UK’s £90 Wileyfox Spark Smartphone Takes On Android Heavyweights

Wileyfox’s third phone costs between £90 and £130 as UK manufacturer claims quality shoudn’t come at a cost

British smartphone manufacturer Wileyfox has detailed its third major handset, claiming the Spark will be a low cost Android challenger that doesn’t compromise on design or features and comes without some of the restrictions imposed by other devices and operators.

The company has launched two handsets since it arrived in the market last year – the Swift and the Storm – and hopes that by making the Spark available via Amazon without a contract, users can be more flexible with tariffs.

Dual SIM support means business and personal devices can be consolidated into one unit, and it could open up the possibility of cheaper roaming with a local SIM card.

Wileyfox Spark

Wileyfox Spark 10This flexibility extends to the operating system too. The Wileyfox Spark runs Android Marshmallow but also comes with Cyanogen 13.0 – a highly customisable variant of Google’s mobile operating system.

The device can access all of the applications from the Google Play store, but without having to give away so much personal information, and customised features allow users to do things like upgrade a regular voice call to a Skype video conversation.

The Wileyfox Spark is powered by a quad core 1.3GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and has a removable battery that promises up to 352 hours of standby time. It has eight megapixel front and rear cameras, a 5 inch display and 8GB of storage, which can be extended through a MicroSD card slot.

Android challenger

The device comes in black or white and Wileyfox promises the low cost doesn’t mean poor quality components or design.

Wileyfox Spark

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Holding smartphone

“Smartphones are now as important to us as air – they are an indispensable part of our lives, not a luxury like they used to be. That’s why we believe that they need to work for us and who we are,” said Nick Muir, Wileyfox CEO.

“But everyone’s different. We’re obsessive about what you need from your phone, so we have ripped up the rule book and set new standards with the Spark. We believe its unrivalled in design and performance with additional features that you can’t get anywhere else at extraordinary value for money. It’s choice our customers have never had before.”

The Spark costs £89.99, while the Spark +, which doubles storage to 16GB and RAM to 2GB, costs £114.99. The Spark X has the same specs s the Spark + but has a 5.5 inch screen and larger battery. Pre-orders start today and the devices will be shipped on 12 July.

Wileyfox has a significant challenge on its hands however. The Android market is dominated by major players like Samsung and LG, while a number of Chinese manufacturers such as Xiaomi and Huawei have enjoyed success in their home market. Kazam, founded by two former HTC executives, is another British manufacturer and has released a number of Android-based handsets in recent years.

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