Vodafone Smart 4 mini

Vodafone aims to push its HD Voice calling into the mainstream with a low-end $99 phone that puts the technology in reach of most customers.

The Vodafone Smart 4 mini is a modest specification Android device. In addition to supporting HD Voice calling it has a 3.2-megapixel camera and a four-inch screen. Otherwise, it’s a respectable, basic phone that won’t set geek hearts aflutter but delivers the essentials.

The $99 price is for a network-locked phone with a $19 prepay Sim card. A non-locked version is available for $129.

In my experience HD Voice delivers dramatically clearer calls. It’s the difference between listening to music on AM and FM radio which makes it a big deal for a journalist trying to get down quotes while on the move. It’s a noticeable quality improvement for everyday users.

Vodafone says it now has 400,000 customers using the improved voice calling technology in New Zealand. At present, the technology only works when you call someone on the same phone network.