Vodafone Smart E8 A budget phone with basic instincts
E8 phone home
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