On Vodafone's own online store the Smart 4 Power is being sold for £120, making it a good deal cheaper than the HTC Desire 510, which costs £149 and the Moto G 4G, which can be had for around £155.
While the Vodafone Smart 4 Power is more affordable than these rivals, it still can't compete with the EE Kestrel's incredibly low price of just £99. EE's offering is stubbornly clinging to the title of lowest cost 4G-capable smartphone.
If you're looking for both a budget smartphone and a new network carrier and the choice falls between EE and Vodafone, then that £20 difference could be enough to sway you towards EE - unless the Smart 4 Power provides good reasons for the more expensive price tag.
The first thing I noticed when I unpacked the Vodafone Smart 4 Power is that this is a big phone, with the large bezel that surrounds the 5-inch screen making it a substantial handset.
The Vodafone Smart 4 Power's dimensions are 141 x 71.4 x 9.5mm, a good deal larger than the EE Kestrel's 133 x 65 x 7.85mm frame and the HTC Desire 510's 139.9 x 69.8 x 9.99mm, though both have smaller screens, with the Kestrel coming with a 4.5-inch display, and the HTC Desire 510 sporting a 4.7-inch.
At this price, if you're keen on getting a large-screen device, you're going to have to accept a larger body as well.
The Vodafone Smart 4 Power's weight is a hefty 162g, so you'll certainly know it's in your pocket. It gives the Vodafone Smart 4 Power a robust feel that can be missing from budget smartphones.
The plastic back of the chassis sacrifices a premium feel but feels like it could withstand the odd knock and drop. However, the lack of Gorilla Glass over the display means it's unlikely to come off well from being dropped face down or rubbing up against your keys.
When holding the Vodafone Smart 4 Power in one hand, the size and weight of the handset begins to take its toll, and it's certainly not the most comfortable smartphone I've used. If you're used to one-handed typing and navigation then you're going to find yourself stretching to reach all the corners of the screen.
Even with my not inconsiderably long digits I began feeling the strain of trying to access certain areas of the screen, with the back button on the bottom of the bezel proving particularly difficult to reach.
Though you could argue that this is par for the course with large-screen smartphones, the thickness of the edges around the screen don't help.
Making life slightly easier is the location of the power button in the middle of the right-hand side of the phone, just beneath the volume controls. These are the only buttons on the body and they prove to be firm and responsive when used.
It does mean there's no dedicated camera button, so the Vodafone Smart 4 Power isn't ideal if you want a phone you can quickly whip out and take a shot with. A headphone jack is located at the top-left of the body, with a micro USB port situated at the bottom of the case.
Removing the back of the Smart 4 Power's case is easy, and once removed you get access to the sim card slot and microSD expansion slot.
Though it's not quite as easy to get to as a microSD slot built into the side of the case, the fact that the back of the case is so easy to remove means I wasn't too bothered with the placement of the microSD slot in the Smart 4 Power.
The Vodafone Smart 4 Power will accept microSD cards up to 32GB, which does a decent job of boosting storage over the rather paltry 4GB of built-in storage.
Considering the cheaper EE Kestrel comes with 8GB of onboard storage, the 4GB of storage seems pretty tight. Fresh out of the box with Android 4.4 and other apps installed, you only actually get 1.8GB, which means that expanding the Vodafone Smart 4 Power's storage space via microSD cards is less of an option and more of a necessity, especially if you want to take lots of photographs.
While 32GB of additional space should be more than enough for many people, it's worth pointing out that some similarly priced phones such as the HTC Desire 510 can handle microSD cards up to 128GB.
The Vodafone Smart 4 Power comes in black or white. Its overall look is reminiscent of the Vodafone Smart 4 Mini, though quite a bit larger. It's a no-nonsense design which doesn't stand out against other budget handsets.
While it's certainly not ugly, and comes in either white or black, it's not going to wow anyone either. Budget handsets such as the Moto G demonstrate that just because a phone might have a low price tag, that doesn't mean they have to look plain, which sadly the Vodafone Smart 4 Power does.
By far the biggest selling point of the Vodafone Smart 4 Power is its price. It's a handset designed to offer many of the modern trappings of a smartphone, including 4G connectivity and Android 4.4 KitKat, but with a more palatable price tag.
