BLU Life One X

Great specs and price, but the performance falls short

BLU is working hard to make a place for itself in the affordable unlocked phone market, and one of its latest offerings is the Life One X. Although it may not be a name that immediately comes to mind when thinking about major Android device manufacturers, Miami-based BLU offers a good range of compelling devices that can appeal to the right person who puts cost high on their list of necessities when buying a phone.

The Life One X (yes, exactly the same as the HTC One X) brings a pretty incredible set of specs to the table along with nearly-stock Android 4.2 and support for dual SIM cards for a mere $279 unlocked. And just like other recent BLU products, it wraps it up in a solid but uninspiring design that'll get the job done but won't win any design awards. But again, the phone is $279. Hit the break to see a bit more of what the BLU Life One X has to offer and what we think of the device overall.

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When you take the Life One X out of the box and hold it in your hand, you get the feeling that BLU is directly targeting a specific manufacturer with its design (and no, not the one that shares the product name). In the same way that the BLU Life View squared off against the Galaxy Note 2, the Life One X looks quite a bit like the Galaxy S4 from many angles. Although its back casing is mostly metal and there's no physical home button, the visual similarities are uncanny. Even the blue and white color choices look just like it.

Usually when you buy a phone at this price, you don't expect much in the way of high-end specs. That's not necessarily the case here, as the Life One X hits all of the bullet points of a modern, well-appointed device. We have a 5-inch IPS display at 1080x1920 resolution (that's 440 ppi), a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 16/32GB of storage and a 13MP camera. It also has dual SIM slots with support for HSPA+ 42 (sorry, no LTE) on AT&T or T-Mobile.

Unfortunately these very solid internal specs don't lead to the best software experience ever. Be it a lack of software optimization (we're looking at Android 4.2) to the hardware components or just lower-quality components themselves, the Life One X just isn't as smooth or quick as you'd expect with the horsepower under the hood. Web pages can stutter when you scroll, Google Maps has a couple hiccups when you pinch-to-zoom and there's just a bit of hesitation as you roll through the home screens and settings menus. It's a real shame, as the visuals themselves look great on this display.

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We know the market the BLU Life One X is targeting may not be the most discerning about phone performance and will focus on the price tag instead, but we've seen plenty of other manufacturers put together smooth performance at this price point or lower. Everything about the phone just seems "adequate," from the build quality and design to the software and camera performance.

And at this price point, that just might do it for enough people to spark up some sales numbers. BLU continues to make a much higher quality product than you expect for the price, and if it just kicks up the performance that extra bit to make even high-end phone users impressed, there could be a long line of well-received devices coming in the future.

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Reader comments

BLU Life One X hands-on and impressions

48 Comments

Dashclock and 500 firepaper are the best things that have happened to my nexus....android central app aswell.

Posted via Android Central App

Perhaps some driver revisions could help? These sub $300 phones are looking better and better. Seriously, the specs from a year ago are plenty enough. So the cheaper that hardware gets, the better the price and performance will be on these unlocked phones and we all win. That won't fully flower until the drivers/firmware are optimized.

I like the way it looks and price is pretty good but if the software is laggy maybe some optimization is in order. Unless a ROM comes out for it.

Posted via Android Central App

I might get me one of these. The specs are great and we all know performance means nothing, specs mean everything.

I'm probably going to sell my HTC one, nexus 5, and moto x at a bill a piece just to have enough for this phone...

Posted via Android Central App

Would like to see what kind of cores we are talking about, not just the number of cores which is the less important factor of performance. Also, how much ram, how is the camera, how is the screen quality?

Posted via Android Central App

Mediatek CPU and older power vr gpu, most of the other specs are mentioned in the article

Posted via Posted

Wow you guys are finally mentioning smaller companies, especially after ever other Android site have discussed these devices.

Posted via Posted

If anyone has ever said a phone looks too much like the Iphone,...THIS is it.

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

Reading this article, reminded me of the industry wide influence Apple has had on murdering, and ruining (I'm using harsh words on purpose), basic functions of computing devices, and I do mean basic. Ever since the Iphone came out, more and more smartphones, of all OS's, have killed-off the real/physical keyboard, the back of a smartphone being able to be removed, expandable memory and batter, also killed-off. All this equates to more and more control of me, the user-experience being taken from me. And therefore, Samsung remains the only choice. And if anyone tries to give me this market crap, "the market demands what people want",...blah blah blah, all these years since the Iphone came out, there hasn't stopped being a segment of the consumer market who still want real/physical keyboards, and there is no reason they can't make a smartphone even cheaper by offering less internal memory, BUT also offering a memory card slot. I would rather buy a cheaper S4 with 16GB's of internal memory, and have the ability to insert a memory card and expand it to 64GB's, which by the way only cost me $45 on Amazon.

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

Sales of phones with real keyboards started slumping long before they stopped making them. Their may be some real keyboard diehards like yourself. But most voluntarily left for virtual keyboards long ago.

SD cards was a little apple and a little Google who actually suggested forgoing the sd cards. There are more users around that still want SD cards granted but the best majority of users never use the sd cards in there phones when they have them or at the very minimum never take them out. I'm a power user and I myself never took them out so what's the harm of internal memory only.

People also clamor for thinner phones hence the internal battery. This is undoubtedly the most dubious of design choices as it limits the devices usable lifetime.

But in the end android OEMS aren't out to force phones people don't want on them they respond to what the market asks for and what people actually use.

Your niche hardware keyboards diehard market is just too small to be profitable anymore plain and simple that's why no one makes them. I myself have always preferred virtual keyboards, their is no functional deficit just old habits, things change technology changes faster than most things to boot.

Posted via Android Central App

Somehow neglected to put the line in about the radios in the specs paragraph, updated with the info.

No LTE, but HSPA+ 42 with support for AT&T and T-Mobile (though you may need to be in a refarmed area, it isn't 100% clear).

I was actually looking into this phone, I have a work at&t Sim which has plenty of data for me but can't use it for personal calls so I've considered getting a dual Sim phone and just paying for a cheap $25 - $30 unlimited talk text gsm plan for the second sim. It would save me some money.

Unfortunately the dual Sim phones are usually lacking hardware wise, on paper this looked like it might be able to finally fit the bill. But I'm sure I'd regret it. I'm on a nexus 5 now so I'm spoiled lol.

I heard blu is planning to update these devices to kit-kat I wonder if that will improve performance.

Posted via Android Central App

I wonder if the second SIM on this phone has to be 2G as it is on the Moto G?

Posted via my Motorola Startac

They make decent looking phones, but when are they going to make one that has 4G LTE?

"How'd you get the beans above the frank?"

after seeing those pictures it reminded me of a smartphone that was realesed in France a few months ago : the Wiko Darkfull

They look both the same execept for the branding on the back. One thing to be known is that those devices comes from China and they are not really well followed in term of software, at least in France. And it seems that the harware make it impossible to make it work with a version above android 4.2 ... I don't know why be sure to know what you're buying when you take one of these ...

I might just order this device.
Blu did a awesome job with the
Hardware. And this is stock Android's.

Posted via Android Central App

I like the design,hardware and stock android looks good,in another pages like gsmarena say that it has 720p not 1080p display , and i check the page of Blu and it says that it have 720p too,please ANDREW MARTONIK can u tell me how is the performance of this smartphone with another kind of headphones , because in some others reviews about the life play say that the sound distorts too much with another headphones that come from the box ,and this is one of the reasons why im considering... u know if this could be the same as the life play...