The EE Hawk currently runs Android 7.0, and has a light custom interface that could easily be mistaken for stock Android.
There’s access to the Google Assistant by long-pressing the Home button, and the apps menu is organised alphabetically. Like stock Android, you can’t make folders in the apps menu – this is left for the homescreen – but keeping the interface simple seems a good plan in an entry-level phone such as this.
There are very limited “bonus” apps too, which makes no sense since the Hawk is quite obviously weighed down by them.
EE preinstalls the Lookout security suite, and the EE app lets you check your data and call allowances. It’s what a network-branded phone should look like.
The main issue is Android 7.0 is now quite old, and misses out on a few neat features of the latest version. There are no icon dots that let you know when an app has pending notifications, and there are no icon shortcuts either.
EE Hawk – Performance
The EE Hawk isn’t lightning-fast in use. Flicking about the interface day-to-day you’ll experience occasional stutter and judder when scrolling the apps menu.
In addition, apps can take a little longer to load than the best budget phones. The Moto G5 provides a slightly smoother take on Android.
However, the EE Hawk isn’t annoyingly slow. Plus, its specs are perfectly good for the money, as long as you don’t mind a MediaTek CPU.
MediaTek is something of a CPU underdog, since most of the big brands prefer Qualcomm Snapdragon chipsets. The EE Hawk has a MediaTek 6750 CPU offering eight Cortex-A53 cores and a dual-core Mali-T860 graphics processor.
The GPU isn’t as good as the Adreno 505 seen in the Moto G5, but it’s powerful enough for the EE Hawk’s 720p screen. High-end games sucha s Asphalt 8 and Dead Trigger 2 run well.
In Geekbench 4, the EE Hawk scores 2545 points, which is again comparable with other entry-level octa-core phones.
4G network speed is one performance claim EE makes of the Hawk. Thanks to a CAT6 modem, the phone is capable of speeds up to 300Mbps. The X6 LTE modem used in the Moto G5’s max theoretical download speed is 150Mbps.
However, to get close to this sort of speed you’ll have to sign up for one of EE’s more expensive Max contracts (starting at £27.99 a month for 3GB data) and live in specific parts of the UK. Cardiff and around Wembley stadium are where EE has introduced ultra-fast 4G zones.
High-speed 4G is neat, but restricted data allowances and limited speeds out in the real world don’t make the tech desperately useful in the UK yet. Especially for a budget phone.
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