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Phone Reviews


Hands-On With The Blu Vivo Air LTE: Now With 100% More 4G Speed

Earlier this year, Blu released what would end up being my favorite phone from the manufacturer today: the Vivo Air. It was super sleek and thin, had a beautiful display, and was a generally great phone for just $199. Today, Blu announced the Air's successor, the Vivo Air LTE.

This phone basically corrects the weaknesses found in the original Air by bumping the RAM up to 2GB and adding LTE. This, of course, means the processor has also changed, and Blu has chosen to go with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 this time around. Otherwise, most of the other specs are the same:


Display 4.8-inch 1280x720 Super AMOLED with Gorilla Glass 3
Processor 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410
Camera 8MP rear, 5MP front
Storage 16GB
Ports microUSB 2.0, 3.5mm audio
Wireless GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, HSDPA 850 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100, LTE 1700 (4) / 1900 (2) / 2600 (7), Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0
Dimensions 141.9 x 68.1 x 5.1mm, 98 grams
Battery 2050 mAh
OS Android 5.0.2 (slated to get Marshmallow in Q1 2016)
Available colors Black, White
Price $199
Buy Pre-Order exclusively on Amazon

It's really an incremental update, but it's a pretty significant incremental update...if that makes sense.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 5 And S6 edge+ Review: Pretty Much Exactly What You'd Expect

The Galaxy S6 edge+ is a large Galaxy S6 edge. If you want this phone distilled to its essence, there it is. It is derivative. That is its sole reason for existing, and if that is the bar to meet, the Galaxy S6 edge+ meets it with unforgiving literalness and exacting precision.

The Galaxy Note 5 is a large Galaxy S6... with a pen. And a curved backplate (a reverse edge, if you will). The Note 5 is very clearly defined not by the Note device that preceded it, but by Samsung's larger "premium" corporate brand image unveiled with the S6, and makes all but a complete break from last year's device except in regard to the stylus.

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OnePlus 2 Review: The Flagships Are Safe For Now

OnePlus came out of nowhere last year with a phone that appealed to a lot of cynical smartphone-using curmudgeons. A device with great specs, capable software, and a reasonable price? What's the catch? Oh, invites. Well, the OnePlus One still managed to win a lot of fans, and now the company's followup, the OnePlus 2 is (sort of) available. This device also has an invite system, and the price is a little higher. Is it worth scrounging and begging to get an invite to buy this one, though? After all, they claim it's a "2016 flagship killer." Let's find out.

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Hands-On With The Nuu Z8, A Decent New Smartphone In the $250-300 Range

We're entering into an era where you no longer have to spend more than a few hundred dollars on a good, usable smartphone. Manufacturers like Blu have done a lot for the budget smartphone, and more mainstream phone makers like Motorola have brought the words "budget" and "flagship" together in a way we didn't think would ever be possible.

I've been messing with a new affordable device from a relatively new manufacturer to the scene here lately: the Nuu Z8. Nuu currently has a couple of other budget devices on the market, but the Z8 is what the company is calling its flagship device.

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Asus ZenFone 2E Review: A Disappointing Low-End Entry In The ZenFone Lineup

Competition in Android smartphones is better now than it's ever been, and not just in the flagship segment. With devices like the Moto G, the ZenFone 2, and various Blu designs, the mid-range is heating up with phones that are jam-packed with value. But how about the low-end, entry phone segment? For those people who just want a device that runs a few apps, plays a nice round of Threes, and maybe browse for some sports scores? Before a few years ago, they were limited to whatever bottom-of-the-line, low-margin phones Samsung and LG would spare.

These days things are a little different.

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Hands-On With The Blu Vivo Selfie, Energy X Plus, And Studio C 5+5

Earlier this week, Blu announced a handful of new phones: the Vivo Selfie, Studio C 5+5, Studio C 5+5 LTE, and Energy X Plus. Each handset has something that makes it stand out from the others, and all of them come in at the low price points that we've come to expect from Blu. In short, we've got a thin and light phone made for selfies, a pair of ultra-affordable devices with dual 5MP shooters, and one with a battery that's in it for the long haul.

I've had three of the four for the last few days, with the only exception being the 5+5 LTE since it's virtually identical to the 5+5, just with the addition of LTE.

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Galaxy S6 Review Addendum: Three Months Later

The Galaxy S6 has been out for three months now, so it's time to revisit this phone and see if any of my feelings from the original review have evolved. At the time this seemed like a pretty fantastic phone with few drawbacks. Samsung made a lot of changes with this year's Galaxy flagship, so does it also avoid some of the long-term pitfalls of past phones? Let's find out.

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ASUS ZenFone 2 Review: A Good Inexpensive Phone That Would Be Much Better With Stock Android

When you think smartphones, ASUS probably rarely comes to mind. While the company has been building Android phones for several years now, their market penetration outside of Asia has been relatively low, and so they rarely get much attention in American or European markets. But the ZenFone 2, when it launched at CES six months ago, definitely raised eyebrows.

At a starting price of just $199, ASUS is offering up a phone with extremely impressive specifications for a do-a-double-take MSRP - it almost sounds too good to be true. Thankfully, I don't think it is - the ZenFone 2 is a solid phone that works pretty much like any Android 5.0+ device you'll encounter while simultaneously blowing the doors off pretty much any competitor at this price point for raw spec sheet power.

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Hands-On With The Blu Life One And Life 8 XL: Two Upcoming Budget Smartphones With A Lot To Offer For The Price

Back at CES earlier this year, Blu announced a handful of phones, including the Vivo Air, Studio X, and Studio Energy. Today, we're looking at the final phone from that announcement, the Life One, as well as another handset Blu has coming out in a few weeks, the Life 8 XL.

Let's jump right in with specs.

Life One


Display 5-inch 1280x720 display with Gorilla Glass 3
Processor 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 with Adreno 306
Camera 13 MP rear shooter, 5MP front
Storage 8GB with SD card slot (up to 64GB)
Ports microUSB, 3.5mm headphone jack
Wireless LTE, HSPA+, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Dimensions 143 x 72.1 x 7.5mm, 125g
Battery 2420mAh
OS Android 4.4.2 (Lollipop coming next month)
Price $149 ($99 for one week during pre-orders)
Buy Amazon (Pre-order; release date: June 19th)


The first thing worth noting about the Life One is the processor - it's a 64 bit Snapdragon 410.

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Hands On With The Studio C, Blu's First Lollipop Phone - Available Today For $99

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):


Display 5-inch 1280x720 with Blu Infinite View Technology
Processor 1.3GHz quad-core Mediatek MT6582 with Mali-400 GPU
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


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