I can't say I saw this coming: Amazon is getting into the unlocked smartphone business in a big way starting today. By selling you phones for a lower price... in exchange for bloatware and lockscreen ads. Yep, seriously.
Amazon announced today that the BLU R1 HD and the Moto G4 (not the Plus, though) are the first Amazon Prime Exclusive smartphones in the US. Both phones are $50 off their standard retail prices, making the BLU R1 HD just $49.99 and Moto G4 just $149.99 (the 32GB is $179.99). Amazon is even offering an additional $25 off the Moto G4 with offers and ads today as part of a special launch promo, bringing it down to $124.99 for Prime members. Read More
We've been working with Blu for quite a while now, and the company has been putting out some of its best phones to date over the last few months. With the release of the Life One X (2016) and Vivo 5, Blu has once again set the bar for what a "budget" phone can — and should — be. For $150 and $200 respectively, these are two of the absolute best phones that are available on the market today in this price range.
This contest is now over.
The final results are listed below. If you've won, you will be contacted in the near future.
Back at CES, Blu announced two phones: the Vivo XL and Vivo 5. While we've already taken a look at the former, the latter is the one we've really been waiting for. I've had it in-hand for about a week now, and there's honestly a lot to talk about with this handset. From the specs to the design, this definitely offers more than a $200 handset should, though there are definitely some quirks with the software.
But I'm getting ahead of myself now. Let's start at the beginning. And when we get to the end — stop.
AT CES earlier this month, Blu announced two new phones: the Vivo 5 and Vivo XL. Today, we're taking a closer look at the lower-end of the two, the Vivo XL, which is the first one to hit the market. This one isn't a dramatic difference from some of the other more recent stuff we've seen from Blu — like the Life One X, for example — but it does continue the company tradition of offering a lot of phone for the money.
Under the hood, it's actually a lot like the aforementioned Life One X, though it does have a slightly larger, lower-resolution display. Read More
The amount of technology and specs that you can get for less than $200 nowadays is staggering. Do you remember when we were gushing over quad-core processors and 720p displays in flagships that cost over $600 and $700? Well, now those specs count in the lower end of the smartphone market, or at best the lower midrange.
Take the BLU Vivo XL for example. It was just announced at CES at the beginning of the month. Read More
I feel like the new Life One X was somewhat of a turning point for Blu—they've always offered good phones for the price, but the LOX is a truly great phone for the money. It launched at just $99 for the first three days, which was an absolute steal; even now at $149, it's still a great deal for a phone that performs much, much better than its price suggests.
Today, at the Consumer Electronics Show, Blu pretty much confirmed my thoughts (that they're going to start offering even more bang for the buck moving forward) with the announcement of the Vivo 5 and Vivo XL. Read More
Look, if you want a phone that won't break the bank, there are a lot of options worse than the Blu Vivo Air LTE. It's an upgrade over the original Vivo Air in many ways—the addition of LTE, more RAM, and on-screen buttons easily make the shortlist. I was kind of disappointed in the Snapdragon 410's performance overall when I reviewed it, but it's not atrocious by any standard.
For a very limited time—about five and a half hours at the time of publication, in fact—you can score the Vivo Air LTE for just $150. That's $50 off the normal price of $199, so it's a pretty solid deal. Read More
Back in January of 2014, Blu released what I then called my "favorite Blu phone to date"—the Life One X. At the time, it was a solid budget phone, but affordable smartphones have come so far since then. The last year or so has been great for the budget phone scene, and we've watched devices get more and more powerful while prices kept dropping.
Today, Blu announced the new version of the Life One X, and guess what? It's probably the best budget device I've ever used. One might even say it's probably "my favorite Blu phone to date," save for maybe the new Pure XL. Read More
Sometimes in a person's life, they just need a huge phone. And I'm not talking Nexus 6 huge — think bigger. Like, sometimes you just want to be able to talk on something more along the lines of a Nexus 7, right? I mean, even if that's not something you actually want to do, it's now an option with the new Studio 7.0 HD from Blu. Yes, this is a 7-inch phone.
- Display: 7-inch 1280x720 with Blu Infinite View Technology
- Processor: 1.2GHz Snapdragon 410
- RAM: 1GB
- Camera: 8 MP rear camera; 2MP front
- Storage: 16GB internal with microSD card slot
- Wireless: 4G LTE bands 2/3/4/7/12/17/28; 3G 850/1700/1900/2100; BT 4.0, Wi-Fi, Hotspot; dual SIM
- Dimensions: 190 x 99.8 x 8.5 mm; 266g
- Battery: 3,700 mAh
- OS: Android 5.1.1
- Price: $199
- Available Colors: Ceramic White, Midnight Gray, Rose Gold, and Navy Blue
- Buy: Amazon
So it's a big phone with otherwise underwhelming specs. Read More
There's an interesting line drawn in the sand between smartphone users and smartphone makers: for the longest time, many companies thought users wanted the thinnest, lightest phones on the planet (and for a time, I think they may have actually been right). But now, that's not how it is. Users don't care how thin their phone is most of the time — they just want it to last all damn day. All-day longevity translates in one way when it comes to form factor: thicker and heavier. That's basically the opposite direction the industry was heading up until recently, and now we're finally starting to see large batteries show up in phones. Read More