Vodafone Tab Prime 6
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.
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.