Vodafone Smart Tab 2 review

A big, clunky, tablet that fails to wow but manages to deliver

Vodafone Smart Tab II 7-inch
If you like em big...

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Fortunately there's very little customisation of the UI on the Vodafone Smart Tab 2, this is pretty much stock android out of the box. Unfortunately, it's the aging Ice Cream Sandwich on board and not the fresher faced Jelly Bean.

Vodafone Smart Tab 2 review

The small amount of customisation that it comes with is the Vodafone keyboard, which is surprisingly nice to use and much better than the stock keyboard, although not as good as SwiftKey.

There are 6 homescreens which can be fully customised with whatever widgets that take your fancy, alongside wallpapers and backgrounds.

The screen is responsive to touch but laggy on execution. Flicking between the menu and homescreen reveals a delayed animation that just looks, well, ugly.

The problem is exacerbated when you're multi-tasking and the limitations of what the Smart Tab 2 is capable of becomes immediately clear. The device is powered by a 1GHz processor with 1GB of RAM, which is pretty measly, especially if you plan to use this in any semi-serious way.

The app system is standard Android, you can flick between apps in the menu and move them around to different pages or create folders to better organise your tablet. You can easily create a folder by simply selecting an app (press and hold) and drag and drop it on top of another app.

Vodafone Smart Tab 2 review

The notification bar can be accessed from swiping up from the bottom right corner of the screen giving you access to quick settings, which includes turning changing the Wi-Fi, screen rotation brightness and toggling notifications.

Interestingly, the notifications bar tells you what your most recent action was, so you'll know if someone has been using your tablet without your knowledge. You'll be given information on firmware updates, Wi-Fi and 3G strength, battery power and how much space you've got left on your SD card.

There aren't any specific app shortcuts, but because the homescreen is customizable you can add/remove at your pleasure and customise it for quick access to your preferred apps. The same can be done for widgets.

Although, because the Smart Tab 2 is running a slightly older version of Android it doesn't come with Google Now, an app that customises your tablet for you by learning your preferences and habits and displaying useful information before you request it.

For example, it will display a weather report when you get up, or open Google Maps before an appointment and tell you the best route to your destination. It's come under some criticism because of its impact on performance, and it's likely that, with the Smart Tab 2's average specifications, it would suffer.

Vodafone Smart Tab 2 review

Because the Smart Tab is stock Android, users will be familiar with the outlay and you won't be faced with any nasty surprises or unreasonable learning curves. Accessing apps through the menu, the multitasking menu and purchasing apps via the Google Play Store is all familiar territory.

The standard messaging options are available, including Google Hangouts, Gmail and email. Annoyingly, despite this being a 3G enabled device, WhatsApp messenger isn't available and can't be downloaded from the Play Store.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google Plus come natively installed. Tje Twitter and Facebook apps aren't the latest versions, and the former seems to be particularly out-of-date because this version doesn't display profile backgrounds or cover pictures. The low-quality of the screen, too, takes away some of the magic from the social media apps and makes them look washed out and pixelated.