Blu Life View

A whole lot of phone for a price that won't break the bank

Of all the Android handset manufacturers out there, BLU may be one of the least known among the general public. But this Florida-based company is making a few waves as a manufacturer of cost-sensitive unlocked phones that pack a good number of specs into an attractive case. The BLU Life View is one of its latest handsets, and it takes aim at the larger set of phones out on the market today.

Marketed directly at the Samsung Galaxy Mega (5.8), the Life View is a rather large 5.7-inch device with a good-looking screen, a quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM under the hood and a pair of high-resolution cameras to boot. Best of all, it retails for $299 unlocked directly from BLU. Hang with us after the break to see our impressions of the latest budget-friendly handset.

Hardware

At this price you can't expect a whole lot in terms of quality, but BLU offers a smart phone that seems very well put together. Primarily made of a mixture of glossy plastic on the front and metal-like textured plastic on the back, the Life View feels solid in the hand but under closer inspection shows where corners were cut. The seams around the back don't line up perfectly in some spots, and the overall bill of materials is just lower than on other handsets.

The specs:

  • 5.7-inch 720x1280 (258 ppi) IPS LCD screen
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 2
  • 1.2GHz quad-core MediaTek CPU
  • 1GB of RAM / 16GB storage (non-expandable)
  • 2600mAh battery (non-removable)
  • 12MP / 5MP cameras
  • GSM / HSPA+ 42mbps (supporting T-Mobile and AT&T)
  • Dual SIM slots (Mini SIM size)
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

When you have the phone in your hands and are interacting with it, the small issues with build go away. The 720p display is crisp and bright given its resolution, has solid viewing angles and although you can see some rough edges on text it is beyond passable at this price point. On the camera front, the 12MP rear shooter seems to offer acceptable pictures, although the focusing and metering is a bit on the slow side.

Software

The Life View runs Android 4.2.1, with just a handful of changes from "Stock." You'll find a different layout for the "quick settings" in the notification bar, as well as a few tweaks in the settings menu for changes in themes and a few gesture-based features through the OS. Aside from these small tweaks, you're going to have a familiar software experience if you've used a Stock device before.

Software performance seems pretty solid though, and actually surprised us considering the mid-range spec sheet. The only issues we noticed in our time with the phone was a few weird touch responses, where swipes or scrolling gestures would be interpreted as distinct taps. Beyond that, moving through the UI and apps was just as smooth as you'd expect for a mid-range phone.

Bottom line

You're not going to get a stylus, fancy software features or a big brand name on the back of the phone, but then again you don't have to pay for that if you don't want it. You can certainly get better hardware and build materials with handsets from other manufacturers, but it probably won't come at this price point. If you're looking for a large handset that offers a solid set of features at a very affordable price, you may want to take a look at the BLU Life View.

More: Buy the BLU Life View on Amazon

 
There are 30 comments

still1 says:

oh my god. let go of that menu bar!!!!! Samsung is the biggest offender.
Moto X ftw

imneveral0ne says:

I love the menu button, I hope it sticks around.

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Considering that Android design guidelines left the Menu button multiple years ago now, I wouldn't count on it. Fewer and fewer manufacturers see the need for it, and Google sure as hell isnt going to go back to it.

icebike says:

Wait, didn't you say:
"The Life View runs Android 4.2.1, with just a handful of changes from "Stock."

So the menu bar must be Stock, because I can't see them going to the trouble to add that back in.

Right, a handful of changes — I think the fact that there aren't on-screen buttons could be considered a "change."

And I think you're misunderstanding. A manufacturer can put whatever hardware buttons on its devices that it wants and map them to do whatever functions they want. Such as a hardware camera button launching a camera. That doesn't mean that Android all of a sudden requires a hardware camera key to run — it means the ability to launch the camera with software exists, but a manufacturer has given another way to access that function.

rovex says:

Just because Google deem it to be right, it doesn't mean it is. MANY people think they are wrong on a number of UI elements.

