Budget smartphones are no longer something to be embarrassed about.
Since the Moto G, mobile-makers have invested more time and effort in cheaper models.
The upshot is that you can now pick up a decent smartie for around £100.
That's where the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 comes in. It costs just £125 with no contract.
The only snag is that you'll have to use the Vodafone network. But if you're happy to do so, you could have a bargain on your hands.
PROS AND CONS
- Low price
- Big screen
- Solid performance
- Locked to Vodafone
- Camera could be better
- Feels a bit cheap
Make no mistake: the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 is a big phone. That’s thanks to the sizeable borders above and below the 5.5-inch screen.
It's also a bit thick, and not the lightest handset around either.
AT A GLANCE
- Large dimensions for a phone at this price
- A little on the heavy side
- MicroSD card slot is most welcome
A plastic build is the order of the day here, but that's to be expected at this price.
Savings had to be made somewhere and swapping metal for polycarbonate is an obvious thing to do.
That said given that the phone is plastic, it’s perhaps a bit surprising that it feels so weighty.
AT A GLANCE
- Buttons are easy to reach
- Subtle Vodafone branding doesn't look too cheap
- Headphone port on the top is useful
- Build: Plastic
- Weight: 159g
- Dimensions: 154x77x8.35mm
The Ultra Smart 6’s screen’s 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution makes everything nice and sharp, even at this huge size. The more pixels packed into a screen, the more crisp the image.
We’d go so far as to say it's the best screen you can buy at this price.
At a glance
- Decent viewing angles
- Some reflections visible in bright sun
- Accurate colours
- Size: 5.5 inches
- Resolution: 1,920x1,080 pixels
- Technology: IPS Quantum
A 13-megapixel snapper isn't unheard of at this price, but it's very welcome.
It's not the quickest camera around though, and things all-but grind to a halt in HDR (high dynamic range) mode whereby a series of images and lighting are combined with often-striking results.
But for the most part, the results aren't bad at all.
AT A GLANCE
- Can struggle with scenes with extreme combinations of light and dark
- Some shutter lag
- Plenty of manual controls for budding photographers
- Camera: 13MP
- Optical image stabilisation: No
- Unique features: None
PERFORMANCE AND BATTERY LIFE
It's not the quickest to respond, but it's perfectly usable. Menus seem slightly sluggish against high-end rivals, but it's still impressive given the price.
Battery life is also very good. With minimal use, we still had some juice left on the evening of the second day.
If you’re streaming video, gaming and using the GPS, however, it'll last just over a day.
AT A GLANCE
- Some juddering during faster games
- Apps are quick to launch
- 4G at an affordable price
- RAM: 2GB
- Battery capacity: 3,000mAh
- Storage: 16GB plus microSD card up to 64GB
- OS and version: Android 5.0 Lollipop
VALUE FOR MONEY
At just £125, the Smart Ultra 6 is fantastic value for money.
We never thought we'd say this, but it makes the Moto G look overpriced.
- Unbelievable value for money
- Big, sharp screen
- Plasticky but solid build quality
- Decent performance
- Smart button layout
- Not too many inessential, confusing apps come preloaded
The Smart Ultra 6 sets a new benchmark for budget smartphones. It's big, it's 4G and it's as good a phone as you could hope for £125. Bravo, Vodafone.