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Vodafone Smart ultra 7 phone review

Smart ultra 7

£135
8.3

Build quality

8.0/10

Design

8.5/10

Ease of use

8.5/10

Sound quality

8.0/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

  • Looks good
  • Decent screen
  • Capable camera
  • Almost pure Android OS
  • Price

Cons

  • Plastic body
  • Not a fan of the home button

smart ultra 7Remember the Vodafone Smart ultra 6 phone GadgetyNews reviewed last August? Well, they have today released the follow-up. I give you the Vodafone Smart ultra 7.

The Smart ultra 6 was very popular and even won awards so the new kid had better have its whits about it.

Can the Smart ultra 7 fill the boots of its predecessor?

Smart ultra 7 design

The ultra 7 sports a 5.5-inch full HD display and measures 152.2 x 78.12 x 8.68mm – so, 6mm shorter than the 5.5-inch iPhone 6S plus but a mill wider and thicker. It feels good in your hand though.

smart ultra 7The IPS screen is protected by from super strong Dragontail glass (no dragons are actually harmed in this process). Gorilla glass would’ve been nice but money needs to be saved somewhere. The bezels are kinda chunky but, again, you have to consider the asking price of ultra 7.

The glass on the front subtly curves towards the edges which is a sweet touch though.

smart ultra 7 topThe top edge of the phone accommodates the standard 3.5mm headphone socket.

smart ultra 7 bottomWhereas, at the bottom, is where you’ll find the microUSB charging port and the speaker grille.

smart ultra 7 backThe rear of the phone has a plastic, kinda carbon fiber effect panel. This is thin, but does not feel cheap. It also lends some grip to what could be an otherwise slippy handset.

smart ultra 7 right sideThere’s only really anything happening down one side of the ultra 7. Down the right hand edge is where you’ll find the power button and the volume rocker. These have a really nice textured finish and look to be the same as you’ll find on the Platinum 7.

smart ultra 7 left sideThe other side is unfettered by such things.

smart ultra 7 backlessThis does mean that the back has to come off to add your SIM and microSD cards. This simply pops off and there’s a little cutaway at the bottom left corner to help you get a start.

smart ultra 7 buttonsThe face of the phone is home to a front facing 5MP camera and flash as well as a physical home button. The other two Google buttons, back and multitask, are hidden either side. These come alive when needed.

The chrome finish around the ultra 7’s edges ensures the home button stands out on the front.

smart ultra 7 camera bumpThe main camera, found around the back, has a 13MP sensor and is equipped with a flash and autofocus.

The overall fit and finish of the ultra 7 is nice and the beveled edges of the screen makes it feel like a premium product.

Smart ultra 7 performance

Under the hood of the ultra 7 is a potent octa-core processor mated with 2GB of RAM.

You get 16GB of storage as well as Android Marshmallow straight out of the box. Things move slickly from app to app with nothing really lagging – so all is well there.

As you’d expect from a phone at this end of the market, there’s no fingerprint sensor or quick-charge support.

Battery

The battery is pretty large though, at 2,960mAh battery, and has been lasting a full day on a single charge. This has been through more than average use as I have been cramming in a review for today’s release.

Display

The 1920x 1080 HD display is sharp and the colours appear natural. There is a very slight gap in between the display panel and the glass though. This doesn’t cause any major issues, but there is a slight warm tint when looking at the screen at an angle.

Saying all of that, it’s still a great screen and spec sheet for the price of the handset.

Smart ultra 7 software

smart ultra 7 vodafone appsYou do get some of the carrier’s apps offered to be loaded, which is par for the course now. To be honest, it’s nice to have the option rather than have them sat on the phone already.  These are fairly useful as a Vodafone customer though and can be accessed via the Vodafone Start app window that appears on the second page of your Home screen.

I am happy to report that no other bloaty software could be found before I synced my Google account with the Smart ultra 7.

In fact, I am pleasantly surprised that it’s virtually identical to a plain Android experience.

Everything from the app drawer and settings menu is just you’d find it in a Nexus phone. I am sure that this is why it’s so fast, fluid and responsive. This also brings the added bonus of Doze mode in Android Marshmallow so, any time that it spends in standby, doesn’t consume too much of its go juice.

Smart ultra 7 camera

The 13-megapixel sensor with phase detection autofocus (PDAF) is equipped with HDR and an f/2.0 aperture.

It also shoots in full HD resolution and sits alongside a dual-tone LED flash on the back of the phone.

This is another area with the Smart ultra 7 seems to punch above its weight. In my opinion, this camera will be more than acceptable for most users.

The shots come out pretty good in strong sun and in poor lighting. The only let down here is that the HDR setting seems to wash some of the colour out when compared with the standard shooter.

Here are some quick examples.

As you can see, even in these quite rushed shots, there is ample detail and great colour in the normal mode.

What did surprise me was that you even get manual controls within the camera app. Handing you control of brightness, shutter speed and white balance.

If selfies are your thing then you’ll be happy to see that the front-facing 5-megapixel snapper comes with a dual-LED flash. Don’t be expecting great results from this though – my attempts seemed to come out a little on the fuzzy-side. Again, I have been blazing through this review over a couple of days so that might be due to operator error.

Vodafone Smart ultra 7 review conclusion

It has been a bit of a whirlwind review but I am struggling to think of a comparable smartphone that is able to stand up to the Smart ultra 7 for the price.

The screen is decent, it looks and feels good and the camera is capable.

The Cubot X17 comes close although with a smaller screen but a tenner cheaper. I would still rather chose the Smart ultra 7 as it just performs better.

Smart ultra 7 price and availability

The Vodafone Smart ultra 7 is available as of today, June 27th, for the unbelievable price of £135 direct from Vodafone.

Smart ultra 7 specs at a glance
  • Dimensions 152.2x78.12x8.68mm
    
  • Weight 150g
    
  • Colours Silver, Dark Grey
  • Screen 5.5-inch FHD
    
  • Camera 13MP AF with Flash, 5MP FF front camera with Flash
    
  • Platform Android M
    
  • Chipset MT6755M Octa-core
    
  • Memory 2GB RAM / 16GB ROM (end user ~10GB) + MicroSD Card slot
    
  • Battery capacity 2960 mAh
    
  • Networks GSM/EDGE/3G/HSPA+/LTE-CAT4
    
  • Features WiFi 2.4G: 802.11 b/g/n; 5G: 802.11 a/n BT 4.1 A2DP, GPS
    
  • Box contents Charger, stereo headset , Micro-USB data cable, QSG, Safety & Warranty Guide
    

Vodafone Smart ultra 7 phone review

by Jay Garrett time to read: 5 min
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