The Wiko Highway Star really impressed me a lot as you can read in my full review. The last four weeks I had the joy to spend some time with another smartphone from the French manufacturer – the Wiko Ridge 4G. With a targeted price point of 250 CHF (~256 $) at launch time and a market price of around 219 CHF (September 2015) the phone is noticeably lower priced than the Highway Star. Still, the device easily managed to impress me! While you definitely have to make some compromises, there are also areas where the Ridge 4G is better than Wiko’s flagship device. Let’s have a closer look…
Design & Build Quality
Yet the Wiko Highway Star really satisfied me in terms of design and build quality – and Ridge 4G absolutely does the same. And it even comes with some nice additions which the first-named didn’t have. One of them being the more or less prominent Wiko branding on the top right corner of the Ridge’s front, which was lacking on the Highway Star. I explained my wish for it in full detail in the first part of our video review. Now the front feels more like it belongs to a Wiko smartphone and not just to basically every smartphone out there. The whole front is very time-less designed and I quite like it.
But the most exciting part of the whole phone is probably the back, which feels absolutely premium and has nice feeling to it. When I first looked at the device it immediately reminded me of the OnePlus One regarding the look of the back and from what I’ve heard about the extraordinary feeling of the back of the mentioned phone, I thought the Ridge’s back cover feels also quite the same. So, I asked my brother who once had the chance to hold the OnePlus One and he confirmed my thinking although he added “it doesn’t feel as rough as the OnePlus One does”. But not only does the back feel very premium, it also provides a great grip and you never have to worry about dropping the device – it’s just not slippery. Something that is a little bit disruptive are the small gaps between the front and the back parts of the device. Of course that’s a trade-off you have to make when the back cover is removable – still Microsoft does a better job with the Lumia 830 or even 640 and 640 XL. After all, this is complaining on a high level.
The left and right side of the Ridge 4G are made out of metal and feel very premium. Furthermore the buttons – volume rocker and power button – are made out of metal too which gives them a very sturdy feeling. In fact, I’d say the volume rocker is just perfect in terms of build quality and feedback – one of the best I’ve ever seen on a smartphone! Great job, Wiko! The power button on the other hand is also well finished although it could be slightly sturdier.
Overall the Wiko Ridge 4G really surprised me in terms of design and build quality and feels much more premium than you would expect. Especially the back and the great volume rocker satisfied me completely.
Design & Build Quality – Pros and Cons:
+ Nice design, overall premium feeling
+ Premium, comfortable back cover
+ Back cover is removable
+ Great volume rocker
+ Wiko Branding on the front 😀
With a diagonale length of 5 inches, the Wiko Ridge 4G has the same display size as the Highway Star. And that’s probably the right size for almost everyone out there as the display isn’t as huge as on the Lumia 640 XL and not as tiny as on an iPhone 5S.
5″ IPS LCD
Resolution: 1280 x 720 (294ppi)
Sadly, no double tap to wake up
Like every other phone I’ve tested so far, the Ridge 4G has a resolution of 1280 x 720p. As I stated in the other reviews I’m absolutely fine with 720p on 5 inches. Nothing to complain here – especially since this isn’t meant to be a high-end smartphone.
Also in terms of brightness the Ridge 4G is quite similar to the Highway Star. The display can get extremely bright which makes the phone a very good outdoor device as you very rarely get in a situation where you can’t read what’s on the display. The same is true for auto brightness: The Wiko smartphone handles brightness just very well and I used the device nearly 100 % of the time in auto mode – I just never had to adjust something manually as the phone achieved to always set the right brightness level. But this doesn’t mean auto brightness was perfect: There’s just something that bother me a little bit. Sometimes the sensor is just too sensitive which results in annoying screen flickering. Still, since this doesn’t occur all the time I don’t think this is too bad after all. Going on to the lowest brightness level possible, it’s the same story as with the Wiko Highway Star: I personally wished for it to be even lower as the screen is still very bright and definitely not pleasant to use in dark environments.
The Wiko Ridge 4G uses a 5” IPS LCD panel, which provides some nice looking colors and satisfies also in terms of blacks and whites. Of course the screen isn’t as good as the one found on the higher-ranged Highway Star which uses AMOLED technology. Still, for the targeted price point colors look pleasantly good.
Good viewing angles overall but colors get relatively quick washed out – here the Highway Star definitely shows that you get more when you pay more. Still, for the price point – once again – this is acceptable.
With a screen size of 5 inches, it is comparable with the Highway Star as well as the Lumia 640 and my daily driver Lumia 830. I still believe this is probably the best size for most smartphone users as you have enough space to enjoy videos and browsing the web but you still get a quite compact phone, which easily fits into your pockets. Personally, I think my next phone will have a slightly bigger screen – probably between 5,2-5,5” – but of course this doesn’t effect this review at all.
