Vodafone currently offers five branded mobile devices to the public. Carrier specific phones aren’t renowned for rocking the mobile market in terms of performance or aesthetics, but instead offer low prices to entice customers.
The Smart Platinum 7 is Vodafones newest addition to its mobile device range and on paper it seems to offer a premium design and user experience all for the reasonable price of £300.
The Smart Platinum 7 boasts a large 5.5″ QHD AMOLED screen and weighs in at 155g. The front and back panels are Corning Gorilla Glass, meaning they’re incredible tough and should stand up to everyday scratches. The carbon fibre, diamond cut detailing on the rear panel is a nice addition.
The glass is surrounded by a dark grey metal frame running around all sides. The frame is angled and finished with silver chrome. On the screen side the frame is slightly thicker to cater for the stereo speakers, however, these blend in seamlessly and you barely notice them.
On the rear you’ll find a subtle Vodafone logo, along with the camera, flash and circular fingerprint reader.
On the right edge you’ll find a sleep/wake button and a volume rocker, both of which are physical buttons. Over on the left edge you find a camera button as well as a single SIM card tray which can hold both a nano SIM and micro SD card.
In overall terms of design I’m a huge fan. Once in your hand you get the feeling of a solid product that has been made well. It gives off the image of a premium or flagship smartphone for a much cheaper price.
Specs / Performance
As mentioned the Smart Platinum 7 has a 5.5″ display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. Behind this sits a Snapdragon 652 eight core processor which should easily be able to handle all of your day-to-day tasks. Animations appear smooth, however, if you like to game on your mobile device you may run into the odd freeze.
Vodafone have chosen to include 3GB RAM and 32GB of built-in storage, which can of course be expanded with the micro SD card slot talked about earlier.
The phone is charged via the micro USB on the bottom, although I would’ve liked to see the newer USB Type-C connector used here. You’ll be pleased to know that the 3000 mAh battery supports fast-charging with the included adaptor and as such can charge to 50% in just 30 minutes.
The 16-megapixel camera has most, if not all features/functions that you would expect to find on a device in this price range. This includes slo-mo recording as well as the capability to shoot HDR images and panoramas.
In my experience the image quality was above average, and for your every day user the detail captured is absolutely fine. If you’re a photography fanatic though and want the very best from your mobile camera, then you may be left a little disappointed as the images don’t match those of the Galaxy S7 or other high-end devices.
The fingerprint sensor seemed to perform pretty solidly as well. It recognised the pre-registered prints quickly and rarely seemed fail. The sensor lies nearly flush with the rear of the phone and therefore was sometimes a little difficult to locate just by feeling.
The Smart Platinum 7 comes pre-loaded with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, and therefore you can benefit from its new useful features straight out of the box. As is usually the case with carrier-branded phones, Vodafone has tweaked the UI slightly.
Thankfully they seem to have decided against pre-installing a tonne of apps which can’t be removed. On first boot, you’ll be taken through the usual setup process and you can then decide if you’d like to install any of the Vodafone tweaks. If not, it’s a simple case of unchecking them and they wont be installed from the Play Store.
A couple of apps will come pre-installed including Phone+ and Message+ which will takeover the default status of the normal call and messaging apps. These do add a plethora of features though many of which I did find useful, so for me this wasn’t a huge annoyance.
In terms of value for money, the Vodafone Smart Platinum 7 is a no-brainer. It is a premium phone which incorporates a large display, fingerprint sensor, solid performance and lovely design without the premium price tag.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 is still the best Android device currently on the market, and the Platinum 7 certainly doesn’t take this position. However, if you’re a Vodafone customer looking for a new phone at a decent price, it’s well worth a look.Order from Vodafone