|Style & Handling|
|+ Octa-core power||- Dull design|
|+ Solid battery life||- Average camera|
|+ Big screen|
Verdict: The EE Harrier is an impressive mid-ranger once you get past its dull design. It’s also easily EE’s best phone.
The EE Harrier has launched alongside the Harrier Mini and at £199 it offers a relatively premium experience. It’s in an interesting position as carrier branded handsets tend to land at the low end of the market.
For the money you’re paying here you could get a brand name phone, but if you did you might end up paying for the name, as the Harrier offers more than many similarly priced handsets.
The EE Harrier has a very similar design to its smaller sibling, the Harrier Mini, sadly that’s not a good thing, as it’s distinctly dull, with an unconvincing metal effect on the back and a totally plain front with fairly large bezels.
Despite attempting to appear otherwise the EE Harrier is a thoroughly plastic handset. For better or worse that also means it’s quite light at 124g. On the one hand that means it won’t weigh you down, but on the other it leaves it feeling as cheap as it looks.
Ignore the big bezels and the EE Harrier has a pretty good screen. It’s big at 5.2 inches and it’s full HD 1080 x 1920 for a pixel density of 424 pixels per inch, allowing it to deliver sharp images.
That’s in line with handsets that cost more than double what the Harrier is retailing for so it’s definitely impressive. It’s not quite as vibrant as some screens and it’s no match for the QHD phones we’re starting to see, but you won’t do better for £200.
The EE Harrier has a 1.5GHz octa-core processor and 2GB of RAM, which is an upper mid-range spec that as with the screen you’d expect to see on more expensive phones.
Performance is as good as you’d hope with that spec. It’s fast and smooth, even coping with multi-tasking and demanding games fairly well, which is more than we can say for the Harrier Mini.
Take it online and it’s no less impressive, with support for Cat. 4 LTE, which allows for real world download speeds of up to 60Mbps, which is more than enough to make the most of EE’s double speed 4G service.
The EE Harrier is graced by a 13 megapixel camera, which sounds great on paper but isn’t brilliant in practice. You can take some impressive shots if the light is right, but give it a try in a poorly lit room or even on an overcast day and the results aren’t amazing.
Things aren’t any better with the front-facing 2 megapixel camera, which is the same spec as the Harrier Mini and is fine for basic selfies, but you won’t want to show the results off on anything bigger than a phone screen.
Neither camera is terrible, but if your smartphone is your main camera you might want to look elsewhere. Interface
The EE Harrier runs Android 5.0 and it’s very close to stock Android. That’s worth highlighting especially as the older EE Kestrel has a clunky Huawei-built interface.
This is a big improvement on that. It’s clean, sparse and intuitive. Sparse might not sound good but it doesn’t have to stay that way, it just gives you the flexibility to add the apps, widgets and features you want, rather than being forced to use whatever the manufacturer has cooked up.
WiFi Calling is the main feature of the EE Harrier. It’s a new service from EE and the Harrier is one of only a handful of phones which currently supports it.
As you’ve probably guessed from the name it allows you to make and receive calls over Wi-Fi, but it does the same for texts and it works without any separate app or account, so if you’ve got a Wi-Fi connection but no mobile signal your calls and texts will just come through on Wi-Fi instead.
How useful this is as a feature largely depends on your own circumstances, but if your home or office has patchy signal it could be invaluable. Battery Life, Memory and Connectivity
The EE Harrier has a 2500 mAh battery, which isn’t huge for a phone of this size but it gets the job done, with typical life of over a day even with moderate to heavy use. There are longer lasting phones around, such as the Sony Xperia Z3, but the EE Harrier has above average life.
It has 16GB of built in storage plus a microSD card slot, so you shouldn’t suffer from a lack of space. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G and Bluetooth.
The EE Harrier is a great phone for the money. It has a screen and processor that you’d expect to pay more for and a decent battery. That plus 4G, WiFi Calling and an intuitive interface make it hard to beat for £200.
Of course if you spend more you can get more, but there aren’t many phones that beat this for less than about £300. The design isn’t great and the camera could be better and if you don’t want to use EE you’re out of luck, but those are mostly small concessions when balanced against everything it does right.
EE Harrier SpecificationDimensions : 138 x 67.9 x 9.5mm Weight: 124g Screen size: 5.2” (1080 x 1920) Screen Resolution: 1080 x 1920 display resolution Pixels Per Inch (PPI) : 424 Processor: Octa-core application processor RAM: 2GB On-board Memory: 16GB (microSD card support) Camera: 13MP (rear), 2MP (front-facing) Operating system: Android 5.0 3G / 4G LTE: Yes / Yes Bluetooth / NFC : Yes / No Battery capacity: 2500mAh Colours: Black Launch Date: Out Now Price: £199.99