While the sim-free Smart 4 Power is going for just £120, you can get it for free on a contract that costs £18 a month. This already makes the Vodafone Smart 4 Power a very tempting choice if you're looking for a new phone on a budget, but if the features let it down, then you may still be wasting money.
Vodafone is pushing the Smart 4 Power as a smartphone that can do pretty much everything you need from a modern smartphone.
A key feature is the Vodafone Smart 4 Power's LTE connectivity, granting its users access to super-fast 4G mobile internet.
It's little surprise that Vodafone is so keen to broadcast the Smart 4 Power's 4G credentials. Not only does this show that Vodafone is serious about proving that the Smart 4 Power can be a serious alternative to more expensive smartphones, but it also encourages Vodafone's customers to use more of that lovely data that mobile networks make their money on.
The Vodafone Smart 4 Power is Cat 4 with 50Mbps maximum upload speeds, and potential 150Mbps downloads, though the real speeds you'll get with day-to-day use will vary.
Because you'll need a Vodafone contract to use the Smart 4 Power, you're going to be at the mercy of Vodafone's 4G coverage, which isn't quite up there with its main competitor, EE.
When using the EE network, I had no problems getting 4G signal in Bath. However, with a Vodafone sim card inserted into the Smart 4 Power, I was only able to get 3G reception.
A cursory look at Vodafone's map of its 4G coverage showed that Bath was indeed bereft of Vodafone's 4G coverage. While Bath is not the biggest city in the UK, our neighbour Bristol (which is far larger) was similarly without Vodafone's 4G.
In fact, while EE continues to regularly boast about its increased 4G coverage across the UK, according to Vodafone's own website, much of the country isn't covered.
This means that if you're looking to get the Vodafone Smart 4 Power due to its 4G capabilities, I would strongly suggest you first visit Vodafone's website and check to see if your area is covered before you buy.
As it currently stands for 4G coverage I would recommend going with either the EE Kestrel, or an unlocked phone such as the HTC Desire 510, which won't be tied to Vodafone's currently spotty 4G coverage.
The large 5-inch screen of the Vodafone Smart 4 Power is perhaps its most eye-catching feature, at least on paper. When in use it doesn't stand up to scrutiny, which sadly - as a display - it's going to be subjected to quite a lot.
The capacitive IPS LCD touchscreen has a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels, which when stretched over the 5-inch display, gives it a pixel density of 220 pixels per inch.
For sharper and more impressive image quality you want more pixels per inch. While I can't berate the Smart 4 Power for not managing to reach the pixel densities of much more expensive handsets (the iPhone 6, for example has a pixel density of 326ppi), it does result in phones that have the same resolution, but smaller screen size having better pixel density, and therefore better image quality.
For example the Smart 4 Power's closest rival, the EE Kestel, may have the same 540 x 960 resolution, but as it has a smaller screen (4.5 inches), the pixel density is higher at 245ppi, resulting in a sharper image.
It may be all well and good slapping a large screen on a handset, but if you don't up the resolution as well image quality is going to suffer.
Unfortunately that is all too evident with the Smart 4 Power. As soon as you turn it on you can see that the big screen and (relatively) low resolution hasn't been kind, with the standard Android app icons looking slightly blurred and unfocused when blown up to this scale.
While the resolution disappoints, the colour reproduction of the screen is more impressive, with still images generally looking pretty good. The viewing angle of the screen is pretty narrow, however, so despite the big screen you won't be looking to watch media on the Smart 4 Power with other people.
Interface, performance and battery
To help make the Vodafone Smart 4 Power feel like a modern and feature-packed smartphone regardless of its price, it comes with Android 4.4 (KitKat) installed as the operating system.
The Android 4.4 that comes installed on the Vodafone Smart 4 Power is the standard stock affair, though it comes with a few Vodafone-flavoured apps including Vodafone Discover. This app (and its widget that's preinstalled on the home screen), offers quick access to settings such as flight mode, along with various Vodafone services and deals.
The app itself is rather bland and uninspiring, and while you might get some use out of it, I get the feeling that the app is more use to Vodafone that it is to customers. I removed the widget from the home screen pretty quickly, and I can image most people will as well.
While other Vodafone apps don't really prove to be much use (such as Smart Flow, which is simply an animated wallpaper), you do at least get access to all the apps you'd expect for Android 4.4 through Google's Play Store.
