Best answer: BLU has made affordable Android phones for years, but there have been security scares and a few disastrous bugs in the company's history. BLU phones can give a decent Android experience to users on a very limited budget, but it still hasn't completely won my trust back yet.

Amazon: BLU VIVO XL4 ($150)

BLU is a budget phonemaker with some black marks on its track record

If you've ever looked for Android phones on a budget, you've probably seen at least a couple BLU phones somewhere in that selection. BLU's phones often serve up trendy new features and passable specs in phones that are highly affordable unlocked — and almost always free on carrier subsidy.

While some BLU phones offer better performance than others — and thus better value — purchasing a budget phone is a matter of trust as much as it is price, and BLU has given users some doubts over the years:

  • Back in 2016, some apps pre-loaded on BLU phones were found to have a backdoor that sent collected user data to Chinese servers. The U.S.-based BLU claimed to have no knowledge of the backdoor and says that it quickly acted to ensure the collected data was destroyed.
  • In August 2017, Amazon suspended sale of BLU phones for a week, allegedly over more data collection and privacy concerns. BLU released a statement when the suspension ended, saying "that there is absolutely no spyware or malware or secret software on BLU devices".
  • In November 2017, a faulty system update locked some users out of their BLU Life One X2 phones. It took almost a week for BLU to find a fix and begin informing users about how to go about getting back into their phones.

Privacy concerns aside, the thought of being locked out my phone for a week terrifies me, and while I trust that these hard lessons have helped BLU keep its act together since then, I'm still not sure I trust a BLU phone 100% to always be there for me when I need it.

Bang for your buck: BLU's ultra-budget winners

BLU hasn't had a major SNAFU since 2017, and what it does have nowadays are some best-selling budget phones that deliver trendy new features at rock-bottom prices. For instance, the $150 BLU VIVO XL4 beats out the Moto G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8 as Amazon's best-selling unlocked cell phone. In fact, the Amazon unlocked best sellers list has quite a few BLU models on it from the last two years.

With a 6.2-inch notched screen and 4,000 mAh battery that can power that screen and the processors behind it all day, the VIVO XL4 is a phone that looks and performs above its price tag. If you want to try a BLU phone, this is the model to get.

Budget pick


Big screen, bigger battery, and budget pricing

The VIVO XL4 is a tall drink of affordable Android that features a notched 6.2-inch screen, a 4,000mAh battery that should get you through your longest days, and still uses micro-USB, so you won't have to buy all new cables yet.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.