The EE Harrier Mini and EE Harrier
EE Harrier Mini Review Scoring Summary
| Style & Handling
|+ Low price
||– Lacks some power
|+ 4G on EE
||– Looks like a cheaper handset
|+ Good screen
||– Not a great deal of inbuilt storage
Verdict: The EE Harrier Mini gives you a lot of bang for your buck, but it’s still unmistakeably an entry level phone with most of the concessions that typically come with that.
EE Harrier Mini Review and Specification
EE is on a roll, having followed up the impressive and affordable Kestrel, with the pricier Harrier and Harrier Mini.
If anything the Harrier Mini can be seen as a replacement for the EE Kestrel, slotting in to the £99 price point that phone launched with.
That’s certainly an attractively low price for a smartphone and when you consider that the EE Harrier Mini has a 4.7-inch 720p screen, 4G and WiFi Calling it almost seems too good to be true. It’s not, but nor is the EE Harrier Mini a complete success.
The EE Harrier Mini doesn’t make an amazing first impression. There’s nothing wrong with it as such, it just looks like any other low end handset and as such struggles to stand out.
From the front you’re greet by a nondescript rectangle, with large bezels, which are a hallmark of cheap phones. There’s not even any branding on the front, though flip it over and you’ll be greeted by the EE logo on an otherwise plain back.
The rear of the phone is a slight improvement on the front though as while it’s plain and plastic the shell does at least have a metallic effect which while not wholly convincing does give it a smart look.
It’s a chunky beast though at 138 x 67.9 x 9.5mm. It’s not massive but it’s bigger than you’d expect for something labelled as mini.
The Harrier Mini has a 4.7-inch 720 x 1280 screen, which unlike the design is actually pretty good, especially for a phone in this price range. It’s a pretty good size and 720p is an adequate resolution for its size too, giving it a pixel density of 312 pixels per inch.
Of course there are far sharper phones around, with the Samsung Galaxy S6 for example pushing a ludicrous 577 pixels per inch, but then it also cost around six times as much and the resolution on the EE Harrier Mini while not perfectly sharp to the human eye isn’t too far off.
It’s surprisingly bright too, which can prove especially helpful when trying to use the Harrier Mini outdoors. Colours could certainly be richer, but still at this price point it’s impressive stuff.
Sadly while the EE Harrier Mini’s screen punches above its weight its processor doesn’t. There’s a 1.2GHz quad-core processor under the hood along with 1GB of RAM, which is standard fare for an entry level phone, so we can’t be too harsh on it, but nor can we let it off, not when its performance is notably lacking in some scenarios.
If you’re just planning to use the Harrier Mini as well, a phone, with a little light web browsing and app usage then it’s more than up to the task. But start jumping around between apps too much and it will begin to judder, so it’s not a great multitasker. It’s also not going to cut it for high end games, but then you wouldn’t expect a £99 phone to.
On paper the EE Harrier Mini sounds like a pretty good budget camera phone, with an 8 megapixel snapper on the back and a 2 megapixel one on the front.
Given that even the iPhone 6 only has an 8 megapixel camera that’s a good start, but you won’t be surprised to hear that it doesn’t come close to the iPhone’s quality.
Those megapixels ensure that in optimum conditions you can get a decent amount of detail, but in dark or even overly bright scenes it struggles, with photos potentially becoming grainy or washed out.
There are a handful of modes and options, such as HDR mode, but don’t expect the range of features you’d find on a higher end handset. That does at least make it simple to use though, the camera interface could be cleaner but given the limited options available you’ll mostly just want to point and shoot.
The front-facing camera is just about adequate for selfies, but you’re best off keeping them on your phone as they don’t look great blown up on a bigger screen.
There’s little to say about the Harrier Mini’s interface but that’s no bad thing, as EE has stuck very close to stock Android 5.0. So not only do you get an up to date version of Google’s OS, but it largely avoids any annoying manufacturer tweaks.
EE has added its own wallpaper and a few largely ignorable apps, but otherwise the EE Harrier Mini is a blank slate to do with as you want and that’s definitely a good thing.
Given that it’s an EE phone it almost goes without saying that the Harrier Mini supports 4G, but it’s still worth a mention given how cheap it is.
The main feature of the Harrier Mini though is WiFi Calling, a service EE is rolling out which allows you to call and text over Wi-Fi, which can be especially handy any time there’s no mobile signal. It works using your phone number and the standard dialler, so there’s no need for a separate account or app, making it a pretty seamless experience and the EE Harrier Mini is the cheapest phone to currently offer it.
Battery Life, Memory and Connectivity
The EE Harrier Mini has a 2000 mAh battery, which while on the small side is actually good enough to last it for over a day with moderate use thanks to its low power. If you’re frugal you could feasibly even get two days out of it.
Built in memory is capped at a disappointingly low 8GB, which is all the more lacking when you consider that over half of that is taken up by the OS, leaving you with less than 4GB to use. On the plus side it does at least have a microSD card slot, so you can bulk it up.
Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G and Bluetooth, which is a fairly standard selection for a phone of this sort of price and if anything it’s pretty good, given the inclusion of both 4G and WiFi Calling.
The EE Harrier Mini gets a lot right and gives you quite a lot for your money, thanks to a sizeable 720p screen, 4G, WiFi Calling and solid battery life.
But you’re still not going to mistake this for a more expensive phone than it is. A chunky, bland design is the first giveaway and the slightly sluggish performance reveals it for the budget phone it is too.
When you consider that you’ll pretty much have to invest in a microSD card it’s also not quite the bargain it first appears. But even then it’s good value for money and if you plan to use your phone mostly as a phone then the lacking performance won’t be an issue.
In that case the EE Harrier Mini comes highly recommended, but if you can stretch your budget a bit other phones like the Moto G or Lumia 640 might be a better buy.
EE Harrier Mini Specification
|Dimensions : 138 x 67.9 x 9.5mmWeight: 124gScreen size: 4.7” (720 x 1280)
Screen Resolution: 720 x 1280 display resolution
Pixels Per Inch (PPI) : 312
Processor: Quad-core application processor
RAM: 1GBOn-board Memory: 8GB (microSD card support)
Camera: 8MP (rear) 2MP (front-facing)
Operating system: Android 5.0
3G / 4G LTE: Yes / Yes
Bluetooth / NFC : Yes / No
Battery capacity: 2000mAh
Launch Date: Out Now