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(Pocket-lint) - EE has launched its first branded smartphone in the UK as part of what it claims to be the country's cheapest 4G price plan that includes a handset. For £13.99 a month over 24 months, customers can get 500 minutes of talktime, unlimited text messages, 500MB of 4G data and a free EE Kestrel quad-core Android phone.

The EE Kestrel is a Huawei-made OEM device with LTE cat 4 4G connectivity and a 1.2GHz quad-core processor. It has 1GB of RAM on board and a 4.5-inch 960 x 540 LCD display.

It comes with Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) from the box, with a simplified user interface and apps from EE and Amazon pre-installed. The rear camera is 5-megapixels, while the from is 1-megapixel for video calling. The phone can capture 720p video at 30fps.

The Kestrel offers 8GB of on-board storage, with a microSD card slot enabling expansion. And there is HD Voice functionality for calling. The battery is 2,000mAh.

ee launches own kestrel smartphone for free as part of 13 99 4g handset plan image 2

One colour is on offer: graphite. The dimensions are 131 x 65.3 x 7.85mm and it weighs 145g - very light, we thought here at Pocket-lint when handling a prototype. We've previously seen the Huawei Ascend G6, which is the original version of this device, so be sure to read our first impressions.

READ: Huawei Ascend G6 pictures and hands-on

An FM radio in built-in and it has Wi-Fi and the rest of the most obvious connectivity options - no NFC, however.

EE will also sell the Kestrel for £99.99 on a 4G pay as you go plan. Those wanting more 4G data can opt for an upgraded monthly plan, which start at £18.99 for 1GB and 1,000 minutes, up to £29.99 a month for 5GB and unlimited minutes.

Pocket-lint was told that the network plans to launch further own-branded devices in the future and will stick to the naming convention established by this first. We fully expect to see the EE Hofmeister, EE Watney's Party Seven, and EE Asda Premium Belgian Lager in the coming months.

What's that? Birds? Oh... of course.

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Writing by Rik Henderson. Originally published on 24 March 2014.