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Vodafone Smart Prime 6 is a dirt-cheap entry into 4G LTE speeds

This 4G-enabled Android Lollipop phone has a big 5-inch screen and a rock-bottom price: just £79.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

If you've been desperate to get your hands on a 4G LTE mobile, but haven't been able to stump up the high prices the flagship phones are asking, then Vodafone humbly offers the Smart Prime 6. It's a 5-inch phone, running the latest version of Android Lollipop, it has an 8-megapixel camera and of course, comes fully 4G-enabled for lightning-fast data.

The best part though is the price. This chap costs a mere £79 on Vodafone's pay as you go plans, making it a whole lot cheaper than top-end phones like the Galaxy S6 Edge or iPhone 6.

(Note that to get 4G speeds you'll need to top up at least £20, which nets you 2GB of data and 500 minutes of calls for 30 days -- Vodafone calls each block of 30 days a "Freebee". You can get 3GB of 4G data and unlimited minutes on a 30-day SIM-only plan, which is a better deal once you're past the first 30 days on pay as you go.)

Design and display

There's clearly not been any money frittered away on aesthetics, as the Smart prime has one of the most unremarkable designs of any phone this year. It has a plain grey plastic back, with a black, button-less front. It won't win any beauty awards, but you really can't expect slick glass and metal designs from a phone this cheap. It at least feels sturdy and you can't really make it look any worse by scuffing it up.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It measures 141mm long, 72mm wide and 9.6mm thick. It's very sturdy and comfortable enough to hold in one hand, but you'll definitely need two hands if you plan on typing out anything more than a quick sentence on the move. The phone has 8GB of storage as standard, which is the minimum I'd accept on any phone, but there is a microSD slot to expand the storage.

The 5-inch display has a 720p resolution, which is a step down from the full-HD displays you'll find on higher-end phones, but with the much lower price, this is a fair trade off. The screen is perfectly crisp enough for social networking and sending texts and its large size makes watching YouTube clips that bit more enjoyable.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Features

The phone arrives with the latest Android Lollipop software on board, which is great to see on a budget phone -- low-end phones often plump for older versions of Android in order to save money. Vodafone hasn't done much to change the Android interface, so existing users will be able to navigate around without any hassle.

It has thrown in a few bits of its own software though, including a content discovery app and a tips tool, neither of which are exactly critical and can be uninstalled if you don't want them cluttering up your apps tray.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It runs on a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, which seems sufficient to provide a fairly swift experience when navigating the home screens. A 2,500mAh battery provides the juice, which is quite capacious and should be able to deliver a day of moderate use. The back of the phone is home to an 8-megapixel camera, and there's a 2-megapixel front-facing camera for taking embarrassing selfies or video chatting over Skype.

Outlook

While the Vodafone Smart Prime 6 doesn't have the best screen or most beautiful design around, it does provide enough to let you get on with the essentials and comes with a dirt cheap price tag to boot. If you're after fast data speeds, but really don't care about having a top-end phone, the Smart Prime 6 may be worth a look.

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