As promised in Part one this is part two of the Vodafone Smart 4 Turbo review. This part will talk about the hardware, how it performs to similarly priced devices and the phones strengths and any physical weaknesses that we may find.
Now it's here I remind you this is a budget handset with only a few recently released equals, three of those being the EE/Huawei Kestral/P6 and the Motorola Moto E and Moto G LTE. with budget 4g devices being in high demand these days it's good to see a fair few available from multiple manufacturers.
Many budget phones are a pure plastic affair, with many being a bit poor on the build quality side of things, but here the build quality looks and feels great compared to other similar priced devices. The phone has a more premium feel thanks to a metal casing, but that's not where the goodness ends. The NFC enabled back cover has some clever tricks under it's sleeve, housed under the rear casing are two little retaining clips which hold both the memory and SIM cards safely in place, to prevent these coming out or becoming damaged if the phone flexes too much, which in this case won't happen as much thanks to the metal side housing.
The metal side casing houses the headphone jack, Micro USB port at the top, and on the sides a volume rocker and a lock/power button, while it looks good here the USB Port annoys me as it's not angled to protect the port and prevent the user from putting the charger in the wrong way. But we all use common sense here, right?
The touch panel is a standard panel with no apparent tempering or oleophobic (anti fingerprint) coating. Sadly the handset went through an ultimate strength test, the device suffered a fall onto the pavement as a result of me falling flat on the ground on a wonky pavement, causing the panel to crack, it fell from my hand at around 30 centimetres away from the ground, I feel here Vodafone and Yulong should have have used a composite plastic/fibre glass panel as used on many lower end LG's and Alcatel devices to toughen up the glass, or bundle a screen protector into the box to help prevent panel damage.
The Smart 4 Turbo has a storage of 4 gigabytes and while perfectly usable in day to day situation it's not a huge amount and means many people will require a MicroSD card as well. It'll make a worthwhile improvement in the long run especially at the low price of removable storage these days!. The Smart 4 Turbo's 1Gb of RAM is perfectly paired with the Qualcomm MSM8926 Snapdragon 400 quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7 CPU making multitasking a breeze, more intensive applications seem to run without any problems or complaints. Add in the Adreno 305 Graphics processor and it a silky smooth, butter like user experience and a perfect entry level kick into perfectly acceptable fast paced gaming on Android.
Battery life is VERY Impressive, and I genuinely wish more expensive devices held up this well, I was testing it this weekend just gone in predominately 4G areas, Chessington, Surbiton and Kingston Upon Thames. The 1880 mAH battery lasted over a day with calls, 4g YouTube for the kids, app downloads and syncing photos to my computer at the hotel via dropbox It was taken off charge at 6:40AM and put back on charge at 11:40 with 9% left in the battery, leaving me confident it would keep going well into the following day. This was a huge win for the device in my eyes as it holds up as well as higher end devices. The charger is a a 1000mA device, which does what it says on the tin!
Now I did do a lot of speed tests for comparative purposes and also to make sure I was not seeing any erroneous results.
4G seems to be very dependant on the area still as the Upload speeds were vastly better than Download speeds with the odd exception in Kingston Upon Thames as shown on my left. However as with all speed tests you do need to take them with a pinch of salt as they are not the most accurate, especially when many connections could be throttled by the servers or websites you're visiting or the content you wish to stream.
Now the camera is a 5MP sensor with Autofocus, While it's not the latest and greatest it does work fairly well as seen by this sample image taken in low light. I only have one complaint here and that's the how the camera's interface lags at times for next to no reasons, but images are more than acceptable.
The camera can also record in HD 720p, SD 480p and 640*480 resolutions,
Below are some test clips, filmed on the Luton and Dunstable Busway as pre-emptive test due to the items in the fore and background and the flattish nature of the track, despite my wobbly camera work. In my opinions it's good for small videos and quick YouTube videos, but in the right light and conditions it'll do a good job for vlogs.
480P video test clip
HD720p Video Test Clip
NFC works well, it had a few wobbles on advertisements on the trains but 9 times out of 10 were great. I didn't test the pay by tap options as I would prefer to rack charges to a review unit, but I've been told it would work with contactless payment, including the tube's oyster system. file sharing via NFC and Bluetooth also work great too. I also tested it with a friends NFC embedded Nokia BH-121. It paired perfectly worked well.
On top of this Bluetooth worked great, audio and voice quality were great and file transfers worked well. I tested it with both my Nokia BH-214 and Plantronics discovery 957 and also my friends BH-121 as mentioned above. No complaints from me.
Ringtones and vibrate functions were clear, loud and vibrate was strong, this alone is enough for many end users.
Now for the Benchmarks. I'm not sure how good these are compared to some phones but I assume they are better than many. Programs used were Quadrant Standard, AnTuTu Benchmark and Vellamo.
Starting with Vellamo beta,
It seems to think the phone is at the lower end of the spectrum which is expected from a beta benchmarking tool still in testing with multi core SOC's, due to the beta it's lower than many devices but it holds up well.
In this instance we're beating the MotoG in many cases and some considerably older but more expensive phones are beating us, while I feel it's not the best test I'd rather show you truthfully!
Next We go to Quantum Standard, It's again at the lower end of the spectrum but still better than could be expected for similar devices. Beating the HTC One X is a darned good achievement for a budget phone. I like that a lot, Well done Yulong and Vodafone!
Our AnTuTu Benchmark tests shows very confident results and holds up well to quite a few more expensive, midrange devices.
My conclusion is the Vodafone Smart 4 Turbo is a well thought out 4G phone, with a good design, feel and a perfect user interface, at a price point that to me is still a huge bargain, It's performance may not be as fast as the latest and greatest devices but considering it's stellar battery life, 4g functionality and build quality I would easily recommend this as a daily driver phone for a wide variety of people. While the touch panel broke on me in a fall I'm certain it's not going to happen to everyone. If you would like to try a demo handset pop into your local Vodafone store, I know the new Dunstable store has some for you to try out, and many stores are getting them over the next week or two.
My final question....
Is this worth your money?
I would have to say depending on your needs yes, yes, YES! It's a decently thought out phone, good connectivity, and not an all plastic design. At £26.50 a month or £135 prepaid it's well worth a punt in my opinion.