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Vodafone Smart Prime 7 Review: In Depth

The Good

  • Attractive design
  • Nice screen
  • Great battery life
  • Incredible value for money

The Bad

  • Carrier exclusive
  • Low internal storage
  • Mediocre cameras
4.5

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 Review: Last year’s Vodafone Smart Prime 6 was a corker of an affordable smartphone and our pick for best value mobile of the year. Now Vodafone has followed it up with the Smart Prime 7, an ever cheaper £75 phone boasting HD visuals and the latest Android, but is the Prime 7 any good? Here’s our full review.

Design

Voda’s new Smart Prime 7 adopts a more elegant and refined design than its predecessor, available in two colours at launch, Graphite Black or Boron White (aka. gold on white). We reviewed the former, which adopts a lightly patterned, textured removable back under which you’ll find the phone’s microSIM and microSD slots, as well as a non-removable battery.

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 - front Vodafone Smart Prime 7 - back

It’s a fairly thin device at just under 8mm, lightweight for its size at 128 grams and the body is accented with metal elements, which give the handset both a sturdier and more premium feel. The edging of the phone, camera surround, and the hardware controls are all metal, which is seldom seen on a device at this price point.

Read next: Smart Prime 7 vs LG K4 vs Moto E: Best budget phones

Screen

Another nice attention to detail is the phone’s surface glass, which curves away at the edges, offering up a nicer feel under-finger when swiping around the 5-inch 720p HD IPS display.

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 - screen

It’s perfectly crisp, clear and colourful for everyday use and enjoying media, even holding up in direct sunlight.

OS

Vodafone has struck a nice balance with the user experience on offer from the Prime 7. It comes out the gate strong, already running the latest available version of Android, 6.0 Marshmallow, and for the most part, it boasts a near-stock interface.

There are handy extras like customisable lockscreen quick launch icons and a ‘clear-all’ function within the app switcher, but Vodafone has also added in (or in some cases replaced some of the default apps with) its own offerings. The Call+ and Message+ apps are the most useful inclusions, letting you manage call logs and messages from any web browser (not unlike services such as WhatsApp Web), whilst you’ll also find options to make any app accessible with a swipe right from the main home screen if you wish.

Performance

On the outside, the Prime 7 presents itself as a fast, fluid smartphone that you could easily consider a competent mid-ranger, but on paper, things appear much more sedate. The phone’s brain is a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 212, leveraging just 1GB of RAM to keep things ticking over, however in real-world use it proves itself as a snappy device, even tackling 3D games.

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 - back off

There are some compromises, such as a lack of 5GHz WiFi support and only 8GB of internal storage, but luckily the phone also supports microSD cards up to a whopping 128GB, something equivalent handsets in its class usually miss out on. There’s also NFC, making this one of the most affordable handsets to support Android Pay out there.

Whilst you can’t pull the 2540mAh battery out of the Prime 7, it should keep you charged up for up to two days at a time, proving itself through mixed usage on both WiFi and Vodafone’s 4G LTE network.

Cameras

Mobile photographers and selfie fans with small wallets will likely appreciate the impressively large 8 and 5-megapixel rear and front cameras at the Prime 7’s disposal. You get manual control, an LED flash and 720p HD video recording, making for a rich overall camera experience.

Camera quality isn’t particularly impressive, with the exception of macro photography producing pleasing shots worthy of beefier phones. Elsewhere you’ll find noise and grain tend to creep in in conditions anything other than well lit, and its narrow dynamic range can result in blown out whites or underexposed dark areas; unless of course you resort to the heavy-handed, but effective HDR mode.

Verdict

The Vodafone Smart Prime 7 isn’t a perfect device, but the list of negatives is near enough nullified when you consider what it does offer for its impressively low price tag.

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 - handheld

Naturally it’s a carrier exclusive, but if you are interested in joining Voda, or you’re already part of the family looking for a perfect all-rounder and one of the best instances of value-for-money out there right now, the Smart Prime 7 is up for grabs on Pay As You Go for just £75.

Specification

Screen size5-inches
Screen resolution720p HD (720x1280)
Weight128 grams
OSAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow
Rear Camera8-megapixels
Front camera5-megapixels
Processor1.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 212
Memory1GB RAM
Storage8GB. Expandable via microSD up to 128GB
4G LTEYes
Bonus featuresNFC, lockscreen quick launch apps, double-tap to wake, Call+ and Message+ apps w/ web interface

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