We chat to Vodafone's Peter Becker-Pennrich about the awesome power of the Smart ultra 6, and how Vodafone packs top-end tech into affordable packages...
If you’re browsing in one of our stores, or through the pages of vodafone.co.uk, you’ll no doubt notice Vodafone devices sitting proudly alongside those from other big name manufacturers. Truth is, we’ve been making our own devices for some time now, and our latest creation is our best yet. But you needn’t just take our word for it…
As Vodafone’s Product Management Director, Peter Becker-Pennrich is a busy man, but we’ve recently managed to grab some time with him for an exclusive chat about the brand new Vodafone Smart ultra 6, in which he was keen to explain exactly what makes it such a landmark device for Vodafone.
“We haven’t made any compromises…”
But first up: how exactly does Vodafone go about building its own devices, and why?
“We wanted to provide a powerful, 4G-ready smartphone for those with a budget under £100.”
“The idea behind Vodafone devices has always been to provide people with mobile technology and features at prices where they wouldn’t normally be able to get them,” explains Peter. “If you look at the Smart prime 6 for example, we wanted to provide a powerful, 4G-ready smartphone for a budget of under £100.
“The aim for the Smart ultra 6 was to build the best phone we possibly could, whilst maintaining that emphasis on value for money.”
The latter has certainly been achieved. At just £125 on Pay as you go, the Smart ultra 6 is astonishing value, but don’t be fooled by the low price – Peter and his team have packed the device with top-quality tech:
“Think of building a mobile device like building a car,” says Peter. “Let’s say you’re buying a Mercedes. Most of the individual parts of the car – the tires, electronics, sound system and other parts – aren’t built by Mercedes, they’re built by specialists. It’s the same story for mobile devices – specialist companies build all the individual components.
“That’s how we’ve put together the Smart ultra 6 – we’ve taken some of the most advanced technology in the world and built it into a package that we think is incredibly powerful – in every area. We haven’t made any compromises here; this is absolutely the most powerful smartphone we’ve ever built.”
Those are bold claims, but the specs certainly back them up. The beefy octa-core Qualcomm chipset gives you slick performance and multitasking power, but Vodafone has equally high-quality parts installed all over the phone:
“With the camera for example, we’ve gone with Sony’s 13-Megapixel, industry-leading module,” explains Peter. “It’s the camera that every manufacturer wants in their phones right now, so it’s actually in quite short supply, but it’s the best there is and it means the Smart ultra 6 has similar camera performance to some of the top end smartphones”
“That camera quality translates really well to the screen, which is a 5.5-inch, Full HD display – that’s the same as you’d have on your HDTV at home. And at 400ppi (pixels per square inch), the pixel density is the same as you get on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
“There’s also a 3000mAh battery in there, which will give you more than a day’s full use,” he adds. “For comparison, that’s almost twice the capacity of the battery in the iPhone 6, and 500mAh larger than the battery in the Samsung Galaxy S6.”
It’s not all about the specs though. As Peter rightly asserts, design is no less important, assuring us that it’s absolutely crucial that Vodafone devices look and feel as good on the outside as they are powerful on the inside…
“Industrial design is incredibly important in any consumer product now, I think,” says Peter. “Think of any desirable object that someone would buy, and it has to have a certain design component doesn’t it?
“When it comes to phones, we look at the specific design trends that are considered hallmarks of a premium device – things like thinness, a metallic feel to the handset, or a thin bezel around the display. Think about your TV at home: if you have a thin frame around the screen it looks very modern, but if you have a thick frame around the screen it looks like it’s from the 80s.
“The Smart ultra 6 has all those modern hallmarks – it’s compact, thin and minimalist. Our industrial design team in Dusseldorf has really done an unbelievable job on the Smart ultra 6 – it’s a beautiful piece of engineering.”
“A great all-round package…”
“The message we really want to get across to everyone,” says Peter, summing things up, “is that what when Vodafone builds a smartphone, what we’re actually doing is creating a strong package of components that provide amazing performance and value above all else.
“For the price you’re paying for the Smart Ultra 6, no other device at that price is going to come anywhere close.”
“The Smart ultra 6 compares favourably to other high-end devices out there right now, but the point is that for the price you’re paying for the Smart Ultra 6, no other device at that price is going to come anywhere close. If you wanted an equivalent device from another manufacturer you’d have to pay a lot more money.
“The same thing is happening in the phone industry that happened to the PC industry in the early 90s,” he explains in closing. “Originally people just wanted to buy standalone PCs, but then they started to become more conscious of individual components. Only recently, people are starting to understand and care more about the components inside their phones as well.
“That’s what the Smart ultra 6 is all about – it’s a customised package of all the best technology on the market right now. We’ve taken a brilliant hi-res display, industry-leading cameras, a high-powered chipset and battery, and Android 5.0 Lollipop and wrapped it all up into a great all-round package.”
Find out more… Want to know exactly how Vodafone goes about matching the biggest names in mobile hardware? Click here for all the insider information!