Vodafone throws out the network rulebook with the top-spec Smart Platinum 7

Aircraft-grade aluminium and glass, a 2K screen and even a VR headset – is this the best network handset ever?

Mobile networks’ “own brand” device tend to be solid if underwhelming handsets, but Vodafone has ripped up the rulebook with its latest smartphone, the Smart Platinum 7. On paper, it’s built to go toe-to-toe with flagships from the big-name likes of Samsung, LG, Huawei et al.

On the design front, it’s a skinny (sub-7mm) slab of aluminium and glass that sports a 5.5in AMOLED screen with a stonking Quad HD 2K resolution – that’s the same pixel count as you’ll find on the LG G5 or Samsung Galaxy S7. In fact, only one smartphone on the UK market – the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium with its 4K screen – beats it.

There’s also an Android Pay-compliant fingerprint sensor for security, an 8MP front-facing camera and a 16MP rear snapper.

Delve beneath the premium exterior and you’ll find Android 6.0 Marshmallow, 3GB of RAM, an octa-core Snapdragon 652 processor and a 3000mAh battery – all very respectable, and seemingly more than enough to handle pretty much any task you throw at it. The battery supports Qualcomm’s quick-charging tech too, with Vodafone claiming you can top it up to 50 percent from zero charge in just half an hour.

The 32GB of storage isn’t particularly cavernous, but if you reckon your addiction to downloading apps, games and movies is going to fill that up swiftly, there’s a microSD slot that supports up to 128GB of extra space.

It’s a seriously noteworthy set of specs on paper, especially given the phone’s affordability: £300 on PAYG, or from £28 per month on a contract. It’s out on 20th June. And if you pre-order one, you’ll get an eye-opening bonus accessory chucked in for free: Vodafone’s first VR headset. Dubbed the Smart VR, it looks a lot like the Samsung Gear VR – a strapped-up shell into which you can slot the Platinum 7 in order to enjoy Google Cardboard and Jaunt VR content.

Suffice to say, while it looks the business on paper, we’re itching to get our hands on the Smart Platinum 7 for a proper review. Stay tuned for our definitive verdict in the coming weeks.