Vodafone Smart Mini is a 3.5-inch Android blower for £50

Vodafone's new budget own-brand blower is a cheery little Android-powered fellow who'll only set you back £50 on pay as you go.

Vodafone's new budget own-brand blower is a cheery little Android-powered fellow who'll only set you back £50 on pay as you go.

On sale later today from Vodafone's website, the Smart Mini is a super-basic mobile that could make a good late-night backup. It'll certainly fit in your pocket at 115 by 62mm, although it's thicker than many high-end phones at 12.2mm.

Specs-wise you're not getting a huge amount for your half a tonne, with a 1GHz single-core processor, a meagre 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage, only 2.4GB of which is usable. You can expand that by 32GB with a microSD card, but you probably won't be able to install apps to it -- most phones running Android Jelly Bean, like the Smart Mini, can't do that without rooting.

Its 3.5-inch display is totally basic too. At 480x320 pixels, don't expect pin-sharp icons, and text will be a chore to read. That's 165 pixels per inch, which is about the same density as the original iPhone. The one from six years ago.

I can warn you from personal experience that phones with small, low-res screens like this are not good starter phones for people who've never used touchscreens before. Using the keyboard in particular can be very difficult, but we'll reserve judgement until we see it in person.

Another option for not much more cash is the £60 Huawei Ascend Y300 , which has a much better screen, a dual-core chip and a 5-megapixel camera (the Smart Mini makes do with 2 megapixels).

Nevertheless, £50 is not a lot of money and it's certainly compact. It's available in black and white -- and a pink model is coming soon, Vodafone tells me.

What kind of phone do you have as your backup? What's the best sub-£100 phone around at the moment? Make your recommendations down in the comments, or over on our frugal Facebook page.

 

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