Basically all of Blu's phones as of the last year or so have been released with Android 4.2.2, leaving users waiting for any sign of an update to put them past Jelly Bean. We've known that the company planned on pushing KitKat to a number of devices towards the end of June, and it has now released the initial devices that will be the first to get 4.4, along with a statement on Facebook.
Once upon a time, Blu was pushing out low- to mid-range phones once every couple of weeks. Then a shift happened – the company stepped up its game and started putting out higher quality handsets, leading up to last month's release of the Life Pure XL – a Snapdragon 800-packing monster.
Fast-forward to now, with the launch of two new Blu handsets: the Vivo IV and Life 8. While the Life 8 is more of a "mid-range" octa-core device (1GB RAM, 1280x720 display, 8GB storage), the Vivo IV is another beast entirely.
Not everyone likes big phones, of that there is no question. Those who do, however, usually love them. Among those who fancy said behemoth handsets, the almost-a-tablet-but-still-also-a-phone nature of the "phablet" is likely what is most appealing; especially for those who don't already own one of each. Of course, there aren't a whole lot of options outside of the Galaxy Mega, Sony's Z Ultra, or the Galaxy Note 3 (which, arguably, doesn't even fall into the same category any longer).
Back in December, Blu released its first 1080p phone, the Life Pure. It's a drastically different device than other Blu phones, in that the launcher and primary interface are very iOS-like. While most Android users probably scoff at that, it's actually a pretty good option for anyone looking to make the leap from iPhone to Android, as it eases the transition. With that said, the five-inch display may be one thing holding some users back from making the jump to the Life Pure, and with that, Blu released the Pure's little brother, the Life Pure Mini.
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.
It's been nearly two years since Blu announced a new member to the Vivo line, but the company is gearing up to release the Vivo 4.3's successor, the Vivo 4.8. Stylistically, it has a similar look to the 4.3, albeit on a slightly larger scale due to its 4.8 inch display. Also like the 4.3, the 4.8 has a Super AMOLED panel with Blu's Nex Lens and Infinite View technologies. This is in contrast to other Blu devices of late, which all use IPS panels along with Nex Lens and Infinite View.
I've gone hands on with nearly every member of Blu's Life family at this point, and they've all lead up to this phone. The first four members of the Life line – the Play, View, One, and Pro – vary mostly in form factor, though the Pro also features a faster processor than its siblings. Up until the now, the general gist of the Life line has been: quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, and a 720p display.
Back in April, I said that BLU "is a company to keep an eye on moving forward." A few months later, I reviewed (and loved) my first BLU device: the Life Play. Since then I've also taken a look at the Life View – the company's take on a large-screened phone – which was also very impressive for the cost. I'm definitely a fan of what BLU is doing right now, and the company seems to be keeping a nice momentum with the Life series.
One of the things that makes the Nexus series of phones so enticing is the extremely affordable pricing options. When the Nexus 4 first hit the scene, it was only $300 for an 8GB model and $350 for the 16GB, then Google slashed the prices by $100, making them even more affordable. In a world where most high-end mobile phones can't be purchased for less than $550-600 off-contract, Nexus pricing is a breath of fresh air.