Vodafone Smart 4 Power review

Smart may be stretching it a bit

Vodafone Smart 4 Power review
Smart and power? We're not so sure.

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The Vodafone Smart 4 Power is a difficult phone to either recommend or write off. For everything it does right, such as a brilliant battery life and decent Android performance, it disappoints in other respects, such as its poor quality camera and screen.

However, these disappointments are balanced by a low price that makes me more willing to forgive some of its transgressions.

As I said at the beginning of this review, creating a budget handset is a delicate balancing act between keeping the price as low as possible while packing in enough power and features to make a desirable smartphone. Unfortunately, I don't think Vodafone has got the balance quite right.

We liked

There's not much to dislike about the price, and the Vodafone Smart 4 Power is one of the cheapest 4G capable smartphones on the market. If you're after a cheap no frills smartphone, you'll probably be perfectly happy with the Smart 4 Power.

Battery life is excellent as well, which makes the Smart 4 Power a good choice as an emergency backup phone, or one that you could happily take camping without worrying about having to find a charging point every day.

I also liked the build quality, which made the phone feel sturdy and well built despite its low price.

We disliked

Though the screen is large, the resolution is unfortunately too low, making the Android user interface look a bit ugly. Videos also suffer from the poor resolution, and the low specs of the smartphone means it can struggle with some high-definition video.

The camera quality is also poor, and although I wasn't expecting much from a smartphone at this price, I was still left disappointed.

The 4GB of in-built storage is also very small compared to its competitors, and even straight out of the box you'll find very little room to store apps or photographs, forcing you to buy a microSD card.

Final verdict

If you buy the Vodafone Smart 4 Power knowing exactly what you're going to get (which is a cheap 4G smartphone that's good for browsing the web and little else), then you may not be disappointed.

However, while it is cheaper than some of its rivals, crucially it's still not as cheap as the EE Kestrel, which although has a smaller screen, is comparable to the Smart 4 Power in a number of ways.

It's also worth bearing in mind that although the Vodafone Smart 4 Power is around £30 cheaper than the HTC Desire 510 and the Moto G 4G you might need to invest in a microSD card to increase the storage space, which would eliminate the price advantage of the Smart 4 Power.

Unfortunately, that price advantage is all the Smart 4 Power has over the Desire 510 and the G 4G, which means either of those are a much wiser purchase.

First reviewed: October 2014

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.