Now to begin with, when you’re paying £50 on a mobile phone, you know you’re going to be making some compromises. This isn’t going to be a super fast device with a fantastic screen that takes photos that would rival a DSLR, but if you’re looking for a capable pay as you go phone on a limited budget it’s certainly worth a look.
Continuing Vodafone’s strange naming convention of calling every phone 7, combined with a random collection of adjectives, the Smart Turbo 7 doesn’t have a glamour factor attached to its name, but on first impressions actually looks like a nice device. It hasn’t fallen into the trap budget phones often do by having a fussy over-designed look, with a simple black front, silver back and rounded corners.
While this makes it look smart, unfortunately in the hand it does feel a little cheap as the plastic back has a slight texturing, but it isn’t a nice soft touch plastic and this betrays its price point. Despite this, it is clearly well put together and doesn’t feel flimsy or delicate.
The screen is a decent size at 5-inches and does look good for this price point, although if you are used to more expensive phones you will notice a difference. The viewing angles aren’t great so you will want to use it directly facing you and the resolution, while easily good enough for reading small text and browsing the internet, won’t do a lot of justice to detailed photos.
The touchscreen is responsive and texting on it is easy, it does feel a little small in this age of huge inflated phones but it is more than big enough for any task and may come as a relief for those with smaller hands or smaller pockets.
The Smart Turbo 7 uses Android Marshmallow (6) which is no longer the latest version of the operating system, but is still relatively recent. Thankfully, unlike some manufacturers, Vodafone have left the operating system relatively untouched giving a stock Android experience in line with Google’s own phones. The only addition is the pre-installation of a few Vodafone apps to allow you to manage your account as well as Call+ and Message+ apps.
Call+ allows you to add content to calls and mark calls as important, while Message+ aims to bring in all your messages from different services and apps into a single app making it easy to keep track of all your messages.
The rear facing 5MP camera is far from the strongest part of this phone and while it isn’t terrible, it does have various weaknesses. Expecting a lot from a camera on a £50 phone is slightly unreasonable – and you won’t find a considerably better option for photos at this price – but you should bear this is mind if you are considering this phone.
To get the most of it, both you and the subject need to be very still to prevent blurring, especially in low light, and even then it’s not going to produce print worthy photos. Colour reproduction is a little washed out and while it doesn’t miss any significant details, images don’t look especially sharp. It particularly struggles with group photos if there is a lot to focus on.
Ultimately it is fine for quickly snapping something you might want to share on social media, but it’s not worthy of taking any photos you’d want to keep.
The front-facing camera has a lower 2MP resolution and the quality is lower than the main camera. It’s fine for video calling and the odd selfie, but it won’t produce the kind of image you will want to keep long-term.
Performance is very much mid-range which is not bad at all for a phone at this price. It is capable of handling 3D graphics, but don’t expect it to be super smooth and more demanding games may be frustrating to play.
The CPU performs OK in benchmarks, making it fine for everyday use but more demanding tasks will push it beyond its comfort zone.
As with the vast majority of smartphones battery life depends greatly on how much you use it. If you’re just using it for emergency calls and not checking it a lot, it is capable of going a couple of days without charging. On the other hand, if you are using it for a lot of things, whether that’s listening to music, playing games or accessing the internet, you may easily find that it won’t even last a day without needing a top up.
Making calls sounds as good as it does on pretty much all devices now and you won’t see a drop in quality even if you are used to a much more expensive phone.
Impressively for the price the Smart Turbo 7 is a 4G phone so is able to download and upload data at a fast rate. This makes using the internet on the go quick, as long as you have a 4G signal, providing speeds comparable with wifi.
It’s great news if you want to do a lot of browsing and use apps that need an internet connection, but you should keep an eye on your data use as you can quickly burn through allowances when using 4G.
The price of the Smart Turbo 7 is the real key feature with it available for around £50 on pay as you go. This makes it an ideal choice for users that don’t use their phone at lot or young children that may lose or damage it.
It’s not a fantastic device and ultimately doesn’t offer a lot of surprises even at its price point, but at the same time it also doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses which for the £50 mark is commendable. It’s a very good, average phone, providing solid performance, a reasonably up-to-date operating system and 4G all for less than a seventh the price of the cheapest iPhone on sale.
If you’ve only got £50 to spend this is a great option for a smartphone, but as with many things the more the pay the more you get.