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Wileyfox Spark review – it doesn’t light my fire

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £90
inc VAT (SIM-free, as of 5th July)

Beautifully made, but its sluggish performance and terrible battery life fail to make sparks fly


Processor: Quad-core 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6735, Screen Size: 5in, Screen resolution: 1,280×720, Rear camera: 8 megapixels, Storage (free): 8GB (3.95GB), Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Dimensions: 143x70x8.7mm, Weight: 135g, Operating system: Cyanogen 13.0 OS



Topping it all off is its equally irritating 8-megapixel camera. Despite being set by default to take pictures in a 4:3 aspect ratio, the onscreen viewfinder is locked to 16:9, giving you a poor indication of what you’ll actually be capturing in the resulting image.

It was a complaint I levelled at the Wileyfox Swift as well, so it’s a shame that Wileyfox hasn’t improved this for the Spark. As a result, framing photos in anything other than 16:9 is very difficult, as you simply have no idea how much extra stuff you’re capturing above and below what’s onscreen.

That said, when the camera’s exposure levels are so wonky, you probably won’t be putting these in your family album anyway, as all of my test photos were either far too light and overexposed or shrouded in darkness. They all had a noticeable amount of noise and grain present as well, and switching to HDR mode was even worse, as this smoothed over nearly every last trace of fine detail so everything looked like a soft, smeary mess.

Wileyfox Spark camera test^ In order to expose the sky correctly, the rest of the image became very dark and dingy, losing detail in the centre of the frame

It struggled with our indoor tests, too, as our still life arrangement was soft, out of focus and very low on detail even in bright lighting conditions. The flash didn’t help, either, as this arguably produced even more hazy borders and object outlines than when I had it turned off.

Wileyfox Spark camera test indoors^ Even in bright indoor lighting, the Spark struggled to focus and capture a decent amount of detail


All in all, any burst of light the Spark might have had on paper all but fizzles out when you start using it. Its battery life is terrible, it’s extremely slow and its camera simply isn’t good enough. Throw in just 8GB of storage (of which just under 4GB is available to the user), and the Spark disappoints on nearly every count.

Instead, the 2nd Gen Moto E still firmly reigns as my sub-£100 smartphone of choice, which is ludicrous, really, given it’s just over two years old. Still, even today, it’s by far one of the quickest budget smartphones you can currently buy, and its screen and camera still hold up despite their age. Alternatively, you can spend a little bit more and get a 3rd Gen Moto G for £130, which is an even bigger step-up in terms of overall quality. 

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ProcessorQuad-core 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6735
Screen size5in
Screen resolution1,280×720
Screen typeIPS
Front camera8 megapixels
Rear camera8 megapixels
Storage (free)8GB (3.95GB)
Memory card slot (supplied)microSD
BluetoothBluetooth 4.0
Wireless data3G, 4G
Operating systemCyanogen 13.0 OS
Battery size2,200mAh

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