Last year we came across the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6. Pretty decent phone if you ask  us for the price. We came to the conclusion that it was comparable to lower specced handsets on the market. It didn’t touch the likes of Samsung or Apple but definitely held its own in the mobile phone industry. You could only get one from Vodafone though which was a bit of a pain, as other networks would have really benefitted from having the Ultra 6 among their rosters.

This time round we’ve managed to get our hands on the Vodafone Smart Ultra 7, and although still holding its own, we’re not too sure about its specification standings compared to the comparable handsets the Ultra 6 came up against. What remains is the 1920×1080 HD display, the 13-megapixel camera and the on-board 16GB storage hasn’t changed. What has changed however is the new processor as well as an overhauled design.

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The processor is a new octa-core 2.0GHz MediaTek MT6755 processor, which is paired with 2GB of RAM. Our GeekBanch 3 benchmarking test revealed a result of 782 on a single-core and 3041 on the multi-cores which I thought was pretty good for a phone priced at around £135. Yes there are faster handsets on the market, but the price grows quite rapidly alongside the rise in specifications. We put this spec to the test throwing the more graphically demanding title Real Racing 3 at it and didn’t notice a slow down. GFXBench 3.0 Manhatten gave us a score of 223.1 frames at 3.6 frames per second. Not too bad. The Smart Ultra 7 will no doubt be able to handle most things you throw at it from the Google Play store.

Running your every day social networking apps ran smoothly and we rarely waited for apps or menus to open. Over our two-week test, I only recorded two times where the phone decided to lock up completely and I was left waiting. This was however during the set up days where different apps had to sync before opening  and settings had to be automatically installed. It wasn’t a problem after that.

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The battery can house 2,960mAh of juice, which due to the size of the screen as well as powerhouse specs, was pretty under-par. Throughout testing we couldn’t quite squeeze a day of use out of the handset, that’s using social networking and listening to music pretty solidly while working. This is disappointing, even for a £135 phone.

Coming through with no change to the device from last year is the camera, and I must say, the quality was passable. You can see some of our results below. The results we found were moderately bleak. There didn’t seem to be much colour to them. Okay we’re not in the best weather, but even still, colours from other handsets at an increased price just seemed to pop a little more. When switching to the HDR mode, it helped a bit as it’s able to capture a photo at different exposures.

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I was impressed with the handset though. The Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 does come with flaws such as a fast-draining battery and a lifeless camera, but for a phone that’s way south of £150, it’s definitely features I could put up with if I was in the market for a budget handset. And what’s better, Vodafone are offering it to their customers on Pay-As-You-Go deals, so that could mean buying the handset outright and attaching a sim-only tariff to it. You can find more information on the Vodafone website.

 

Example Camera Images

An example of the difference between no HDR and HDR switched on

vodafone smart ultra 7 camera 1

vodafone smart ultra 7 camera 1 hdr

 

The rest of the images had no HDR switched on and were taken in the automatic mode to give the most accurate results.

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vodafone smart ultra 7 camera 2

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Stef Murphy

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