Sadly, the Wiko Ridge 4G doesn’t offer any kind of gesture, e.g. double tap to wake up. I know that this isn’t standard in the smartphone market but still I’d wish to have it on this device too – especially since the Highway Star supported some nice gestures and in the Lumia range even phones like the 535 feature double tap to wake up.
Display – Pros and Cons:
+ Sharp enough
+ Auto brightness and highest brightness level
+ Overall good color reproduction
+ Acceptable viewing angles
– Lowest brightness level
– No gestures
Regarding battery life, the Ridge 4G really surprised and in the end satisfied me. With light usage you will definitely get through two days without any problems and once I even managed to get through three days with one charge – of course that’s with very light usage and I also had my 830 with me but still this is quite surprising. For power users this means they will get through one day without any problems and sometimes maybe even through two days.
Battery Life – Pros and Cons:
+ Great battery life
Like pretty much every smartphone, the Wiko Ridge 4G has a back-firing speaker on the bottom of the slightly rough back. The speaker quality is definitely more than acceptable and it can also get quite loud. For watching YouTube videos and playing some games the speaker gets the job done just perfectly – although you might sometimes block the speaker which can be slightly annoying. If you want to listen to music, you don’t only have the option to do so with the in-built speaker but also with the headphones, which are included in the packaging. Also their quality is absolutely good enough and thanks to earpieces in different sizes the headphones should match your ear.
Speaker – Pros and Cons:
+ Good enough quality
+ Headphones in the box
Like the Highway Star the Ridge 4G has a 13 megapixel back camera and a 5 megapixel front-facing camera. The one on the front doesn’t have a flash on this phone – while the Highway Star had one.
The front-facing camera produces some nice and sharp looking images and definitely is on a level with the ones found on the Lumia 640 or 640 XL. If you want to take many selfies, this phone might be the right one for you.
On the other hand I’m not completely satisfied with the back camera. While you can take some nice snapshots with the 13 megapixel shooter, the camera quality just isn’t as good as the one of the 830 or even the 640 XL. If you consider the fact, that you can get both phones for around the same price, then it’s just logical that you should think about getting the Lumia 830/ Lumia 640 XL if you want to take great pictures. Still, for the targeted price and audience the picture quality of Ridge’s camera is acceptable – and therefor the phone is better in other aspects compared to the mentioned Lumia phones. Pictures are sharp and quite detailed when in good light conditions. Colors look also quite nice. But take a look at some pictures yourself…
Camera – Pros and Cons:
+ Good front-facing camera
+ Back camera good enough for snapshots
– Not so good camera compared to the Lumia 640 XL and the Lumia 830
The Wiko Ridge 4G runs Android 4.4.4 KitKat with Wiko’s own launcher on top. Furthermore Wiko preloads some own and also some third-party applications. One of those is a “tuning tool” , which you couldn’t uninstall at first. But during my test time the device received multiple updates and after installing them it was finally possible to uninstall the app. I’m not totally against preloading apps but users should at least have the possibility to easily uninstall them. As for Wiko’s own apps there are some nice ones like the gorgeous looking weather app but overall they all have a quite outdated look to them. I really hope Wiko will improve here in the future as I think they build very compelling phones but the software has yet to match the level of the hardware. Otherwise Android has positive aspects and downsides too it: One of the positive aspects is the Google Play Store which just offers you much more in terms of apps and – especially – games compared to the Windows Phone Store. One aspect, which you could define as negative or positive is the customizability of Android. For instance, it’s nice too have many options to adjust the experience you get just as you’d wish too. On the other hand, also manufacturer are able to put their own launcher on top of Android. And that’s something I don’t particularly like about Wiko’s phones: their own launcher, which doesn’t have a separated app drawer. That’s something I just don’t like very much – but maybe you like it very much! As said if you don’t like it you still have the possibility to put another launcher on the phone.
Software – Pros and Cons:
+ Google Play Store is full with apps and games
+ Some nice preloaded apps, e.g weather app
+ Customizability of Android
Equipped with 2 GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 410 processor, the Ridge 4G definitely offers decent performance and regarding daily usage I didn’t notice any huge differences between this phone and the Highway Star which comes with a Mediatek octa-core SoC. Sometimes I did notice some little stutters here and then when closing apps or switching between them. Most of the games will also run smooth on the device and if you want to play high-quality games you may have to adjust the quality sometimes. Overall I’m pleased with the performance of the Wiko Ridge 4G.
Performance – Pros and Cons:
+ Overall good performance
Overall I the Wiko Ridge 4G really impressed me a lot and I prefer it over the also very good Wiko Highway Star. Especially the great design and the premium feeling of the phone satisfied me. In a short list, this is what you’re getting:
- Very premium feeling, great build quality
- Overall good display
- Great battery life
- Acceptable speaker
- Good front-facing selfie camera
- Acceptably good back camera, great for snapshots
- Android, with all its downsides and positive aspects
- Good daily performance, although some stutters are noticeable