The developing world will drive future growth of new smartphone connections, research released by industry body the GSMA at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in Spain this week showed.
And it’s cheap, entry-level devices that will drive that uptake.
So, Vodacom’s release a few weeks ago of its cheapest-ever 4G/LTE smartphone, the Vodafone Smart 4 Turbo, is important, at least in the South African context.
And the Smart 4 Turbo, which costs R1 499, is certainly a compelling device for the price, offering many of the features of high-end smartphones at a fraction of their price.
The phone is powered by a low-end Qualcomm MSM8926 processor and runs Android 4.4 KitKat.
It supports the 800MHz, 1,8GHz and 2,6GHz LTE bands. Vodacom is presently using only the 1,8GHz band for LTE. The phone supports LTE download speeds of up to 150Mbit/s. However, given the low-end processor and 1GB RAM, it does tend to take its time in loading pages — it’s a case of the network performance being better than the hardware.
Storage can be expanded by up to 32GB using a microSD card, which is good given that it comes with only 4GB of internal flash storage.
With a talk time of 6,5 hours from the 1 880mAh battery, the Smart 4 Turbo includes a battery saver mode that switches off or limits certain functions such as brightness when the juice is running low.
The phone has a decidedly average 5-megapixel rear camera. Picture quality is poor in low-light conditions, although photos taken in sunlight tend to be crisper and clearer. It can also shoot rudimentary video. The phone’s front-facing camera is a poor-quality 0,3-megapixel affair good only for low-quality Skype calls.
The phone supports Bluetooth 4.0 and even near-field communication technology and GPS. Crucially for the target market, there’s also an FM radio.
There’s a smattering of apps beyond the usual Google services and stock Android programs. There’s a Flashlight app, useful in our age of load shedding. Facebook and Twitter also come bundled, saving users the download — though they’ll need updating.
The Vodacom Smart 4 Turbo certainly has the look and feel of a slightly more premium phone, what with its 854×480-pixel, 4,5-inch display and refined (plastic) lines.
Available in both black and white, the plastic cladding does not detract from what is a superior finish for the price.
For the South African market, this is an ideal entry-level smartphone and one would be hard pressed to find better value for money. Now all that’s needed is for mobile data prices to come down to match the value this device offers consumers. — © 2015 NewsCentral Media