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Vodafone Smart V8 phone review

Vodafone Smart V8

£160
8.3

Build quality

8.0/10

Design

8.0/10

Ease of use

8.5/10

Performance

8.0/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • Looks and feels quality
  • Bright and vivid screen
  • Pretty quick
  • Decent cameras
  • That price!

Cons

  • Nothing really at this price
  • Oh, ok. Why not USB-C?

vodafone-smart-v8Last week I was at the release bash of the Vodafone Smart V8. The new smartphone from the red network looked and felt pretty decent. How does it fare when I’m sober though?

The Vodafone Smart V8 is more like the Ultra’s than the Platinum. In fact, it fits rather nicely between the Ultra 7 and Platinum 7.

Thankfully for those looking for smartphone with big specs and small price tag, the V8 edges more towards Ultra pricing than the premium Platinum.

How does it perform?

Vodafone Smart V8 build quality

Before I was given one to run away with (and return) I was really impressed when my Tech Addict buddy, Gareth, slapped the V8 in my hand.

It really feels like an expensive phone.

The front face is made from toughened 2.5D Dragontrail glass. Its rounded edges are pleasing to the digits and makes for enjoyable touchscreen swiping.

The ZTE-cobbled Smart V8 has a diamond cut full metal body which gives it a good weight.

smart v8 backThe rear composite shell has a brushed effect finish and is embellished by textured plastic top and bottom panels. It looks good and feels good.

The official colour is Cold Metal. I’m sure that I saw them play my local back in the 80s…

Below its 16MP camera sits a fingerprint scanner. I really love this positioning.

The 5.5-inch screen sits in a fairly slim and light body, measuring just 7.99mm thin and weighing in at 166g.

That display boasts Full HD resolution (1080 x 1920 pixels) at 401 pixels per inch, which is pretty decent to be honest.

smart v8 homeAbove the screen sits the 8MP front facing selfie snapper.

smart v8 leftsmart v8 rightOn the sides you get a volume rocker on one, and the power button on the other.

smart v8 bottomThe bottom has a microUSB (oddly, not USB-C) flanked by speaker grilles.

smart v8 topThe top edge keeps the home fires burning for the standard 3.5mm headphone jack.

Vodafone Smart V8 performance

In engine bay of this smartphone is a Ford Flathead V8 which gives the phone its name.

smart v8 back detailActually, that would be silly. The V8 is much more realistically powered by the Snapdragon 435 SoC (1.4GHz Octa-core). This is mated with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage.

There’s also a memory card slot just in case things get snug over there in appsville.

Keeping everything powered up is a non-removable 3,000mAh battery.

Display

The phone’s full-HD display is surprisingly crisp and detailed. I even convinced friends that it was Quad-HD for quite a while.

smart v8 coloursIt’s good and bright. Not only that, the colours really pop more than the keyONE which has been my daily driver since picking it up.

I very much doubt that there’s a phone in this price bracket with a much better screen.

Software

The Vodafone Smart V8 is loaded with Android 7.1.1 Nougat operating system. It will get Android O when it is released later this year. Although, I wasn’t able to ascertain how soon after release.

Nougat is good though. You get to be able to respond to notifications from within the notification panel itself, as well as multi-apping in Split Screen mode.

Further features includes Google Voice Typing, Glide Typing, Tap and Pay, Message+, Duo video calling and the Google Fit app.

I love the fact that Vodafone have left the user interface pretty well alone. It looks and feels like stock Android which, for me, is brilliant.

Of course, there are some customisations with things like the camera app (taking a leaf out of the iOS style book) and the launcher.

smart v8 hints and tipsThe latter, brings up handy tips if you swipe right. Confusing for the likes of me who was expecting Google Now.

smart v8 voda appSwiping left from the homescreen brings you a page with a little Vodafone hub widget already placed. This has shortcuts to your My Vodafone account, Vodafone Wallet (if installed), etc.

Fingerprint Sensor

The fingerprint sensor works really well.

You are able to add up to five fingerprints – handy if you let your kids play games on your phone, for instance.

The fingerprint reader can also be used to access your Private Space, lock apps, answer calls, take photos or to drag down the notification panel.

If you don’t use the fingerprint sensor then you can activate the Double Tap to Wake feature.

The Smart Lock can be activated in order to keep the phone unlocked in trusted places, when trusted devices are connected to it or when a trusted face or voice is recognised.

smart v8 lens and scannerCameras

The main camera is very responsive and has a large number of settings and filters, including an automatic HDR mode, super night, slow exposure, multi-exposure, time lapse, slow motion, slow exposure (for capturing water flow, car trails or star trails) and panorama.

To be honest, I’ve only rattled off a few shots in fully automatic mode. However, I have a feeling that this is how most people will use the camera on the V8.

Focus occurs quickly with Phase Detection Auto Focus technology and there is a dual flash.

A quick launch feature (double tap the volume key) gets you ready to shoot quickly.

You can get pro results by making use of the level guide and metering features if you are so inclined. The GIF Maker (using up to 50 photos) is fun for your socials. I can also see the Collage Maker being a winner for Facebookers, Instagrammers and Tweeters alike.

Video recording is limited to 1080p. You were really expecting 4K at this price point?

When shooting selfies, you can make use of the wide selfie mode, smile detection, V gesture and beauty face features.

I have been kind to you all and not posted any of my narcissistic gurning on here.

Battery

The Vodafone Smart V8’s 3,000mAh battery is a good capacity in all. You should be able to reach the end of the day before it needs a recharge.

However, if things start looking a bit sketchy on the charging front, you can make the most of the power reserves by the using the Power Manager feature.

The Smart V8 is Qualcomm QuickCharge 2.0 compatible. Which is great news, although you will need to purchase a quick charger separately to make use of that particular feature.

Vodafone Smart V8 review conclusion

The V8 feels nice and that screen is something to behold.

The camera is impressive too, even in auto mode. Those that get caught up in Specification Top Trumps might be sniffy about the Snapdragon 435. In the end, it’s their loss.

Yes, it is pretty entry level but it still performs well and gives you easily a day from a full battery charge. People have sniggered at the 635 chip in the keyONE but most days I don’t have to recharge when I go to bed. This is really handy for folk like me that are almost constantly updating their social networks.

True, if you like your mobile games graphically intensive this might seem the one for you. However, friends have tested it and it actually booted games faster than the Nexus 6P – and played them!

Additionally, what if I told you that the V8 on Pay As You Go plus a Nintendo Switch still comes in at under £450?

Just one question though, Vodafone. Why microUSB and not USB-C?

That aside, I really think that Vodafone might well have a contender for best budget blower for 2017.

Vodafone Smart V8 price and availability

The Smart V8 retails for £160 on PAYG. Told you it was a bargain.

Alternatively, opt for the £19 per month contract and get unlimited texts, 500 minutes and 500MB of data.

Obviously, you need to head to Vodafone to get one.

Vodafone Smart V8 phone review

by Jay Garrett time to read: 5 min
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