BLU Life One X hands-on and impressions

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.

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.

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.

Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.