Review by Sunetra Chakravati,10/29/2015 10:37:20 AM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Fab camera | Expandable memory | HD display
Terrible battery | siting of speaker could be better
A new phone manufacturer needs to be given an instant salute for the gumption of going into the trecherous waters of mobile phone manufacturing where some marketing budgets rival the GDP of small countries.
This is the same gap that even Samsung have woken upto. So, Wileyfox very cunningly went ahead and unleashed two handsets with quality specs and an entirely new operating system. The Wileyfox Swift (£129) is a very good choice for a budget handset with additional security features and the Storm that I review here has become the third largest pre-ordered mobile phone on Amazon in the UK.
£199. Priced on the right side of the mid-range market, the <£200 tag will ensure it finds a lot more eyeballs on it than a phone at £469. The mid-range market has gone through a tilt-shift and almost everything out there which doesnt cost over £475 is now in that spectrum. No such problems with this one!
The phone looks very unique, it has a soft suedette feel to the back which is surprisingly grippable and is dark grey in colour. Furthermore, there is a burnt orange accent to the phone, from the wallpaper to the trim around the lens and the name embossed on the back which gives it a very grown-up look and feel, bordering on sophistication.
The logo on the back is embossed and 'non-scream-y' further bolstering its understated elegance. In hand, the curved back makes it easy to hold and the edges are matt plastic and there is another slight lip before it meets the display. All buttons (2) are sited on the right side with the volume toggle above the power one.
The phone measures 9.2mm at its thickest point but the curvature of the sides make sure it doesnt feel like you are holding a brick.
There are plenty of unique features to be found on the Storm. First of all, Cyanogen 12.1 is the operating system that helps make the Storm the phone it is. Basically a hugely customised Android operating system, it is best known for its privacy features and different layout. So, a Truecaller dialler on board ensures you never get spammy phonecalls from those selling double glazing or promising you 1000s of pounds for PPI claims. Secondly, you will never have to scroll up and down between apps, they are all laid out alphabetically so just find the letter, then the app and play.
You are also able to control security settings for every app individually rather than a wholesale tick on Android. So, you can decide not to give Google Maps access to your camera or withhold the microphone access to Twitter that the app would have automatically recieved on other OS.
You also have the ability to log onto the Cyanogen website to remotely wipe your phone in case you lose it and the phone will additionally randomly change the pattern of numbers so fellow commuters cannot memorise your pin with a glance.
There is a handy little 'Themes' section which can help you change the look and feel of your phone, and when I looked, it had both paid as well as free ones available. Thankfully the free ones weren't absolutely rubbish with a great Minions theme and the de rigueur zombie theme on there, even though a little stale for Halloween.
You also get the whole suite of Google apps that can be moved around but not deleted.
I ran a host of tests on the mid-ranger and the 3GB RAM nicely rounded off the 26.5GB that's available for you to play with on a 32GB total. You are able to further expand memory to 128GB via a microSD card which can also double as a SIM tray part 2 in case you need 2 phone numbers but not much storage on your device.
However, owing to the price of the handset, I am not sure what the performance will be like in a few months down the line.
However, on GeekBench 3,Manhattan, it came in at 340.4 Frames. The same result as the Samsung Galaxy A7. For the other high level tests, it returned tests that put it in the same position as the the HTC Desire 820 (Manhattan Offscreen 1080p), and the Apple iPhone 5 (T-Rex)
The render quality (high precision) test returned a score similar to the LG G Flex 2 and the battery test was a let down at 754.
The Antutu test returned a score of 30125 which is one of the lower ones I have seen, with the Nexus 5X clocking in at 56968.
A 20-MP camera on a <£200 phone seems like someone's taking the mick but it actually is absolutely amazing. To be fair, I was a bit apprehensive about how it would perform but once you start taking pictures, you realise that you have a winner in your hands.
The 8-MP selfie camera is really good for Skype conversations and club selfies are guaranteed to look better with the flash on board. The CMOS sensor makes sure that colours are richly reproduced and there are all the apps, filters and add-ons that will make this a perfect choice. If you dont buy it for any reason, buy the Wileyfox Storm for its strikingly amazing camera. Video recording is at 1080p but it is not as strikingly amazing as the still camera but does the job satisfactorily.
Sample shots at the bottom of the page.
The Storm is a phablet with a 5.5-inch IPS display. I consume a lot of media on the go and the experience of streaming and watching downloaded content is very good indeed. Obviously you won't get the pin-sharp clarity of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ but then the Storm also doesnt cost the equivalent of a monthly mortgage payment in London.
With a pixel per inch density of 400 and a 1080p resolution it is exactly at the level it needs to be for us to give it a double thumbs-up. 4G streaming worked really well and the sound quality is not bad either, both via headphones and through the speaker at the lower back of the phone.
If you are listening through the speaker, the only problem is that there is a great likelihood of your covering it with your hands when you hold it in landscape.
Another major factor when streaming or watching videos is battery life and I was surprised how badly the Wileyfox Storm performed on this front.
I streamed video from Youtube over 4G at 100% brightness and had about 16% battery left over when I started the test, 18 minutes later I only had 4% juice left!
This makes the Storm not the best choice if you are a media guzzler.
It is a great phone at a great price, the only major drawback is the under-par battery. The camera wowed me and I have come to like Cyanogen, especially because of the ease of finding apps and the Truedialler feature. Expandable memory, dual SIM capabilites and the full HD screen makes it one to watch, especially at our awards show next year.
We cannot wait to see what Wileyfox produce next!
OS: Cyanogen OS 12.1 based on Android Lollipop 5.1
Dimension: 155.6 x 77.3 x 9.2mm,
Display: 5.5” Full HD Display
Resolution: 1920×1080 pixels PPI 400
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 Chipset, Octa-Core
Camera: 20MP Rear Camera / 8MP Front Facing with flash and range of shooting features
Connectivity: WiFi 2.4GHz, protocols 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth v.4 (LE)
Memory: 32GB ROM + 3GB RAM. Expandable MicroSD up to 128GB
Battery: Non-removable 2,500mAh
Note: Shipping without a charger in the box.