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Vodafone Smart Speed 6 review

Katharine Byrne
2 Nov 2015
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Vodafone Smart Speed 6
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
50
inc VAT (PAYG)

The Smart Speed 6 isn't without its drawbacks, but for £50, there's simply nothing better

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Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 1.0GHz MediaTek MT6735M, Screen Size: 4.5in, Screen resolution: 854x480, Rear camera: 5 megapixels, Storage (free): 8GB (4.6GB), Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 132x65x9.9mm, Weight: 146g, Operating system: Android 5.1 Buy the Vodafone Smart Speed 6 now from Vodafone

Motorola may be the biggest name in budget smartphones, but Vodafone's own-brand Smart handsets have been fighting back hard. Vodafone released the £125 Smart Ultra 6 to combat the £160 3rd Gen Moto G, with better specs and a larger, Full HD screen. Now it's taking aim at the £90 2nd Gen Moto E with the Smart Speed 6, providing a well-overdue shot in the arm to ultra-cheap phones on Pay as You Go.

The Smart Speed 6 is the ideal size for those after a small, compact handset. It's narrower and easier to hold than the Moto E, and it feels well-made and sturdy in the hand, even if its plain silver chassis won't exactly turn heads. The 4.5in screen is a bit of a magnet for fingerprints too.

Display

The display itself is relatively decent. While the lowly 854x480 resolution makes desktop-based web pages a little tricky to navigate, the sRGB colour accuracy score of 70.9% isn't nearly as low as some other sub-£100 phones I've tested recently. For instance, the Samsung Galaxy Young 2, which is more expensive than the Smart Speed 6, only managed a pitiful 58.2%. Admittedly, 70.9% still isn't great, as the strong yellows and blues, and weak reds and greens, meant that images often looked quite cool and dingy. Likewise, with a peak brightness of just 335.25cd/m2, I found it quite difficult to see the screen clearly in bright sunshine.

Vodafone Smart Speed 6 display

However, for £50 it's really not that bad, and the screen's viewing angles are actually much wider than the Young 2, as I was able to see the screen clearly from a much wider variety of oblique angles than I could ever hope to achieve with the Young 2. The Smart Speed 6 also has a good black level of 0.32cd/m2, and its contrast ratio of 1,035:1 is up there with your typical budget smartphone. For me, the Moto E still has the edge with its richer, brighter colours, but the Smart Speed 6 certainly raises the bar for other £50 smartphones.

Performance & Battery Life

The Smart Speed 6 puts up a decent fight against the Moto E when it comes to performance. Its quad-core MediaTek MT6735M processor may run at a slower 1GHz clock speed compared to the Moto E's 1.2GHz Snapdragon 410, but it wasn't far behind in our benchmark results. In Geekbench 3, the Smart Speed 6 managed 457 in the single core test and 1,292 in the multicore, the latter of which is just 100 behind the Moto E.

Vodafone Smart Speed 6 rear

In day to day use, the Smart Speed 6 ran its stock version of Android 5.1 very smoothly, and apps loaded just as quickly as those on the Moto E. Simple 2D games also ran perfectly fine on the Smart Speed 6, as I was able to play games like Threes! and Alphabear without any trouble. It will struggle with more complex games like Hearthstone, though, and scores of just 342 frames (or 5.5fps) in the GFX Bench onscreen Manhattan test and 1.4fps, or 84 frames, in the offscreen test mean it isn't cut out for demanding 3D titles.

Web browsing shouldn't pose too much of a problem, though, as it coped well with most websites I visited. The Guardian could be a bit stop-start at times, particularly when pages were loading, but otherwise scrolling was reasonably smooth and hassle-free.

Likewise, the Smart Speed 6's battery life was excellent. Despite only having a 1,780mAh battery, I managed an impressive 10h 51m in our continuous video playback test with the screen brightness set to 170cd/m2.

Vodafone Smart Speed 6 side

Storage 

The Smart Speed 6 isn't without its problems, though, as its 8GB of storage only leaves you with 4.6GB of usable space. This means that anyone who wants to download a lot of apps will likely need to invest in a microSD card, which can be accessed underneath the rear panel.

Camera

The rear 5-megapixel camera isn't much to shout about, as the lack of touch focus controls can leave photos looked very blurry and smeary. As a result, all of my photos were lacking in detail and object outlines were very soft and fuzzy. Unsurprisingly, indoor photos looked even worse, as even bright lighting conditions produced a lot of noise and grainy artefacts.

Vodafone Smart Speed 6 camera test indoors

^ Colours look good, but detail is almost entirely absent, particularly when it comes to the fur on our teddy bear

Conclusion

Camera and storage issues aside, the Vodafone Smart Speed 6 is a highly accomplished smartphone for just £50. It puts the terrible £70 Samsung Galaxy Young 2 to shame in every category and its good performance and battery life make a compelling case against the £90 2nd Gen Moto E. I'd say the Moto E's superior screen and marginally better camera are probably worth the extra £40, but if you absolutely don't want to spend more than £50 on your smartphone and don't mind joining Vodafone in the process, the Smart Speed 6 is by far the best smartphone in its price range. Buy the Vodafone Smart Speed 6 now from Vodafone

Hardware
ProcessorQuad-core 1.0GHz MediaTek MT6735M
RAM1GB
Screen size4.5in
Screen resolution854x480
Screen typeLCD
Front camera2 megapixels
Rear camera5 megapixels
FlashLED
GPSYes
CompassYes
Storage (free)8GB (4.6GB)
Memory card slot (supplied)microSD
Wi-Fi802.11n
BluetoothBluetooth 4.0
NFCNo
Wireless data3G, 4G
Size132x65x9.9mm
Weight146g
Features
Operating systemAndroid 5.1
Battery size1,780mAh
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Price SIM-free (inc VAT)N/A
Price on contract (inc VAT)N/A
Prepay price (inc VAT)£50
SIM-free supplierN/A
Contract/prepay supplierwww.shop.vodafone.co.uk
Detailswww.vodafone.co.uk
Part codeVodafone VF-795

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