30
Jan
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At this point, I've gone hands-on with several Blu phones, including the Life Play, Life View, Life Pro, Life Pure, and Vivo 4.8 HD, so I'm pretty familiar with what type of stuff they're putting out these days. I didn't think much about the Life One X (aside from the fact it's another One X phone and they'll probably get into some hot water over that), but after getting some hands-on time with the phone, I think this is my favorite Blu handset yet.

If you're not already familiar with Blu's One X, here's the gist: it's basically an upgrade to the Life One that brings a 1080p screen, faster processor, and 2GB of RAM to the existing form factor, along with a 32GB storage option. The cost is only marginally higher than its predecessor (I can't put an exact number here since the price fluctuates pretty regularly on Amazon), and still manages to keep it affordable by staying under the $300 mark. Here's a closer look at the specs:

Specs
  • Display: 5.0-inch 1920x1080 IPS with Blu Infinite View
  • Processor: 1.5GHz Mediatek quad-core Cortex A7
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Storage: 16GB on-board, 32GB also available
  • Cameras: 13MP rear shooter, 5MP front camera
  • Ports: microUSB 2.0, dual-SIM slots 
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, 3G 850/1900/2100, HSPA+ 42Mpbs
  • Network compatibility: AT&T, T-Mobile (May be 2G only in some areas) in the U.S.
  • Battery: 2000mAh
  • OS: Android 4.2.1
  • Dimensions and Weight: 143.5 x 71.6 x 8.6; 133g 
  • Price: ~$280 contract-free
  • What's in the box: BLU Life One X, silicone case, screen protector, microUSB cable, AC Adapter, and BLU wired earbuds
  • Available colors: White, Blue
  • Where to buy: Amazon

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Aside from the differences internally, the LOX also sports a slightly different exterior. The overall design is very similar, but the dual SIM slots have been moved to the side of the device instead of beneath the back cover, as the cover is now one solid piece and no longer removable. The microUSB charging port is on the top of the device, the aforementioned SIM slots are on the left, power and volume are on the right, and 3.5mm headphone jack is on the bottom (!). The 13MP rear shooter with LED flash is on the upper left corner of the back, and the device's external speaker is located on the bottom-center of the back. Overall it has a nice button layout, and I'm personally a big fan of the bottom headphone jack. It just makes sense.

The fit and finish of this handset is probably better than any other Blu device I've used – it feels incredibly solid and well made. All the seams are flush, buttons aren't "squishy," and it just feels premium. The display is basically what I've come to expect from a Blu phone – quite good. Everything's very sharp on the device's five-inch 1080p screen (that's 440 PPI for those interested), and colors are vibrant without being oversaturated. I have no problem saying that this is probably the best display you'll see on a device at this price point.

wm_IMG_0395 wm_IMG_0401 wm_IMG_0385

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On the software side of things, the Life One X basically offers a stock (or nearly-stock) Android experience. The downside? It's stock Android 4.2.1. The company has already promised updates to KitKat, but I'd really like to see its newer handsets shipping with 4.4 at this point, as it's hard to say when an OTA may actually show up.

Of course, Blu threw a few of its own small tweaks into the otherwise-stock system, like the ability to show the battery percentage in the notification bar and a reboot option in the power menu, both features that most users have come to want. I'm still not sure why Google doesn't offer these as standard features in Android.

Screenshot_2014-01-30-12-56-08 Screenshot_2014-01-30-12-56-19 Screenshot_2014-01-30-12-56-33 Screenshot_2014-01-30-12-57-42

The phone app is also a little bit different, but mostly only aesthetically. The dialer is gray and green (instead of black and blue), but functionally it's essentially the same as the stock dialer from 4.0-4.3. There are also a few Blu-specific apps along for the ride, like a file manager, FM radio, NoteBook app, ToDo list, and SIM toolkit. So, not too much bloatware going on here.

