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Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 review

 Review: August 2015  
 

Rating: 5 stars

In a nutshell: Vodafone has a long history of producing its own-brand phones that don't cost much but give a lot, and the Smart Ultra 6 takes this to the next level. With a 5.5 inch 1080p display, 8-core processor, good camera and massive battery, this phone doesn't have any weaknesses. It hugely over-delivers for the price.

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Design

The Smart Ultra 6 looks to be Vodafone's answer to the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6. It doesn't cost anything like those other phones, but in its own way it's a flagship phone.

With a 5.5 inch screen, it's a large phone, and it's moderately heavy too, weighing in at almost 160g. It doesn't have quite the same ultraslim design as premium handsets, but at just over 8mm thick, it comes close. It's not a phone for everyone, but if you like large screens, you'll definitely like this. The Smart Ultra 6 doesn't quite have the looks of its more expensive rivals, but it definitely looks more expensive than it actually is.

That big 5.5 inch screen is the best we've ever seen on a mid-range phone. It's a Full HD IPS display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, giving a pixel density of 401ppi, which is the same as the iPhone 6+. That's remarkable for a phone that costs around a quarter of the Apple product. It's an outstanding display on such an inexpensive phone, delivering crisp, bright images, and it's one of the phone's top features.

Octa-core processor

The 5.5 inch screen may be one of the Ultra 6's outstanding features, but it's certainly not the only one. There are more nice surprises inside. Not least must be the inclusion of an 8-core Snapdragon 615 processor, which comprises four 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 cores plus four 1.0GHz cores and comes with 2GB of RAM. This provides dramatically more processing power than most other mid-range phones. There's plenty of power here for general use and casual gaming, but perhaps not for serious high-end 3D gaming.

The phone comes with 16GB of built-in storage, which is typical of Android phones, and has a microSD card slot, so you can add up to 128GB of additional storage for videos, photos, etc. Many phone at this price have just 8GB of built-in memory, and the 16GB plus card option ought to be enough for all but the most demanding users.

The phone runs Android Lollipop 5.0, and Vodafone has exercised restraint, just adding a few dedicated apps and leaving the interface largely untouched.

Cameras

The main rear-facing camera has a 13 megapixel Sony sensor, LED flash and autofocus and HDR mode. It's also capable of shooting Full HD 1080p video. It misses out on image stabilisation, so video can be shaky, but it's still  a very respectable camera, and a match for some much more expensive phones. 

The front camera has a more modest 5 megapixel sensor, but is just right for selfies or video clips.

Connectivity

The Ultra 6 is 4G-enabled, and also handles HSPA and GSM networks, so network connectivity is no problem.

The phone also supports Bluetooth 4.0, micro-USB and NFC, as well as having a 3.5mm audio jack. An FM radio is included.

Battery life

The battery in the Ultra 6 is a real whopper. At 3,000mAh it puts some flagship phones to shame, and is certainly the biggest battery on any phone in its price range. Of course, it has to work hard driving that 1080p HD display, but still does a good job. Well done to Vodafone for giving the device some serious battery life.

Conclusion - awesome value for money

It's quite incredible what Vodafone and ZTE have managed to achieve with the Smart Ultra 6. It's a lesson for other manufacturers about how to deliver value. And it's a lesson for savvy shoppers about what you can get if you look beyond the obvious big names.

If we had to fault the phone in any way, we would pin down two aspects. First, it's a very large phone, but that of course is the trade-off for any large-screened device. Secondly, despite its 8-core Snapdragon processor, its not the phone to choose if you enjoy the latest 3D games. If you want the most powerful smartphone, you'll still have to pay the money.

But for everyone else, and by this we mean most people, this phone really does offer everything you could want. You could spend more money on the perceived safety of a big name, or you could save yourself a small fortune by opting for the Smart Ultra 6.

There are other options worthy of your consideration if you're looking for a good phone that doesn't cost the earth. The Honor 6+ from Three is quite mind-blowingly awesome, and the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua is worth a look too, although the 8GB of memory does limit its potential.


Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 features include:

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Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 user reviews

Love this product? Hate it? Please share your experiences to help other people choose the product that's best for them. Please do not review this product if you have not used it, and please ask questions in our User Questions section above. Please do not use swear words or offensive language, and please, no advertising!

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Average rating from 4 reviews:

Reviewed by Mark from UK on 29th Sep 2016
Just purchased this from Vodafone, £89, unbelievable price. Finally got away from my Lumia 640XL, never again. Great to be back on Android. Got an unlock code for £1.85 off eBay, and my sim is in and working, no problems. For the money this is a Rolls Royce of a phone, quick, great screen and did I mention £89. They must be losing money on this or all the premium branded phones are massively overpriced.
Didn't want to dive straight back into an expensive phone as I was torn between the Note 7 and the iPhone 7 plus. See how this works for a while but unless it changes rapidly, I may end up keeping this longer than planned.
Rating:

Reviewed by Kneht from Roumanie on 21st Aug 2016
Best deal! Super phone!
Rating:

Reviewed by john browne from ireland on 1st May 2016
Well done Vodafone and zte u gave the public what they wanted at a fair price u also gave a 2 year warranty other manufacture take note go on buy one u won't regret it 5/5 across all categories.
Rating:

Reviewed by Tris from UK on 31st Aug 2015
I'm not an Android fan at all much less want to spend tons of money on one. My daughter opted for the i6+. Our budget could only buy her the 16gb model. Try as I might I couldn't talk her out of it. My wife purchased her one and within days she knew she had made a mistake. Off the the phone went back and we looked at the usual suspects with expandable memory. A very nice chap in the Vodafone shop showed us all the phones but then suggested we look at the 6 ultra. My daughter was whizzing around it in moments...... and it had the memory options she needed. There's no doubt this phone was made to offer a head on collision with the iphone 6+ or any mid to top of the range android phone. I won't go into to detail but to my mind it trumps the iphone hands down. It's simply outstanding and unbelievable value that I think only a fool would not appreciate. Apart from the specs the real triumph is the price. If I broke my iphone, I would be xxxxxx........ but if I broke this then I would be angry but I also would be able to replace it with no fuss at all. Almost every part of this phone over delivers apart from the build, but even then I've seen much worse on so called mid range phones. The reason I jumped on this phone in the shop is because I had already come to the realisation of what are you actually getting for your money on the top phones now. I think the Ultra 6 is everything that can be great about the mobile industry. Apple on the other hand shows us everything that's wrong I think.
Rating:


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