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Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 review – return of the Moto G killer?

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £135
inc VAT (PAYG, as of 27th June)

It's very fast for its price, but its flawed screen, battery life and camera fail to build on the success of last year's Smart Ultra 6


Processor: Octa-core MediaTek MT6755M, Screen Size: 5.5in, Screen resolution: 1,920×1,080, Rear camera: 13 megapixels, Storage (free): 16GB, Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Dimensions: 152x78x8.7mm, Weight: 150g, Operating system: Android 6.0.1

Buy the Smart Ultra 7 now from Vodafone



Once past the Ultra Smart 7’s speed, everything starts to go a bit downhill, as its 5.5in, 1,920×1,080 resolution display was also pretty poor. It’s an IPS panel, but its overly warm colour cast really spoils its overall appearance. It does, admittedly, have a Picture Mode setting in the Display options that lets you tweak the colour tuning, but the Standard and Vivid presets looked even worse and I struggled to find a decent balance with the customisable User profile as well.

Even after fiddling with the settings, though, the quality of the Smart Ultra 7’s screen simply can’t match the display on the Moto G4. The Smart Ultra 7, for instance, can only show 85% of the sRGB colour gamut (down from the G4’s 90%), and its contrast ratio of 922:1 is miles behind our measurement of 1,693:1 for the G4. The Smart Ultra 7 isn’t as bright, either, topping out at just 373.82cd/m2. This is just about good enough for use outdoors, but you’ll need to have the brightness set to max or be shrouded in shadow to see it clearly.

Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 display


I wasn’t overly impressed by its 13-megapixel camera, either, as nearly all my test shots had a rather pinkish tinge to them, particularly when it came to rendering orange brickwork. Outdoor shots were also rather dark for my liking, and it struggled with fine detail. Instead, bricks merged into a homogenous mass and subtler patches of colour almost looked like they’d been smeared across the frame. HDR, admittedly, helped brighten some of our images, but the effect is quite dramatic and doesn’t always make pictures look completely natural.

Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 camera test^ Not only was the Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 lacking in detail, but it also struggled to expose the clouds correctly, even in overcast weather conditions

Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 camera test HDR^ Switching on HDR mode did help, but the rather artificial-looking results may not be to everyone’s tastes

Our indoor shots were also rather lacking in detail, and even shots taken with our studio lights turned on were rather rough round the edges. The fur on our teddy bear, for example, was very fuzzy and short on definition, and even the grooves in our felt tips pens was barely discernible.

Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 camera test indoors^ The colour temperature wasn’t quite right indoors, either, as everything has a rather pinkish hue


It’s a shame, really, as I would have been willing to put up with the Smart Ultra 7’s off-colour screen had its camera been better. Ultimately, though, the Smart Ultra 7 has just one too many flaws to make it a viable budget contender to the mighty Moto G4. Add in a rather underwhelming battery life and the gap widens even further. The Moto G4 might be more expensive than the Smart Ultra 7 upfront, but that extra £35 is definitely money well spent.

You also don’t need to tie yourself into Vodafone’s contract or SIM-only rates by going with an unlocked Moto G4, as you can get some truly fantastic SIM-only deals if you’re prepared to shop around a bit. iD Mobile, for instance, is currently offering a 1GB plan for just £5-per-month on a rolling one month plan. This might change over time as it’s not fixed for twelve months like many SIM-only deals, but at least you then have the freedom to change deals if prices start to increase.

That said, as a budget phablet on contract it’s a reasonable deal, though you could pick up the better-rounded Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo for a similar monthly outlay, and with a more generous contract if you shop around. That leaves the Smart Ultra 7 a bit stuck until pricing becomes more attractive.

Buy the Smart Ultra 7 now from Vodafone

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ProcessorOcta-core MediaTek MT6755M
Screen size5.5in
Screen resolution1,920×1,080
Screen typeIPS
Front camera5 megapixels
Rear camera13 megapixels
Storage (free)16GB
Memory card slot (supplied)microSD
BluetoothBluetooth 4.1
Wireless data3G, 4G
Operating systemAndroid 6.0.1
Battery size2,960mAh

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