Vodafone Smart 4 Mini review

Smart about price, not so smart on the features

Vodafone Smart 4 Mini review
Skrimping on features to save you money

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Battery life

Tucked inside the Vodafone Smart 4 Mini is a 1400mAh Li-ion battery that actually offers up a pretty reasonable performance.

Due mostly to the lack of high-end features and the lack of an HD screen, I found that 48 hours with the Vodafone Smart 4 Mini on a single charge was within reach given moderate usage.

I used the phone to make calls, browse on both 3G and Wi-Fi and take pictures without distressing the battery too much. Charging is handled via the microUSB slot on the bottom of the handset and a small, white, notification light appears at the top of the screen to tell you that the device is charging.

Vodafone Smart 4 Mini review

Unlike the similarly-budget Sony Xperia M or the high-end Galaxy S5, there's no option to enter a "power-saver" or "economy" mode. So, if you want to conserve juice, the best option is to power down the brightness and turn off the data roaming.

You can find Android's breakdown of your battery usage in the settings menu. However, because of the small, non-HD screen, it's unlikely you'll be using the Smart 4 Mini for battery draining tasks like watching video or playing graphically demanding games.

Because the Vodafone Smart 4 Mini has a removable back, you can always pick up a replacement battery and keep it with you as a last resort if you're planning to take this phone travelling or to a festival.

If you're worried about losing power though, I'd recommend picking up one of the multitude of third-party battery packs that can be found in most electronics stores.

I ran TechRadar's battery test on the Vodafone Smart 4 Mini with full brightness and all the push notifications enabled. Over the space of 90 minutes, the test drained a 100% battery to 63% which isn't particularly good.

Battery life is a big purchase decision for most people when it comes to picking up a phone, and the Smart 4 Mini holds its own in that department as long as you keep away from movies and intensive gaming.

The essentials

We'll talk about the camera in the next section, but otherwise the Smart 4 Mini offers the kind of essentials you'd be looking for in a phone at this price.

Arriving with Google certification means that you can take advantage of the massive Google Play store. As well as high profile apps like Minecraft, Plants vs Zombies, Whatsapp or Skype, you also get access to Google Movies, Books, Magazines and Videos.

Vodafone Smart 4 Mini review

These allow you to rent (or buy) a huge amount of content from Google and download it directly to the handset. The strength of a smartphone is as much about apps as it is hardware, and thanks to the Play store you can fill the Smart 4 Mini with plenty of features that it doesn't come with out of the box. Just invest in a microSD card.

Making and receiving calls is fine and I didn't experience any dropped signal during my time with the phone.

Volume on the calls isn't as loud as it could have been but it didn't get in the way of my conversations. Also, because the phone is so light, I didn't experience any trouble when holding it up to my ear for long periods of time.

The only real area the Vodafone Smart 4 Mini falls down in terms of light usage is that I found the 4-inch screen to be too small. Perhaps I've become too used to the 5-inch screens of most premium handsets but the Smart 4 Mini feels cramped during web browsing and typing out emails and messages in portrait mode can be tricky.

That said, it does have all the essential features – good battery life, microSD card, Google Play – that I would look for on a budget handset. Finally though, it does come back to the £50 price tag, which really makes the Vodafone Smart 4 Mini a bargain.