Review: Vodafone Smart Prime 7

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Vodafone Smart Prime 7 (13)

Last year we got a look at something unexpected. A sub €100 smartphone that actually offered decent specs. While we have seen budget smartphones before, the launch of the Smart Prime 6 was pretty awesome since it gave some great performance, a decent display, and an okay camera. The most important aspect of the device was offering something better than good and didn’t cost hundreds of yoyo’s. Now it’s been a year and Vodafone are pushing out the new Smart Prime 7 as an upgrade to last years Smart Prime 6.

Let’s get right into the specs and take a look at what the new device has to offer.

  • Android OS, v6.0.1 (Marshmallow)
  • Display: 5.0 inches IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8909 Snapdragon 210, Quad-core 1.1 GHz Cortex-A7, Adreno 304, 1GB of RAM
  • Memory: 8GB storage, MicroSD card slot
  • Rear Camera: 8 MP, autofocus, LED flash LED flash, 1080p@30fps
  • Front Camera: 5 MP
  • Networking: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, hotspot, DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, standard microUSB 2.0 port, GPS receiver, 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Modem: GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSPA/LTE
  • Battery: 2,540mAh Li-Ion non-removable battery
  • Other features: Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • Dimensions: 144 x 72.1 x 8 mm, 128g

 

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 (15)

The size of the device and layout hasn’t changed compared to last years device.

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 (6) Vodafone Smart Prime 7 (5)

However, the device itself has been given a bit of a make-over, with design now having a two-tone look with a light bronze rim around the edge of the device, and then white on the front and back of it, although there are other colours avaialble.

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 (12)

The back cover is removable with the battery still locked in place and not removable2. The back cover also contains the NFC coil. The phone takes a MicroSIM card, and has an MicroSD slot on the opposite side for expandable memory.

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 (9) Vodafone Smart Prime 7 (11)

We have a standard MicroUSB connection on the bottom, along with the main microphone and speaker. On the top we have the 3.5mm headphone jack, and the noise cancelling microphone.

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 (8)

The right side has the volume rocker and power button.

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 (10)Vodafone Smart Prime 7 (7)

The design is definitely a step up from last years device, and we get a more premium look and feel. Not bad at all since we’re dealing with a phone that costs less than some accessories for other devices out there.

UI

The UI is no different than last year. Vodafone still include a lot of their own apps, but mostly the launcher is fairly clean and easy to navigate, much like the vanilla Android launcher.

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 UI (4) Vodafone Smart Prime 7 UI (3)

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 UI (2) Vodafone Smart Prime 7 UI (1)

Camera UI

The Camera app has been updated and is identical to the app included with the Smart Ultra 6. You have a straight forward auto mode, but they include a decent manual mode for taking more control over your camera.

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 Camera UI (1) Vodafone Smart Prime 7 Camera UI (5)

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 Camera UI (4)

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 Camera UI (3) Vodafone Smart Prime 7 Camera UI (2)

Photos

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 Photo (1) Vodafone Smart Prime 7 HDR Photo (1)

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 Photo (2) Vodafone Smart Prime 7 HDR Photo (2)

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 Photo (3) Vodafone Smart Prime 7 HDR Photo (3)

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 Photo (4) Vodafone Smart Prime 7 HDR Photo (4)

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 Photo (5) Vodafone Smart Prime 7 HDR Photo (5)

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 Photo (6) Vodafone Smart Prime 7 HDR Photo (6)

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 Photo (7) Vodafone Smart Prime 7 HDR Photo (7)

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 Photo (8) Vodafone Smart Prime 7 HDR Photo (8)

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 Photo (9) Vodafone Smart Prime 7 HDR Photo (9)

Videos

Benchmarks

While flagship devices have the performance practically pouring out of them, it still important for a cheaper device to be able to offer a decent level of speed and handle most tasks. Below are the most popular benchmarks for Android devices.

3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited4637
Antutu 622101
Geekbench 3 Single-Core334
Geekbench 3 Multi-Core1089
Vellamo Metal756
Vellamo Multicore954
Vellamo Browser (Chrome)1549
PC Mark2884

Performance numbers are fairly identical to last years device. The new chipset inside is likely able to provide a more efficient means of performing at this level. We found no issues with performance on the device and everything was pretty smooth.

Battery life

The Smart Prime 7 includes a 2,540mAh battery, which is only 40mAh higher than the Prime 6. Our test below is identical to last years, so let’s see how the new device fairs.

Phone Calls20-30 Minutes
Text message/Chat/EmailsThroughout the day(checking) and 20-30 sent
Photos10-20
Video recording20-30 Minutes
Internet browsingThroughout the day(around 30-40 minutes total)
Gaming30 Minutes
YouTube/Netflix30-40 Minutes
ConnectivityWiFi and 4G; mostly 4G
Screen Brightness50-percent

Our battery tests goes for around a 12 hour period, and we use the device as we would with medium-heavy usage in mind. Above is what we aim to do throughout the day.

The Smart Prime 7 lasted through the 12 hours with over 40-percent left.

So the device will easily get you throughout the day, with some left over. It can easily do 2 days with minor adjustments. The new chipset is obviously giving some battery saving features along with the small bump in battery capacity itself.

Conclusion

Now it’s time to wrap up our review of the Vodafone Smart Prime 7. Last year we were blown away by its predecessor, and truly impressed that such a device could be gotten for under €100.

Design

Much like last year, the cost of the device determines its design. This year, Vodafone have actually stepped things up a little and we’re very fond of the new look. The bronze/rose gold like frame adds a nice characteristic to the device and does well to remove any budget/cheap feeling you may get otherwise.

We would go as far to say it’s actually a pretty decent looking smartphone, not bad for a budget friendly pricetag.

Display

A feature that hasn’t really changed compared to last years device, but none the less the included 720p IPS display still impresses. The viewing angles and colours are what you would expect from a decent IPS display and thankfully it’s a corner stone of the devices spec list for a great price.

Camera

The only weak feature among an otherwise solid device. The camera hasn’t seen any real change bar the use of a better app for taking the photos, but unlike the display, the camera wasn’t all that good on last years device. The quality still suffers some balance issues, but again much like last years device, the HDR mode is the devices redeeming quality and brings much better quality to the photos, however it’s not a solid solution and not something you can rely on all of the time.

We would have hoped to have seen a slightly better camera this year around, but aren’t shocked, so it must be noted anyone looking for a decent camera on their smartphone should know this just simply isn’t up for the task of taking pictures like most flagship devices.

Performance

The new Smart Prime 7 includes the Snapdragon 620 chipset. The performance is very much on par with last years device, which is not bad thing, but since we’re taking about an upgrade, we would have liked to have seen a bump in performance to at least give the device some new life, but that’s not to say the performance was lacking, just not improved over last years device.

Overall

The new Smart Prime 7 is mostly a design update, and still offers mostly the same specs that we saw last year. The design is a great improvement, but the lack of any substantial features to warrant the upgrade, we would mostly recommend users sticking with their current Smart Prime 6 if it’s suiting them grand. Which makes perfect sense, since this market of the device isn’t meant to offer serious upgrades, as that simply increases the cost, and moves away from the budget market.

While last years device was a decent looker, this year Vodafone have opted to bring a slightly more premium design to the mix. The cost has been bumped slightly, but you can still fetch the new and improved Smart Prime 7 for €99. Not bad since it does everything last years device with a much better look and some subtle upgrades.

We 100-percent recommend the Vodafone Smart Prime 7 for anyone looking for a very respectable budget smartphone that offers a fantastic experience for it’s sub €100 price tag.

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