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While the Vodafone Smart Platinum 7 is touted as a premium phone, it doesn't run on a cutting-edge processor. Current Android flagships tend to be powered by the Snapdragon 820 CPU, but Vodafone's latest runs on the lesser Snapdragon 652.
This is the same upper-mid-range chip that powers the likes of the Samsung Galaxy A9, the Asus ZenFone 3 and the Oppo R9 Plus – hardly world beaters any of them.
So, is this the first sign of a major weakness in the Smart Platinum 7? Not really.
The Snapdragon 652 certainly isn't the fastest chip on the market; however, recent advances in smartphone processor speeds seem to be outstripping advances in OS and app complexity.
In plain English, this means that a decent modern mid-range processor – which the 652 is – can do everything pretty much without compromise – particularly, as in the case of the Smart Platinum 7, when it's backed up by a healthy 3GB of RAM.
Sure enough, I couldn't fault the Vodafone Smart Platinum 7's practical performance one bit. Apps opened quickly, flicking between home screens was fluid, and, as I've mentioned, the camera app consistently booted up in a snap.
Even 3D gaming performance was solid. Traditional showcases like Asphalt 8 and Dead Trigger 2 ran well on the highest graphical settings, with only the occasional stutter, and the epic MOBA game Vainglory ran flawlessly.
Sure enough, the Geekbench 3 benchmarking tests I ran on the Smart Platinum 7 showed a very accomplished performer. An average multi-core score of 5,129 places it well above even a late 2015 flagship phone like the Nexus 6P (which scored 4,073).
Perhaps more surprisingly, it's not that far behind the OnePlus 3 (on 5,425), which has the benefits of a superior Snapdragon 820 CPU, double the RAM, and a lower-resolution display.
Besides its strong performance, the Smart Platinum 7 is a pleasure to use thanks to its near-stock Android 6.0 OS. Once again, and to its credit, Vodafone hasn't tinkered with Google's sharp operating system in the way more established manufacturers like Samsung and HTC do.
We could do without the extra Vodafone apps though. Some of these are optional installs at the outset, but you have no choice over the initial availability of the network's own Call+ and Message+ apps. Of course, in the case of the latter you can nominate Hangouts as your default messaging app from the off, or download another.
Swiping right from the main home screen, meanwhile, brings up Vodafone's tip screen, which will only be of use for the first day or two of ownership, if that, and will just annoy with its patronising presence thereafter.
You also get an ugly Start widget from the off, which pushes those extra apps as well as Vodafone promotions, but this is easily removed. All in all we've seen far worse levels of bloatware from network operators.
Vodafone claims the Smart Platinum 7's 3000mAh battery will last a full two days on a single charge. With heavy usage I doubt you'll find that to be the case, but it's certainly up to lasting through a full day with plenty of change to spare, like any respectable modern flagship.
And if you're a lighter user then you're in for a pleasant surprise – I managed to make it through a good three days of minimal usage before needing to recharge.
Some of this is doubtless down to the phone's power-sipping Snapdragon 652 CPU, but a large shout-out has to go to Android 6.0's Doze feature, which intelligently cranks the power usage right back when you're not actively using the phone.
Putting the phone through the usual TechRadar battery test, which involves playing a 90-minute video with the screen brightness at maximum and accounts syncing over Wi-Fi in the background, it used up only 15% on average. Compared to similarly priced rivals like the Nexus 5X and the OnePlus 3, both of which ate up 23% in the same test, that's a strong result.
Another premium feature you get with the Smart Platinum 7 is Quick Charge 3.0, which will restore half the phone's charge in just 30 minutes.
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