Dreadcthulhu says:

The "Menu, Home, Back" buttons on the bottom is the defacto standard for Android - that is what Samsung uses, and Samsung sells about half the Android phones in the world. You can't blame BLU for following it. That is what pretty much all Android phones had too, until Google decided it wanted to push its silly "recent apps" button & all onscreen controls non-sense on people.

movielover76 says:

we can argue about on screen or capacitive/physical buttons both have their pro's and con's
but once you've got used to jelly bean and the speed on convenience of "recent apps" with a real multitasking button you'll never want to go back, it's so quick to jump back and forth between apps.

the loss of the dedicated recent apps button after using two nexus devices before it has really ruined the S4 experience to me. I plan on selling it and getting a nexus 5 when it comes out.

dsignori says:

I love the menu bar as well. It seemed at the time, and still seems now, an arbitrary decision by Google to remove it.

I find it mostly semantics anyway .. The MENU is still necessary - and is still there on stock, it just looks different and is called something different "the overflow" icon, please ... The change to me seems mostly like a simple design decision and not any real functionality change. I mean it's not like apps that needed a menu no longer need a menu on stock, they just press a "different" button. It's mostly semantics..

Having a GS4 now, I realize just how much I miss the menu bar having not had it on the Nexus for some time ..

someguy01234 says:

I still like to know what exact company designed these phones. I am certain it isn't Blu because they are rebranding Chinese phones. Note that I'm not bashing Blu, its okay as long as they add values to it like the extra accessories included in the box and warranty.

If you compared to spec of the "Blu Life Play" to another model called "Polytron W8470", you will notice it is 100% the same device, the two devices just happen to be sold in different area of the world and rebranded by different companies.

Also can you verify if this device is using CTIA or OMTP headphone jack standard? (Try a different mic headset than the one included in the box.)

It looks like the Blu Life Play (that Jerry have) have the same CPU as this one, but at a more manageable 4.7" screen size and microSD slot, and cheaper, seems like a better choice.

Brady KEITH says:

$299 unlocked BLU Life View vs. $XXX unlocked LG Nexus 5...

zackmack7 says:

I was thinking the same thing...for just about the same price or $50-60 more, you could get a brand name Nexus 5

MERCDROID says:

You know the price of the next Nexus device? Do tell, lol.

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MERCDROID says:

Depending on the size and price of the next Nexus phone, these handsets could have potentially different target markets. If you value screen size and don't really care about updates, then this handset even trumps the Galaxy Mega 5.8, as far as value goes.

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easyxtarget says:

Yes but they don't sell the Nexus in developing countries and its not dual Sim. Considering BLU mainly sells to South America, this looks like a great phone for that market.

movielover76 says:

Agreed, I've been looking at blu products for awhile for the price they offer very competitive and well made phones. Maybe it's not perfect but it definitely has it's market.

Dnomyar220 says:

I think I just BLU myself

MERCDROID says:

You can crane your neck that far? Pictures or it didn't happen, lol.

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Nigandnog says:

Hahahaha yessss! Thank you Tobias Funke

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xgalalx says:

Thanks

Posted via Nexus 4 !!

Mike Nickles says:

1 gig of ram? Bahhh! Not enough these days

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Not everyone needs 2GB of RAM. I certainly don't.

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I have the BLU Life Play and it is a great phone! Best battery life I've ever gotten on a phone. The camera isn't too shabby either! It has the touch capture feature, which I absolutely loved from my Sony phones :)

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someguy01234 says:

The MediaTek chipset is very battery efficient.

Yes! I love it. Might not be the best chip, but I sure as hell don't need the best chip. I don't waste my entire day playing games on my phone Haha

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kevdogg3291 says:

thought the Mega was 6.3, not 5.8. Fail.

Dreadcthulhu says:

The Galaxy Mega comes has both a 5.8" and 6.3" versions. The 5.8" is about $360 on Amazon for the unlocked version, and $425 for the 6.3" model.

Ben Bulmer says:

Hey Kevdogg the only fail is you mate. If you did some research you'd find that Samsung make a 5.8 inch mega as well as the 6.3. The 5.8 is specced down slightly, no LTE, but is dual Sim. So the author is completely correct in what they have said. Boo ya!!!

WinMoNoMo says:

Bought one of these last week to get a feel for a bigger phone. You can definitely see there were some shortcuts in the hardware build but overall it's a decent phone. Battery life is over 2 days on a single charge. No LTE, but HSPA+ seems to work just fine. If you're looking for a large screen no contract phone to use on Straight Talk or Aio then this is definitely one to look at.

Angelh23 says:

Has anyone bought this? Thinking about getting it to hold me through while the Nexus 5 comes out. Am so tired of my gnex. Advice anyone?

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