Vodafone Smart First 6 review
Today I am reviewing the Vodafone Smart First 6. The Smart First 6 is a truly budget mobile, so budget in fact that you can buy it from Amazon brand new and contract free for as low £20. Amazon didn’t have the phone in stock when I purchased it so I bought it from a private vendor on Amazon for £25 instead. Although not as cheap £25 is still a good price.
For a phone that cost as little as £20, the specifications aren’t going to blow you away, nor are they going to make this little phone a powerhouse, instead they are just going to give you a basic but good enough first smartphone.
- Mediatek MT6572M SoC
- Dual-Core 1.0 GHz Cortex A7 CPU
- Mali-400 GPU
- 512mb ram
- 4gb rom with MicroSD compatibility of up to 32gb
- Li-Ion 1400 mAh battery
- 3G,2G, Bluetooth 4.0, FM radio, A-GPS and WiFi
- 2-megapixel rear camera with no flash
- 4.0” capacitive touchscreen (480 X 800 pixels, with 233 PPI)
- Near stock Android 4.4.2 Kit Kat
This phone actually doesn’t look too bad considering the low price, it’s not the best-looking phone, but neither is it a terrible looking phone.
If you’re familiar with Alcatel One-Touch and their Pixi line, then you wouldn’t be blamed if you mistook this phone for a Pixi. That’s because despite saying ‘Designed By Vodafone’ on the rear cover, this phone has technically been made by TCL who are the folks behind Alcatel. So you may as well look at this phone as a Vodafone specific version of the Pixi.
The front of the device is pretty much bare in terms of what it has to offer. Along the bottom there are three capacitive non-light up Android Lollipop style navigation buttons, this is a bit confusing as the phone currently and will most likely always run Android 4.4.2 officially. The top end is home to the earpiece and a very carefully hidden proximity sensor, however, and very disappointingly this phone lacks an LED notification light. Also, absent here is a front facing camera, but given the low price it was always going to be on the top of the list of sacrifices.
The back cover is removable and allows the user access to the removable battery, in recent times removable batteries have sadly started to become a thing of the past, so it’s nice to see that this phone still has one. There are two cover colours to choose from, a white and a black one. When the phone came out at its original £40 price both covers came in the box. Now though you only get one, this is very much likely down to being able to make the phone cost even less. I have the white version and I must admit it looks really nice, especially with the silver Vodafone logo printed in the centre. Also, present around the back is the device’s 2-megapixel camera and the loudspeaker, other than this the back is bare.
The left-hand side of the phone is bare of any features, whilst the right-hand side is home to the power button and volume rocker. There’s a 3.5mm audio jack located on the top edge and a MicroUSB port located on the bottom edge.
In terms of build quality, the phone feels ok but there are slight creaks when I press down on the battery cover, this is nothing major and given the low price, it’s not something to really complain about.
I was actually quite amazed by the screen on this phone, sure it’s not HD like my 1080P HTC One M9, but it still an ok screen. When I say ok, I mean it’s bright and colourful, but obviously it’s not on par with more expensive phones or even the budget offerings from the likes of Motorola. If you try to look at the phone from an angle you will notice everything starts to become negative and dark, so, unfortunately, there’s no sneaking your phone partly out of your pocket during a meeting to check that text with ease as to get the best possible image, the screen and your eyes need to be aligned. If you also look closely at the screen particularly when a white background is present you are able to see each tiny square girded dot that makes up the touchscreen.
While the screen is bright and colourful it doesn’t really have anything in place to make it a worthy display, it simply gets the job done in a simple and cost-effective manner.
Software and performance:
What we have here is an almost stock version of Android 4.4.2 but with a few tweaks and software additions from Vodafone. The navigation of the user interface is fast at first, but do be aware if you load too many things onto the device at once, the ram will be eaten up and the device will become sluggish as I have learnt. This is, of course, a huge downside of 512mb ram in a phone released in 2015. I do think 1Gb ram should be the standard for budget phones nowadays, however that been said this is just a phone to get you into smartphones and has been designed for basic tasks such as browsing the net and telling people your life story on Facebook and if you do remember this, then you should hopefully have no issues with ultra poor performance. In conclusion to this, though, multitasking with this phone will only slow it down.
Being an Android device this phone has access to the wonderful world of the Google Play Store, where you can literally download millions of apps, games, movies, music and books. However do be aware these things take up something this phone lacks, space. This is a 4gb phone, but due to software and pre-installed apps, you as a user only get access to roughly about 2gb of that space for your own personal stuff and trust me this space will be eaten very quickly particularly if you like to install apps on your phone. For this reason, you would be best off investing a few quid in a memory card. You can actually pick up a 32gb microSD card for less than £10 in this day and age, so it’s not going to break the bank.
Playing some low spec games like Candy Crush on this phone presents no problems and the phone gets through without a struggle, however if you are trying to play something more intense such as GTA than you are going to experience some serious lagging issues and other problems that make the game unplayable.
The Smart First 6 comes packing a small 1,400 mAh Li-Ion battery. When it comes to smart phone batteries, I personally never know what to expect, being that for some reason most of the phones I use are charged once a day, 7 days a week. The same I can say for this phone. I have had it for a few days now and have spent one of those days dedicated to eradicating the battery and through mix use of internet browsing, Angry Bird playing, movie watching, phone calls and texts messages I managed to get roughly about 12 hours, so that was from 8 am to somewhere about 8 pm. So all in all not a bad battery, but then again I’m no battery expert.
Don’t buy this phone if you want a decent camera, because you will not get a decent camera with this phone. The camera is a 2.0-megapixel camera that is capable of photos and videos. The quality, though, is what you get for paying this much money. It’s incredibly poor and photos taken tend to come out grainy and saturated and as for the videos well its pretty much the same. All that in mind, at least, you get a camera for those odd photo and video memories you just can’t miss. Check out the photos for some low light shots and outdoor shots.
The Smart First 6 is a phone that has been designed to put price first by sacrificing power. Whilst this won’t be in the taste of a Power user, it certainly is a great little phone for anybody who is new to smartphones or just needs a cheap phone on a budget that can actually do stuff most other more expensive phones can do such as downloading apps from a store. As a HTC One M9 user, the sacrifices made for this phone are very noticeable to me and whilst I love the phone, I will always use it as a secondary phone while keeping my more powerful phone as my daily driver. Despite the sacrifices made this is still very much a good little phone that I would recommend to anybody needing a contract free phone on a budget.
Check it out here:
The Smart First 6 has earned 7.9 out of 10 and has therefore earned a Gold Reviews Insider Star.