Voda­fone Tab Prime 6

Tech Advisor - - REVIEWS - Chris Martin

It’s be­com­ing in­creas­ingly com­mon for mo­bile net­works to of­fer their own prod­ucts and EE now has its own range, in­clud­ing an ac­tion cam­era. Voda­fone isn’t far be­hind, but is stick­ing to core de­vices such as smart­phones and tablets. We were im­pressed by its Smart Prime 6 bud­get phone, so our hopes were high for the Tab Prime 6.

This is a sim­ple tablet in terms of de­sign, look­ing a lit­tle like the Google Nexus 9 but with­out the pre­mium ma­te­ri­als. De­spite the lack of any me­tal, it looks and feels good, with the an­thracite rear cover, which is smooth and slip­pery.

The cam­era sticks out a lit­tle way, but that’s not a big prob­lem and the back also has a flap hid­ing the mi­croSD- and SIM card slots. As you might ex­pect, there’s a Voda­fone logo and ‘4G’ printed above four round me­tal con­tacts, which are for con­nect­ing to a key­board.

The Tab Prime 6 is just 7.9mm thick and weighs 406g. We found it easy to hold in both por­trait- and land­scape mode, but be aware it’s tall be­cause of the 16:9 ra­tio screen.

Most bud­get tablets of­fer a small 7in screen, but the Voda­fone Tab Prime 6 has a 9.6in dis­play. That’s a de­cent amount of space, though the res­o­lu­tion is just 1280x800.

There’s a rea­son­able amount of bright­ness on of­fer here – at least for in­door use – and colour re­pro­duc­tion isn’t bad ei­ther, but that res­o­lu­tion on a screen this size sim­ply means things aren’t crisp and some text can even ap­pear blurry, which is far from ideal. The dis­play is just 157ppi.

In­side is a 1.2GHz quad­core Qual­comm Snap­dragon 410 pro­ces­sor and 1GB of RAM. Bench­mark re­sults aren’t great, and although the Tab Prime 6 is sticky in per­for­mance oc­ca­sion­ally, we found it was smooth dur­ing test­ing. Take note of the GFXBench re­sults though, which show that this re­ally isn’t a tablet for gam­ing. Although Voda­fone’s web­site lists only an 8GB model, we were sent a 16GB ver­sion. There’s a mi­croSD card slot for adding more stor­age (up to 32GB) which is handy.

One of the main fea­tures and rea­sons to buy the Voda­fone Tab Prime 6 is the built-in 4G LTE sup­port. Whether you buy the tablet on PAYG or con­tract, it will come with a SIM card and you can get data on the go easily.

With 11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Blue­tooth 4.1 we were sur­prised to find an IR blaster on the Tab Prime 6, which means you can use it as a uni­ver­sal re­mote con­trol around your home via the pre­in­stalled Peel app.

The cam­eras are ba­sic and you won’t get any­thing spe­cial from the 5Mp rear cam­era, which doesn’t have a flash. The front snap­per is equally poor and won’t pro­vide a crisp im­age for video call­ing, plus it’s po­si­tioned off-cen­tre, which doesn’t help mat­ters.

In terms of bat­tery life, the Voda­fone of­fers de­cent per­for­mance from the non-re­mov­able 4600mAh bat­tery. In our Geek­bench 3 test, it man­aged seven hours 49 min­utes, with a score of 3129. We’ve not tested many tablets with this bench­mark, but for com­par­i­son the Sony Xpe­ria Z4 Tablet pro­vided nine hours 53 min­utes, with a score of 5933 with its 6000mAh bat­tery.

The Tab Prime 6 comes with a vanilla ver­sion of An­droid 5.0 Lol­lipop. It does come with some branded items though, but not many. There’s a Voda­fone SIM app, plus Dis­cover and Up­date apps, though you can unin­stall these if you like.

As with many An­droid de­vices, swip­ing right from the home­screen takes you to a sep­a­rate sec­tion. In this case it’s Flip­board, though Voda­fone of­fers the op­tion to change it which we re­ally like. Within the dis­play set­tings, you can switch it off com­pletely or choose what swip­ing right launches, in­clud­ing reg­u­lar apps. Google is in­cluded in the op­tions giv­ing you a Nexus style UI where Google Now is a swipe away – just re­mem­ber it launches the app so you can’t swipe back to the home­screen.

With Voda­fone of­fer­ing stock An­droid Lol­lipop, hold­ing back on bloat­ware and adding cus­tomi­sa­tion where it’s not nor­mally avail­able, the soft­ware of the Tab Prime 6 is a real plus point.

Ver­dict

The Tab Prime 6 isn’t a bad at­tempt at a bud­get tablet, with de­cent build and al­most stock An­droid. It’s the screen that is the big­gest let­down here.

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