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Vodafone 858 Smart review

Barry de la Rosa
2 Aug 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

Although it's well priced, the Smart's screen is cramped, its processor is slow and it lacks storage space for apps. Samsung's Galaxy Fit is better value



Android 2.2, 2.8in 240x320 display

The 858 Smart is another budget phone in Vodafone's own-brand range, similar to the Vodafone 845, and it's actually made by Chinese manufacturer Huawei, one of the world's largest mobile manufacturers. Despite its low price, it runs Android 2.2 and has all the standard smartphone features such as GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a capacitive touchscreen. Most impressive is the price: it's only available on PAYG (Pay As You Go) at a bargain-basement £75.

Capacitive screens react to the touch of skin, and so are much more responsive than resistive screens that require pressure, such as that found on the 845. However the 858, like the 845 before it, has a 2.8 screen with a 240x320 resolution, so it feels quite cramped. You'll notice this most in apps that require typing, because the keyboard instantly takes up two thirds of the screen.

Vodafone 858 Smart

The screen's low resolution - the same as that of the Samsung Galaxy Fit - also means image quality is poor, with obvious pixellation in photos and ragged text. The 858 doesn't pretend to be a multimedia powerhouse in any case; its 2-megapixel camera isn't even as good as the 3.2-megapixel snapper on the older 845. Photos weren't as bad as we'd expected, but were still noisy with poor focus, and videos were jumpy.

Vodafone 858 Smart Back

Android 2.2 has much needed speed improvements over 2.1, but doesn't include the easier cut-and-paste mechanic that you'd get with 2.3. Despite this, the 858's 528MHz processor still struggles to keep up if you've got a few apps open. It couldn't run the Quadrant benchmark as it lacks a powerful enough graphics chip. Browser performance was poor - the handset's result in the SunSpider JavaScript test was more than ten times slower than the latest dual-core phones.

Another problem is the limited 130MB internal storage space - 30MB less than the Galaxy Fit's. While some apps support being stored on a memory card, they still use some of the internal memory and you'll soon find yourself running out of space. This is a shame, as Android's major benefit is the wealth of apps in the Market. A battery life of just over 19 hours in our light-usage test is only average for a single-core phone.

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