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Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 review - return of the Moto G killer?

Katharine Byrne
1 Jul 2016
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
135
inc VAT (PAYG, as of 27th June)

Page 1 of 2Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 review - return of the Moto G killer?

It's very fast for its price, but its flawed screen, battery life and camera fail to build on the success of last year's Smart Ultra 6

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Specifications

Processor: Octa-core MediaTek MT6755M, Screen Size: 5.5in, Screen resolution: 1,920x1,080, Rear camera: 13 megapixels, Storage (free): 16GB, Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Dimensions: 152x78x8.7mm, Weight: 150g, Operating system: Android 6.0.1

Buy the Smart Ultra 7 now from Vodafone

Vodafone's Smart Ultra 6 was one of my favourite budget handsets of last year. Yes, you had to sign up to Vodafone in order to get one, but its budget-defying specs were fantastic value for money, and its large 5.5in display offered an excellent big screen alternative to the 3rd Gen Moto G.

Now Vodafone's back with the Smart Ultra 7, a super-cheap phablet that costs just £135 on Vodafone's Pay As You Go service. You can also get it on a £19-per-month on contract, but that only gets you 500MB of data, 500 minutes and unlimited texts. You'll save £33 over two years if you buy the phone upfront and choose an identical SIM-only plan from Vodafone for £12-per-month. However, there are far better SIM-only deals out there if you're happy to buy your handset first, as we'll discuss later.

In terms of raw specs, not a lot's actually changed since last year's model, as the Ultra 7 still has a 5.5in, 1,920x1,080 resolution display, a 13-megapixel camera and 16GB of onboard storage. Instead, the main differences are a new processor and an all-new design.

Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 rear

Its rivals, however, have done anything but stand still over the last 12 months, as the new Moto G4 also has a large 5.5in Full HD display this year as well as a new and improved chipset. The Smart Ultra 7's got its work cut out for it then, but it still does a pretty good job at giving at the Moto G4 a run for its money - at least when it comes to overall speed.

Performance

This time, Vodafone's gone with an octa-core 2.0GHz MediaTek MT6755 processor, which is paired with 2GB of RAM. In terms of speed, it's not far behind the Moto G4's Snapdragon 617 chip, as the Smart Ultra 7 scored 784 in Geekbench 3's single core test and 2,927 in the multicore test, the former just edging in front of the Moto G4's result of 717.

Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 home button

That's pretty impressive for a phone that costs just £135, and it storms past other, cheaper budget smartphones like the Wileyfox Swift, 3rd Gen Moto G and the Obi Worldphone MV1. It certainly feels pretty nippy in everyday use, and its vanilla version of Android 6.0.1 rarely leaves you waiting for anything to happen. Web browsing was silky smooth, too, despite its rather underwhelming score of 683 in Peacekeeper.

It's an excellent gaming device, too, deftly handling 3D games like Hearthstone with ease. It's perhaps not cut out for the most demanding titles, as evidenced by its rather measly score of 339 frames (5.5fps) in the offscreen Manhattan 3.0 test in GFX Bench GL, but you should still be able to play most titles on offer in the Google Play Store perfectly well.

Battery Life

However, it may have the speed to shoot past other budget handsets, but its stamina is decidedly lacking, as its 2,960mAh battery only managed 9h 55m in our continuous video playback test with the screen brightness set to our usual measurement of 170cd/m2. This is pretty underwhelming even for a sub-£150 phone, as even the 3rd Gen Moto G managed over 11 hours under the same conditions. It pales against the Moto G4's battery life as well, which lasted an impressive 13h 39m.

Page 1 of 2Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 review - return of the Moto G killer?

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