift 2 and Swift 2 Plus. Available at £159 and £189 SIM-free respectively, both phones are more expensive than last year’s model, but you can immediately see why: each of these all-metal beauties represent a significant step up in overall build quality and style.

They’re still relatively chunky at 8.6mm from the front glass to the rear of the chassis, but each phone’s curved edges and lightly chamfered sides make them highly attractive, especially now the company’s logo on the rear is less prominent.

Indeed, turn over the phone and you’ll find a handset that’s far more elegant and understated than any of its shouty predecessors. Not only is the fox logo much smaller, but its embossed design means it blends in much more neatly with the rest of the handset. Likewise, the Wileyfox name is no longer resplendent in bright orange, giving the handset a much more sophisticated, mature look overall.

Another new addition is the presence of a rear fingerprint sensor. Together with built-in NFC, this is sure to go down a treat for those eager to start using Android Pay at contactless payment points. It isn’t the fastest sensor in the world, often taking at least a second to unlock the phone from sleep after I pressed it, but it’s a welcome addition nonetheless.

I was sent the Swift 2 Plus for review, but both phones are very similar. They’re the same size with 5in 720p screens, and they both come with the same size battery and internal components. The key difference between them is that the Swift 2 Plus comes with a 16-megapixel rear camera while the Swift 2 has a 13-megapixel sensor, there’s 3GB of RAM rather than 2GB, and 32GB of storage instead of 16GB.



The Swift 2 and Swift 2 Plus might look the part of a great budget smartphone but things have moved on a lot since last year, and the fact that Wileyfox has only seen fit to include a quad-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chip comes as something of a disappointment. The similarly-priced Moto G4, on the other hand, has an octa-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor, an eminently more powerful chipset that puts it in a much stronger position than either of these Wileyfox handsets.

The phone’s graphics performance wasn’t particularly hot, either. I achieved an average frame rate of 4.4fps in the GFXBench GL onscreen Manhattan 3.0 test. This is fine for simple games, but it will struggle with more complex titles.

The phone’s Cyanogen 13.0 Android-based front-end isn’t sluggish by any means, but Geekbench 4 scores of 629 in the single-core test and 1,967 in the multi-core test put it a long way behind the G4, which shoots ahead with a result of 2,453 in the latter. There’s also the issue of potentially being left behind with future OS updates, with rumours of Cyanogen scaling back its operations recently.

Wileyfox assured me at the Swift 2’s launch that its users will still receive OS and security updates over the coming months, but was vague about how this would be achieved if Cyanogen were to pull out of the OS race altogether.

Battery Life

Another fight Wileyfox has been struggling to win over the past year is battery life. The original Swift really fell short here, with  it’s 2,500mAh battery managing only 8hrs 55mins in our continuous video playback test (with the screen brightness set to a brightness level of 170cd/m2). The Swift 2 and Swift 2 Plus improve on this thanks to a larger 2,700mAh battery, but only marginally, stretching to just 9hrs 32mins in the same test. This is still below average for a budget smartphone and pales in comparison to the Moto G4’s 13hrs 39mins.

To be fair, there’s some consolation to be found in its fast-charging support. With a USB-C port to hand, Wileyfox says both phones can reach 75% capacity in only 45 minutes. That’s pretty good for topping up your phone mid-afternoon, but the downside is that you’ll need to supply your own fast charge adapter, as Wileyfox has neglected to include one in the box.


One thing Wileyfox has improved on is the quality of its screen. Its 5in panel still has a resolution of only 1,280 x 720, but decent colour accuracy makes it much more pleasant to use than last year’s model. Now covering a much more respectable 91.3% of the sRGB colour gamut, the Swift 2 and Swift 2 Plus’ rich, punchy colours would be the envy of many other budget smartphones.

And yet, Wileyfox shoots itself in the foot here (or should that be paw?), as the screen’s brightness is significantly worse than the original Swift. Topping out at a mere 344cd/m2, it becomes very difficult to read in direct sunlight, and I often had to squint or shelter it with my hand to see it clearly. Couple that with a rather underwhelming contrast ratio of 786:1 and the Swift 2’s screen isn’t particularly versatile.


The key difference between the Swift 2 and Swift 2 Plus is the rear camera. As mentioned previously, I was sent the Swift 2 Plus for review, which is equipped with a 16-megapixel snapper. As a result, I won’t be able to comment on the regular Swift 2’s 13-megapixel camera until I get one in for review.

Judging by my test shots, though, it doesn’t look like you’ll be missing out on much. While colours were quite rich and vibrant, detail was sorely lacking, often lost in smudges of colour. The Swift 2’s camera also struggled to expose the sky correctly, blowing out the cloud into huge patches of white.

And despite being set to capture in 4:3, the onscreen viewfinder still displays as 16:9, making it hard to frame your shots accurately. I’ve complained about this several times on previous Wileyfox phones. It’s irritating to see this still hasn’t been fixed.

Indoor shots weren’t much better. They were extremely soft in low light, showing hardly any signs of sharp, crisp outlines. Things improved slightly when I turned on our studio lamps, but our still life arrangement still looked rather hazy around the edges.


The Swift 2 is an improvement on the original Swift, but even its attractive metal casing isn’t enough to make it stand out from the crowd. And, given the mediocre performance of the Plus’ rear camera, I can’t see any reason why you’d want to pick this over the regular Swift 2.

Even if you do opt for the £159 Swift 2, though, the similarly-priced Moto G4 is just so much better in every respect, offering superior battery life, faster performance, a larger, higher resolution screen and better camera, that it’s hard to look anywhere else. The Swift 2 might look a touch nicer in your hand, but the Moto G4 is much better value for money.

ProcessorQuad-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 430
Screen size5in
Screen resolution1,280 x 720
Screen typeIPS
Front camera8 megapixels
Rear camera16 megapixels
Storage (free)32GB (23.8GB)
Memory card slot (supplied)microSD (up to 64GB)
BluetoothBluetooth 4.0
Wireless data3G, 4G
Dimensions144 x 72 x 8.6mm
Operating systemCyanogen 13.1
Battery size2,700mAh

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