Vodafone Smart Ultra 6: Battery Life
One worry of a cheaper phone with a very large screen is whether it’ll foul-up on battery life. However, the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 once again does perfectly well.
It has a 3000mAh battery that Vodafone claims will last for up to two days off a charge. You won’t get this if you play games, stream video and so on. However, it’s achievable with lighter use. Then again, why are you buying a 5.5-inch phone if you’re barely going to use it?
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Stamina is particularly good considering the price, outperforming the 5-inch Motorola Moto G despite having a much larger screen. In our standard looped video test (using a 720p MP4 file) the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 lasts 10 hours, beating the Moto by more than an hour and roughly matching the LG G4.
Anecdotally, the Ultra 6 actually seems to outlast the LG G4 in general use, although testing was slightly skewed by having to use a Vodafone test SIM rather than our own one. Not content with this, we also tried a browsing test, largely to see how it compares with similar-size phones that cost about 4x the price.
It’s a david vs goliath test.
After 60 minutes of refreshing the same webpage (trustedreviews.com) every 20 seconds over Wi-Fi, the Ultra 6 had lost 28 per cent of its battery. That’s exactly the same as the Samsung Galaxy S6 from our previous battery life mega-test, and slightly better than the LG G4, which lost 31 per cent.
Vodafone Smart Ultra 6: Call and Sound Quality
So far Vodafone and ZTE (the manufacturing partner) have proved you can have almost everything for well under £150 these days. It’s quite an eye-opener. However, like most budget phones the call speaker and main speaker are nothing special.
Calls are clear but not unusually loud, and sound slightly scratchier and thinner than the best. Nothing to worry about, but nothing to praise either.
The multimedia speaker is similar in quality terms. It sits on the back and uses a single driver. It’s a rather thin-sounding speaker like those of its budget contemporaries. At least it doesn’t distort at top volume, which is reasonably conservative.
Should I buy the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6?
Right now, as we first look at the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 in June 2015, it offers more for your money than just about any other branded phone in the world right now. Sure, fling your card details over to a Chinese importer and you might be able to get hold of something similar from a no-brand OEM or one on the cusp of recognition like Elephone.
However, we’d much rather have something go wrong with the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 than an import. Not that we think anything will: it may be dull, but it’s not poorly made.
There are only four issues. First, that bland factor will be off-putting for some. But is this grade of bargain worth sacrificing flashiness for? We think so.
Next up there are the dual Vodafone issues. First, there’s a fair bit of bloat that’s kept right in your eyeline. But as it is nothing more than preinstalled apps, it has seemingly no performance impact. More importantly, our sample is locked to Vodafone and it’s sensible to assume yours will be too. If you can’t get on with any of Vodafone’s deals, the Ultra 6 is nothing more than a honey trap (sneaky unlocking may be possible down the line, but we can’t be 100 per cent sure).
Last up is something that comes with the territory: it’s not too much of a porker among 5.5-inch phones, but make sure you’re ready for a larger device.
That may sound like quite the shopping list of issues, but to the right person they are minor, or even insignificant. And behind them is a phone of truly great value.
Now the Moto G and Moto E have settled into what seems like a cycle of piecemeal improvements that allow Motorola to cash in on their similarly-disruptive Moto G debut in 2013, it’s up to others to take on the budget baton. Who’d have thought it’d be Vodafone to do it?
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If you’re happy to side with Vodafone, this is the best phone £125 can buy.
How we test phones
We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Score in detail
Battery Life 8
Calls & Sound 6
Screen Quality 9