Voda­fone Smart E8 A bud­get phone with ba­sic in­stincts

E8 phone home

Computer Active (UK) - - Contents -

There are bud­get smart­phones, and then there are smart­phones so cheap that, fac­tor­ing in the cost of putting them in a box and pay­ing some­one to hand you the box, they’re prac­ti­cally free. This one runs the cur­rent An­droid 7.1 Nougat, in­cludes a mi­crosd card slot to ex­pand its tiny 8GB of stor­age, and has cam­eras on the back and front. Of course you don’t get ad­vanced stuff like a fin­ger­print scan­ner. The slate-blue plas­tic case is mer­ci­fully plain and looks quite de­cent.

The 5- megapixel main cam­era takes rather dull and grainy pictures, but the HDR mode helps, and you can play with man­ual ex­po­sure. The front cam­era is just barely good enough for quick self­ies and video chat, but we’ve seen worse (we’re look­ing at you, Ama­zon Fire HD 10).

The catch? The touch­screen is pretty dire. Res­o­lu­tion, bright­ness and con­trast are low, and it lacks the coat­ing that pre­vents other screens get­ting sticky with fin­ger­prints af­ter five min­utes. It does re­spond cor­rectly to touch, but the E8’s pro­ces­sor can’t al­ways keep up. Sim­ple games won’t run smoothly, and load­ing apps or web pages is a drag. But if you just want a ba­sic smart­phone that works, for £49, that’s what this is.

Of course, Voda­fone wants to sell you a cheap phone to en­tice you on to its net­work, to which the E8 comes locked. On top of the £49, you have to buy a £10 top-up, which gets you 200 call min­utes, un­lim­ited texts and 1GB of data for 30 days. At the end of that time, you can ask

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TIONS 5in 480x854-pixel screen • 8GB flash stor­age • 5-megapixel rear cam­era • 2-megapixel front cam­era

• 802.11n Wi-fi • Blue­tooth 4.0 • 3G/4G • Mi­crosd card slot • An­droid 7.1 • 146x72x9.2mm (HXWXD) • 169g • One-year war­ranty www.snipca.com/25984 Voda­fone to un­lock it, and then you can swap the SIM for one from a net­work of your choice (ask for the Nano size).

If you’re on another net­work and want to stick with it, this means ei­ther chang­ing your phone num­ber twice, trans­fer­ring it twice (free, but a has­sle) or keep­ing your old phone for a month while your E8 sits in a drawer and the £10 top-up goes to waste. Awk­ward, but prob­a­bly not a deal-breaker. We’d guess most E8 buy­ers will be first-time smart­phone own­ers, who’ll only have to switch once – or might even learn to love Voda­fone.

VER­DICT: This is a great choice if you want a ba­sic, af­ford­able phone for calls and texts rather than web brows­ing

AL­TER­NA­TIVE: Al­ca­tel Pixi 4 (5in) £60 Slightly quicker (ex­cept when play­ing games), this sim­i­larly equipped phone comes un­locked but only runs An­droid 6

A ba­sic phone that works and costs £49 – just don’t ex­pect a qual­ity screen

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