Android tablets come in all shapes and sizes and at all price points. When deciding which one to choose, the models available can cause confusion and because of the minor variations between each, price starts to play an important factor.
In response to this, Vodafone has released the Smart Tab 4G which boasts an 8" IPS WXGA (1280 x 800 pixels) display, Rear 5MP, Front Facing: 2MP cameras, Android KK 4.4, 1GB RAM /8GB ROM, microSD support up to 64GB and a decently sized 4060 mAh battery. The specifications are somewhat mid-range and the amount of RAM may be troubling to some power users, but the PAYG price of only £125 is interesting to say the least. You can buy the tablet on a monthly plan with prices staring at just £9 for the tablet, but it seems to me that the outright cost offers the most for your money.
The box the tablet is packaged within is highly unusual. At barely an inch high, it does not feel like a tablet at all, but it is nice to see a different take on what is usually a mundane part of the product. Picking the tablet up revealed another surprised which is a well-built device that feels completely solid throughout; no creaks, no rattles and a sense that quality materials have been used throughout. The buttons are logically placed and nothing moves at all apart from the slots for the SIM and microSD cards. It is all obviously designed, but there is a feeling of a device that should cost much more than the asking price.
Turning it on revealed a slightly different level of completeness because the screen is acceptable rather than overwhelming. It works well for general usage, but if you are going to be working on zooming deeply into images, you may notice the pixels a little too much. Then again, if that's the work you want to do on a tablet you should be looking at a higher range anyway. What I did notice, however, was that there was no lagging or artefacts on display when playing games and scrolling through web pages so the performance side is good. Indeed, the overall performance is impressive with zero lag when browsing and the ability to open app after app without issue.
Performance is comparable to an iPad mini 2 when I used them side by side and it doesn't take a lot of research to compare the pricing of the two and to realise that this is more than should reasonably be expected.
The inclusion of two 5MP cameras is generous and a couple of sample shots are below which highlight what can be captured. As you may know, I am not a fan of taking photos with a tablet and put little time into trying to hold such a large device to capture a photo, but it seems as though millions of people disagree. And because of that tablet manufacturers are making real efforts in this area. Overall, the cameras are, once again, but than should be expected for the price, but they will not replace a standalone camera or most high-end phones.
As I played with the Smart Tab over the period of a week, it started to grow on me and I could quite easily compare it to my favourite Android phone, the Moto G. It is inexpensive, very well built and the design is considered. Battery performance is slightly above average and it does everything it needs to without causing any stress at all.
There is little attempt to build a product that stands out from the crowd, but care has obviously been put into creating something that is financially accessible to the majority and which will also fulfil their needs completely.
It would be easy for a geek like me to look down upon a budget tablet, but with time came the realisation that this is a decent product in all of the most important areas, and to top it all the price is fantastic.
Product: Vodafone Smart Tab 4G
More info / where to buy: Vodafone
Description: Watch movies and catch-up TV. Play games and listen to music wherever you go with the Smart Tab 4 4G. Check your email and social media, and choose from thousands of apps available from Google Play. A quad-core processor and 8GB memory (up to 64GB with expandable micro SD slot) means it's fast and powerful, with plenty of storage. So you can be sure there's always something on the Smart Tab 4 4G to keep everyone happy.
Effectiveness 9.1 / 10
Value for money 9.6 /10
Build Quality 8.9 / 10
Overall 27.6 / 30