Review: Vodafone Smart First 7

Vodafone have been one carrier that has pushed its own devices quite heavily in promotional material, both online, TV, and in store, for a couple of generations now. Partnering again with ZTE, Vodafone are producing devices at a devastatingly low-cost. Chris takes a look at the Vodafone Smart First 7 in his full review.

First of, I’d like to thank Vodafone for sending me a unit out for sending me out a review unit. So this was released at the same time as the Vodafone Smart Prime 7 (click here to read my review on it). So this an other inexpensive device from Vodafone and it comes it at £25. Yep you read that right, it costs only £25. So lets see what you get for that £25.

Specs

  • 3.5inch 320×480 TFT Panel
  • Spreadtrum SC7731G
  • Android 5.1
  • 4GB Storage
  • Micro SD card
  • 512MB RAM
  • 2MP Rear camera
  • WiFi 802.11/b/g/n
  • 3.5mm Headphone jack
  • Micro USB
  • 1400 mAh battery

Not a bad set of specs for a £25. It doesn’t use LTE only HSPDA+. So that’s enough on talking about it, let’s take a look in the box.

Unboxing

So it’s a pretty simple unboxing. Removing the top reveals the phone itself. Take the phone out and flip-up tray reveals the paperwork as well as a micro USB cable, earphones and plug (which is a UK plug this time round). Nothing flashy, just what you need.

Tour Of The Device

So at the bottom of the device you’ll find the micro USB port and microphone. Flipping over left you’ll find nothing. Looking up top you’ll find the 3.5mm headphone port and on the right side you’ll find the volume rocker and power button.

Build Quality 

Whilst it’s made of plastic it certainly feels like it could take a bit of abuse. It does creek a little when you apply a bit of pressure to it but after all it’s plastic so there isn’t much to say here.

IMG_20160514_144804The only speaker is the actual ear piece around the front of the phone. Now I suspect this a cost cutting measure, but it is quite nice as it means that it is a front facing speaker which means rarely is it covered accidentally. You may think that it may be to loud when making an actual phone call but it’s not, it does get loud when on speaker phone and whilst using it for media volume however.

Performance

I came into this expecting very little from this device due to fact that it had only had 512mb RAM but I was really quite surprised. At first I left the animation speed at the original speed and it was very usable, very pleasant . It can only hold a few apps for multitasking, before it starts to slow down but then again it only has 512mb of RAM so you can not expect too much really. After changing the animation to 0.5x it made the device feel a hell of lot faster which is always a welcome sensation.

Camera

This phone only has a rear facing camera coming in at 2MP so you can’t really expect much and I have to say it it’s about as useful as a bike with a flat tyre. If you need to take a quick picture of “some” quality then sure it’ll do but that’s all its good for. take a look for yourself

The Display

So as previously mentioned the First 7 has a 3.5inch TFT Panel with a resolution of 320×480, which is “okay”. Sure the colors aren’t great and the viewing angles are again just okay but for £25 it is actually pretty good. If you were to buy this as your daily driver you wouldn’t be doing much besides texting and a bit of social media mainly just because of the screen size.

Software

As I mentioned with the Smart Prime 7, it uses a near stock version of Android albeit Lollipop this time round and not Marshmallow which is on the Prime 7. You do have the option to use a different launcher (which is pre-installed), that makes it easier for people who think that stock Android is too hard to use such as senior citizens or those using a smartphone other than iOS for the first time. It does make icons bigger really.

Battery

So for the testing of the battery I did the same as with the Prime 7. On Monday I’m in college between 9am-3:15pm an Tuesday I am college between 9am-5:30pm. On these days I mostly streaming music through Spotify and podcasts through PocketCasts, as well as general social media, Slack and the occasional YouTube video. Then on Wednesday and Thursday, I am at work for between 3 – 4 hours a day. In this use case I am rarely using my phone and using it when I get home. As you can see the First 7 did better on Tuesday then on Monday. Why I’m unsure but at least I didn’t have to plug it in whilst I was out though I do carry the EasyAcc PB10000 (click here to see my review) or the EasyAcc Monster 20000mAh (click here to see my review) or at times both, so it wouldn’t have been an issue.

