vodafone 845

If the Vodafone 845 was a cartoon character, it would undoubtedly be Scrappy Doo. The plucky, gutsy little pup who reckons he can take on the world, but needs to be held back before he takes an absolute pasting.

Likewise, this smartphone admirably tries to do everything that its more illustrious Android uncles can achieve without the processing power or the technical quality to get the job done to a highly-functional standard.

The advantage of Android and the open source nature of the OS is that it opens up a whole new world of functionality to affordable phones that could never dream of access to such an embarrassing of array of riches.

We liked

There's everything here that you could expect from the modern smartphone.

A fantastic operating system, a fully customisable user interface (which is actually more customisable than any phone we've ever seen before with its almost ludicrous ability to host 35 homescreens), an App Store second only to the iPhone and all of the connectivity options we've come to expect from the top-end players.

There's also a camera and video camera with infinite sharing options, easy access to all of our favourite social networking sites and a fully functioning satnav.

We disliked

However, this functionality comes at a price. The 2.8-inch resistive touchscreen isn't nearly good enough and there'll be plenty of times when you'll want to do damage to this phone because of its lack of responsiveness, and the inability to react quickly to your commands.

We really miss pinch-to-zoom and the extra functionality that comes along with that.

The processing power just isn't enough to make full use of the luxuries afforded by Android 2.1 and you'll need to get used to applications just crashing because the phone can't handle the weight of these lofty expectations.

The Google Maps Navigation offering is a great bonus, but it's very frustrating to use, and although we didn't test it out on the road, we can't imagine that faffing around trying to get the device to respond, and squinting on a 2.8-inch, screen is the safest way to reach your destination.

Verdict

If you'd like the functionality of a top-end smartphone in a lower-end handset then you'll need a lot of patience. If this is your first venture into the world of the smartphone then there are definitely worse ways to start.

If you're simply after a smaller alternative to the iPhone or the HTC Desire, then you're much better off opting for the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini or the Palm Pixi Plus. They'll offer improved functionality and improved power, but at a higher price.

It's fair to say that Vodafone has admirably punched above its weight with the 845 handset, but despite the presence of Android 2.1 and all of the functionality that comes with that, it's not quite the budget smartphone titan we'd hoped it would be.