UK mobile networks have been releasing hardware for years – but we haven’t seen a truly premium smartphone from a network until now. The Vodafone Platinum 7 comes almost ten years since the release of the Vodafone 710, which was a low cost feature phone, and marks a great step up in quality for the network’s hardware.
This is a premium smartphone from the network and on paper it has a truly impressive spec.
It has a 5.5-inch 2K display – mostly so it can be used with the new Vodafone VR headset, which comes free with the phone – and it’s gorgeous to look at. I’m really impressed with how Vodafone has managed to get a 2K display on a phone that’s launching at £300.
The Platinum 7 has quite a desirable design, reminding me a little of the HTC 10, but also the OnePlus X. There’s a glass back that seems to pick up fingerprints quite easily but looks good when you rub those away.
The metal edges also feel high-end and when looking at the handset from the front it looks like a flagship phone should.
The camera bump on the back of the phone is a bit of an issue for me – it protrudes quite a lot. The Vodafone logo is also emblazoned on the back, but it is quite hidden and it isn’t obvious unless you really look hard at the phone.
No-one is really going to notice this is a Vodafone phone when you quickly show it to them in the pub, for example.
There’s a fingerprint scanner on the back in the middle of the Platinum 7 and from my short amount of time testing it, that seems to work quite well. Again the scanner protrudes slightly which is a strange feeling on my fingertips, but I’m sure it’s something I would get used to in a short amount of time.
There’s a 16MP camera on the back that doesn’t seem to be as impressive as it may sound on paper. Then there’s also an 8MP front-facing selfie shooter.
You’re also getting 32GB of internal storage as well as microSD support of up to 128GB. That’s then paired with 3GB of RAM and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor to power it all.
That processor is being used in a number of mid-range phones recently, such as the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, but it’s still quite a powerful set up.
Battery wise it’s toting a 3000mAh non-removable cell, which Vodafone claims will offer two day battery life. With a 2K display it’s unlikely this phone will last for 48 hours from a single charge, but I’ll be sure to put it through its paces in our final review.
Software wise it’s running stock Android 6 Marshmallow – but prepare for a lot of Vodafone based apps. From the first moment I turned on the phone I was bombarded with a number of Vodafone branded apps wanting to teach me about features of the network.
The display is the main highlight of the Platinum 7 though. This is one of the cheapest smartphones you can buy with a 2K resolution – the LG G4 is now a little cheaper, but that’s over a year old – and it’s surprising what Vodafone has managed to do here.
Whenever I’ve turned on the screen I’ve been struck by how vibrant it really is and it takes me aback every time I look at it.
Vodafone has done something incredible with the Platinum 7 and this bodes well for the future of Vodafone handsets. It’s a shame you’re only able to use this on the red network in the UK, but that’s something that comes with the low price and something most people will be able to handle.