Benchmarks

Screenshot_2016-05-25-22-49-26So whilst I didn’t have enough time to benchmark the battery, I did benchmark the device itself. Whilst you may think that only scoring 353 and 1082 are bad scores, remember that this a £25 phone. When you think about it, actually that isn’t too bad.

Conclusion

So round it all off, whilst this will not win an award for being the best smartphone out there it only costs £25 and taking that in to consideration you do actually get a pretty good device. Whilst I’m unsure as to who this phone is aimed at due to it being so small, it still doesn’t change my opinion of it. Tourists possibly due to it being so cheap? All I know is if I was with Vodafone and I broke my daily driver and I needed a device quickly, I wouldn’t hesitate to run into a store and pick one up. Despite the fact it has no LTE.

I am certainly looking forward to seeing what Vodafone have to offer in the future.

Vodafone Smart First 7

£25.00
7.9

Build Quality

7.5/10

Performance

8.0/10

Cameras

7.0/10

Battery Life

7.0/10

Value

10.0/10

Pros

  • Costs only £25
  • Good performance for the price

Cons

  • Small screen
  • Battery could be bigger
  • No LTE

About Chris Wallace

Techie, Gamer, Biker

16 comments

  1. Whats the deal with a ! Mark on the signal bar

  2. Scott cunningham

    I have one of these and i only paid £14.99 from vodafone and i agree with chris in the review but it can do more especialy when it comes gaiming its not sluggish if you play the right games but i play final fantasy after years fully rendered 3d and doesnt lag one bit i also play sid meirs civilisation revolution 2 no lag evoland champman 17 pokemon go and hitman go all with no problems at all its a good phone for the price well worth it

  3. Just been given one of these for Xmas by my son. He couldn’t take the sight of me using my trusty 16yr old basic cell phone, a previous Xmas present from my son. Must say this is very exciting for me and even an old fogy like me found setting up not too bad. Not helped by not being able to get a cell phone signal at the house. Only took 3 days, and lots of visits to the local pub for advice. Sent the first text in my life yesterday. For the cost of this new I don’t think anyone can fault it. As an entry level smart phone, it suits me. Exciting times!!!

    • Glad to see your having a good time with it. With my main phone way more powerful than this I was blown away with it. Battery was amazing for me but then again I probably have heavier user than you so you should get over a day easily.

  4. look where can u get a smart phone 4 17 quid it does what it says in the manual gr8 mob highly recommended don’t b a mug paying 100s 4 mobs wen u can get better 4 17

  5. Is it possible to take a selfie with this phone?

  6. It’s a piece of shit. The battery doesn’t last four hours and the microphone is at the bottom, meaning I have to constantly tilt the damn thing to be able to hear and be heard.

    HTF did this model even make it past the blueprint stage?!

  7. tBUYERS BEWARE

    I brought this phone today from Sainsburys because i need to have a mobile with me at all times due to a medical condition and my other mobile in for repair. When i got home and went to charge it i found out that it didn’t have a battery with it. When i looked at the box for what box contained it dosen’t list a battery it does list a headset in the contents i think a battery would be more helpful so i could use the phone. Sainsburys also doesn’t mention in the info card displayed with the phone that it doesn’t come a battery. I am still without a phone as unable to get battery today.

  8. After an update which I allowed, the phone says “com.android.phone has stopped working”. I tried resetting factory process but, what happens is different. I get no option to reset. What happens is after I have typed in SIM PIN Number {which it accepts} another screen comes up asking me for my PIN Number and I retype the same PIN Number and I hit the ok button, NOTHING happens. That second PIN asking screen stays forever and will NOT go away.

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