Review: Vodafone Smart III smartphone

21 Jun 2013

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I know people who carry vintage phones. They’re not hipsters, they’re not poor, they’re just not bothered about having the latest thing because they just want to make calls and get text messages. But it’s not going to be long before every phone will be a smartphone and the Smart III could be described as a smartphone for the people.

The device is Vodafone-badged but actually is manufactured by Alcatel One Touch, a member of the Alcatel family we don’t hear much about on this side of the world, and is designated the Astro.

On the face of it this is an affordable smartphone. It sells for €99 on Vodafone Pay As You Go, which means it comes with 1GB of free internet for the summer.

However, for an affordable smartphone it packs a considerable punch.

Specs

smart III

It comes with a four-inch screen, quite similar to the iPhone 5 in size, and comes with a 1GHz processor and has 512Mb of RAM.

It has all the wireless communications you’d expect in a high-end smartphone including high-speed 3G HSUPA and Wi-Fi and has a GPS sensor for navigation.

On first glance where the device probably falls down compared with the higher end competitors such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One is its actual design – it’s just not as sleek and feels completely plastic. Unlike the aforementioned sleek competitors, it’s as if the screen on the Smart III is hoisted atop a few levels of plastic.

The 4-inch WVGA capacitive touchscreen is also demonstratively lower resolution compared to the more expensive competitor devices and you can see the pixels.

But once you look beyond these ascetic factors you have a pretty decent, value-for-money Android smartphone based on the Jellybean 4.1 operating system.

Like I said, it’s a smartphone for the people.

Verdict

Despite my observations about the screen quality, video playback is pretty decent with bright vivid colours and good sound from the speakers, pretty good for watching YouTube and Netflix on, in fact.

Gameplay on popular apps like Temple Run 2 is pretty absorbing. The 1GHz processor feels quite stable and if there is one word to describe how Android performs and behaves on the Smart III, I would choose “sturdy.” Sticking with the alliteration the device is simple, safe and solid.

I can see this smartphone appealing to various kinds of users, ranging from teenagers who want the power of Android within a price range they can afford to people moving to smartphones from feature phones. And for the style-conscious teens the device comes with a number of graphic sheets to change the appearance and colour of the phone.

Thereis very little a seasoned smartphone user can quibble with in terms of the performance of the Smart III. It will be affordable yet reasonably priced devices like this that will help the mobile industry reach the goal of bringing the next 1bn people online.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com