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Vodafone Smart III

Reviews
Published 
26 Jun 2013
Gallery
Our Rating 
4/5
Price when reviewed 
95
inc VAT

Verdict 

A cheap Android phone with only a few compromises

Page 1 of 3Vodafone Smart III

Specifications

Android 4.1 (JellyBean), 4.0in 480x800 display

The Smart III is one of a rare breed of sub-£100 prepay Android handsets, and sits in such illustrious company as the ZTE Blade III and the Samsung Galaxy Young.

You get a fair amount of phone for your money. The Smart III doesn’t have the compromised 320x480 screen resolution of the Galaxy Young, instead having a much sharper 480x800 pixels. It also runs Android 4.1, has a couple of gigabytes of internal storage available and a 1GHz single-core processor, so is very similar to the Blade III in terms of specification.

Vodafone Smart III

It's no HTC One, but the handset doesn't feel particularly cheap. The plastic screen surround feels tough, as does the translucent rear. You can fit patterned inserts under the rear cover, and our review model came with a fetching check pattern in the box.

The phone's display is reasonable for such a cheap handset. The resolution is the minimum we like to see from an Android phone, and means text is sharp. The screen does have narrow viewing angles, though, and a slight grainy texture.

We also didn't find the screen particularly responsive, which made typing tricky. We found it was best to stab aggressively at the display to make sure each keystroke registered when writing emails. It's not a bad screen for the price, but you don’t have to spend much more to get significantly better image quality: the £130 Huawei G510's display blows the Smart III's away.

Vodafone Smart III

The single-core processor is more of a compromise. As noted in our Galaxy Young review, you really need a dual-core model to make Android run smoothly. The Smart III seems to cope better than the single-core Samsung Galaxy Young, possibly due to its running a stock version of Android rather than the Samsung's customised version. The animation while flicking between screens is fairly smooth, and Maps runs well.

Using the default web browser, which seems to be based on the Firefox engine rather than Android's usual Webkit, the phone completed the Sunspider JavaScript 1.0 benchmark in a reasonably rapid 1,666ms, which bodes well for snappy web browsing. The reality was a bit more mixed. The phone was fine scrolling around reasonably graphics-heavy websites such as BBC News, but on more complicated sites with active content, such as The Guardian with the comments turned on, we saw some slowdowns. It's certainly slicker than the Samsung Galaxy Young, but not up there with the admittedly more expensive Huawei G510.

The phone also couldn’t run our 3DMark benchmark. We could run 3D shooter Dead Trigger, but it was occasionally jerky. Simpler games such as Cut the Rope worked fine, but this isn’t a handset for serious Android game heads. 720p video played smoothly, but 1080p MPEG4 movie trailers were jerky.

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