Wiko View 4 review: long battery life is just the tip of the iceberg

Wiko View 4 review: long battery life is just the tip of the iceberg

Picking an entry-level smartphone for under 200 bucks is a prudent affair. Whether it is because you are limited by a tight budget, or it is simply a personal lifestyle choice, doing so would require you to go through a number of options from various brands within this price segment. It gets more interesting as you delve into the various functions and capabilities available on smartphones at such affordable prices without all the marketing fluff. This is how we approached the Wiko View 4 throughout the entire duration of our review. Without much further ado, here's what we think of the Wiko View 4.

Rating

Good

  • Long battery life
  • Ample amount of storage
  • Dual SIM tray
  • Integrated Google Assistant button

Bad

  • Fragile battery charger
  • No fingerprint reader
  • Low degree of customisability
  • Poor audio performance

Wiko View 4 release date and price

The Wiko View 4 is an entry-level smartphone that was released in February 2020. Available on the European market at approximately €168 ($180), this handset had a fair bit riding on it. Meant to be a statement of upward market mobility by the French manufacturer, it has arrived after two tumultuous years of declining market share and fierce competition. Samsung, Apple, and Huawei currently occupy the top three spots worldwide, Wiko is trying to compete with the likes of Xiaomi and Honor in addition to affordable Huawei handsets on European soil.

The Wiko View 4 will arrive in Cosmic Blue, Cosmic Gold, Cosmic Green, and Black colours.

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Four colors to pick from. / © Wiko

Wiko View 4 design and build quality

While the Wiko View 3 Pro was well-received by selected segments of the press, the View 4 model seems to be a transition model. The manufacturer did not pull any punches by announcing that a "Pro" or "Plus" version is in the pipeline this coming June or July. Interestingly enough, the fingerprint reader is nowhere to be found on the View4. Perhaps Wiko decided to take a leaf out of Apple or Google's playbook by taking the facial recognition route found on iPhones and the Google Pixel range. The important question to ask is this: can an entry-level smartphone deliver adequate security in an efficient manner that matches far more expensive models that are available? I would say "No", as facial recognition is achieved via the selfie camera. Truth be told, I ended up more doubtful than certain each time I tried to unlock the View 4 via facial recognition.

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Camera module at the back. / © NextPit

Make no mistake about it: this is a compact yet heavy smartphone, tipping the scales at 180 grams. The brand offers a "one-handed mode" feature that I find interesting enough considering the relatively versatile design of the device. Using it definitely brings to the forefront the large dimensions of this handset: 165.7 mm (height), 75.8 mm (width), and 8.85 mm (thickness). As a general rule, you won't struggle to walk around with this rugged smartphone even though it fits too snugly in your jeans or jacket pockets.

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Micro USB charging port. / © NextPit

Apart from the form factor, other design considerations are well within expectations. There is a dual SIM card tray (excellent value-for-money proposition), a 3.5mm headphone jack on the left side, a micro USB connector at the bottom, while the volume rocker and unlock button is located on the right side. Interestingly enough, Wiko has thrown in a Google Assistant button on the left side for activation at a press. However, you are unable to program this button for anything else.

It does seem as though the Wiko View 4 was designed for everyday, heavy-duty use. A drop-shaped notch in the middle of the front houses the selfie camera, while there is a triple camera setup behind. On the whole, it does seem well balanced and invokes a sense of robustness that is further enhanced by a glass back that delivers prismatic effects when tilted against a light source.

I found it interesting that Wiko not only included its logo at the back of the handset, but also its Marseille address. Perhaps this is a subtle nod to evoke a sense of patriotism or a display of the company's sense of pride in its workmanship?

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Selfie camera located in the drop-shaped notch. / © NextPit

Wiko View 4 display

The screen is really large for a phone that is priced below €170 ($184). The rounded edges really highlight the 6.52-inch screen. The 1600 x 720 pixel resolution offered by the LCD display performs as expected even under intensive use. I've had no trouble at all when testing arcade games, binging on YouTube videos, and even when bringing it around for photography sessions.

