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The Smart Tab 4G is a well-made tablet with a bright screen, but colour accuracy and performance could be better.

With a sim card slot and support for Vodafone’s 4G network, the Smart Tab 4G could be ideal for streaming movies and TV shows on the go. At 8mm thick and with an 8in screen, it’s reasonably portable compared to its big-screen rivals, while the soft touch rear and smooth, rounded corners make it comfortable to hold for long periods of time. Vodafone’s data contracts aren’t cheap, with prices starting at 25$ a month for1GB of 4G data, up to 38$ a month for8GB of data. With a 40$ upfront cost, the total cost of ownership can be as high as 900$ over two years. Alternatively,you can buy the tablet for 175$ on Pay as you Go and top up your 30-daydata allowance to suit your needs.


The prepay price in particular makes the Smart Tab4Gcheap for a tablet with integrated mobile data, but its specification suits its price.The tablet’s quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor is no quicker than an entry-level smartphone’s. Its Sun Spider JavaScript score of 1,239ms is a long way behind its larger 10in rivals and almost 400ms slower than the 180$ Tesco Hudl 2. This sluggishness was particularly apparent when scrolling image-heavy websites such as BBC News and The Guardian.

Making a mark

It’s not all bad news, though. Our PCMark benchmarks measure a tablet’s performance based on web browsing, video playback, photo editing and writing documents. Overall, the Smart Tab4Gscored a fairly mediocre 2,983, but its high video playback score of 4,063 is almost as fast as flagship phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Note4.This bodes well for watching content on the go,as you should be able to open and search within videos quickly with minimal loading times.

The Smart Tab4Gisn’t well suited to playing games, barely breaking above 23fps in our 3DMark Ice Storm test, and could manage only a juddery 15.9fps in Ice Storm Extreme. This again pales by Hudl 2standards. The Smart Tab4Gshould be able to playcasual games, as it managed a smoother 29.6fps in Epic Citadel on Ultra High quality settings.
Sadly,films and games will never look their best on the Smart Tab4G’s 8in 1,280×800 IPS screen, as our colour calibrator showed it was displaying only 71.7% of the sRGB colour gamut. While this is average for atablet, we’d normally expect IPS panels to score higher,as they’re meant to produce more accurate colours than their TN counterparts. However, the Smart Tab4G’s warm colour coverage was particularly weak, leaving images and videos looking washed out and lacking in vibrancy.

Any which way

The one advantage the Smart Tab4G’s IPS panel does bring is ultra wide viewing angles, which helps keep the screen clear and visible even when you’re looking at the tablet from the side.Wewere also pleased with the screen’s contrast ratio of 1,139:1, as this gave our videos plenty of fine shadow detail. Brightness is decent, too; we measured apeak brightness of 372.76cd/m 2 .It’s not the most vivid screen we’ve tested, but you’ll be able to see your videos clearly outside or if you have awindow seat on the morning commute.
Keeping the brightness high will have a negative impact on battery life, but the Smart Tab4G’s 4,060mAh battery should keep you going for most of the day. It lasted 8h 52m in our continuous video playback test with the screen set to half brightness, which is pretty decent by 8in tablet standards.

The Smart Tab4Ghas only 8GB of onboard storage for local files, so if you like queuing up lots of BBC iPlayer downloads you’ll probably want to use its microSD card slot, which can support cards up to 64GB. The tablet comes pre-loaded with alot of Vodafone apps, but you can easily get rid of the screen-hogging widgets to reduce the amount of onscreen clutter.Some apps are worth keeping if you’re a Vodafone mobile customer,though; the My Vodafone app lets you check the number of minutes, texts and data you’ve used if you’re on a pay monthly contract, or your remaining credit and freebies if you’re on pay-as-you-go.The Vodafone Net Perform app lets you monitor your data usage and test network speeds, and the Smart Weather and Smart Flow wallpaper apps are also fairly innocuous,but we’d recommend ditching the My Web browser in favour of Chrome.

Snap judgement

As with most tablet cameras, the 5-megapixel sensor on the back of the Smart Tab4Gisa bit of a token addition, but it still takes perfectly good shots for uploading to social networks. Colours are fairly accurate and there’s agood level of detail, but we did notice some noise and speckled rainbow effects starting to creep in on large expanses of sky or block colours.

The Vodafone Smart Tab4Gisaperfectly decent tablet, with plenty to like if you don’t want to pay through the roof for a cellular iPad Mini 2. However ,there are plenty of cheaper,faster tablets out there,including the Tesco Hudl 2, if you’re not fussed about 4G.

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