The components inside the Vodafone Smart 4 Power does the job acceptably well powering the handset. The processor is a quad-core Cortex-A7 CPU clocked at 1.3GHz, with a Mali-400MP2 GPU and 1GB of RAM.
These average specifications are roughly what I'd expect from a handset of this price range, and is good at keeping up with most day-to-day tasks.
Though Android 4.4 has felt smoother and snappier on phones with higher specs (as well as price tags), it still feels responsive on the Vodafone Smart 4 Power, though some apps take a second or two to load, rather than appearing almost instantly.
Even the rather simple messaging app had a pause before it displayed the one solitary message I'd sent. With a more populated inbox, this pause does grow slightly.
For a solid, no frills, Android KitKat experience, the Vodafone Smart 4 Power does a fine job, though it sometimes pauses when launching apps.
On the Geekbench 3 benchmark the Vodafone Smart 4 Power managed a multi-core score of 1174, slightly below the EE Kestrel's 1190 and much lower than the HTC Desire 510's score of 1330.
The Vodafone Smart 4 Power comes with a decently sized 3000mAh battery, a good deal larger than the HTC Desire 510's 2100mAh offering, and the EE Kestrel's 2000mAh power pack.
This meant that during my time with the Vodafone Smart 4 Power, it held onto its battery life admirably. With medium to heavy use I managed to get two days use out of it. This involved browsing the internet, playing a few games, making calls and watching videos.
With lighter use, I could easily see the Vodafone Smart 4 Power stretch for at least another day. The low price and impressive battery life means that if you're a keen camper or festival goer, then the Vodafone Smart 4 Power would be a decent choice.
The Vodafone Smart 4 Power also comes with a few power saving features. These can be accessed through the battery management menu.
The battery saving options are not as exhaustive as those seen in other handsets such as the HTC Desire 510.
You can choose to dim the brightness of the screen (and by how much), as well as turn off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. There's also a setting for 'White list for backlight off', which lets you choose which apps you want to stop running when the screen is turned off.
It's pretty basic, but it offers a quick and easy way to shut down services and features to preserve the battery when you need it.
In our battery test, which involves running a high definition video for 90 minutes with the screen at full brightness, the Vodafone Smart 4 Power lost just 20% of its battery. In comparison, the EE Kestrel lost 30% of its battery during the same test, while the HTC Desire 510 managed a similarly impressive 19%.
Playing the rather intensive Real Racing 3 game for 15 minutes made the battery drop a further 7%, though those 15 minutes were a bit of a chore due to the Vodafone Smart 4 Power's poor performance – more on that later.
Throughout the tests the Vodafone Smart 4 Power held onto its battery life admirably, and can easily withstand a day of medium to heavy use. Whether or not you'd want to use it for that long is another question...
The essentials and camera
As the 4G connection is one of the main selling points of the Vodafone Smart 4 Power, it's going to be used a lot for browsing the web, over 4G, 3G and wireless networks.
It comes with two web browsers, Google Chrome and a native app. Both perform fine, though my preference is for Chrome.
Web pages were delivered quickly and the larger screen size meant that reading text-heavy website was comfortable. Though I lamented the lower resolution earlier in this reviey, for websites I found it actually worked in the Smart 4 Power's favour.
Because of the big screen and lower resolution, text was large and easy to read, it meant I didn't have to zoom in on websites to read them, like I have with smartphones with higher resolutions.
Vodafone clearly wants the Smart 4 Power to be a smartphone you use to surf the internet regardless of where you are, and in this regard I think it's done very well.
Making and receiving calls is also fine, with the phone app providing a big dial pad for typing in numbers. Again, the large screen helps make this a good choice of phone for people who have trouble viewing and using phones with smaller screens and higher resolutions.
It would have been nice to have more accessibility options to help people who have trouble seeing use the phone, as the big screen is a real benefit here.
Call quality is perfectly acceptable, and though it falls short of the clarity found in more expensive phones such as the Xperia Z3, it's fine for a handset of this price.
Text messages are handled by Android's default Messaging app, so everything is handled as expected. The 5-inch screen size of the Smart 4 Power can be either a blessing or a curse here, depending on how comfortable you are typing on a large screen.
It makes the keys large and easy to hit, but I did find I was stretching my fingers a bit more than usual when typing one-handed. When typing with two hands, the larger screen (and therefore keyboard) helps make sure your fingers aren't knocking into each other.
