The Vodafone Smart N9 is pitched as something of a "my first smartphone" proposition. Priced to make it accessible to many, this £109 (pay as you go, £18 a month on contract) Vodafone phone offers some of the latest smartphone tech in its svelte body.
On the front is a 5.5-inch 1440 x 720 display, moving to 18:9 aspect, so it's fully in-step with the latest trend in smartphones. While it doesn’t have the highest resolution, the 295ppi display is nice and vibrant - it doesn't look like the display on a budget phone, so that's a good starting point for a device of this type.
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Having an 18:9 display means you get a good size of handset - you get all that display without it getting too wide. It's only 68.8mm wide and only 8.5mm thick, a far cry from the chunky phones that once sat at this end of the market.
It launched running Android 8.1 Oreo - the latest version of Google's software and Vodafone has mostly kept it free from bloat. There's a couple of preinstalled apps - Facebook, Instagram - as well as Vodafone's own apps - My Vodafone, Tips and Start.
Aside from those additions, the Vodafone Smart N9 looks and behaves like a stock Android phone and that's good thing. Dig a little deeper and you'll find a couple of changes to the under-lying software, including a handy Smart Manager, which amongst other things will make it easy to stop some apps auto-starting (like Facebook).
There are also a range of parental controls, which fits this type of devices: if you're looking for a first phone for your child, then these parental controls will let you manage this phone as a parent.
It lets you prevent settings changes, prevent installation of apps and widgets, set time limits on the device or on categories or apps - or indeed, set a time limit on certain apps, or block an app completely.
There are also a couple of good calling features - you can force the phone to ring at maximum volume on incoming calls (to prevent the customary "my phone was on silent" excuse) and you can also allow the dialler to remain active (so calls can be made) even when other time limits are reached. Ideal for when they phone you asking to be collected…
Elsewhere there's a fingerprint scanner for convenient unlocking and the rear of the phone gets itself a 13-megapixel autofocus camera with flash, while the front features an 8-megapixel camera.
The whole phone is powered by the quad-core MediaTek 6739WA, 2GB RAM and there's 16GB of storage, although this can be expanded via microSD, accepting cards up to 32GB. There's a 2900mAh battery, charged via Micro-USB and a 3.5mm headphone socket for your headphones.
Those core components mark this out as the affordable handset it is and in many ways help keep the price low. It isn't going to be the fastest phone out there and it's not going to be a slick in daily use as something more powerful, but you're not paying top performance prices.
The Vodafone Smart N9 is now available from Vodafone directly, costing £109 pay as you go, or available on contract from £18 with no upfront cost, getting you 1GB data on the Red Extra plan.
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