The Vodafone Smart Prime 6 is an under-powered, ultra-cheap phone that still gives you 4G and Android Lollipop. Is the money you save worth the loss in performance and screen quality? For a lot of people, probably yes.

It certainly looks and feels like a more expensive phone than it is, and if you can put up with response times that are a little under par, then it's a great-value option that gives you a close-to-stock Android experience.

We liked

With the EE Harrier priced at £99 this is lowest price you can find for 4G and Lollipop right now, so in terms of value for money it's right at the top end of the market.

The design isn't spectacular but the build quality is good and it's a nicely finished phone – you won't feel embarrassed to take it out of your pocket.

Vodafone Smart Prime 6 review

Then there's the excellent battery life, helped by the average screen and internal specs. It's not a phone that will have you sweating about trying to find a recharging point.

Lollipop is excellent, too, and Vodafone hasn't messed around with it too much. Being right up-to-date with Android counts for a lot.

We disliked

The screen is a bit of a let-down, though it's good enough for the money you're paying. Some extra brightness and resolution would certainly be welcome.

Then there's the performance issues – even on simple tasks you're going to notice a few pauses, and that gets worse the more apps you run. A powerhorse this is not.

Vodafone Smart Prime 6

Finally the camera, which despite a decent interface and fast operation produces pictures that are very average. If you want great shots you'll need to carry a separate camera with you.

There are other various niggles, but there's nothing to strongly dislike about the Smart Prime 6.

Final verdict

As a tech journalist, I've played around with some of the best phones on the planet and even I'd be tempted by the Smart Prime 6 at this price. For me, the performance is just a little too sluggish to make this a must-buy, but it certainly makes you see those top-end expensive flagships in a different light, and Vodafone deserves credit for that.

It can't hold a candle to the iPhones and S6s of this world, but if you go in thinking this is the cheapest 4G phone on the market you're going to come out pleasantly surprised. The fact that Lollipop is here is a big factor, as Google has done wonders with its newest OS.

It's difficult to give the Smart Prime 6 a high score, because it's slow and the screen's uninspiring, but for those shopping around at the bottom end of the market it's well worth shortlisting.

First reviewed: April 2015