Last week Rebecca and I headed to London to meet with Wileyfox to discuss our views on children having phones and also to learn about this brand and their own line of mobile phones.
Over a delicious lunch at The Artist's Residence, it was interesting to hear everyone's opinions and experiences of children and first phones. We had many shared experiences- young kids playing on our own phones and older kids putting pressure on adults to have a phone of their own. Most of us agreed that children could have a phone by secondary school. In my opinion, I a good time to consider a handset for a child is when they start being away from home with their friends- it's reassuring to know that as a parent you can get hold of them and that they can call you immediately if they need to. It also depends on the individual child of course, are they mature enough to look after a phone and use it sensibly?
We also got to hear about the brand and see their phones for ourselves. This was the first time I had heard about Wileyfox. So, who are Wileyfox?
Wileyfox are a new British mobile phone manufacturer based in London. They believe that being bound to long term mobile phone contracts and paying over the odds for a phone is outdated. They want to give us extra value for money, more custom and choice and also unrivalled privacy, security and also freedom.
This is all sounds good but how can they do it? When buying a phone I tend to believe that the more I pay for a phone, the better it is, so couldn't help but wonder if Wileyfox are having to make compromises in some way by offering affordable phones.
Thankfully, it turns out no. They save money in other ways, for example by not having flagship stores (they are available exclusively online). They take the best components manufactured for other phones and put them together to make the best affordable phone possible (for example the Swift contains Sony 20MP EXMOR IMX220 camera technology).
We were given the Spark + to have a play with. Firstly, I love the bright, sleek packaging it comes in. The box is slimline enough to fit through a letterbox (so no more waiting around to sign for a phone).
The box contains the phone handset, USB charging lead and the warranty card and quick start guide. There is no charger included as this helps to cut down on unwanted chargers (I have a box full of them!) and reduces their carbon printout (it also makes the previously mentioned letterbox posting possible). You also need to supply your own SIM.
Another plus point for Wileyfox is all their phones are dual sim- great for travellers and for having a work and personal number.
There is also space for an SD Card to increase storage (I need this, my current phone is forever warning me my storage is full).
The 2200mAh battery is longlasting with 352 hours stand by and 720 minutes talk time. Importantly though, a back up battery can be purchased so the battery can be quickly replaced while on your travels. I have been saying for a long time that phone manufacturers need to think about a better battery option for their customers and this is it.
The phone's contoured front is made from Dragontail™ glass - 6 times tougher than standard glasscomes with a screen protector but if you find this "too plasticky" you can purchase a sleeker glass screen protector. There is also an option to purchase screen protection for £9.99 which is great value (and I could have certainly done with this in the past).
Sometimes though it's the simplest things that can make a difference. I love the flat usb charger that can be stored neatly away.
Wileyfox's operating system is Cyanogen 13 OS, which is new to me. It brings all the familiar features from Android, plus it offers unrivalled privacy, security and greater choices in how you use your everyday apps.
There is also a True Caller App which sounds like a great way to kill those PPI cold callers.
The phone was very quick to fully charge (it arrived at 60% charged) and set up. We decided to test out the camera as in the past less expensive phones have taken poorer quality photos.
|Photo taken with iphone 5s|
|Photo taken with Spark +|
Overall, I really enjoyed our chat with Wileyfox and think I'd like to try my nearly ten year old daughter with a first phone so I can contact her when out with her friends. My thirteen year old son already has one. In addition to the features mentioned, I like the pin scramble lock (and how the phone can be automatically unlocked when home) and how different app folders can be locked so I can keep an eye on their gaming and social media time. You could potentially start it off with kids only being able to access the calls and messages and open more apps up as the child matures. It's a great phone to grow with your child. There are so many ways to customise this phone that it suits every savvy customer who wants the best technology with a great price.
Wileyfox are currently improving their customer support and the new system will be up and running in mid September.