Review by Sunetra Chakravati,6/23/2016 12:59:51 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Stunning looks | Solid battery life | Good camera
Vodafone's apps | Lurid bright red icons | Fingerprint sensor not the fastest
Open the box and take out the Smart premium 7 and if you don't know how much it costs, I can guarantee you'd think it cost upward of £600.
This phone has the kind of smarts to take on Samsung's Galaxy S7 at its beauty game and triumphs. There are three physical buttons on the sides, one on the top left can be programmed to quick launch any app of your choice- you just need to set it up.
The volume toggle and the power button are machined and textured with a good amount of give and there is a separate button on the top left that you can configure to launch any app of your choice at wil, irrespective of whether it is the camera or settings function.
The camera lens sticks out but it is protected by a metal ring around it, with the camera's vital stats inscribed on it. The back of the phone is dragontail glass and there is a dark texturing underneath it making it look very expensive.
The fingerprint sensor isn't the fastest and it will not wake your phone from dead like on the Huawei P9 but once you wake up the screen, it works as fast as you can expect it to.
The camera is good, not outstanding. There is a manual mode for those who like experimenting and like their photos just so. For point and shoot cameraphone owners (like me!), the auto mode does a fairly decent job too. Additionally there is a panorama and slo-mo option on the main menu with more granular levels of customisation possible when you delve deeper into the camera settings.
Video-wise, you are able to record in UltraHD and QHD, right down to VGA levels and also in FullHD at 60 frames per second level. And for images, you are able to have pictures ranging from 16MP clarity down to 4MP clarity.
Additionally there is an HDR setting as well as timed shots and the full force of beauty shots on the front-facing camera.
If I had to really find something that wasn't as I would have liked it to be- it would be the lack of optical image stabilisation option, but Vodafone have a home-grown image stabiliser on-board which does the job just fine.
Sharp and crystal clear, the Snapdragon 652 processor supports up to Quad HD (2560x1600) resolution as well as Miracast 1080p HD support and that is what you will find on the Smart platinum 7. Colours ran a touch warm and apart from the glow I couldnt really tell the difference between the HD streaming video quality between this and an Apple iPhone 6.
Voda have gone for a Snapdragon 652 octa-core processor which is more than enough to power the phone through hours of heavy duty use without over-heating or collapsing in a heap. Together with the 1,8GHz core, it is capable of Cat 7 speeds of up to 300 Mbps down/100 Mbps up.
The 652 is also the first in the 600 series to support 4K Ultra HD capture and playback, along with 2K display support.
In an AnTuTu benchmark test, the Smart platinum 7 scored 75327 which puts it ahead of LG G4 and Nexus 6 and just behind HTC One M9, and these are flagship phones that cost in excess of £400!
Jumping between apps was efforless and Games like Ninja Slice, Sonic and Solitaire didn't slow the phone down at all.
The Geekbench tests were a resounding success for the Smart platinum 7, and it came up trumps over the Samsung Galaxy S6 in both the single and multi-core tests.
Battery-wise, there is a 3000 mAH job on board the Smart platinum 7 and battery dropped a mere 4% during 20 minutes of HD quality YouTube streaming over 4G and in my opinion, this is a great result!
Android 6.1 is present and correct and brings with it a host of privacy functions and features including the ability of a user to select the type of access they want each app to get as well as doze- which helps save battery.
There is Bluetooth 4.0 onboard and the phone supports NFC so Android Pay will be a breeze.
Audio performace was good as well, helped along by the two rows of speakers at the top and bottom of the phone.
Performance-wise, I cannot fault it.
I have really liked using the Smart platinum 7. The handset has very good battery life, a fantastic screen that puts it in the same league as the Samsung Galaxy S7 and a price point that has made the OnePlus 3 the phenomenon that it is.
But slight niggles remain. Vodafone's lurid red apps are never too far away, the camera is not a patch on the S7, the phone it is trying to be and obviously, the processor isn't one to compete with Samsung's flagship either.
But, this is a great phone and gives you more than the £295 you pay for it.
Vodafone are giving away a VR headset with it but I haven't reviewed it so won't be able to say how good or bad it is. But if I were on the lookout for a phone, a freebie (however bad!) would just sweeten the deal.
I went on the Vodafone website to check how it did against its competitors like the HTC One A9, LG G5, Sony Xperia X and all the others are not only more expensive but also have minor flaws like the platinum 7 does and I would not be able to say that I preferred one over the other.
But this is the cheapest and that makes all the difference.
Price: £295 Pay as you go or £28 per month (£20 upfront cost) on a Vodafone Red 1GB Bundle, which includes unlimited texts, unlimited minutes, 1GB of UK data and 500MB of inclusive roaming
Operating System: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Dimensions: 154 x 75.65 x 6.99
Resolution: QHD AMOLED screen
Display: 5.5" touchscreen; Gorilla Glass 2.5D
Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 652 Octa-core
Camera: 16-MP, auto-focus, LED flash. 8-MP selfie camera with dual tone LED flash
Memory: 32 GB flash memory, Up to 200 GB microSD card
Battery: 3000 mAh
Fingerprint sensor: Yes
Misc: Quickcharge 3.0; Ambient light mode; Free VR headset