Why you can trust ZDNet
Our recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We may earn a commission when you purchase a product through our links. This helps support our work but does not influence what we write about or the price you pay. Our editors thoroughly review and fact check every article. Our process

‘ZDNet Recommends’ What exactly does that mean?

ZDNet’s recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNet nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNet's editorial team writes on behalf of YOU, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form


Wileyfox Swift 2 X, First Take: A good-value mid-range handset, but Cyanogen is an issue

  • Editors' rating
    Not yet rated

British smartphone maker Wileyfox barely allowed the dust to settle on its Swift 2 and Swift 2 Plus handsets before coming up with yet another addition to the stable, the Swift 2 X. Described as the "A-lister" in the Swift 2 range, the X model has 32GB of storage and a 16-megapixel main camera like the £189 Swift 2 Plus, but adds a better screen and NFC. The smaller entry-level Swift 2, meanwhile, costs £159.


The 5.2-inch Swift 2 X comes in Midnight and Gold colours and costs £219 (inc. VAT).

Image: Wileyfox

At £219, The Swift 2 X sits in a pretty crowded market and it has to be quite special to stand out. The good news for Wileyfox is that it does this. But there's one elephant in the room that needs to be dealt with before all else, and that's the OS.

The Swift 2 X runs Android 6 Marshmallow in a third-party wrapper called Cyanogen OS. Cyanogen offers a range of tweaks to vanilla Android, many of which focus on allowing the user to customise settings in more depth than standard Android. I find it adds capabilities without being overbearing.

However, Cyanogen has now officially closed down -- the most recent blog post at the Cyanogen website is the announcement of this, dated 23 December 2016. Wileyfox has said it is committed to supporting Cyanogen, and has promised an update to Android 7 Nougat in due course. This wasn't available at the time of writing, so anyone interested in purchasing a Wileyfox handset might want to check on all this before buying.

That noted, the Swift 2 X is a competent smartphone. It has a build somewhat better in terms of both quality and design than its price might suggest, with a sturdy aluminium backplate that's cool to the touch with neatly curved edges. The Swift 2 X comes in two colours -- Midnight, which is deep blue, and Gold. I was sent the latter, and its white front and muted orange-golden back are bright and pleasant.


The rear camera is a 16-megapixel unit. Beneath it is a fingerprint reader.

Image: Wileyfox

There are some good usability features, notably a fingerprint sensor on the back that's responsive and efficient, NFC -- which means support for Android Pay -- and a USB-C connector for those keen to move ahead with the latest technology.

Top ZDNET Reviews

The 5.2-inch IPS screen offers FHD resolution (1080 x 1920 pixels) and is pleasingly bright and clear, delivering a high-quality visual experience for a handset at this price. An octa-core Snapdragon 430 processor with an Adreno 505 GPU provides the power, with 3GB of RAM in support. It's a fair setup for a mid-range handset and well up to the tasks I wanted to perform, although demanding mobile gamers will want something more powerful.

The speaker grilles on the bottom of the handset deliver decent quality audio at a fair volume -- good enough for some headset-free video consumption, for example.

There are two SIM slots, although one can also accommodate a MicroSD card. So you can boost the handset's 32GB of internal storage, so long as you don't need to use a second SIM.


The Swift 2 X measures 72.2mm wide by 144mm tall by 8.8mm thick and weighs 155g.

Image: Wileyfox

The main camera is a 16-megapixel unit, while the front-facing one has a resolution of 8 megapixels. I found focussing a little slow at times, and low-light shooting somewhat disappointing -- the small LED flash doesn't help a great deal here. That said, photos are fine for the usual social sharing activities if you stick to the outdoors or well-lit indoor scenes.

Wileyfox has included a 3,010mAh battery which kept the Swift 2 X going for more than a day of general use that included some browsing, YouTube streaming, always-on wi-fi and voice calls. In fact, I found battery performance to be above-average for a handset in this price range.

When power is needed the fast-charging capability of Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 might come in handy -- as long as you're prepared to buy a charger, as Wileyfox doesn't provide one. All you get in the box is a standard USB-C charge cable.

Although the Wileyfox Swift 2 X doesn't have any standout features, it's a well thought-out smartphone for the price. Photography fans might want to steer clear, and anyone concerned about the Cyanogen issue should do their research before buying.

Read more reviews


Type Smartphone