Vodafone smart main view

There's something not quite right about taking an operating system that has great potential and shoving it into a handset whose specifications are so low that they take away much of the ability to do what the operating system offers. But that's what Vodafone has done with the Smart.

We liked

We're struggling here. OK, we like the price, and the fact that you can design your own bespoke backplates.

But in all honesty, we don't think we'd recommend the purchase of this smartphone to anyone, as although we can see it appealing to someone that wants their first smartphone experience, there are better options on the market for the money and the functionality of the Smart is just too poor for us to find much positive.

We disliked

The biggest problem of the lot is the screen. It's small and low-resolution, making video viewing and web browsing tricky at times. In addition, it fades to nearly nothing in outdoor light. Take it out with you on a sunny day and we challenge you to see it at all.

Factor in the lack of pinch to zoom and it's almost as if Vodafone has set out to deliberately hamstring the Smart.

The camera is way too poorly specified at just 2MP. Really, 3MP is entry-level for a smartphone these days, although the results weren't atrocious.

Battery life was poor even when we kept our use of the device down to a minimum. The lack of a charge light on the chassis is brought into the spotlight by the poor battery life too, as we had to interact with the phone to check it was charged.

Verdict

If the Vodafone Smart proves anything it proves one thing, it's that we were oh so right to sing the praises of the Orange San Francisco.

Yes, it's £29 more, but the difference between £70 for the Vodafone Smart and £99 for Orange's little lovely is all the difference in the world. Pay the extra and you won't regret it.

The budget smartphone market is set to become a really fierce battleground in the coming months, so once you've broken the £120 price barrier we're starting to see some really nice handsets indeed for the cash.

While the Vodafone Smart is alright-ish for the money, unless you're desperate for a back-up Android phone we'd recommend you save up for a month or two more and take a look at something like the Samsung Galaxy Ace too.