Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 review

4G for a budget price

Vodafone Smart 6 Ultra review

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Usually, at least at the moment, when selecting a budget device, the choice of processor can be a little underwhelming. With nearly every device running either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 415 or a MediaTek chip, performance is mostly the same between devices. In the present that means that most are adequate for the needs of the average user, and this is certainly the case with the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6.

In fact, the device comes with a slightly higher specification than most, running a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615, which comes a similar architecture to the 415 but is clocked at a slightly higher speed. Keeping memory operations tiding over nicely is a healthy 2GB of RAM.

On a whole, the device runs mostly without a hitch. Running Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 nips and zips between applications with only the occasional delay, and handles most games quite well.

Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 review

Game Dev Story, as might be expected ran perfectly. Subway Surfers, a slightly more memory intensive game, ran with only slight hiccups when entering new areas, which did impede gameplay slightly when playing at higher speeds. Crossy Road also ran smoothly, though the likes of Dead Trigger 2 could struggle a little.

As for Geekbench, the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 achieved a respectable single core score of 634, coming in at slightly under the Samsung Galaxy S4, which scored 658. The multiple core score was also acceptable, coming in at 2,091, higher than the Samsung Galaxy S4 and even approaching the performance of the Google Nexus 5.

Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 review

Though not quite a patch on the Samsung Galaxy S6 or the iPhone 6, the score of the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 shows just how far budget devices have come. While the top has plateaued slightly, the lower end of the market continues to makes gains.

For the average user, the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 ought to suffice nicely. I generally found it a pleasant surprise in day-to-day use. If you don't expect a blazing-fast gaming demon, then this will certainly do.

Battery life

On first unpacking the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6, I was greeted with the pleasant revelation that it had a fully charged battery. Everything on the device, including several battery manager apps, assured me that this was the case, and so I went about my business without a thought.

After three hours of listening to music on Spotify via wired headphones, and checking the occasional song lyric online however, and the battery continued to read 100%. Indeed, even after two days, and shutting down from a lack of power, the battery continued to claim it had full capacity. As such, gaining an accurate measure of battery life became quite difficult.

Nonetheless, I carefully tracked my usage, and it is safe to say that the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 has a good battery life, if not exactly great. Vodafone claims that it should be possible to get up to two days' use from the device, but in my experience this is only with very light use.

Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 review

Starting the day at 7am, and pounding the battery throughout the day with heavy internet use, some tethering, music, a little gaming and constant messaging, the device went caput at around 7:30 pm. In more average usage, the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 ought to manage around four-and-a-half hours of screen-on time, easily enough for the average user.

However, road warriors and keen gamers will want to keep a spare battery pack handy, as the device doesn't quite have the stamina to hang with the best. Moreover, lacking any version of the quick-charge technology that has become standard among more expensive devices, the Smart Ultra 6 takes several hours to charge fully.

A battery saver mode is available, restricting processor performance and background data in order to achieve a few hours of extra use.

Although not reaching quite the same battery heights as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 or the Apple iPhone 6 Plus, the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 is a competent performer and ought to meet the needs of the average user.

Sean is a Scottish technology journalist who's written for the likes of T3, Trusted Reviews, TechAdvisor and Expert Reviews.