Android Go, the ultra light version of Android designed for low-spec devices, has found its first UK network home with the launch of the Vodafone Smart N9 Lite, alongside it's full Android Smart N9 sibling. The £85 device packs decidedly last-last-last gen specs, but promises a decent experience through optimisations to the Oreo 8.1 based OS.
The Smart N9 lite is a slim, 4G smartphone with an anti-slip suede finish, designed 'for families and tweenies' (although I would argue they are some of the most demanding users). The device boasts (not sure that's the right word) a 5.3", 18:9 TN screen with a resolution of 960x480, a MediaTek 6739WA processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB storage and microSD expansion, 8 megapixel rear and 5 megapixel front cameras, all powered by a 2460mAh battery. It weighs just 155g.
The £109 Smart N9 uses the same processor but upgrades the screen to a 5.5" IPS panel behind 2.5D Dragontrail glass, again at an 18:9 ratio with a 1440x720 resolution. Internals are improved across the board with 2GB RAM, 16GB storage with microSD expansion, 13 megapixel rear and 8 megapixel front cameras, a 2900mAh battery and full fat Android Oreo 8.1. It's actually even lighter than the lite model at 145g. Note that nly the Smart N9 includes a fingerprint sensor.
Location sharing features, parental restrictions and an emergency mode are built into the phone's software. It's going to be very interesting to see if these devices are actually any good. The Vodafone Smart range has typically punched above its price / specs and although at first glance the N9 is a superior device, which one will actually provide the smoothest and most usable experience remains to be seen. I'm a little surprised the N9 Lite isn't a bit cheaper to put more space between it and the full N9.