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The Wiko View 4's screen. / © NextPit

Here's a small tip: the Wiko View 4's screen performs admirably well. It does not matter whether it is set to dark mode or is running on normal display mode, the level of brightness adjusts itself accordingly for a pleasant and consistent user experience. Courtesy of the different options in the Settings section, you will be able to configure the screen based on your preferences. This is a nice surprise considering how Wiko's cashflow issues would mean having to skimp on top-grade hardware and features in its smartphones, and to see the View 4 being more than a decent performer at its price point is worth mentioning - especially when Wiko intends to reach out to as wide a market as possible.

Wiko View 4 software

When you buy an entry-level smartphone, it's normal to wonder whether or not the device will be able to handle multiple applications simultaneously without crashing or coming to a crawl. There is also the question of whether it will be able to handle navigation chores that have become a whole lot more complex over time due to our digital consumption and entertainment habits. I am glad to report that such worries are unfounded with the View 4, as this Android 10-powered device is extremely efficient for a device in its class.

Such efficiency is further accentuated by the presence of the Google Assistant button that makes ordering food or items a snap, while making shortcuts extremely accessible. It may seem surprising to have this at such a price point, but the intuitive software experience is what makes this model rather interesting. In addition, hand gestures for navigation purposes is made easier by the size of the screen and screen material choice.

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The device's back carries Wiko's French address. / © NextPit

Wiko View 4 performance

This smartphone is very durable and it comes across as no surprise. Despite the financial difficulties faced by Wiko, they have managed to cobble together a rather impressive package. Boasting of 3 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage as well as the possibility to increase the storage memory by up to 256 GB via a micro SD memory card, make it a bargain. These specifications should be more than enough for everyday, basic use. I downloaded dozens of applications over a week to test them out, and I have not encountered any problems with the View4. I even played some games and to my surprise, the device didn't heat up. If I were to compare it with its competitors within the same price bracket, especially those that we reviewed, I can let you know that the French brand did quite well for itself - if not very well.

Comparative table

  3D Mark Sling Shot Extreme 3D Mark Sling Shot Vulkan 3D Mark Sling Shot Geekbench 4 (Single/Multi) PassMark Memory PassMark Disk
Wiko View 4 Not compatible 801 Not compatible Not compatible 4604 4495
Xiaomi Redmi 7A 446 496 828 - 6574 52499
Redmi Note 7 1356 1304 2065 1634/5904 12833 51462
Huawei Y6s 313 432 468   3181 5478
Realme 3 Pro 1813 1747 2647 1494/5912 12456 54076
Wiko View 3 429 658 659 758/3692 4436 31020

Wiko View 4 camera

The camera is the make-or-break feature that separates one entry-level smartphone from another. Wiko has made a huge effort in this area  in order to duke it out with the big boys, with the triple camera behind comprising of the following:

  • 13-megapixel main camera
  • 2-megapixel portrait mode camera for portrait mode
  • 5-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera that captures images at an angle of 114°
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An ultra-wide-angle shot. / © NextPit

When it comes to shooting video, this is a no-frills device. Sporting 1080p quality as standard, this is more than enough for indoor and outdoor shots, even under low light conditions. The resulting price-performance ratio remains attractive, especially considering how this device comes with a range of artistic filters that can be easily applied. It is nice to see how Wiko favors simplicity, making it a snap for any type of user to get into the shutterbug groove right from the get-go.

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A low brightness shot. / © NextPit

Of course, the View 4 does not target amateur photographers or talented Sunday photographers. As a general rule, you will be able to take good pictures outdoors. On the other hand, do not zoom in to see the result of your photos directly on the screen, as the image will appear extremely pixelated. For consumers who have been using entry-level or mid-range smartphones from other notable brands, this can come across as a very bad surprise.

