If you are looking for a budget handset then there are a number of cheap options from a number of carriers in the UK, offering entry-level specs with a mix of other decent specs but at a budget price tag.
Vodafone’s latest version of these budget handsets is the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6, which mixes a great-looking design with a decent set of specs and a budget price tag, making it great for anyone who is looking for a smartphone with the latest specs like 4G but at a budget price point.
The design of the Smart Ultra 6 is one of its biggest selling point, sure it feels and looks like a block of plastic, but it has been built-in a way that means the smartphone looks good enough despite its build.
That build measures 154 x 77mm and is 8.4mm thick, making it quite large and thick for a normal handset, but given its price tag of around £21 a month, you can’t expect the words thinnest smartphone out of it. Thankfully it does offer great button placements, with capacitive buttons at the bottom of the display.
Those capacitive buttons include the usual back, home and multitasking buttons that are usually featured on Android smartphones, what’s not so normal is that the home button also doubles up as a notification light, flashing when you have an unread item.
On top of these buttons you will also find the power, volume up and volume down keys on the right hand side of the phone situated on its contoured edge, above these buttons is the slot for the SiM card, on the opposite of which is a microSD card slot that allows you to expand the storage.
All of this is combined into a unibody design that is finished off with a glass panel at the front of the device, making it extremely easy to use, and thanks to it only weighing 159 grams, it’s also pretty comfortable yet sturdy in the hand.
Behind that glass panel you will find the phone’s awesome Full HD display, that allows the Ultra 6 to stand out from the rest of the competition.
Sized at 5.5 inches, the panel uses IPS technology to deliver a Full HD resolution with an impressive 401 pixels per inch, this means that you end up with a large display that manages to keep colours vibrant, whilst making sure text is sharp and easy to see.
Unfortunately the bezel that wraps is rather large, and it is somewhat of a fingerprint magnet. Those are two things you can get over however.
Overall the display will definitely leave you impressed, and your content looking great.
If you look inside of the Smart Ultra 5 you will also find its other specs, which include an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor that has four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and four more at 1.0GHz and is backed up by 2GB of RAM.
You will also find an Adreno 405 Graphical Processing Unit amongst a range of sensors for GPS, Wi-Fi and 4G.
With all that it’s not exactly the fastest smartphone around, but for most of the people who will be looking at a smartphone at this price point it will do just fine, sure you will sometimes find that some games will load up slowly, and you might find that some of the more intensive games will stutter somewhat, however for most you will find that this phone will work perfectly for your daily social activities plus more.
Inside of the phone you will also find 16GB of internal storage, which can be expanded via the microSD card slot, and thankfully because the Ultra 6 runs on stock Android, it is not filled with bloatware that slows the phone down, or takes up too much of your precious storage.
Obviously you will find some Vodafone branded applications but you can easily just ignore them if you would prefer.
And the spec list still isn’t complete.
Vodafone have also fitted the Smart Ultra 6 with LTE Cat 4 capabilities, meaning it can offer download speeds of up to 150Mbps and upload speeds of up to 50Mbps when connected to a compatible network. During our tests we found that the handset kept up to this very well, which is thanks to the strong antennas that are fitted to the phone.
On top of this you will also find that phone calls are always pretty clear, with no experiences of dropped calls during our tests.
On the back of the phone there is also a 3,000mAh battery which is unfortunately non-removeable, but is able to average a day of normal use, or about half a day under heavy use. If you leave the phone in standby you will definitely find that this time will increase to as long as four days.
The camera on the Ultra 6 isn’t going to amaze you, but it is definitely adequate for most users, featuring 13 megapixels, the rear-facing camera can shoot in Full HD at 30 frames per second, and uses Android’s stock camera app to allow for simple access to a range of modes and features, including the ability to switch between manual and auto focus, enable filters, multi-exposure and HDR modes and much more.
This results in images that are perfect for most users, those who want something more may not be impressed however, and will find that their images do come out with some noise.
There is also a 5 megapixel camera on the front that can record in 720p HD.
All in all Vodafone’s Smart Ultra 6 is a decent smartphone for the average user, it features a large display that results in vibrant image reproduction and clear text results, it also has decent performance specifications that allows it to be great for most tasks, however anyone who does a little more than the basics will find that the smartphone may lag somewhat when opening apps or running intensive games/apps.
The camera is similar to that, allowing for the capture of decent quality images, but nothing that will leave you amazed.
That all said, the phone is available for just £125 on Pay as You Go or from £0 on bundles from £17 a month on Pay Monthly, it is only available on Vodafone however. You can find out more about it on Vodafone’s website here.
Disclosure: Vodafone sent us this smartphone for review purposes, after which it was returned.