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Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 review – a bargain phablet

Vodafone Smart Ultra 6
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £130
inc VAT on PAYG (as of 4th May)

The excellent £130 Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 sets a new benchmark for budget smartphones


Processor: Octa-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615, Screen Size: 5.5in, Screen resolution: 1,920×1,080, Rear camera: 13 megapixels, Storage (free): 16GB (11GB), Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 154x77x8.4mm, Weight: 159g, Operating system: Android 5.0.2. Buy Now from Vodafone 


Battery Life

Considering the Smart Ultra 6 has such a big, high resolution screen, battery life was impressive. With the screen brightness set to 170cd/m2, its 3,000mAh battery lasted 10h 51m in our continuous video playback test, so it should be more than capable of lasting through the day even if you’re using it heavily.


On the back of the phone is the 13-megapixel camera. We were very pleased with the quality of the Smart Ultra 6’s photos, as colours were bright and vivid and there was plenty of crisp detail to be found despite its tendency to produce rather dark areas of shadow. There’s also a Manual mode available which lets you adjust the white balance, ISO and exposure levels, as well as a horizon level guide and grid lines to help you capture the perfectly aligned picture.

Vodafone Smart ultra 6 camera test^ Outdoors, the Smart Ultra 6 produced bright, vibrant pictures with plenty of detail

Vodafone Smart ultra 6 camera test HDR mode^ HDR mode should be used sparingly, though, as colours became very bleached and unnatural with almost no realistic shadow detail

We’d recommend sparing use of the HDR mode, though, as this tended to bleach out colours slightly and produce overly bright and saturated images. This can be found in the Mode setting, which also includes a variety of filters, a smile detection mode, interval capture, which takes multiple shots on an automatic countdown timer, panorama and multi-exposure, which lets you combine multiple images together to create arty collages and layered shots.

Vodafone Smart ultra 6 camera test indoors^ Indoors, the Smart Ultra 6 coped well with low lighting conditions, but noise levels were quite high when we didn’t have our external lamp switched on

Design & Vodafone apps

The Smart Ultra 6 is well-made, too. While its grey plastic 8.4mm thick isn’t particularly eye-catching, it fits in with Vodafone’s other own-brand devices and its lightly ribbed sides give your fingers something to hold onto when you’re using it with one hand. It’s a unibody design, with no removable rear panel, this makes it feel tougher but means you can’t replace the battery – not that you can on the Moto G, either. The SIM and Micro SD card slots are on the edges of the handset, the latter means you can expand the memory by up to 128GB.

It has dedicated touch buttons below the screen, giving you more screen space to play with when running apps. At first we found it a little irritating that they kept turning themselves off, as this made it difficult to easily locate the home and back buttons, but this can be easily remedied in the Display settings menu by switching the touch key light duration option to always on.

We also liked how Vodafone lets you choose which app appears as a fullscreen widget when you swipe to the left of the main home screen. It’s set to news aggregator Flipboard by default, but you can choose from any app currently installed on your phone, whether it’s Netflix, Twitter, or your favourite game. You can always disable this feature if you’d rather not have one at all, but we appreciate having the choice all the same, which is more than can be said for other smartphones with this feature.

if you want Google Now to the left of your homescreen, as on Google’s own Nexus devices, then you can always install the Google Now launcher from the Play Store.

Vodafone Smart ultra 6 Android

Of course, as a Vodafone handset, the Smart Ultra 6 comes with several pre-installed Vodafone apps. Some are more useful than others, but thankfully you can uninstall them if you’d rather free up a bit of extra space. You’ll want to keep the Vodafone Start and Message+ apps, though, as the former lets you keep track of your data allowance and monthly texts and minutes while the latter is Vodafone’s messaging service, which gives you sent, delivered and read notifications when you send texts and lets you chat with multiple Message+ users in the same thread.


With so many practical features, the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 is still good value for its price. Contract prices are now a little high compared to the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua, which is arguably more attractive and has better build quality, but on pre-pay, the Ultra 6 is still a decent bargain thanks to its larger, higher resolution screen and superior camera. If you don’t mind joining Vodafone, the Smart Ultra 6 is a very good buy for those after a jumbo budget smartphone. It wins a Best Buy award. Buy Now from Vodafone

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ProcessorOcta-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615
Screen size5.5in
Screen resolution1,920×1,080
Screen typeIPS Quantum
Front camera5 megapixels
Rear camera13 megapixels
Storage (free)16GB (11GB)
Memory card slot (supplied)microSD
BluetoothBluetooth 4.0
Wireless data3G, 4G
Operating systemAndroid 5.0.2
Battery size3,000mAh
Buying information
WarrantyOne-year RTB
Price SIM-free (inc VAT)N/A
Price on contract (inc VAT)Free on £17-per-month contract
Prepay price (inc VAT)£125
Part codeSmart ultra 6

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