We've given eForum Community Champion Henry Malt a Vodafone Smart 4 power to try out. What does he think of our best ever homegrown device? Time to find out.
Hyrm (otherwise known as Henry Malt), is one of the most prominent Community Champions on the Vodafone eForum. These volunteer experts dish out advice, solve problems and – as a reward – get to try out some of our latest phones.
Making Vodafone phones
The Vodafone Smart 4 power has just landed at Vodafone UK, and its our best ever smartphone. But how do you make a high end phone at a wallet friendly price?
– Click here for the inside story
Over the last few weeks Henry’s been getting to grips with the Vodafone Smart 4 power, so we thought we’d ask him how he’s been getting on, and what his first impressions are of our most powerful home-grown phone. And, more importantly, can he break it?
“The Smart 4 power is £175 on Vodafone Pay as you go,” Henry says. “There are other devices with more storage for that price, but they aren’t 4G. It’s been pointed out to me that 4G pricing doesn’t really sit with a budget device at the moment, so either some cuts are coming, or this is ahead of the curve and the competition. Either way, it doesn’t feel like a budget device. It’s nice and solid, although perhaps a bit heavy (that may be down to the large non-replaceable battery), and it sits nicely in the hand.
“Turning it on, it does everything you’d expect a phone to do – there’s no initial impression that it’s cut down in terms of performance for the price, or because of its inbuilt storage. On that front, it was a pleasant surprise to discover that all of the non-Google apps (which are part of the OS) are uninstallable.
“It can be annoying when half the storage on a device is taken up by fitness and music apps that I can’t get rid of. Even Facebook can be removed from the Smart 4 power if you like.”
Can I break it?
Being a man who likes to test things to their limits, Henry has taken it upon himself to test the Smart 4 power to breaking point. Mission accomplished?
“My mission, which I chose to accept, was to break the thing. I didn’t believe that 4GB of storage is enough for a modern smartphone, especially when 2GB of it is eaten up by the OS. My HTC One has about 2GB of apps on it, including the non-removable ones and some very large system apps like HTC TV and the gallery.
“My big revelation was putting an external SD card in it…”
“I’ve now put all my regular apps on the Smart plus a few more, and they come to just over 1GB. What’s more, it’s not struggling in terms of working memory, and I’m simply gobsmacked by that.”
Even though the Smart 4 power’s 4GB of storage was already beating Henry’s expectations, it had another trick up its sleeve that made things even better…
“My big revelation was putting an external SD card in it,” he reveals. “My other devices treat these cards as an optional extra, a bit like a USB hard drive on a PC. This isn’t the case with the Smart: it makes the card its own and the storage analysis lists it first, with the inbuilt phone storage relegated almost to an afterthought.
“The card simply becomes part of the memory pool, acting as the default storage for downloads and pictures. Because the phone is running Android KitKat, apps can be installed and moved to the card, too. There’s even a system file manager, so the KitKat restriction on moving files to an external card is bypassed. With an (I’d say essential) external SD card added, the total internal storage used remains stable, so the device is doing some very clever storage management.
“Is there an Achilles heel? Well, the camera is good but not as good as higher end phones, obviously, and you might find it a little heavy. Beyond that, though, you wouldn’t feel your money was wasted and that not going for a more ‘premium’ device was a mistake.
“I could definitely use this,” he says in closing – which, for a Community Champion, is very high praise. Stay tuned for more on the Smart 4 power soon.