The EE Rook mobile phone is a shout-out to the year 2008. It’s simple, effective, has a pretty great design and it’s easy to use.
So what’s the EE Rook? Built by ZTE, which is a renowned Chinese smartphone manufacturer, the Rook is an entry level mobile phone equipped with 4G. It’s popular in the UK because of it’s low retail price of $75.
However, don’t let it being cheap trick you into thinking it’s a weak smartphone. It’s capable of running Android 5.1 Lollipop, it has a 5 megapixel camera and a 64-bit quad-core proc.
Check our EE Rook Review for more.
EE Rook Review
EE Rook Design
Even though it looks like a smartphone from a bygone era, it’s easy to use and well designed. It has everything a smartphone needs to be considered useful.
The EE Rook is lightweight, standing at 130 grams. It’ a little bit heavier than Alcatel’s OneTouch Pixi 3 4.5 which weighs about 125 grams.
It’s in no way an embuggerance. It ups the iPhone 6 by only 1 gram.
It’s chocolate bar shaped, and its 4-inch screen doesn’t take too much room. It’s thicker than most flag-ship devices, but you won’t feel the Rook’s presence in your pocket.
Design wise, you can’t pin-point a flaw, nor something that stands out. You can notice a matte black on the back of the phone, and a glossy material on the front. There is just a snippet of color that encompasses the camera with a yellow ring.
The rest of the device looks like a standard 2008 mobile phone. It has a volume rocker, a micro-USB port, a notification light, a power key and a 3.5 millimeter audio jack for headphones.
EE Rook Screen
Go figure, the Rook’s screen is low quality. Remember, it’s a budget phone.
The 4-inch display just doesn’t cut it in this day and age. Sure, the iPhone 5s and 5c both have a 4-inch screen, but their retina display is far superior.
Viewing angles take a beating. It’s below the average even for budget smartphones. Moreover, the display quality just lacks entirely. If you tilt your screen up or down you’ll observe a black or bleach-white display. Only a full-frontal view works, but this isn’t at all practical. More so when you want to show photos to your mates.
It doesn’t shine in the brightness category either. It’s borderline useless in direct sunlight settings. I found it to work normally while indoors or when the sky is cloudy.
The 480 x 800 pixel res is more than reasonable for the 4-inch screen. Although, we would have loved a better quality display.
EE Rook Software
It’s quite shocking that Google’s Android 5.1 Lollipop runs on this budget smartphone. Lollipop is the latest Android OS, until Android 6.0 Marshmallow is released later this year.
It’s aesthetically pleasing, even if the OS isn’t aimed at such low quality devices. It’s on par with Apple’s iOS 8. EE bundles a few apps with the Rook, but all in all, it’s almost a pure Android device.
It comes equipped with an My EE app that lets you manage your phone’s account. An Amazon widget and the music-streaming app Deezer.
These pre-installed apps and widgets can’t be deleted from the system. Unfortunately this is a big minus in my book, more so when you consider the low storage space. You do have the options of disabling them.
EE Rook Performance
Is the EE Rook performance-capable or rage-inducing?
Multi-tasking is poor because the device has only 1 gig of RAM on-board. Otherwise? It’s pretty nifty and it won’t frustrate you. No annoying lag issues and apps launch pretty quick.
Browsing is easy and simply a pleasure because of Android 5.1.
It doesn’t shine in the performance department but it’s power-output is more than decent. This is thanks to the its 64-bit quad-core MediaTek proc. The MT6735M is clocked at 1 GHz.
The MediaTek proc is paired with a Mali-5720 GPU. This means that it can run simple games like Temple Run 2 and Crossy Road. Albeit, you’ll notice the occasional stutter and jitter, but nothing infuriating.
Storage space, unfortunately, is pretty low, even though it’s great for a $75 smartphone. You have only 8 gigs to play with.
The 4G connectivity feature makes it an impressive smartphone in this budget bracket. It has LTE, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support.
EE Rook Camera
The Rook has two cameras. The primary rear-facing one has a 5 megapixel unit with a CMOS image sensor built into it. It doesn’t have flash, nor autofocus. Details are completely lacking if you’re not shooting in a bright lit room.
If you’re skillful in Instagram and know how to choose filters to deceive your friends, you’ll end up with some pretty decent photos for Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram.
It has a few capture modes like the EV, color effect, scene, anti-flicker, face detection and continuous shot. It even has a setting for white balance and picture size.
However, the secondary front-facing camera is a 0.3 megapixel unit. It’s useless.
But it’s a cheap smartphone. Because it has a secondary camera it makes it outstanding. Even if it captures a lot of noise, and it’s barely usable for selfies. You’ll be the pleb of Snapchat, but at least you’ll be using it.
The primary rear-facing camera can also record video at 30 fps, or 15 in night mode. Quality is not impressive, however.
EE Rook Battery Life
Because the phone is equipped with such a small display and a pretty weak proc, battery life doesn’t get a beating. The 1,500mAh unit makes the EE Rook last about a day under standard usage.
The battery is removable, unlike the EE’s Harrier or Vodafone’s Smart Prime 6.
EE Rook Sound, Call Quality
It’s more than enough for YouTube vids or listening to music. It’s not bass friendly and your device will not output an ounce of bombastic sound. If you use headphones, then you’ll have no issues.
Call quality is fine. The caller’s voice can be heard crystal clear, and yours isn’t muffled. The mobile phone does become a warm brick if you’re spending too much time on calls.
EE Rook Verdict
The EE Rook specs are decent for a budget smartphone. If you’ve got only $75 to spend on a smartphone, you can’t go wrong with the Rook. It’s the best price value ratio on the market. However, if you have a little bit more cash to spend, buy something else.