A few weeks ago I attended a roundtable discussion with Wileyfox, a British-based smartphone manufacturer that has been ‘disrupting the handset market’ with their range of affordable contract and sim free handsets.
As a mum to two teenagers and not fully resistant to ‘pester power’ I personally feel that at around 12 years of age is a good time to get that first mobile phone.
Once children start secondary school it’s quite important for them to be able to get hold of you should they need to. This was 100% proven when Holly’s school secretary put her on the wrong school bus home during a time when there were year 6 students at the school having a taster day and the buses were full. To make room they sent some of the older children (although Holly was only 12 and in year 8 at the time) on a different route, and to cut a long story short Holly ended up 15 miles from home on the other side of Bristol. Had she not had her mobile phone to call me, from the side of a busy road, well, I just don’t know what would have happened but it most definitely would have been major panic stations on my part when she didn’t arrive home by 4pm.
Whilst Wileyfox make it clear they aren’t targeting children under 18, as a parent, the price of a Spark handset is appealing to me and I do think there is a definite market for them for teenagers. I think only you can know when the best time is for your child to have their own phone and the buzz word at the roundtable was ‘safety’: Do we have access to what our children are looking at, and would we restrict them? Can they be trusted with a phone, and what things could potentially go wrong?
And once you’ve decided the time is right for your child, who really wants to go out and pay £600 for a trendy handset or be tied into a contract for the next two years?
I think to be honest, even as adults the amount we spend on mobiles is a bit ridiculous, I mean if you really think about it, the money you’ve just spent on that two-year contract you could have saved and bought a Mulberry handbag.
As an Apple fan, I wasn’t sure what I would make of the Wileyfox handset but it is excellent. It has a decent sized 5″ HD screen that has 2.5d toughened (Dragontrail) glass and is said to be approximately six times tougher than standard glass and can directly resist scratches and pressure. It’s nice and slim at 8.65mm thin and is also very light. The handsets are available in sandstone black or white and there are cases available.
The stand out feature for me is the Wileyfox branding-it is seriously cool! This is one swish and sleek looking mobile with excellent branding. I also love the name and think it will definitely appeal to young people.
There are so many features that have impressed me so I’m going to list the techy stuff and also list a few of my favourite features to stop myself from waffling on. Here goes…
The techy stuff:
- Android 6.0, powered by
- 8MP front (selfie) camera
- 13MP primary camera
- Expandable memory up to 32GB
- Dual SIM functionality
- 16GB Memory + 2GB RAM
- 8.65mm thin
- Removable battery
My favourite features:
- It’s contract and sim free-so you can choose the network, tariff and bundle you want to be on. Thus saving you money.
- As a photographer, I am so impressed with the quality of the camera! You can see a picture I took with the Spark+ for Instagram below. The camera has face detection for focused shots, panorama capability, live filters, slow motion video burst mode and loads more features.
A couple of weeks ago we stayed @seaviewhols and visited #Polperro. I was challenged to take pics on my camera phone instead of DSLR and this one Holly took using the @officialwileyfox #Sparkplus ! What a shot it is 🙌 there is an incredible 13MP camera on the spark plus and I must say I’m bloomin’ impressed with it. What do you think?
- The lock down on apps-so basically you could send your child off to school with this phone and lock down all apps such as Snapchat and set it so they can only call or text, then once home you can unlock it for them to play with in their free time.
- I sometimes give Rose my phone in the car so she can watch Netflix but she has been known to delete an email or two (oops). This phone can lock down email, text messages, call function, etc so no accidental deleting of important stuff!
- I thought the “Truecaller” number reveal feature was absolutely brilliant, it will also tell you how many people have reported spam callers so the next time someone calls to tell you, you’ve won the Nigerian lottery you will know for sure that it’s a hoax…;-)
- An awesome safety feature is the Cyanogen ‘Remote Wipe’, allowing you to wipe all data from a lost or stolen phone simply by logging into the Cyanogen website, so no stranger can have access to your child’s personal information, content or profiles.
- And perhaps best of all you can pay £9.99 a year for a no questions asked screen replacement if you smash the screen. Anyone who has ever bought their teen a brand new phone only to have it smash within the first month will understand how AH-MAZING this is!
If you’re looking at getting a mobile phone for a Christmas present then my top recommendation would be to go for a Wileyfox handest and don’t forget they are contract and sim free. You dictate the network, tariff and bundle so nasty surprises when the phone bill comes. You will not be disappointed with this handset and I really do think it would make the perfect gift.
The Spark range of handsets can be ordered online at www.wileyfox.com and other online retailers, including Amazon, so no need to brave the high street on a weekend. The phones are delivered in ‘fits- through-your-letterbox’ packaging so no need to wait in for the postman either.
I was most impressed by the passionate way the Wileyfox representative spoke about the company. It really struck me that this is a company that genuinely does care about its customers, and is bringing to the fore some of the best and most impressive tech on the market at an incredibly attractive price point. I really think that Wileyfox has filled a huge gap in the market and totally nailed it.
I walked out of the meeting feeling honoured that I’ve had the opportunity to be involved with this company at an early stage because at some point it will be a household name that has completely disrupted the handset market and is competing big time with the big boys.
Watch your back Apple, Wileyfox is coming for you…