Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 – review

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Welcome to my review of the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6.

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The phone is manufactured using plastic and glass for the screen. The plastic feels cheap.  As you can see from the photos it a non offensive design. 

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The only criticism I have is the loudspeaker placement being on the rear, meaning it is easy to cover the speaker by accident and that often the true volume of the device gets hidden. Despite its low cost, it has a micro SD slot for your, photos, media and documents. 

The Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 (VSU6) costs £125 on pay as you go and is unlockable for a few pounds using eBay. So with this price in mind, let’s look at what you get for your money. First up, take a look at the specifications. 

Specifications

– Dimensions (mm) 154 x 77 x 8.35
– Weight (g) 159
– Operating system Android 5.0.2 (Lollipop)
– Screen 5.5 inch 1080p, 441 ppi, Touchscreen, IPS Quantum, 70.3% screen to body ratio,
– Camera 13 megapixels, 4x digital zoom, LED flash, 5mp front
– 2G standby time (hours) 240
– 3G talk time (hours) 15
– Processor – Snapdragon 615, 64 bit,Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53,quad-core 1.0 GHz Cortex-A53,Adreno 405
– SIM type NanoSIM
– Internal memory 16GB, 2gb ram
– Memory card type MicroSD
– Connectivity
– Network region LTE FDD 2600/1800/900/800 Mhz,
UMTS 2100/900 Mhz,
GSM 900/1800/1900 Mhz
– Bluetooth v4.0, A2DP
– FM Radio included
– Wi-Fi, Wireless tethering
– Battery 3,000mAh
– Micro USB 2

Phone Basics

The beauty of this phone is that it runs near stock android lollipop 5.0.2. Vodafone have added a few of their apps that can on the whole be uninstalled or frozen. In terms of radios, the phone has all the usual wifi, Bluetooth and 4G LTE. NFC is included too which works really well. 

Extra tricks included with this phone are adaptive brightness, double tap to wake and on the home screen the ability to open an app of your choice when you swipe right. The phone also has a notification light. Casting the screen is also possible.  USB OTG is supported.

But the phone is not about the tricks, it comes with a decent level of hardware components. The 1080p screen offers average viewing angles and is visible in sunlight. The phone radios connected with ease and the call quality was ok too. 

The built in video app is neat too. Whilst playing a video, sliding up or down on the left side of the screen adjusts brightness, volume is controlled on the right side, and if you slide your finger across the video you can scrub forward or back accordingly. 

The battery is a decent 3,000mAh and the fact it’s only powering a 1080p screen equates to a proper days use, maybe 2 with light use. 

Operation. The Snapdragon 615 handles most things really well. However, heavy media and gaming will take a hit with the game frame rates. The AnTuTu score is only 26,199. But the upside is a phone that does not get too hot and maintains decent battery life.

Below some screen shots of the settings and home screen. 

Camera Interface and Samples

The camera app is a simple affair with more options than you would expect. Settings in auto for timer, flash, full screen on/off, shutter sound on/off, location tags, review photo on/off and storage location options. The volume keys act as zoom controls. You can use your fingers to achieve a max of 4 x zoom. Camera modes include filters, smile detection (this works as an option when using the front camera), time lapse with either a 30 or 60 second interval, HDR, panorama and multi exposure. The multi exposure allows for a lot of photo trickery with different options from simple, background, collage, brightness and darkness. For example the simple option allows you to merge to photos. The front camera doesn’t include beautify options, but the quality is reasonable. 

Screenshot_2015-08-08-18-16-10

Even a manual mode is included. The grid option provides nine grids or golden spiral. The level guide is self explanatory. White balance options are incandescent, daylight, fluorescent and cloudy. ISO ranges from 100 to 1,600. Exposure from -2 to +2.  There is no shutter control option. 

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Low Light Shot

The Expendable Burger - testing the low light performance of the £125 Vodafone Smart Ultra 6

The VSU6 really does not like low light from the rear camera. Loads of noise. On the plus side, the Expendable Burger was magnificent. Auto mode used for this shot. But again this is a £125 phone. 

Close Up

The Green Shot - testing the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 - macro type shot

The lighting was good for this shot, but the result was just passable. Auto mode.

Landscape Shot

The Landscape Shot - Auto mode on the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6

Good daylight, and a reasonable photo. I would be happy to share this. Snapped in auto mode.

The Famous Church Shot

The Church Shot - Auto mode using the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6

I always take a photo of my local church with nearly every phone. That way it is easier to compare phone from phone. This is a much better result, although the sky is blown out by the sun. Taken in auto mode.

The Famous Church Shot – HDR

The Church Shot v2 - HDR mode - Vodafone Smart Ultra 6

The resolution drops in HDR, and personally I have not liked any of the other HDR shots snapped on this phone. Avoid using HDR on this phone.

Audio Performance

Surely a £125 will sound rubbish. Wrong actually. Bluetooth apt-x is included. USB Audio is supported only using USB Audio Player Pro app. I honestly didn’t expect USB Audio to be available at all at this price point. The loudspeaker is a bit thin and harsh but the sound level knocked out an astonishing max of 88db. Headphone output was loud and reasonable too. Bluetooth audio is reasonable too. In fact I’m writing this while listening to my music connected via Bluetooth from the VSU6. As I mentioned before, it is a shame the speaker placement is on the rear. 

Conclusion

At £125 this is a great value phone and the fact it can be unlocked so easily makes it a steal. Great specification and extra functionality across the board. One of the best budget phones I have reviewed to date!

Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 Smartphone Touchscreen Pay As You Go deal on Amazon UK

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11 thoughts on “Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 – review

  1. Great review Gavin, thx!
    Would like to know if the 16GB storage is partitioned in any way (or just a straight up 1 partition) + can you move installed apps to SDcard?

    Like

  2. Great review Gavin! Thx. Would like to know if the 16GB storage is partitioned in any way (or just a straight up 1 partition) + can you move installed apps to SDcard?

    Like

  3. It seems to be an excellent phone for those on a tight budget or who are not too fussed about technology & just want a nice, large screened phone with decent performance. For the more enthusiast crowd it makes for a perfect second device (especially if your main platform is iOS or WP)

    Like

  4. Looks like terrific value.

    I’m writing this on a Elephone P8000, which is a very similar price and arguably much better specced. If it was more widely available this might top the SU6 even!

    The value in the < £200 Android market is staggering.

    Like

      1. Thanks Gavin.
        QUICK reply !!!!! 😆
        Thinking of one as second phone on Vodafone Red +…..its free just pay £15/month….unlimited text/calls and just share my data across (but OTG better than keep plugging to PC!!).
        Thanks Again.

        Liked by 1 person

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