New smartphone brand Wileyfox arrived on the scene brandishing the Swift, a midish-range device with an agreeable £129 price tag. Last week, it followed up with the Storm, its second contract-free handset you could call Wileyfox's flagship. A flagship of sorts, anyhow, since at £199 it's only a fraction of the price of true top-tier handsets. Now, the Swift is a perfectly charming device, but it doesn't feel like it's punching above its weight to any extent. The orange accents and quirky circular earpiece give it some character, but the physical buttons are plastic, the back panel removable. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but its compact size and general build quality are more or less what you'd expect from an affordable device. The newer Storm, on the other hand, is only £70 more expensive, and yet it feels like it's batting in a completely different league.
Gallery: Wileyfox Storm | 15 Photos
Gallery: Wileyfox Storm | 15 Photos
Wileyfox's Storm looks like its been designed by the team at OnePlus, which both companies can take as a compliment. The Storm's slightly oblongish frame, lightly curved back and grainy, textured rear panel bear more than a passing resemblance to the OnePlus 2. The velvety back has a luxurious quality to it, while also affording you bags of extra grip. Paired with the heavily chamfered edge, the Storm sits incredibly comfortably in the hand, and that's coming from someone who isn't a huge fan of larger phones.
The overall build quality of the device is incredibly solid. At 155g, it's relatively lightweight for its size, and yet it doesn't feel at all flimsy, or cheaply made. The brushed metal power key and volume rocker sit tightly in their sockets, and everything else fits together perfectly too. At first glance, it's an extremely impressive and attractive device for something in the sub-£200 category.
While the Storm looks like it's pinched a few design cues from OnePlus' efforts, Wileyfox has made sure its stamp is all over it. Like the Swift, the Storm bears the angular foxhead logo and orange accents, including bronze-esque detailing around the primary 20-megapixel camera. Interestingly, the Storm also features a flash on the front of the device, complementing the 8-megapixel selfie snapper. The Storm is more visually interesting than I expect a phone at this price point to be; however, it could probably do with being a tad shorter. I don't see the point of filling a bottom bezel with capacitive navigation keys when you've got a 5.5-display at your fingertips. And on that note, the 1080p IPS panel is gorgeous, with nigh-on perfect colour temperature and deep blacks. Compared with the Swift's display, it's a huge leap, and not just because of the jump in resolution.
I'll report back when I've had more time to play with the Storm, but on first impressions, it's about as snappy and responsive as they come. It's not running the highest-end processor out there, but the 1.5GHz octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor and 3 gigs of RAM for company appear to cope just fine. There's no noticeable lag when dashing around CyanogenOS, and a smooth browsing experience confirms the Storm's a perfectly capable handset in terms of performance, at least where everyday use is concerned.
Considering the impressive spec sheet at an even more impressive £199 recommended price, I was expecting to pick up the Storm and immediately notice a cut corner here and a shortcoming there. Instead, I'm looking at a well-made device in a sleek package, and it's telling me Wileyfox might well be one to watch out for.