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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.