Review: Wiko Lenny 3 Smartphone

Wiko Lenny 3 — A Game Changer? Hardly.
Wiko Lenny 3 — A Game Changer? Hardly.

Update: Be sure and see my update below. Even more brickkery!

I was in Chiang Mai, Thailand when my Nexus 5 finally just gave out. The infamous Nexus 5 “power button issue” meant that I could not use it for more than 2 minutes without the phone just shutting down again, just immediately, as if the battery had been removed. Then my screen cracked when I was trying to get it to work. It cracked bad, so much that I couldn’t see anything even when I could get the damn phone to power up. So it was finally dead.

In the modern world where everything depends on 2-factor authentication (with a cellphone and either SMS or a smartphone app), it’s incredibly frustrating to go without a Smartphone. I won’t even get into the assumptive nonsense of requiring a phone number for just about anything these days. On to the review.

I shopped around for a couple weeks, because I really don’t like shopping and didn’t want to make a bad decision. I settled on the Wiko Lenny 3. I should state that my only experience with a smartphone before this one is with the Nexus 5, which I had for about 2 years.

The good?

It’s an Android smartphone and pretty modern, meaning I can get most (not all) of the apps I previously had on my Nexus 5. That’s about it.

The Bad

Slow. As. Molasses.

The damn thing is slow. Really slow. Like, imagine running your current computer on a x386 machine. Ok, even a Pentium.

It even comes installed with an app called “One Clean” just to kill off any background apps which are eating up RAM memory. Oh, it’s only got 1GB of RAM. I didn’t realise what a difference this would make, but apparently it’s huge (the Nexus 5 has 2GB).

Like, scrolling between screens takes 1/2 a second minimum. I want to emphasise minimum (see what I did there?). I’ve had it take 3 seconds to scroll to a different Desktop screen — just a simple swipe left or right.

Apps take seconds to open. Not fractions of a second, but multiple seconds. Like, I’ve had some take 5 – 7 seconds. It does get better after a reboot, but only a little.

Everything about the system lags all the time, e.g. when typing something on the keyboard, and you try and press a key but it’s still processing from the previous key, and just lags.

Doesn’t recognise swipes/touches well

This actually happens most of the time. I believe it’s directly related to the memory issue. I have to swipe/touch really slowly for it to even register. Otherwise it just gets lost or spotty, e.g. if I tried to draw a line, it would end up patchy, with spaces.

Example: When I use Pleco and try and draw out a Chinese character on the screen, it doesn’t always catch all the strokes. I mean, I’m pressing hard enough, but even just drawing a straight line will result in a broken line. It’s so frustrating.

Extremely Low Storage

It’s got 8GB storage. Ok, fine, I knew that when I bought it. My Nexus 5 had 32GB, and I hardly used most of that. And I filled the thing with videos and photos. But I’ve taken only 3 photos total with this Lenny 3, and installed very few apps (basic things like Google Keep, etc. which weren’t pre-installed, and things like Pleco and ChineseSkill). No Instagram, no Facebook app, none of that junk. Yet I’m at 6+ of out 8 GB already. It is expandable via MicroSD to 64GB though.

“Desktop” Icons

I can’t remove the default app icons from the “Desktop” screen (or whatever it’s called on a smartphone). On my Nexus 5, it was not a problem to remove the Desktop shortcuts, but that’s not possible at all on the Wiko. My solution was to move all the pre-installed junk to a single folder and so all that crapware just takes up one icon space instead of several screens’ worth of screen real-estate.

I’m also not able to create new icons onto the screen. On the Nexus, you open the apps folder, and drag the icon to create a new Desktop shortcut. Not how it works on a Wiko. You just don’t have the option.

Hardware design

USB charger/data port plugs in from the top. When you’re charging the phone while trying to use it also, it’s really frustrating having the cord protrude from the top of the phone. It gets in the way, feels and looks awkward.

The audio jack is on the top also, and this is the one thing about the Nexus 5 that I didn’t like, because it also has it on top. Bad design decisions.

