Still available new, the Wileyfox Pro in 2019

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For the last six months (at least) the Wileyfox Pro (WFP, for short!) has been the only Windows 10 Mobile smartphone that's still available to buy 'new' in an official capacity. It's still available today, in March 2019, amazingly, with a dozen or so kept in stock at any given time by Wileyfox, it seems. I was impressed by quite a few aspects of the WFP when I reviewed it, despite the budget specs - but the big question is how well does it perform with a year of Windows 10 Mobile branch and Microsoft core UWP application updates under its belt? I investigate...

Wileyfox Pro

We've all been there. Either as 'the employee' or as 'the friend of the employee'. You're chatting about phones with someone and the subject of a lesser 'work phone' comes up. And out comes either a battered two year old mid-range Samsung or, in this case, perhaps a Windows 10 Mobile budget device, such as the Wileyfox Pro. Currently only about £60 (amazingly), this is actually the perfect 'work' device to hand out to people in a small business when you want them to concentrate on what you need them to do - referencing and updating Excel files in the field, checking work Exchange email, and perhaps running a custom Progressive Web App for a company. The WFP is a terrible consumer smartphone, after all, so there's zero chance that employees will waste any time on social media or games. I'd go so far as to say that it's a productivity power house phone, in some ways, because there's not that much more that you can do with any fluidity.

Which all sounds a bit damning from the point of view of an AAWP reader/phone enthusiast. But is the Wilefox Pro really just a budget work device? Well, yes and no. I've been investigating, spending 24 hours with my SIM in the phone and noting all the things which did and didn't work. The good news? It can do SO much more than you'd expect a £60 smartphone to do. The bad news? It's a bit of a letdown in performance even compared to 2014/2015-era Lumias.

Still - at the current new price, I can't see why every self-respecting Windows phone enthusiast shouldn't own one, even keeping it as a backup device.

Some notes then:


Bang up to date, of course, with the very latest March 2019 Windows 10 Mobile builds (after my - ahem - nudge), good to see for a budget phone after 'ship it and forget it' stories from the Android world; (right) all core OS UWP applications continue to update too, with the Office apps being tweaked at least once a month. Impressive.


Given that this has all the latest Office UWP updates, I'm just editing a Word file here, from a template. See also the Excel photo below - handy for an employee with an up to date OneDrive product price spreadsheet, perhaps?

Excel on the WFP


Battery life on the Wileyfox Pro is actually astonishing. Partly that lowly Snapdragon 210 chipset, partly the 720p screen, partly that you can't do as much on the device as you might on something more capable, but in a day of use it only dropped 40% battery. And, day to day, standby time is far better than the flagships like the IDOL 4 Pro; (right) the lowly camera's fine for snaps too - here I'd lent it to my niece for a few minutes. Heh. Ten photos of not very much later...!!


Of course, I've taken some nice 8MP snaps with the WFP as well, here's a little proof. Yes, even in low light. It won't win any imaging awards, but it'll do for snaps and even Office Lens documents in good light.


More consumer-y bits... Videos play fine, Windows 10 Mobile is very capable, even on this slow chipset, though thumbnail generation does seem to be broken; (right) watching Madonna at the Super Bowl!


Maps and Navigation are perfect on the Wileyfox Pro - the low screen resolution and slowish processor makes no difference to the navigation experience and offline maps, traffic hook-up, and navigation work as well here as on the likes of the Lumia 950...


Music also works well, only from storage on the phone now that Groove streaming from OneDrive is being canned. Audio fidelity isn't close to that on my IDOL 4 Pro, but it's acceptable for most music, through Bluetooth or 3.5mm jack.


The News UWP app for Windows 10 is always fast and well laid out, while Edge works fine on the WFP for responsive and sensibly-adaptive web sites (BBC here)...


Hit Edge (or here, its engine in the Twitter PWA) with a 'heavy' site with lots of javascript and it slows down markedly, mind you. The Snapdragon 210 and 2GB RAM cope, but there are signs of display break up and tearing as I swipe up and down pages and/or a timeline here. Not unusable, but not pleasant, either.

In short, the Wileyfox Pro is about what you'd expect in terms of a smartphone with relatively slight specifications. The unique selling points here are that a) it exists, new, in 2019, bang up to date in terms of OS security, at least; and b) it's s cheap. Wileyfox seems to have stabilised at the £60 price point but I can't imagine that this is more than its build cost, so at some point the stock will finally run out. For real this time.

I have no anecdotal evidence that the Wileyfox Pro is being used as a 'company phone' in specific organisations in 2019, but it would be nice to think that this is the case. Somewhere.

Even if you've never spotted one in anger, I'd recommend any Windows completists grabbing this 'at cost' and then you'd own part of the final chapter of Windows on phones. Trust me, the Wileyfox Pro is a little charmer and good value - and a super phone to keep signed in with all your 'stuff' for when you need a backup (or 'pub') device.

IDOL 4 Pro and Wileyfox Pro

The Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro next to the Wileyfox Pro, for interest and comparison's sake.