We are taking a look at the Rook from EE which is an affordable 4G smartphone that was released in July 2015.
EE is a digital communications company based in the UK and this phone is only available from EE stores. In this review the phone is running Android 5.1. The Rook is 2.5 Inches in width and is 5inches in length. On the front is a 4 inch screen with a resolution of 480 x 800 In the top left is the Proximity light sensor, next to that is the front camera over to the top centre is the Earpiece and on the right is the indicator light. Going over to the right is the power key for turning the phone on and off and toggling from stand by modes. Over on the left side of the device is the Volume Keys. Moving on to the very top here is the Headset slot for 3.5mm headphones and headsets and next to that here is the charging micro USB slot. At the very back of the phone starting at the top is the main Camera and main speaker, then on the bottom of the device is a microphone slot and this other hole is so you can take the backing off like this to remove the battery and add your micro sim and micro SD card. The rook has a MediaTek Quad-Core 64bit processor with1GB of Ram and 8GB of internal storage but from first turning on the phone it shows 3.38 available out of 4.36GB. with up to 32GB of external memory through the use of a micro SD card. The following Connectivity features the device has are as follows Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, Micro USB and Micro USB charging and FM Radio What you get in the box this is based on a order from July 2015 micro usb cable, headphones the phone and instructions no power supply was included in this box. On this device there is 3 screens to add your apps and widgets, swiping down shows you your current notifications then swiping or just tapping here will bring you to quick settings. Going back out and pressing here will bring up a list of all apps. Additional settings on this phone which can be useful is the option to schedule the device to power on & off and then Miravision in display settings. Miravision will enable you to enhance picture quality through quick mode or user mode. These are you things you can change contrast, saturation, brightness, sharpness, temperature and dynamic contrast. The phone takes only a few seconds to power up and once everything is up the device runs smoothly. The touch sensitivity is good and I never came across any issues swiping through the home screen, accessing apps,scrolling through messages or articles. The quality of the screen is below the average quality and has very washed out colours the viewing angles are not the best and tilting the screen slightly to the side or back will result in the colours looking even brighter and faded. The quality of the screens level of contrast and vibrancy appear better in games, photos and media appliacitons than on the home screen . If you choose a more darker or vibrant type of photo for your wallpaper this will improve this issue but only slightly. The games that I tested fall into the lower to medium category one of them would not work it opened up as a blank screen and then went straight back to the home screen as you can see here. I tested the games geometry dash, Beach buggy racing, candy crush and Lara croft Relic Run. All these games worked and I never had any performance issues but with Geometry dash the game ran but the only problem I had was with this was the response to double tapping did not always work and this effected me being able to get very far in the game. There is a 0.3mp camera on the front and a 5mp camera on the back and there is no flash. When you first go into the camera you will see this screen. This at the side will set smile detection on, this here is HDR mode and here will swap to front or back camera. These two tabs is to start recording or to take the photo. Over to the left corner is settings starting with general settings, store location, exposure, colour effect, scene mode, white balance, image properties which changes the sharpness, hue, saturation, brightness and contrast, then there is anti flicker. Now going over to camera settings we have zero shutter delay, face detection, auto scene detection, self timer, picture size, preview size, ISO. Then in video mode is EIS, microphone, audio mode, Time lapse and video quality. At the top is filter effects, Photo mode, Live photo, Face beauty Mode, Panorama and multi angle shoot.Taking a look at the sample photos there is a good level of vibrancy and some of the pictures taken up close look ok. There is the issue of focusing and sharpness missing at times. The video quality is 640 x 480 at 30 frames per second. Starting with the positives the phone is very light, easy to hold onto and is very straight forward I had no problems with it as it does what it is meant to. The down fall of it is the battery and this is a problem to me as it runs out very fast. On my first day testing the phone I had it fully charged and started the day at 6.30am and it was down to 5% by 3.30pm. This was based on about an hour of listening to music then using 4G services for no more than 5-10 minutes at a time which I went back and fourth from it about 4 or 5 times. Each time I was done with the internet I would turn data usage off and then set the phone to stand by. When I went into settings and in battery mode it shows that more than 40% of the battery is used when the phone is idle. Which is why it was draining while I was not even using the phone during working hours. The second reason is the screen. I then tried to resolve this issue by turning the screen brightness down to the lowest and install third party applications that kill off any apps that are constantly in use in the background. This does help extend the battery’s life spam but more so when you keep it on stand by but it still runs out faster than the average phones on the market at the moment. The phone is very basic the main selling point of the Rook is the 4G and this is why a lot of features have been stripped back to keep the cost down making this the lowest priced 4G device in the UK based on the time this video was uploaded. While the internet is very fast doing too much of this has a massive knock on the battery as mentioned already. If you keep data on and check social media frequently this phone will struggle to get through a long day and is not ideal for a lot of entertainment since the screen is one of the things that drain most of the power even on a lower brightness setting. Where I can see this phone being better suited is for someone looking for a secondary business phone for quick access to emails and websites or as an emergency phone. There is a lot of things that need to be improved or tweaked either through a firm ware update or in future models. Right now with this being a newly released phone the battery issues is what really lets the phone down and even though it is meant to be an affordable 4G device You might be better off paying a little bit more to get a phone with both 4G and a better performing battery if that is something you feel is more of priority to you.