Vodafone may have been the last telco to join the 4G bandwagon, but has clearly come out the winner in terms of the availability of its 4G network, giving it a slight advantage over the competition.
These days, Vodafone's network is robust, reaching 96.9 percent of the country's metropolitan customers. And while Vodafone 4G is available in a number of regional areas, Vodafone isn't quite as vocal about it as its competitors.
Perhaps more appealing is the fact that, generally, the telco has the cheapest pricing for plans which include 4G data speeds and unlimited talk time.
Here's our round-up of the best smartphones available on a Vodafone plan.
Samsung Galaxy S8
Apart from its premium price tag and the fact that Samsung’s voice assistant, Bixby, is still AWOL if you’re outside of South Korea, the latest flagship from Samsung is one helluva phone.
Virtual buttons replace the old Home, Back and Recent buttons, giving users plenty of screen real estate and the ability to customise the Back and Recent buttons to suit individual needs.
The new model also introduces the curved screen, meaning the fingerprint sensor had to be moved to the rear of the phone.
It’s also faster than its predecessor and offers a solid 8-hour battery life.
So, if you can manage without Bixby for a while and deal with the awkward positioning of the fingerprint sensor, this is one of the best smartphones in the market today.
If you’re looking to upgrade, Vodafone has plenty of contract options between $77 to $125 a month.
Apple iPhone 7
While iPhones are always among the most expensive options, it's a versatile and intelligent handset that boasts a refinement that should, for most people, be worth the expense.
With the loss of the headphone jack – which might be an inconvenience to some – and the iconic home button, Apple made a statement about how the next generation of phones would lead us into the future.
And despite its familiar design, the iPhone 7 now comes encased in a water-resistant chassis that should see it survive a moderate plunge in a metre of water for 30 minutes.
It’s got a slightly longer battery life as compared to the older models, a better camera that’s quite good in low-light conditions and fast innards, thanks to the new A10 fusion processor.
To grab an iPhone 7 on a Vodafone plan, you’ll be paying anywhere between $76 a month (32GB iPhone, 1GB of data) and $133 a month (256GB iPhone, 30GB of data). For the 128GB model, you'll pay between $89 and $127 a month.
iPhone 7 Plus
This larger model is markedly better than the smaller version by virtue of its improved battery life and the addition of the dual-setup camera with an easy-to-use interface – a big selling point for photography fans.
There’s new colour configurations and more RAM under the hood; the headphone jack is gone, but there’s now a new kind of vibrating motor for more precise rumbles.
Its water-resistant body also makes it feel like it could survive a bit of rough handling.
The larger size, dual speakers and enhanced performance make this phone a standout.
But all these changes make the iPhone 7 Plus the most expensive iPhone ever.
If you think this is the right phone for you, then Vodafone has plans from $90 a month (32GB iPhone, 1GB of data) up to $135 a month (256GB iPhone, 30GB of data). The 128GB version will cost you between $95 and $135 a month on a Vodafone plan.
Samsung Galaxy S7
Samsung has added improvements to an already stellar phone, making the Galaxy S7 irresistible yet affordable.
In terms of design, you’d be forgiven to think the Galaxy S7 is similar to the S6, but closer inspection reveals subtle differences – the metal rim around the home key is gone, the corners are more rounded, the metal framework between the front and rear glass is less obtrusive and the general design just makes it easier to hold and use.
It’s got one of the best displays on any smartphone, with crisp, clear colours and excellent contrast ratios, great auto brightness that makes outdoor visibility ideal, and the always-on functionality of the screen is an excellent addition.
Battery life is impressive and its camera is good in low-light conditions, too.
A powerful processor makes it speedy and the microSD slot is back for expanded memory of up to 200GB, both making it an excellent gaming device.
Vodafone has Samsung Galaxy S7 plans starting at $70 per month, up to $127 a month.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Samsung has managed to outdo itself by improving an award-winning phone.
The Galaxy S7 Edge might be larger than its predecessor, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it. The curved rear makes it fit comfortably in the hand, and the microSD slot is back, too.
There’s a gruntload of power under the hood and the battery has been given a massive boot, allowing the phone to last over 24 hours between charges, even with heavy use. And the charging is superfast – Samsung claims you can charge the handset to 50% in just 30 minutes, provided you use the charger that comes in the box.
Audio is one of the best out there, and the AMOLED screen with side display capabilities makes for excellent movie watching. The gaming experience is also one of the best, although the Game Launcher could do with a few tweaks.
Even the camera on the Galaxy S7 Edge is one of the best we’ve seen on any smartphone. It might be a 12MP camera, but that makes the autofocus quicker and great in low light.
All in all, that’s a five-star phone. And if you’d like to get this handset from Vodafone, you’ll be paying between $75 and $127 a month.
Huawei Mate 9
Huawei has lately been giving the big players a run for their money and the Chinese tech giant goes one step further with the Mate 9 phablet. And while it isn't the cheapest phone in the market, it's definitely cheaper than the flagships from Apple and Samsung; it's even cheaper than Google Pixel.
A key selling point for this phone is that this is one of the world's first Daydream-ready phones, being set up with a strong processor to ensure it can run the apps and games it needs to.
Another big selling point of the Huawei Mate 9 is its own Machine Learning Algorithm, which has been designed to keep your phone working faster over time: it adapts to the way you use your device and will prioritise the performance of features you use the most.
It’s also one of the most powerful phones around, so if you’re a power user this is the perfect setup – with 64GB of storage and microSD expansion up to 256GB.
If you're looking for a large, powerful device this is a good option. You don't get a stylus, as with the Galaxy Note 7, but it's still offering all the other features you'd want from a phablet.
There’s plenty to love about this phone, and Vodafone has plans on offer ranging from $65 to $127 a month.
These phones are what we think are the best and most powerful ones available through Vodafone, and which one you pick will depend on your loyalty to iOS or Android.