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Wileyfox Spark hands-on: For $120, this phone is astounding

In London today, Wileyfox, a tiny (CEO Nick Muir says it has 27 employees) British phone manufacturer, announced the Spark: a £89.99 ($120) phone that has razor-thin margins. Specs include a 1.3GHz MediaTek processor, 1GB RAM, and one 8-megapixel camera on each side.

When I first picked this phone up, all I thought was "for £89.99, damn that is nice." It makes you wonder how Wileyfox does it; its previous phone, the Swift, was similarly received with exclamations of "how?!" when it launched for £129.99.

Onto the phone: it's very light, weighing only 136g. The screen, an IPS 5-inch display, seems to be bright and responsive, and the buttons are clicky.

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Wileyfox launches new Spark range, cheap phones and incremental improvements

Wileyfox are known - or rather, unknown - for their cheap, but well-specced smartphones. The Swift and Storm launched last year to generally good reviews, praising the affordability, performance, and design of the two phones, while criticising cameras and the occasional build quality issue. Today, the British company is announcing a range of phones, named Spark, Spark +, and Spark X.

SPARK - banner_black SPARK - wf_sparks_x2

The Spark is the most affordable handset of the three, costing just £89.99 ($120) off-contract. Despite this, it has a 5-inch, 720p IPS display, 8GB storage, two 8-megapixel camera, and runs CyanogenOS 13, based on Android 6.0 Lollipop. The processor is a quad-core MediaTek MT6735A running at 1.3GHz, with 1GB of RAM onboard.

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Wileyfox Swift Gets Upgraded To Cyanogen OS Version 13 (Based On Android 6.0.1)

Slowly but surely, Android offshoot-slash-alternative Cyanogen OS is gaining ground. The incorporated and semi-proprietary version of the CyanogenMod ROM now powers a handful of retail-available phones from companies like YU, Zuk, and Smartfen, though larger manufacturers like OnePlus and Oppo have seemingly cooled on Cyanogen software. Speaking of OnePlus, its One hardware was the first to get access to Cyanogen OS version 13, based on Android 6.0.1 code. Today the Swift from Wileyfox becomes the second.

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Cyanogen Partners With Smartphone Newcomer WileyFox To Bring Two New Mid-Range Devices To Europe, Africa, And The Middle East

You've probably never heard of a smartphone maker from the UK called WileyFox, and with good reason. The company didn't exist until just recently. This upstart London outfit is releasing two new mid-range smartphones, and they'll be powered by Cyanogen OS. They won't be targeting the Americas, though.

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