I've spent time with a lot of Blu handsets over the past couple of years, and one of the biggest downsides (to me, at least) is always the outdated software. In fact, every Blu phone I've looked at so far this year has been running KitKat. Fortunately, Lollipop is set to hit a few of the company's handsets starting this month, and it also just released the Studio C - its first offering to run Lollipop right out of the box.

The Studio C is a modest midranger with specs similar to some of Blu's other more recent devices (like the Studio Energy):

Specs

Display 5-inch 1280x720 with Blu Infinite View Technology
Processor 1.3GHz quad-core Mediatek MT6582 with Mali-400 GPU
RAM 1 GB
Camera 8MP rear, 2MP front
Storage 8GB internal, microSD Card slot
Ports microUSB, 3.5mm headphone jack
Wireless 850/1700/1900, Dual SIM
Dimensions 144 x 72.4 x 9.4 mm, 172 g
Battery 3,000 mAh
OS Android 5.0
Price $99
Buy Amazon

Powerhouse? Nah. But a $99 Lollipop phone is interesting nonetheless.

Like with most Blu phones, the first thing to note is the build quality - these guys really put out great stuff for such a small amount of money. The Studio C feels really solid for a $99 phone, and the 3,000 mAh battery adds a nice amount of weight to it. The buttons are all solid and clicky, and the seams around the removable back are super flush and tight. In fact, I had no idea that it was even removable upon first glance; didn't figure that one out till it came time to find the SIM and SD card slots.

The C's 720p display looks pretty good overall, and is quite impressive given this device's meager price point. It features Blu's Infinite View technology, which makes all of the company's displays look better. That said, the actual touch surface leaves something to be desired - it just feels cheap. It's not as smooth as you'd expect from a higher-end phone, but I'm sure on a long enough timeline you'd get used to it. Or perhaps the oils from the users fingers will eventually break it in enough so it doesn't feel as "tacky." It's not necessarily a dealbreaker in my opinion, but it's not the best touch panel I've felt on a Blu phone, either. As always, gotta keep that price in mind.

The Studio C is available in five different colors, none of which I've ever seen from Blu before: Sandstone Gray, Ceramic White, Salmon Pink, Mint Green (this is the color of my review unit), and Atomic Orange. Each color also has a matching speaker grille, which is a nice touch.

On the software level, this is basically stock Lollipop. Blu has done its normal tweak of adding a few toggles to the shade - aside from what you'd find on a stock 5.x device, there's also an "audio profiles" option, as well as a dedicated "data connection" button. Otherwise, you're looking at pure 5.0.

In my short time with the C, performance was OK, but not great. Like the Studio Energy, Studio G, and Studio X Plus, the Studio C has the quad-core MediaTek MT6582, which leaves me wanting in the performance department. I much prefer the octa-core MT6592 that's found in the Vivo Air, as the performance there is significantly better than its quad-core counterpart. That said, if you don't do a lot of multitasking, then this processor should get you through just fine.

The 1GB of RAM is also a sticking point - I'm just not sure how it'll do long-term on a Lollipop device. I have to reboot my 2014 Moto X daily if I want to avoid the memory leak garbage (which is easily the most frustrating thing about Lollipop), and I'm not sure if Blu has done anything to combat that with the Studio C. I unfortunately haven't had it long enough to really find out how performance would be on a long-term basis, so that's a gamble anyone who wants to buy this phone is going to have to make.

Overall, I still think this is a device worth considering if you're looking to buy in the $100 price range. It's snappy enough, has a massive battery, runs Lollipop out of the box, and has a solid build. You'll be hard-pressed to find all those in another device at this price point.

For more info or to buy, check out the link below.

Press Release

MIAMI, May 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- BLU Products, the market leader in unlocked devices in the United States, introduced today a new addition of the ever growing Studio Series, the BLU Studio C is pushing limitations to bring the best quality and design, exceptionally priced, to no-contract unlocked smartphone consumers in the USA. The Studio C will be compatible with any GSM Network in the United States allowing consumers to choose their service plans from companies such as T-Mobile, AT&T, Metro PCS, Cricket Wireless, Tracfone, Go Smart, Simple Mobile, Net 10, Straight Talk, Ultra Mobile, Telcel America, H20 Wireless, Red Pocket, and Walmart Family Mobile, among others. The unlocked Studio C is priced at an incredible $99, available today on Amazon.com.

"The Studio C is another example that we strive to change the mobile industry by making great looking smartphones that can do amazing things, priced for everyone," said Samuel Ohev-Zion, CEO of BLU Products.

The Studio C comes with a promise that smartphones don't always have to come with high prices and the belief that people shouldn't have to compromise on quality, design or experience. With a bright and large screen, great cameras, and fast processing, available in 6 trendy and gorgeous colors, the Studio C gives you freedom of choice – exceptionally priced. The Studio C is BLU's first device running the latest Android v5.0 Lollipop out of the box.  Users will be able to enjoy countless hours of streaming music and videos with its super 3000 mAh battery. The Studio C comes with 1.3GHz Quad-Core processor powered by Mediatek, the perfect business or personal tool with Dual Sim capabilities, ideal for all those international travelers. Capture remarkable photos and videos with an advanced performance 8.0 Mega Pixel autofocus rear camera, including LED Flash, and Full HD 1080p recording, in addition to a 2.0 mega pixel front facing camera, 1GB RAM, and 64GB expandable microSD slot.