Smart Ultra 7 review: Cameras

In terms of cameras, the Smart Ultra 7 features a front-facing 5Mp camera and a rear-facing 13Mp camera with autofocus and flash, which is the same as its processor, although we’re not sure if the tech inside is the same. Why? Because while we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the camera of the Smart Ultra 6, we can’t say the same about the Smart Ultra 7.

Sure, the cameras featured on the Smart Ultra 7 produce images that are fairly detailed and crisp, but the colour reproduction is terrible and the photos are washed out in direct sunlight, no matter how much we tried to combat it – even in HDR, the photos were unbalanced. Also, we’ve noticed that if anything moves when taking a photo in HDR (like cars driving by) this will cause a ghosting effect – probably due to poor processing power, amongst other factors.

Here’s what we mean – above is a sample of images taken on the Smart Ultra 6 (normal on left, HDR on right) and below is a sample of images taken on the Smart Ultra 7.

The 5Mp front-facing selfie camera is okay, but without any autofocus technology there’s not much to write home about – it’ll suffice for the likes of Skype and the odd selfie, but not much else. Vodafone chose to add a front-facing flash to the Smart Ultra 7 and while we’ve found that it does indeed brighten up dark selfies, harsh flashes aren’t the most flattering. But maybe that’s just us!

In terms of video, you can expect 1080p HD at 30fps from the Smart Ultra 7, and much like its predecessor, it doesn’t feature digital or optical image stabilisation. This means that even with the sturdiest of hands, you’re likely to see a bit of shakiness from videos captured on the Smart Ultra 7.

Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 review: Connectivity

So, what does the Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 offer in terms of connectivity? One of the biggest draws of the Ultra 7 is that it offers 4G connectivity on a budget. It’s worth noting that even though the smartphone offers 4G connectivity, you’re tied to using it on Vodafone (obviously!) unless you want to pay the extra to get the smartphone unlocked. We’ve been testing Vodafone’s 4G network on the Smart Prime 7 and can report average 4G speeds of 3.63MB download, a whopping 14.42MB upload and 24 ping.

Along with 4G connectivity, the Smart Ultra 7 offers Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n dual-band, providing users with the option to connect to newer, faster 5GHz Wi-Fi connections when not roaming around on Vodafone’s 4G. Along with Wi-Fi, the Smart Ultra 7 offers Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, GPS and a number of sensors, including an accelerometer, proximity sensor and compass.

Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 review: Software

The Smart Ultra 7 comes packing Android Marshmallow 6.0, boasting a similarly Nexus-esque level of bloatware – aka almost none. Yes, the Vodafone branding is prominent throughout the hardware and software of the Smart Ultra 7, but the number of pre-installed Vodafone apps is surprisingly low. Okay, it still comes with Messages+ and Call+ and these can’t be deleted as they replace the stock message and phone apps, but the Vodafone updates app gives you the option of what bloatware to install when you first run the software.

It’s a nice relaxed approach to bloatware and we hope that other manufacturers will follow suit at some point in the future.

Apart from that, it’s a fairly standard Android Marshmallow experience featuring improvements over Android 5.0 Lollipop, including visual changes to the lock screen, dropdown notification centre, volume controls and more, along with Google Now on Tap, a contextual version of Google Now. For more information about what’s available in Android 6.0 Marshmallow, take a look at our Android Marshmallow release date and features article.  

Follow Lewis Painter and PC Advisor on Twitter. 

Specs

Vodafone Smart Ultra 7: Specs

  • 152.2 x 78.1 x 8.7mm
  • 150g
  • 5.5in Full HD IPS display
  • Mediatek MT6755M processor with 2GB RAM
  • Mali-T860MP2 GPU
  • 16GB storage, expandable via MicroSD
  • 13Mp rear-facing camera with autofocus and flash
  • Front-facing 5Mp camera with flash
  • 1080p HD video at 30fps
  • 4G connectivity
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • NFC
  • GPS
  • Non-removable 2960mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow