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Vodafone Smart Tab 4G review

Katharine Byrne
20 Feb 2015
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
125
inc VAT (Pay As You Go)

The Smart Tab 4G is a well-made tablet with a bright screen, but colour accuracy and performance could be better

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Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410, Screen size: 8in, Screen resolution: 1,280x800, Rear camera: 5-megapixel, Storage: 8GB, Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 290x123x8mm, Weight: 327g, Operating system: Android 4.4.4

With a SIM card slot and support for Vodafone’s 4G network, the Smart Tab 4G could be the ideal companion for anyone who likes streaming movies and TV shows on the go. At 8mm thick and with an 8in screen, it's reasonably portable compared to its big screen rivals, while the soft touch rear and smooth, rounded corners make it extremely comfortable to hold for long periods of time.

Vodafone's data contracts don't come cheap, with prices starting at £19-a-month for 1GB of 4G data, right up to £31-a-month for 8GB of 4G data. With a £29 upfront cost for the tablet, the total cost of ownership can be as high as £753 over two years. Alternatively, you can buy the tablet outright for £125 on Pay as you Go and top up your 30-day data allowance to suit your needs.

Either way, the Smart Tab 4G will end up being considerably more expensive than the average Wi-Fi-only Android tablet, so you'd hope it would have some pretty powerful specs to make it worth your while. Unfortunately, this isn't the case, as the Smart Tab 4G's quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor is no quicker than an average entry-level smartphone, such as Motorola's Moto G. Its SunSpider JavaScript score of 1,239ms lags a long way behind its larger 10in rivals and it's almost 400ms slower than the £129 Tesco Hudl 2.

Vodafone Smart Tab 4G

This sluggishness was particularly apparent when quickly scrolling trough web pages like BBC News and The Guardian home page. While BBC News loaded without much of an issue, The Guardian was much more stop and start as we scrolled down individual articles. This put us off jumping from one article to the next to continue reading, so you may only want to use the Smart Tab 4G for quickly looking things up rather than long-form reading.

It's not all bad news, though, as our PCMark benchmarks were more promising. This test measures a tablet's performance based on web browsing, video playback, photo editing and writing documents. Overall, the Smart Tab 4G scored a fairly mediocre 2,983, but its high video playback score of 4,063 was almost as fast top flagship phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. This bodes well for watching content on the go, as you should be able to open and seek within videos quickly with minimal loading times.

The Smart Tab 4G isn't well suited to playing games, barely breaking above 23fps in our 3DMark Ice Storm test, and could only manage a juddery 15.9fps in Ice Storm Extreme. This once again pales by Hudl 2 standards. It should still be able to play more casual games at reasonable speeds, as it managed a smoother 29.6fps in Epic Citadel on Ultra High quality settings.

Sadly, films and games will never look their best on the Smart Tab 4G's 8in 1,280x800 IPS screen, as our colour calibrator showed it was only displaying 71.7% of the sRGB colour gamut. While this is about average for a tablet display, we'd normally expect IPS panels to score slightly higher, as they're traditionally meant to produce more accurate colours than their TN counterparts. However, the Smart Tab 4G's warm colour coverage was particularly weak in this case, leaving images and videos looking washed out and lacking in vibrancy.

Vodafone Smart Tab 4G

The one advantage the Smart Tab 4G's IPS panel does bring is ultra wide viewing angles, which helps keep the screen clear and visible even when you're looking at the tablet from the side. We were also pleased with the screen's contrast ratio of 1,139:1, as this gave our videos plenty of fine shadow detail. Brightness is decent, too; we measured a peak brightness of 372.76cd/m2. It's not the most vivid screen we've ever tested, but you'll still be able to see your videos clearly outside or happen to have a window seat on the morning commute.

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