Call quality, arguably the most basic principle of a smartphone, is an area where the Vodafone Smart 3 comes undone. Calls sound extremely distant with low volumes further compounded by an annoying haziness. This will not put you off using the Smart 3 as a phone, but it will make the experience less enjoyable and more of a chore than we would ideally like.
Battery life on the Vodafone Smart 3 is acceptable without being inspiring. The 1,500mAh Lithium-Ion battery is smaller than on some entry and mid-market handsets, but the Smart 3’s limited specs are not overly demanding on the power pack. In short the claimed 6.5 hour talk time and 312 hour standby predictions run near enough true. With steady use, a full day’s battery is available on a single charge, although playing games does seem to churn through the juice at a higher rate of knots that on the likes of the LG Optimus L3.
The Smart 3’s 1,500mAh Lithium-Ion battery is another nod back to its Alcatel manufacturing, as we reckon it comes directly from some of the company’s own branded handsets, including the Alcatel One Touch 991.
The 4GB of internal storage offered is pretty standard for a budget phone. As you might expect though, microSD expansion up to 32GB is available for those with more demanding storage needs.
The Vodafone Smart 3’s connectivity options are pretty basic, there’s no NFC or 4G on offer here. The charge and transfer enabling microUSB connection sits comfortably in the centre of the phone’s bottom edge. This helps reduce the fiddliness of the using the phone with a cable attached.
With the usual Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi connections available, we experienced no issues with the Smart 3 obtaining and maintaining its internet connections. Signal was strong and comparable with any budget phone. Similarly, 3G connections never faltered in areas of expected coverage. We had no issues with dropped calls during our time with the phone.
For £90 it is hard to go wrong with the Vodafone Smart 3. Its moderately attractive, functional specs and satisfying screen are hard to argue with, and the Vodafone Smart 3 is a more rounded phone than the similarly priced Samsung Galaxy Young.
For the price the 800 x 480 pixel LCD display, 5-megapixel camera and 1GHz processor are a better overall package than anything offered by larger phone brands. If you're a parent it's a great choice as a child's first phone, provided you can persuade them that's better than the alternatives from known brands.
The Vodafone Smart 3 is a strong budget Android phone and one of the best network branded handsets we’ve seen in a while. Its features won’t set the world alight, but it has enough grunt to get the basics done with ease. The Vodafone Smart 3 is a strong buy, and at just £90 on a PAYG basis will do your wallet no harm, either.