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Shot using portrait mode. / © NextPit

Under normal lighting conditions, the photo software delivers decent results in the smartphone market and is satisfactory enough considering the price bracket. The camera of a sub-$200 phone delivers varying results, depending on the light. With enough lighting, the pictures can look great while in a low light environment, the images turn out to be average. Like all other entry-level cameras, night photography should be avoided although it must be said that Xiaomi, Honor, and Huawei have made great strides in this area. Whether activating the flash, night mode, or simply following your instincts, my night photos were all very bad (I'll spare you the trouble of looking at them).

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A main camera shot. / © NextPit

As a general rule of thumb, you get what you pay for. The photo app comes with most of the modes we need, including custom portrait modes that will appeal to teenagers. Unlike its competitors, the Wiko View 4 makes it easy for you because of its robustness and screen size. This is extremely convenient for making videos and justifies the "one-handed" mode.

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The View 4's bokeh could be improved. / © NextPit
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Another bokeh shot on the View 4. / © NextPit

Wiko View 4 battery

In terms of battery life, the Wiko View 4 is extremely commendable. I will not jump on board the "Return of the Made in France smartphone" bandwagon simply because the View 4 delivers a long battery life. After all, it does pack in a 5,000 mAh battery and does not feature a battery-sapping 90 Hz (or higher) screen or flagship processor. A single full charge allowed me to achieve close to three days of use even after heavy usage, making this the ideal handset for those who simply find it a chore to charge their handset or tend to lose their chargers. There is no need to be on the constant lookout for a power outlet when using this handset!

What about the charger, then? I would like to stress this: I do not know if it is sheer bad luck or a victim of circumstances. As we review plenty of consumer electronics devices, most of these arrive with the original packaging intact. In this review, I had the unfortunate experience of having the charger cable failing after just one charge. Perhaps it is bad luck, but the charger itself does seem very fragile and cheap. It made me think of those universal chargers that can be purchased from street vendors hawking shady goods at the exit of certain subway stations. Be forewarned!

A long-lasting battery is one thing: recharging time is another factor that should be taken into consideration. It is unfortunate that the Wiko View 4 takes up to eight hours to fully recharge the battery. Having being used to other smartphones that offer fast charging technology, eight hours is a tad too long for my liking. Those who are impatient or simply do not have the time to spare would do well to avoid the View 4.

Wiko View 4 technical specifications

Dimensions: 165.7 x 75.8 x 8.85 mm
Weight: 180 g
Battery size: 5000 mAh
Screen size: 6.52 in
Display technology: LCD
Screen: 1600 x 720 pixels (269 ppi)
Front camera: 8 megapixels
Rear camera: 13 megapixels
Flashlight: Dual-LED
Android version: 10 - Q
User interface: Not available
RAM: 3 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB
Removable storage: microSD
Chipset: MediaTek MT
Number of cores: 8
Max. clock speed: 1.8 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, Dual-SIM , Bluetooth 4.2

Final verdict

What can I say about a smartphone that has a long-lasting battery life? It certainly makes an impression, that is for sure. Firstly, it's good value for money in terms of battery life, camera performance, and user interface. Nevertheless, one cannot ignore the missing fingerprint reader that is replaced by a facial recognition system that does not feel secure at all. Wiko is on the right track to recovery to the neutral observer, taking into consideration how the company is emerging from a difficult 2019 which was beleaguered by a slew of challenges and internal restructuring. 

As for the fast-growing entry-level market, the Wiko View 4 is certainly worth checking out and is far more than another durable device. It is capable of going up head-to-head against its direct competitors in Europe, although I seriously doubt it can hold its own against the tide of entry-level Asian smartphones that are frequently updated or the entry-level options from major manufacturers. If we were to compare it closely to other devices, we can quickly see that it doesn't measure up to some of its competitors within the same price bracket such as the Samsung Galaxy A20e, Huawei Y6s, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 and especially the Realme 5.

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