Hands on review: Vodafone Smart 3

This is not a premium smartphone but it is certainly a good-looking, capable and highly affordable alternative, says David Phelan

Nobody doubts that the best, fastest and most deluxe smartphone experience comes from high-priced models like the iPhone 5, Nokia 920 and Samsung Galaxy S4.

But not everyone wants to splash out £400 or more for a mobile, whether you pay that price up front or slowly over a two-year contract. So Vodafone has created its Smart series, now up to number three. It’s priced £95 on pay-as-you-go and is free on contracts as cheap as £13 a month.

Budget smartphones traditionally disappoint – the screen is sketchy, the processor slow or the capabilities reduced as corners are cut. Sometimes GPS or even wi-fi are omitted to keep the price down.

But the Smart III has a good screen with decent resolution, even if it’s no match for the iPhone’s Retina display. And this is a good sized screen too at four inches.

The processor isn’t dual- or quad-core like top-end mobiles but it clocks in at 1GHz and in practice it’s pretty nippy. What’s more, where some cheapies include an old version of Android operating software – the Gingerbread edition which is more than two years old now is often the version of choice – the Smart III manages Jelly Bean 4.1, which is very nearly the latest.

So where have the corners been cut? Well, the camera is 5MP – cutting edge a couple of years ago but overtaken more recently by 8MP and 13MP sensors. But it comes with a flash, at least, and in practice the pictures are certainly acceptable. And that’s about it. Wi-fi and GPS are both on board, along with Bluetooth and even a microSD card slot so you can add to the internal memory which, admittedly, is limited to just 4GB.

What about the looks, you ask, surely they scream budget? Actually, not really.

The display has a black surround with a white or black frame around it that unclips so you can customise the handset. There’s a cute LED slot at the base which flashes to let you know there are messages waiting. The back panel is translucent so you can slip a sheet of paper with your own design on it in. Providing the patterns or images are strong, you can see them through the back panel. It’s a neat touch of personalisation.

Battery life, signal strength and call quality were all fine, and Vodafone’s little apps to show you how much memory you’ve used will prove useful to those new to Android.

This is not a premium smartphone, but it is certainly a good-looking, capable and highly affordable alternative.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Content Manager - Central London

    £35000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Content Manager - Central...

    Java Developer

    £45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: JAVA DEVELO...

    Microsoft Dynamics AX Developer

    £475 - £550 per day: Progressive Recruitment: MDAX / Dynamics AX / Microsoft D...

    .Net/ C# Developer/ Analyst Programmer - Eciting new Role

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .NET/ C# .Pr...

    Day In a Page

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

    Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on