Summary

The Wiko line looks nice, shiny, new, inexpensive. What’s not to love? Well, you heard it here first. Sorry Wiko, you’re not a “Game Changer” at all. You manufacture sub-par junk which barely functions.

You might say, well, the Lenny 3 is a low-budget model, and if I really wanted a great phone then I would have shelled out the bucks for a nicer one. And to that I would respond: How you do one thing, is how you do everything.

If Wiko didn’t want to be known for making junk phones, then this 1GB RAM model would never have been released. Don’t try and satisfy that lower price point, and instead focus on quality. But that’s not what happened, and the fact is, this company manufactures junk.

I’ll never in my life purchase another Wiko phone ever again, nor can I recommend it to anyone at all. Buy a new or used Nexus instead. The Nexus 5 has a power button issue, which I blame on LG, the manufacturer, so I’ll opt for the Nexus 6p or whatever newer model Google will release soon that’s not made by LG. But never a Wiko, never again.

One might even ask why I took the time to write this review? Well, when I was searching for information on Wiko phones and specifically the Lenny 3 model, I found nothing. Nothing to help guide me. So, hopefully this can help someone steer clear of an incredibly frustrating experience and save a little cash in the process.

Update: 2016-06-26

This phone is even more of a brick than I expected.

Every once in a while, it will just freeze up completely, and nothing works, short of opening the back and removing the battery. Yep, that’s right. About every 1.5 – 2 weeks or so it becomes a brick until you physically remove and re-install the battery. Not to mention that you have to have fingernails to claw the cover off, because apparently the hardware engineers didn’t anticipate that anyone would ever have to install a battery or a SIM card.

Obviously, this is really irritating if you’re doing something time-sensitive, like trying to take a photo.

I will repeat: DO NOT BUY THIS PHONE.

5 thoughts on “Review: Wiko Lenny 3 Smartphone”

  1. I had a similar experience to you in that my phone died while up in Chiang Mai. Of course mine died because I went in a lake to bathe some elephants and forgot my phone was in my pocket! Oops… Well I chose the Lenny3 mainly because of the price and i intend to buy new phone online next month. Well I can say that I agree with every point you made in this article. This was a great review and I can add a couple more complaints:

    1- The battery life is not great. This phone seems to run out of power by about 7pm every day. This is fine if I go home in the evening but not if I go out.

    2- The spacebar on the keyboard seems to be small. When I type my thumb often hits the c,v or b instead of the spacebar. Maybe my thumbs are just too big but this is a bit frustrating.

    While the price was good I would not recommend this phone either. I wouldn’t call it junk but it definitely isn’t a quality build.

  2. Thanks for the review – my phone broke in Italy and I almost bought this in a local store. Instead I’ll go phoneless for a few days waiting for a new Nexus 5x I ordered online

  3. I have difficulty figuring out the functions, even to download photos from it so just use bluetooth (photos are great though). I has frozen once but I just turned it off. I don’t have any speed issue however, it bounces just fine. Suggest you put a memory card in it, mine is just 16 but I have no problems.

  4. I wish I had found this when I smashed my my Samsung phone while traveling in Belgium. I have been in my phone to navigate the railway system from London to Prague so going without was not an option. I bought the Lenny 3 from the first shop I came upon and regretted it ever since.

    Not only does the system lag when navigating and typing, but the auto correct was too eager to help by replacing every word I typed with something else. It was either that or have no spell-check at all.

    But the worst part was that the battery life is equal to that of a fruit fly. Wake up in the morning: 100%. Brush teeth, get dressed pick up phone, go out the door and down to the corner: 86%?! What were you doing in my pocket the last ten minutes? Streaming movies?

    Turns out there is something on the phone called “phone idle.” I don’t know what all it does but apparently it drains the battery like a lithium-starved vampire…and you can’t turn it off or alter it in the settings. Quite obnoxious while traveling cross-country.

    Do not get this phone.

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