Qhen I first heard about the Vodaphone VF845, I was skeptical about the quality and usability of an Android phone coming in at under R1500. I was, however, pleasantly surprised once I got my hands on the phone.
Contents supplied in the box are:
Out of the Box:
When I initially picked up the Vodaphone VF845 out the box, the first thing that went through my mind was how surprisingly sturdy the feel of the phone was. When I tried to put the battery in though, I struggled a bit trying to get the back cover off as I felt like I was going to snap it. Although, once I did apply a bit more pressure it popped off just fine.
Setup of accounts and Market:
The set up is pretty standard and easy, allowing you to Sync Google, Twitter, Facebook and Picasa. The Market is also pretty standard too, although I did struggle a little to find some apps. It seems that some of the apps I am used to were not available when searching using the Vodaphone’s Android Market. It wasn’t as common as it might sound, but for example, I could not find Linpack to do the performance benchmark.
Speed and feel of the phone:
The Vodaphone VF845 feels great in your hand, with no loose parts or any creeks coming out of it. The only thing was the back cover which felt like it would snap at one point if I tried to access the battery, sim card or memory card a few times as the back cover clips to the body pretty tightly, which at the end of the day is a good thing.
The VF845 is only just bigger than the Sony Ericsson X10 Mini and feels good to hold, although if you are used to a bigger phone such as a Hero, iPhone or the bigger Candybar type phones, then this might feel a little akward initially, but you will get over it rather quickly as you get used to the phone.
I do like the buttons just underneath the screen, which were easy to press, but not easy to accidentally push meaning that I didn’t exit programs accidentally … something I did quite often when using the physical keyboard of the Motorola Droid. I also like the inclusion of the little mini trackpad, similar to the one you get on the Blackberry Curve 8520. The mini trackpad was pretty sensitive and reaced really well.
The phone’s speed is ok, although could have been a little better. Occasionally it would become a little sluggish, and then return to normal after a second or two. I couldn’t perform a Linpack bench as I couldn’t find the app on the market, but I found Neocore, and I ended up with a final result of 5 FPS, which is rather dismal. But at the market the phone is targeted, I don’t think heavy gaming enabled processors are necessary and the phone performs just great in the other aspects.
On a R1500 phone, I would expect a standard Android Vanilla interface with not improvements. I was wrong … the Vodaphone VF845 includes a customized user interface which is great and perfectly suited to the phone. Just some of the things I picked up while using the interface that I thought were great:
Below are some photo’s to show me scrolling the screen downwards as well as left and right so you can see the multi-directional user interface.
Camera – Images and Video Recording:
The camera is pretty good, although not amazing. It takes photos fairly quickly and compensates well for light. Unfortunately there is no flash, so taking photos in low-light conditions doesn’t really work.
The video quality is average and seems to be recorded at vga or QVGA resolution with roughly a 15FPS speed. However, it is better some video I have seen in higher end devices such as the HTC Magic.
The screen is quite small compared to your average smartphone at 2.8″, but is slightly bigger than that of the Sony Ericsson X10 Mini. The screen does come off slightly grainy though, and you can tell the resolution is lower then the average higher end smartphone.
I am also quite disappointed that the VF845 uses a Resistive Touchscreen. I believe the phone would have been amazing had they perhaps charged R100 more and included a Capacitative Touchscreen. The resistive touchscreen wasn’t all that bad after you got used to it, but I found myself hitting the wrong keys on keyboards, and often struggling to swype the screen because I am so used to the little pressure required from a Capacitative screen. Towards then end, I began getting used to it and making less errors, but I still maintain that Vodaphone got everything right, with the exception of including last years touchscreen technology. I would have at least liked for a stylus to be included with the VF845, as I believe when it comes to typing, a stylus is needed with any resistive display.
For R1500, I think the phone is a great buy, especially for those wanting to enter the world of smartphones without having much money to do so. I applaud Vodacom and Vodaphone for setting a new point of entry to the world of Smartphones and Android which will afford many more people the opportunity to join the world of this fast paced technology.
I would even get myself a VF845 as a backup in case I lose my current phone or for when I go camping, or do something where I wouldn’t want to endanger my current phone. I don’t believe it replaces the higher end phones, but I also don’t believe that is it’s intention.
So if you are looking for a backup phone, or you only have about R1500 – R2000 to spend on a phone, then this is the phone you need to get.
Ease of use: 4/5
Display: 2/5 (Purely because of the resistive display)