EE is increasingly getting into the hardware game.
Not only has it launched the EE TV set-top box, and given each of its customers a free EE-branded mobile charger, it’s also released a slew of handsets of late, the most recent of which is the EE Harrier.
It’s a wallet-friendly affair that packs a big, Full HD screen and 4G connectivity.
We took it for a spin to see if it’s worth the £199 asking price.
First impressions and design
Like its smaller stablemate, the Harrier Mini, the Harrier looks pretty unexciting from the front.
Also like the Mini, its power button is on the left-hand side, and it has a plastic, brushed-metal-style back that’s removable so you can slot in a SIM card and memory card.
It’s a little chunkier than we would like, though that’s to be expected at this price. Its side bezels are quite slim, though the top and bottom are quite thick.
Despite having the same size screen as the second generation Moto X (5.2 inches), its footprint is a little larger. But that comes with the territory.
Android Lollipop comes as standard. Again, like the Harrier Mini there’s no skin over the top, and refreshingly little bloatware (pre-loaded apps that manufacturers think add extra value but usually just take up valuable storage space). You get the pure Android experience.
Not only does this help the phone run quicker, it should also push it up the queue when it comes to Android updates, as there’s no tricky proprietary software to work around. So far so good.
4G is impressive at this price. Though the second-generation Moto G costs just £150, and packs 4G too.
As well as being half an inch bigger than the Harrier Mini, the Harrier’s screen has jumped from 720p to Full HD 1080p.
Wi-Fi Calling comes as standard, so you can make calls over your wireless network – as long as you have a connection of at least 2Mbps – instead of eating into your monthly minutes.
On the back is a 13-megapixel camera, and there’s a 2-megapixel snapper on the front for selfies and video calls.
You also get an octa-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, 2GB of RAM and a 2,500mAh battery.
Despite the back being removable, you can’t swap out the battery. 8GB of memory isn’t too generous, but can can expand it with a microSD card.
The innards are considerably beefier than the Harrier Mini, and we’re happy to report we had none of the same performance issues. Games and apps ran fine, and videos loaded super quick over 4G.
On paper, the camera is also much better, though sadly the results don’t bear this out.
The contrast isn’t great, so if you shoot a scene with light and dark areas, prepare to lose a lot of detail in the darker areas. Colours were also a bit lacklustre and unremarkable.
On the plus side, it doesn’t take long to focus and it snaps away pretty quickly.
The screen is also impressive at this price. Colours look natural and it’s nice and sharp. 1080p panels aren’t very common under £200, so kudos to EE.
Like the Harrier Mini, the battery lasts all day, so unless you’re really caning the 4G, you won’t have to worry about it dying before dinner.
It’s tough to recommend the EE Harrier. It’s a solid performer, but the Moto G can be had for almost £50 less – that’s a huge amount of money in this price bracket. It has similar issues with the camera, but it’s not locked to any one network.
That’s what it boils down to really. The Harrier is a decent phone, but there are better available.
- 5.2-inch HD screen
- 13-megapixel camera
- 16GB internal storage (expandable with microSD card)
- 2,500mAh battery
- Two-megapixel front-facing camera
- Supports 4G up to 150Mbps