On the cell side, the LOX is capable of HSPA+ 42 Mbps, but like other Blu phones, there's no LTE radio. That may be a dealbreaker for those who "require" LTE connectivity, but if you're OK with HSPA+, then it should be fine. I find that I get very reasonable HSPA speeds on AT&T; don't get me wrong, it's not LTE-fast, but for most everyday applications I don't really notice a difference between the two in the first place.

Overall, I really like the Blu Life One X and if something were to happen to my Nexus 5, I'd have no problem going to it as my daily driver (though I really wish it were running KitKat). With that said, the modding community has yet to really embrace Blu due to the fact that MediaTek hasn't yet released any source code for its chips, so custom ROMs aren't really possible. If you don't care about that sort of thing and are looking for a good device on the cheap, check out the Life One X.

Buy: Amazon

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, and musician. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6- or 7-string, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • MyLeftNut

    Not a fan of BLU. Their phones are hit or miss but the customer support is unfailingly crap. Besides this phones is just a re-branding of another discount android phone released for the Indian market. I mean it is literally the same phone with BLU branding and a slightly tweaked UI.

    • XWheme1937

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    • [A]dri[A]n

      And? What's wrong with that? That just means that this phone is available worldwide. I don't see anything wrong with that. As long as the phone works well, who cares?

      • MyLeftNut

        Slow down, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the phone. I've bought several BLU phones for family member abroad and sometimes they're good and sometimes they are not. I don't own this one but I have played with it for an hour helping a friend set it up and it's a pretty descent phone for what it costs.

        However this is a REVIEW, which is why I brought up the fact that BLU should not be credited for anything design wise when it's a shell phones made by an unnamed Chinese manufacturer that is then re-branded by different companies. BLU has nothing to do with how the phone feels or looks. Their only contribution is the slightly tweaked UI and the Blu name.

        • Timothy Vreeland

          They have lots to do with how the phone feels and looks. There are thousands of phone models to choose from in China. Blu selects models that feel and look right for their line. All the Life series phones feel like quality devices and the designs seem to match one another just as if they had custom built the line to match. Yeah there are crappy phones you can buy from Blu, just like there are crappy handsets from Samsung and HTC. Buy the flagship devices or premium lines and you will be fine.. Just like every other manufacturer.

          • MyLeftNut

            Please don't pretend to misunderstand what I meant. I bought 11 BLU phones for Christmas (from the Life and Pure series) last year and three of them were defective. But whatever my experience with the company it doesn't change that they get no credit for the actual design of the phone. Choosing a design doesn't automatically make them responsible for how it looks or feels. How does that logic even work? Yeah they made a good choice with the design of this phone but they had no input with the design. It wasn't even a design they commissioned, all they did was buy a shell.

    • DMagnet

      That indian brand is called Micromax, you're pretty right.

  • h4rr4r

    Far more important than not being able to make ROMs is their total lack of GPL compliance. Somedays I wish Linus took a more dim view of these shenanigans.

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      ♚♚♚ ♚♚�♚♚ ♚♚�♚ ♚♚♚Hopefully blu steps up their build quality cause they do have some nice looking phones with decent specs.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Umm, aren't they afraid that HTC can sue them for using the One X in the name?

    • Naga Sridhar

      Feels like a genuine question to me. Why downvote guys?

      • http://twitter.com/anishbhalerao Anish Bhalerao

        Because HTC fanboys.

    • [A]dri[A]n

      I'm sure HTC has more important thing's to concern themselves with Lol

    • sidon

      It's called the blu one x I don't think a lot of people will confuse them. and I totally agree with [A]dri[A]n

  • Влатко Стојанов

    Stolen name = instantly meh

    • Timothy Vreeland

      Its not really a stolen name. It comes from the Blue Life line of phones. The first three were the Play, View, and One. This is a sequel to the Blue Life One. This is the Blue Life One X. Should they have called it the One Two?