I'm a fast typist and was pleased to see that the keyboard kept up with my furious key presses, smoothly correcting any spelling errors or typos as I went along.
Media and games are increasingly seen as essential to the smartphone experience. As far as watching videos goes on the Smart 4 Power, while the increased screen size is nice, the low resolution of 540 x 960 pixels means you're not going to bask in the glory of full HD.
Video playback was pretty disappointing, with both the low resolution and juddery playback marring the viewing experience. Sadly I can't recommend the Smart 4 Power for watching films, which means its nice big screen goes to waste here.
Music playback is handled by Google Play Music, with the sound quality being solid, but not mind blowing.
Regardless of the type of media you'd want to play on the Vodafone Smart 4 Power, you'll want to invest in a memory card, as the Smart 4 Power's paltry 4GB of internal space will fill up very quickly.
With Android 4.4 installed you have access to Google Play Store and a huge range of apps and games.
Again, you're going to be limited to how many apps and games you install because of the low internal memory, however you may need to lay off some of the more intensive games due to the relatively weak specifications of the Smart 4 Power.
The Vodafone Smart 4 Power features a main camera with a 5 megapixel sensor. I wasn't expecting much considering the price of the handset, and though the photos taken with the Smart 4 Power were acceptable, they lacked sharpness and clarity.
This meant that certain details were lost. Colour reproduction was OK, but some snaps did appear washed out.
What I did like about the Smart 4 Power's camera was how fast it managed to take photos, with barely a pause from when I pressed the screen to the image being captured. A dedicated camera button on the body would have made it much more useful for taking quick shots.
A front-facing VGA camera is also present, though the low quality of the camera leads to blurred looking shots, so you'll want to look elsewhere if you're a fan of taking selfies.
The Smart 4 Power's rear camera can also capture 720p video. It does the job fine, though even at 720p resolution the footage suffers from the same lack of sharpness as the still photos.
If you want a cheap smartphone that can take the odd short video to put up on Facebook or YouTube, then you might not mind the Smart 4 Power's lack of finesse when it comes to image quality. if you're looking for a camera that can capture once in a lifetime events, you'd be much better looking elsewhere.
The Vodafone Smart 4 Power is a difficult phone to either recommend or write off. For everything it does right, such as a brilliant battery life and decent Android performance, it disappoints in other respects, such as its poor quality camera and screen.
However, these disappointments are balanced by a low price that makes me more willing to forgive some of its transgressions.
As I said at the beginning of this review, creating a budget handset is a delicate balancing act between keeping the price as low as possible while packing in enough power and features to make a desirable smartphone. Unfortunately, I don't think Vodafone has got the balance quite right.
There's not much to dislike about the price, and the Vodafone Smart 4 Power is one of the cheapest 4G capable smartphones on the market. If you're after a cheap no frills smartphone, you'll probably be perfectly happy with the Smart 4 Power.
Battery life is excellent as well, which makes the Smart 4 Power a good choice as an emergency backup phone, or one that you could happily take camping without worrying about having to find a charging point every day.
I also liked the build quality, which made the phone feel sturdy and well built despite its low price.
Though the screen is large, the resolution is unfortunately too low, making the Android user interface look a bit ugly. Videos also suffer from the poor resolution, and the low specs of the smartphone means it can struggle with some high-definition video.
The camera quality is also poor, and although I wasn't expecting much from a smartphone at this price, I was still left disappointed.
The 4GB of in-built storage is also very small compared to its competitors, and even straight out of the box you'll find very little room to store apps or photographs, forcing you to buy a microSD card.
If you buy the Vodafone Smart 4 Power knowing exactly what you're going to get (which is a cheap 4G smartphone that's good for browsing the web and little else), then you may not be disappointed.
However, while it is cheaper than some of its rivals, crucially it's still not as cheap as the EE Kestrel, which although has a smaller screen, is comparable to the Smart 4 Power in a number of ways.
It's also worth bearing in mind that although the Vodafone Smart 4 Power is around £30 cheaper than the HTC Desire 510 and the Moto G 4G you might need to invest in a microSD card to increase the storage space, which would eliminate the price advantage of the Smart 4 Power.
Unfortunately, that price advantage is all the Smart 4 Power has over the Desire 510 and the G 4G, which means either of those are a much wiser purchase.