Vodafone Smart ultra 6 review
A bold promise: Fact or fantasy?
Vodafone claims that the Vodafone Smart ultra 6 is a state-of-the-art device that can hold its own next to the biggest and best smartphones in today’s market at a fraction of the price. The question is, is this just hype or can the Smart ultra 6 compete with the best?
The Vodafone Smart ultra 6 has been created in partnership with ZTE and in all honesty this smartphone seems to be a clone of the ZTE Blade S6+, with, quite literally, one difference. This comes in the form of extra resolution for the 5.5” IPS display (1080 x 1920 pixels / 401 pixels per inch), up from 720 x 1280 pixels on the ZTE branded phone.
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The knock on effect of this is that the Smart ultra 6 weighs 14% more at 159 grams and it is 9% thicker at 8.3mm. The extra weight and girth however is worth it, after all smartphones offer a visual experience , be that gaming, web browsing, social, TV streaming, photography or videography.
The build includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 64-bit 1.7GHz octa-core processor with 2GB RAM (incorrectly reported as 1.5GHz almost everywhere else on the internet). These performance indicators show that the Smart ultra 6 will be ultra-responsive, although many high-end smartphones exceed 2.5GHz processing speeds.
The internal user memory of 16GB is actually quite generous and there is a 64GB microSD slot for those who prefer a physical back up of photos and videos as opposed to using online cloud storage.
Phone Set Up
The set up process for the Vodafone Smart ultra 6 is fairly straightforward. The Android Lollipop v5.1 operating system gives the latest experience, which includes home screen widgets, app folders and lag free multitasking.
The Vodafone Smart ultra 6 has 4G / Wi-Fi internet connectivity. The Wi-Fi capabilities can be used to transfer files between phones without the need for a Wi-Fi network. It can also be used to get other devices online by creating a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The Google operating system brings with it a portfolio of apps and these include Google Maps, Play Movies & TV, Play Books, Play Newsstand, Play Games, YouTube, Hangouts, Drive, Play Store and Google Voice Search.
Music, pictures and videos can be synced with a computer using Windows Media Player. The FM Radio, with record feature, gives access to live music and radio shows.
Camera & Video
The camera combo seems well balanced with a 13MP main camera and a 5MP selfie camera. The main camera has a 4x digital zoom and several capture modes such as HDR, Panorama, Interval Capture (for creating time lapse videos) and Multi Exposure.
Manual control over White Balance, Exposure and ISO should help amateur photographers overcome tricky lighting scenarios while the grid line tool and level guide will allow almost anyone to capture the scene well.
The 5MP selfie camera has an automatic shooting mode where the shutter is activated when a smile is detected, which is a pretty nifty alternative to gestures and countdown timers. The final piece of the puzzle is video recording at a quality of 1080p.
The 3,000mAh battery is undeniably one of the largest around and this should deliver 2 days of use under a mixed usage scenario. The standby of up to 240 hours and talk time of up to 15 hours should also be well received.
Vodafone Smart ultra 6 verdict: It is difficult to give much praise to Vodafone over the Smart ultra 6, seeing as it is basically a very minor rework of an existing phone. This doesn’t however mean that you should go out and buy the ZTE Blade S6+ instead.
In relation to the question of holding its own next to the best and biggest smartphones of today, well this still depends upon your point of view. For value for money, the Vodafone Smart ultra 6 is probably the best pound for pound smartphone on the planet, and incidentally cheaper the ZTE variant.
But, spec for spec, the hardware is almost there, but alas not quite. It also shouldn’t be forgotten that there isn’t a piece of aviation grade aluminium in site, nor a fingerprint sensor or a manufacturers unique user interface with device specific apps.
Should you buy one? If budget is a dictating factor then yes.
Written by: Michael Brown