Vodafone 845 Joy review: Vodafone 845 Joy

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The Good Compact and cute design; low price.

The Bad Small, low-resolution screen; awkwardly placed headphone jack; sometimes sluggish.

The Bottom Line The Vodafone 845 is a good budget Android phone, but its small, low-resolution screen prevents it from achieving greatness

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7.5 Overall

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There may be plenty of Android phones on the market, but most of them are quite expensive. Vodafone is throwing its hat into the budget ring, however, with the 845. You can pick it up for free on a £15-a-month contract, making the 845 one of the cheapest Android handsets available. But how does it shape up against the competition?

Plastic dwarf
The 845's design is quite distinctive, not least because it's one of the smallest Android handsets around. It's about 15mm shorter than rivals like the Samsung Galaxy Portal, and this gives it a relatively squat appearance that's rather cute.

As you might expect at this price, the chassis is made from plastic, but Vodafone has added a metallic finish on the frame that runs around the screen. On the whole, the phone feels quite robust. Its short stature and curved battery cover also mean it fits snugly in your hand.

Tiny touchscreen
The 845 has a 71mm (2.8-inch) resistive touchscreen, so it doesn't support multi-touch zooming, unlike higher-end Android models with capacitive touchscreens, such as the HTC Desire and Legend. The 845's display is quite small by smart-phone standards and its resolution isn't great either, at just 320x240 pixels. The lack of screen space is something of a handicap when you're using applications such as the Web browser and Google Maps -- you'll have to do plenty of scrolling around.

The 845 is let down by its low-resolution screen, but it's still a decent option for cash-strapped Android fans

Beneath the screen are the usual call keys, as well as menu and back buttons. Nestled between these is a tiny, touch-sensitive trackpad that you can use for scrolling around Web pages or moving through menu options. Although you probably won't find yourself using the trackpad very often, it's quite responsive and can come in handy when you want to scroll around a Web site without your finger or thumb obscuring your view.

The 845 is built on version 2.1 of Android, which means it includes support for Microsoft Exchange email and Bluetooth 2.1. It also has an improved virtual keyboard and updated browser. Just as HTC adds its Sense interface over the top of Android, Vodafone has added some tweaks of its own to the operating system. For example, it's increased the number of home screens to seven and added a number of widgets, including a calendar, clock and photo viewer. In another neat feature, the phone presents you with a thumbnail overview of all the home screens when you press down on the trackpad.

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