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Friday, December 7, 2012

Vodafone Smart Tab II: painfully positive spin

Mark Bridge writes:

There are some things I don’t want to accept. Events that have rocked my perception of the world. Dave Lee Travis being arrested. The death of Amy Winehouse. Visiting a pork pie factory. I now have a new one on my list: Vodafone’s blog post today about the Smart Tab II.

As I’ve said more than once before, I have a soft spot for Big Red. I’ve worked for it as an employee and as a contractor. I’m still something of an evangelist for the network. And yet… and yet I feel as though I’ve just seen my telecoms role model getting out the back of a police van with a blanket over its head.

Subtitled “What the web has to say”, the Vodafone article reposts a few online reports about the company’s new 7-inch tablet.

It starts with the Daily Mail, which describes the device as being best-suited for skinflints. “It’s scaly and rubbery, with the air of having been hewn from the floor-sweepings of a Chinese tyre factory”. Hang on, no. Vodafone understandably left all that out. Instead it quotes a reference to the device’s expandable memory - a positive point, it’s true - and notes “Rob also liked the fact that the Smart Tab II comes pre-loaded with ‘the latest version of Android’.” Except that part’s not true. It comes with Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.4., not Jelly Bean 4.2. A big difference, not just to ‘geeks’ (who are recommended to buy the Nexus 7 anyway) but to anyone who takes language literally.

Still, we all make the occasional mistake. That probably explains the spelling of ‘Vodaphone’ in the headline, too. Let’s move on.

Pocket-Lint next. According to Vodafone, “the site’s reaction says… it’s certainly great value”. Hmmm. Not explicitly, it doesn’t. Not by actually using the word ‘value’ or by offering a price comparison.

Off to Mobile Choice now, which says favourable things about the price and the usability. Vodafone reports “They were most smitten with the 7-inch tab’s rather sleek design”, adding that Mobile Choice “concluded that it’s an ‘attractive device’.” Again, not good news for those who use the English language in its conventional sense. No mention of the “poor build quality”. The real verdict is the Smart Tab II “simply has too many flaws to succeed”.

It needn’t have been this way. For a tablet with a built-in 3G connection, the Smart Tab II really is decent value for £149 on a pay as you go tariff. It’s made by Lenovo; a well-respected manufacturer. Vodafone, dear Vodafone, you really didn’t need to write a blog post that played as fast and loose with quotes as a film poster. You should have stuck with the truth.

And finally, that’s what happens. The Vodafone blog entry ends by quoting from a fourth site.

Probably the most concise reaction to the Smart Tab II was from Phones Review, however, which summed it up perfectly with the below:

“Want to get your hands on a reasonably affordable 7-inch Android tablet in time for Christmas?  Well then you might like to consider the Vodafone Smart Tab II.”

Can’t say fairer than that, can you?  Phones Review hasn’t reviewed the product, it’s only reporting Vodafone’s tablet is on sale. And therefore its comments are entirely reasonable.

You may well like to consider the Vodafone Smart Tab II. You might also want to consider reading a few reviews first. Full reviews; not merely the good bits.

Author: The Fonecast
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