EE Kestrel budget 4G smartphone

EE has begun selling its Kestrel 4G smartphone in the UK, offering it free with contracts starting at just £13.99 per month, or it costs just £99 on a pay-as-you-go basis. This makes the EE Kestrel the UK's cheapest 4G smartphone. See also: The 6 best budget smartphones: what's the best budget smartphone?

On that cheapest tariff the Kestrel comes with 500MB of data, 500 minutes and unlimited texts. Other price plans go from 1GB of data with 1,000 minutes and unlimited texts for £18.99 per month, right up to £37.99 per month for 20GB of data, unlimited minutes and unlimited texts. See also: What is the OnePlus One phone? Super-budget, premium-spec smartphone to take on Samsung, Sony and HTC.

That's cheap when you consider that the best budget smartphones such as the Nokia Lumia 520 and Motorola Moto G don't support 4G - they're limited to 3G speeds. See also: What is 4G?

Behind its EE logo, the Kestrel is a Huawei handset with a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor. It's a Cat 4 LTE handset meaning it's theoretically capable of reaching 150Mbps download speeds. That might sound great but the tariff includes a paltry 500MB of data which even at real-world 4G speeds (12-15Mbps) won't last long - certainly not a month for most people.

Similar to the Huawei Ascend P6, the Kestrel's remaining specs consist of a 4.5in qHD screen, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, a microSD card slot, a 2000mAh battery and a 5Mp camera.

The smartphone is running on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with Huawei's Emotion UI on top. However, EE adds what could be described as 'bloatware' in the form of own-brand apps and 'free games'. Amazon's own Appstore is preloaded alongside the Google Play store.

EE's Kestrel is the first in a planned line up of own-brand devices named after birds of prey - watch out for more.

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