Vodafone pushes value with its latest own-brand 4G phone and tablet

'Tis the season of own-brand device launches, it seems. A couple of weeks ago, EE announced its new range of in-house products, including two smartphones, and today it's Vodafone's turn to show what low-cost hardware it's been cooking up of late. Joining last year's Smart 4 power/turbo handsets and the more recent Smart 4 max is the new middle child: the Smart prime 6. With a 5-inch, 720p display, 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410, 1GB of RAM, 8 gigs of storage and 8-/2-megapixel cameras, it's not the most exciting of devices. That said, it's 4G-ready, loaded with Android 5.0 Lollipop and comes in at £79 on pay-as-you-go, or free on contracts from £17 per month.

That's mighty cheap, but if our time with the Smart 4 power told us anything, it's that you'll want to check out the prime 6 in-store if its price has picqued your interest. The Smart 4 power was over-priced (though it's dropped considerably post-launch), underwhelming, and cumbersome at 162g. The Smart prime 6 isn't exactly light at 156g, but we'll have to reserve judgement on what it's actually like in use. Perhaps Vodafone has learnt some lessons from its previous own-brand devices, or maybe you'll be getting exactly what you pay for: a cheap smartphone.

The Smart prime 6 isn't the only new in-house handset from Vodafone. The Smart first 6 is also fresh off the production line, with low-end specifications in tow. Granted, it's only £40 on pay-as-you-go, but with no 4G radio, it might be one to avoid. More interesting is the Smart Tab prime 6, Vodafone's latest own-brand tablet since the Smart Tab 4G. The slate's 4G-ready itself, of course, and sports a large, 9.6-inch 1280 x 800 display. Other key features of the tablet, which runs Android 5.0 Lollipop, include a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 16GB of on-board storage and a 4,600mAh battery. It's available now for free on contracts starting at £21 per month, or for a relatively reasonable £150 lump sum on pay-as-you-go.