Wileyfox Spark First Impressions : Impressive for £90

Earlier today in (relatively) Sunny London, Wileyfox hosted an event to announce their new Spark range of devices, The Spark, Spark+ and Spark X, we were given a entry level Spark to play with and take back home with us for review.

Whilst you can find the specs almost anywhere, I’ll reiterate some of the most important ones:

  • -5″ 1280x720p Fully laminated IPS LCD
  • -Quad-Core 1.3Ghz MediaTek MTK6735 (Cortex A53, Mali-T720 GPU)
  • -1GB RAM, 8GB Internal storage (about 3.5gb at first boot)
  • -MicroSD expansion slot officially supporting up to 32gb MicroSD cards with Adoptable storage.
  • -8MP Autofocus Rear camera, 1.4Micron pixels
  • -8mp fixed focus front facing camera, 1.12micron pixels
  • -2200mAh removable Lithium-Polymer Battery
  • -Dual MicroSIM
  • -£89.99

So those are the most important specs, I could get into the nitty gritty about who makes the camera sensor and who manufactures the glass (It’s OmniVision and Asahi DragonTrail, respectively) but i’ll leave that for the real review, this is just my first impressions.

The Spark is remarkably light, it feels even lighter than its 134g mass would make you think, this is because it’s plastic, thin, light plastic, with the nice sandstone coating that we saw on the Swift and Storm from last year. If we take a look around the device, on the right had side we have the power button situated 3/4 of the way up the device, taking a 180 we have the volume rocker on the left hand side a similar amount up the device. These buttons have relatively good travel, but feel ever so slightly mushy, but on the plus side arent wobbly or loose leading to rattles.

Up top is the 3.5mm audio jack and down the bottom we have the MicroUSB port and microphone. Whilst I’d rather the 3.5mm audio jack be on the bottom, on a device of this cost I can’t really lament the omission of USB-C when even Samsung flagships of this gen don’t have them. It would have been nice to have the microUSB port central, but again, not a deal breaker on a device costing £90.

Up front we have the 5″ 720p screen which looks really quite nice, good vibrant colours, it does come with a pre-installed screen protector which seems to like getting nice and smudgey, which I’ll probably be removing once the review is over, but it’s nice they give you one out of the box. Above the screen we have the ambient light and proximity sensor, the 8mp front facing camera and the nicely orange accented earpiece. Wileyfox have tamed down the accent tones this time and I thank them for it, the Swift and Storm in some lights were a bit gaudy, this is nice and subtle.

Lastly on the back we have the 8mp autofocus rear camera with a single LED flash next to it, in the same place as last year we have the still awesome Wileyfox 3D fox logo, and beneath that we have the Orange Wileyfox branding with a deceptively wide grill for the mono rear facing speaker, but hey, for £90 at least you’re getting a speaker that doesn’t sound half bad.

So how does it perform? Honestly, not terribly, the Quad-Core MediaTek chipset does admirably, but the choice to whack in only 1gb of RAM is startling in 2016, doing simple things such as updating the apps in the background made the device grind to a halt, not the best first impression, but honestly, once everything has been updated, it’s pretty smooth sailing, like I said for the price its a cracker, and I know they’re very price conscious here, they omitted things like NFC and 5Ghz WiFi radios to keep the price down, so adding in an extra gigabyte of RAM was probably out of the question.

Keep it locked to MobileTechTalk for the full review in a few weeks, until then, enjoy the photos from the event.

About Domenico Lamberti

Technology has been a big part of my life for years, whether it be ripping the family computer apart to see how it worked, playing with the new phones that Dad brought home from work. Senior Reviewer for MTT.

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