EE Kestrel review: a good low-cost 4G phone, but with a Moto on its back
EE's Kestrel has many good qualities, performance especially, that make it a very fair purchase at £99 off-contract. The camera and display may not suit the needs of everyone, however, and it won't be as competitive a handset when Motorola's LTE version of the Moto G launches imminently.
- Superb performance
- Expandable storage
- Cat 4 LTE
- Good value for money
- Uninspiring design
- Camera lacks versatility
- qHD display resolution may put some off
The adjectives "affordable" and "budget" often allude to something of inferior quality -- a questionable substitute for something more premium. Something out of financial reach. A few years ago, I would've assumed the same, having set up enough low-end Samsungs for family members to want only high-end handsets, extortionate contracts attached. Thanks to devices like Google's Nexus range and, most recently, the OnePlus One, we've never been more aware of value for money. The Moto G, in particular, proved that a solid smartphone could be an absolute bargain.
It's this newfound, positive connotation of affordable that EE's aiming for with its first own-brand smartphone, the Kestrel. Launched earlier this month for £99 on pay-as-you-go, or free from £14 per month on contracts, it's EE's play for the 4G-curious, money-conscious consumer. The Kestrel's LTE radio and inviting price tag aren't the sum of its selling points, either; there's also expandable storage and a very capable processor. Components such as the display and cameras are understandably more modest, but on paper, the Kestrel still ticks the value box. In the increasingly competitive area of low-cost handsets, however, the question isn't just whether the Kestrel is a worthwhile purchase, but whether you'll see it the same way a month later.