EE Rook – Software
One of the EE Rook’s best features is the Android 5.1 Lollipop operating system on which it runs.
Android 5.1 Lollipop
Google made serious improvements with Lollipop, so the OS is actually attractive and on a par with Apple’s iOS 8 when it comes to aesthetics.
The Rook is pretty close to stock Android, although EE bundles a number of apps. The most notable are the My EE app, which lets you manage your account, an Amazon widget, and Deezer, which is a music-streaming service partnered with the network.
The pre-installed apps and widgets can’t be deleted – which is a pain considering the low storage space on-board – but you can at least disable them.
Related: Android 6.0 Marshmallow features
EE Rook – Performance
Of most importance is how the EE Rook will fair in daily operation – is it going to frustrate you?
Surprisingly, the Rook handles most basic tasks with ease, showing signs of stress only when you’re attempting to perform several tasks at once. Multi-tasking is very poor, but that’s to be expected with only 1GB of RAM.
However, the Android 5.1 operating system is as new as they come, and the Rook makes browsing it a pleasure, price considered.
The respectable performance is thanks to a 64-bit quad-core MediaTek processor – specifically, the MT6735M, clocked at 1GHz.
This is paired with a Mali-T720 GPU, which means you can, at the very least, run simple games. We found Crossy Road and Temple Run 2 both worked fine, albeit with the occasional stutter.
We put the EE Rook through a few rounds on the Geekbench3 benchmark test to see how its budget components fared. The Rook scored a credible average of 1,356.
For comparison, this puts it as more powerful than the Samsung Galaxy S3 (1,254), which goes for around £100 on Amazon. It also beat 2013’s Motorola Moto X (1,219), and the Moto G (1,116) from the same year. Bear in mind that while benchmark results can give us an idea of how powerful a handset is, they don’t accurately reflect real-world performance.
Related: Best Smartphone 2015
When it comes to the Rook’s storage, you get 8GB – that’s actually pretty good for a £39 phone. It’s double that of rival handset the Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 3.
Connectivity is also impressive for a phone in this price bracket. The key feature here is LTE support, which means you can take advantage of EE’s market-leading 4G network. There’s also Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support to boot.
How we test phones
We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.