      • Влатко Стојанов

        Oh yeah, it's stolen as hell. The first one is stolen from HTC One, and the "sequel" is stolen from... Do I really need to mention?
        I like the phone, OK spec and OK price, but stolen name instantly gives it a crappy reputation. There are a thousand available names, but they decided to go with One and One X, what a coincidence. What's next, Blu Galaxy?

        • DMagnet

          No, it'll be BLU Desire!

  • KlausWillSeeYouNow

    It's a pretty amazing device. I really like BLU. And contrary to popular belief, their customer support hotline is very helpful. Nice, friendly people - in Miami, too!

    • Felecia Powell

      Far more important than not being able to make ROMs is their total lack of GPL compliance.

  • jose

    I am very impressed with the specs and the screen is among the best available today.!!!

  • Jephri

    For all the reviews of blu phones on here you would assume that they are all over. However, I have never seen one of these in the wild. Who buys these?

    • bobprobert

      i have the life view and love it better than my old note 2

      • blairh

        The Life View screen dims after 5 seconds and it can't be changed. How do you even deal with that?

        • bobprobert

          i agree it was annoying at first but when i'm reading web pages i just keep my scrolling thumb on the screen and it doesn't dim. also it never dims while playing games or watching videos only on the web browser and home screen. btw blu addressed this issue and it should be fixed when the kit kat rollout comes by the 2nd quarter.

          • blairh

            If it works for you that's cool. No dual band wi-fi alone is a deal breaker for me.

          • http://the-jade-domain.com Jaime J. Denizard

            See, these are the kinds of things I'd like to see in the spec sheets for reviews. I know dual-band is not a hot topic on phones for most people, but it'd be nice to know if a phone has 5GHz support.

    • [A]dri[A]n

      I have the Life Pure and I used to have the Life Play, which is a great phones by the way.

    • sidon

      They are very shy creatures and require careful stalking you usually find them hiding in places like amazon and eBay

  • jonathan3579

    Blu, I've tried to keep you on the radar but frankly nothing you offer gives me the best of what I need and/or want:

    -Proper US band support for both T-Mobile and AT&T
    -Updates

  • Nathan Fletcher

    I feel like you would be better of going with a moto x at this price point. I really tend to not like mediatek processors because I don't believe that their video card performance is all that good.

    • dude

      I have no problem with Mediatek if they release source codes and there are custom roms support, not the case as of now.

    • Timothy Vreeland

      Current Mediatek processor performance is well above anthing most any user will run. And they have awesome battery life. I am a big fan of Mediatek.

  • deltatux

    This needs to be sold across the border into Canada, we could really use some nicely priced Android smartphones like these. Not everyone needs a Nexus in terms of performance. Would make an excellent light smartphones for my parents tbh.

  • Mike Hanel

    I bought a Studio 5.3s a couple months ago. It looked really nice but within weeks the power button fell off (it was only glued on) and I dropped it and the screen shattered actually peeled off. Now I have a moto g and Couldn't be happier. Hopefully blu steps up their build quality cause they do have some nice looking phones with decent specs. Also there are virtually no accessories for their phones which is killing them if they want to attract the young crowd

  • Gabernasher

    I see there's no on screen keys, what keys does it have? Back / Home / Multitask or what? I assume cap keys since I don't see them in the picture.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      Menu, home, and back capacitive keys (in that order).

      • Gabernasher

        That is odd.

  • Trotter

    I have been seriously considering Blu but the lack of ROMs put me off. Thanks for clarifying the reason behind it. I can live with just rooting and launchers so I should be fine with them.

    • http://mrmcpowned.com mrmcpowned

      The lack of ROMs is due to the fact that Blu uses Mediatek for their processors. Mediatek is notorious for close-sourcing their hardware, which stifles the relative ease in ability of making ROMs for their devices. Unfortunately, it's a necessary evil if they want to have a phone on par (in terms of specs other than the processor) to higher end handsets, without the huge dent in your wallet.

