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Vodafone Smart 2 review

 Review: November 2012  
 

Last updated April 2013

Rating: 3 stars

In a nutshell: Smartphones don't come much cheaper than the Vodafone Smart II, yet it still manages to deliver all the smartphone essentials, and feels more expensive than it is. It's a good introduction to Android if you're looking for a real bargain.



 

Review

The Smart II is an entry-level Android smart phone made by Alcatel and exclusive to Vodafone.

Design

It's a compact phone, similar in size to the HTC Desire C, but quite weighty at 120g. This extra weight serves to lend the phone a certain feeling of quality, despite the all-plastic build.

The screen feels quite cramped for a smartphone, and is probably near the lower limit of comfortable use, but it's quite typical of entry-level smartphones, being no different to the Sony Xperia Tipo or Samsung Galaxy Mini 2. We really can't complain.

A nice touch is that you can flip the phone over if you don't want to answer a call and it will stop ringing.

Smartness

Being smart is what this phone is about, if the name is to be believed. The Smart II runs Android Gingerbread 2.3, and isn't going to get an upgrade to a newer version of Android. That puts it a little way behind more modern phones, but as it's only entry-level, we can't be too fussy.

Everything you need from a basic smartphone is here: email, a web browser, a Swype-enabled keyboard, GPS with Google Maps, facebook, twitter, plus access to downloadable apps and games from Google Play. The functionality of the phone hasn't been restricted by Vodafone in any way.

You wouldn't expect a super-fast processor from such a low-priced phone, but the 800Hz processor seems perfectly quick enough to keep everything moving along nicely. It's faster than rival HTC's offerings at this price point.

If having a good memory is part of being smart, then the Smart II could use a boost in this area. The built-in memory is a miserly 150MB, but fortunately it comes with a 2GB microSD card included, and you can expand this up to 32GB.

Camera & music

The phone's weakest feature must be its camera. This has a low resolution of 3.2 megapixels, and with no autofocus and only a weedy LED flash to handle low lighting you shouldn't expect to take any great shots. A dedicated camera button does let you get the camera started quickly, even if the end result isn't that great.

Similarly, the video camera is poor quality, with VGA resolution and 15 frames per second.

Music is better, with the usual Android music player and a 3.5mm headphone socket. There's also an FM radio included.

Connectivity

This is a 3G phone with support for HSPA, and Wi-Fi support too, so getting fast data access is no problem.

The phone also supports Bluetooth 2.1 and has a micro-USB connection.

Battery life

Budget smartphones tend to have moderate battery life at best, and the Smart II performs typically. The 1200mAh battery is probably the minimum for a phone of this kind, and the result is that if you use the phone extensively, you'll definitely be recharging every night.

Conclusion - better than expected

Budget smartphones tend to be much of a muchness, but the Smart II is better than most at this price. Alcatel have managed to inject a feeling of quality into the design, and the phone feels satisfying to hold and built to last.

The version of Android may be an old one - 2.3 - but it does the business and zips along nicely, as long as you don't try to install any CPU-hungry apps. In fact, it's remarkable what can be achieved at such a low cost - email, maps, web browsing, social media. We had no trouble using the phone for these kinds of functions.

The phone's only real weak points are the camera and the relatively small battery. Some more memory would have been welcome too.

The Smart II delivers a lot for the money - more than we expected to be frank. The only alternative worth considering at this price point is the Sony Xperia Tipo which has the benefit of Android 4.0.


Vodafone Smart 2 features include:

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Vodafone Smart 2 user reviews

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Average rating from 2 reviews:

Reviewed by Taimoor from Germany on 10th May 2013
Only for 49 euros in ebay-germany.Worth its price.
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Reviewed by John from Dublin on 27th Mar 2013
Just reviewed this entry level android device and it has way surpassed my expectations. I mean for ?10 you get a smartphone with Wifi, GPS and most features of any smartphone. It feels good in the hand and the screen is great for such a cheap devise. Setting up all my gmail, FB and twitter accounts were a breeze. If your on a budget this is the perfect phone.
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