Vodafone is launching the cheapest 4G phone on the market with the Smart 4 Turbo. The next on the list, the Ace 3 from Samsung, is considerably more expensive with a suggested retail price of 169.95, although you can also find that phone slightly cheaper with a good search. So if you absolutely want 4G and you have a limited budget, you will end up with the Smart 4 Turbo. Then you have to settle for a phone that is actually no more than mediocre in most areas. For the same money, we would therefore prefer a Moto E, for example. It may have ‘only’ 3g, but it is considerably better than the Smart 4 Turbo in all other areas. And for a few tenners less, there are also interesting Windows Phones for sale.
- 4g support
- Bad screen
- Little storage space
- Moderate battery life
Phones with support for 4g are not new anymore; almost all high-end devices support it and quite a few midrange phones can also handle it. 4G has not yet really penetrated the cheaper segments and Vodafone wants to change that. The telecom giant has therefore had two relatively cheap 4G devices developed in China and is launching them on the locan market under its own flag. These are the Vodafone Smart 4 Turbo and the Smart 4 Power. In this review, we discuss the first model, which, with a price of one hundred and twenty euros, is currently the cheapest 4G phone you can buy.
Casing and screen
The Smart 4 Turbo is a fairly simple and unobtrusive phone, with a black front, glossy black sides and a matte dark gray back. With its 4.5″ screen, it is a bit smaller than the top models on the Android market and it is therefore easy to operate with one hand. The casing is a bit on the thick side and we would not call it beautiful, but in this price range we should not expect too much.
On the right side we find the power button, on the left is the volume button and at the top are the headphone output and the micro USB port. When you unclip the removable back cover, you can access the removable battery, the micro-SIM slot and the micro-SD slot.
Like its big brother, the Smart 4 Power, the Turbo has three touch-sensitive buttons at the bottom of the screen, which do not work with lights and are therefore constantly visible. From left to right it concerns the buttons back, home and menu. By long pressing the menu button you can switch between open apps. We would have preferred to see that functionality reversed, because almost no app uses the menu button these days.
The screen of the Smart 4 Turbo is not much. It is a 4.5″ LCD with a resolution of 854×480 pixels and the image is a bit grainy due to the relatively low resolution. Given the low price of the phone, we can live with that, but the rest of the screen characteristics are The screen is a bit sunken, so reflections easily occur.The fact that the maximum brightness is not very high does not help, so the screen is sometimes difficult to read outdoors.
The color reproduction is far from good; green tends to yellow, pink is purple and the screen is very blue. That doesn’t get in the way of making a call or viewing a web page, but you certainly shouldn’t expect a photo to look true to life on the phone. All of this is already true when you view the screen from the front and becomes even worse when you view the screen from an angle; then everything gets even uglier.
Hardware, performance and battery life
The Smart 4 Turbo contains a Snapdragon MSM8926 as the beating heart, a quad-core chip with four economical Cortex A7 cores at 1.2 GHz and an Adreno 305 GPU. That’s not a very powerful chip, but for a phone in this price range it’s great hardware. You can do everything with the phone that you can do with more expensive smartphones, but it is clearly less fast and smooth. Most games will also work, although the graphic splendor will be reduced to ensure that the games remain somewhat playable.
In the wireless field, the Smart 4 Power supports WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and of course 4G. Compared to other 4G devices, the speed of the network connection seemed slightly lower, but the differences are not great and the stability of the signal and the quality of the reception are fine.
While its big brother is equipped with a large 3000mAh battery, the Smart 4 Turbo has to make do with a modest capacity of 1880mAh; no fat pot. This is also apparent in practice; the phone does just a little less well than Google’s Nexus 5 and that is not a long runner either. You can get a full day out of the battery if you don’t use the phone too heavily. If you do, you will probably have to top up at the end of the afternoon.
Software and cameras
The Smart 4 Turbo runs on an almost unmodified version of Android 4.4.2, to which Vodafone has only added its own version of the home screen, along with some of its own apps. In addition to those Vodafone apps, we also found some third-party apps that Vodafone had pre-installed on the device, such as a file explorer, a flashlight app, an office suite, Twitter and an NFC app. That is quite a lot for a device that only has 4GB of storage memory, so that in practice you only have slightly more than 2GB available.
That small amount of storage quickly becomes a problem when users install large apps. Nowadays, especially modern games can easily take up more than a gigabyte and you will soon run into the storage limit. During the test period, we regularly had to delete old apps in order to install new apps, which is frustrating. The Smart 4 Turbo does have a micro SD card reader, so the storage memory can be expanded. In practice, however, you can only store photos and videos on it; only a few apps can be installed on the sd card.
Those photos and videos are of poor quality, by the way. The 5-megapixel camera, like the screen, has a predilection for a blue tint, which means that colors are not captured faithfully. In addition, the camera captures little light. This leads to photos that are quickly blurred and that the image you see before you take a photo is blurry. The front camera is of even lower quality if possible. Vodafone has clearly made savings in this area.
Vodafone is launching the cheapest 4G phone on the market with the Smart 4 Turbo. The next on the list, the Ace 3 from Samsung, is considerably more expensive with a suggested retail price of 169.95, although you can also find that phone slightly cheaper with a good search. So if you absolutely want 4G and you have a limited budget, you will end up with the Smart 4 Turbo. Then you have to settle for a phone that is actually no more than mediocre in most areas. For the same money we would prefer a Moto E, for example. It may have ‘only’ 3g, in all other areas it is considerably better than the Smart 4 Turbo and there are also interesting Windows Phones for sale for a few tens less .