  • http://mrmcpowned.com mrmcpowned

    I really find Blu handsets to be nice and all, but their distinct lack of 4G and use of Mediatek processors really puts me off. This device would have been the best thing to refer to a friend who's in need of a smartphone, but those points alone are a major deal breaker. Sadly, it's understandable as to why Blu's chosen Mediatek and a lack 4G on the LOX; With the price point Blu's trying to reach, Snapdragons and 4G are luxuries unaffordable.

    Oh and by the way Cameron, you have "is" twice in the sentence "The dialer is is gray and green (instead of black and blue), but functionally it's essentially the same as the stock dialer from 4.0-4.3." Interesting how the brain chooses to disregard repetition, isn't it?

    • KlausWillSeeYouNow

      I actually like the Mediatek processors; they perform very well in my experience. That being said, I am not looking to root usually, so the fact that they don't release code or whatever isn't an immediate obstacle for me. And LTE would be nice, eventually - though I must add that T-Mobile's 4G HSPA+ speeds are excellent.

      I don't care for anti-developer behavior; I think Mediatek should open up. But the hardware is pretty nice overall. Hopefully, they will soon.

      • Jc Coello

        Wait... but i just rooted a mediatek android phone! so it is possible :o

    • waverunner4u

      Some of us don't need 4G. Also, the BLU phones are upgrading to KitKat on May 1st.
      I have the new BLU Life One X and the processor is fine enough for me and other people.

    • markt9002

      I've said this countless times. If you're using a T-Mobile, or an AT&T based prepaid MVNO you don't need LTE. Think of HSPA+ as 3.5G. I can hit 27Mb down on 1900Mhz T-Mobile towers with my Nexus 5. While I'm using a Net 10 LTE enabled SIM right now, T-Mobile's HSPA+ though MetroPCS or T-Mobile prepaid (5GB plan) is typically faster than AT&T's LTE, especially if you're using an América Móvil based MVNO (Tracfone, Net 10, or Straight Talk.) I also recommend staying far away from Straight Talk.

      • DMagnet

        Great analysis about network compatibility bro!

  • CeluGeek

    I have lost all interest in Blu. They have gotten rid of micro SD support, the only feature that made me consider them, and are starting to skin the Android UI too. If I had to settle for a storage-deprived phone, I might as well go with a Nexus 5 or a Moto X.

  • Anthony Knight

    I have a custom ROM on my blu life view and blu does have a community check on Google + blu products development team is the name bluenis a great company for people who doNt want to waste money or enter into a contract.

  • Zaatour36

    any idea what's the available internal storage for apps,?

    it's kinda different sometimes with small brands, even though they say 16Gb but its only 2 Gb available

  • waverunner4u

    The BLU phones will be getting KitKat 4.4 on May 1st per BLU Facebook.
    I just bought the new BLU Life One X two days ago and love it and i love KitKat, in fact i'm eating one right now.

  • blufan

    Howe does this phone compete with the life pure?

  • DENISE

    Hi Cameron
    I am not a geek at all, however I love, love love the Blu Llife Pure and have purchased and returned it to Amazon twice. The problem is that it won't connect to the Bluetooth in my car (2012 Camry) therefore I cannot use my hands-free features. What a bummer, I read on line that it has something to do with Media Tek. Can you shed any light on whether or not you see things changing with Blu's connectivity issues.
    Thanks,
    dwhitatl in Atlanta

    • AT

      I have the same issue with the Vivo 4.8 I just purchase. My radio-bluetooth has connected at least 5 other phones with no issues and this phone will not stay connected to the bluetooth. A way around it is if you have an Audio selection - my car speaker still works through this option.. you are wired thought.

  • Misspattie518

    I have a question about connecting to the internet. Unless I'm connect to WIFI I can't connect to the internet. I had to set all the APN settings when I got the phone so is there something I should have done ( clicked ) somewhere in my phone to get it to connect to 3g or 4g? Any advice would be great! I love this phone and don't want to return it unless this is going to be a problem.