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At $299 unlocked, BLU Life Android phones look to make a dent in the market

Posted: , by Michael H.


At $299 unlocked, BLU Life Android phones look to make a dent in the market
Okay, we know what you're thinking. Right off the bat, if you hear about a $299 unlocked Android smartphone from a company that you've never heard of before, you assume there are some major downsides in the design that lead to such an inexpensive phone. But, Florida based BLU Products is looking to change that with three new handsets that it has just announced. BLU is looking to go around the traditional distribution system in order to offer quality products at lower cost, similar to what we've seen from Warby Parker. 

The BLU Life One is the 5" offering, featuring an aluminum body measuring 144 x 73 x 8.9mm (5.7 x 2.9 x 0.35") with a 5" IPS HD display and Gorilla Glass 2, MediaTek's MT6589 1.2 GHz Quad-Core chipset, which is an ARM Cortex-A7 with a PowerVR Series5 XT GPU, and HSPA+ 41Mbps modem. It is also said to have a 13MP rear camera, a 5MP front camera, 16GB of storage, 1GB of RAM, SD card expansion, and a 2200 mAh battery. It will retail for $299 unlocked.

The BLU Life View is the phablet offering with a 5.7" IPS HD display. The other specs are the same as the Life One, except the rear camera is listed at 12MP. Also, the body of the Life View apparently only has an aluminum back panel, and isn't completely aluminum. The Life View measures 161 x 82 x 8.9mm (6.3 x 3.2 x 0.35") and has a 2600 mAh battery. It will also retail for $299.

The BLU Life Play is the "budget" choice and clocks in at just $229. The savings here come from lower quality cameras (8MP rear, 2MP front), no Gorilla Glass, only 4GB of storage, and a smaller 1800 mAh battery. 

All of the phones will be running stock Android 4.2, and will offer advanced Dual-SIM, and Dual-Active functionality which allows users to make and receive calls on two SIM cards at the same time. 

The devices are expected to start shipping the last week of April, and will be available through Amazon and other online retailers.

Press Release

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posted on 18 Mar 2013, 21:20 1

1. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1052; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)

This could be interesting if it works correctly on American carriers. Edge speeds don't work for me.

posted on 18 Mar 2013, 21:37

2. MATOZ (Posts: 71; Member since: 10 Aug 2011)

Is a Florida-based phone maker company!!

posted on 18 Mar 2013, 21:41

4. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1052; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)

Does that mean it works on T-Mobile?

posted on 18 Mar 2013, 21:57 2

6. MATOZ (Posts: 71; Member since: 10 Aug 2011)

Not really they use 1700/2100 for 3G, but in some areas they refarm to 1900

posted on 18 Mar 2013, 22:02 1

8. MATOZ (Posts: 71; Member since: 10 Aug 2011)

 T-Mobile has already refarmed their HSPA+ to a lot of their 1900MHz frequency.
This map shows their current 1900 HSPA+ coverage 

posted on 18 Mar 2013, 21:47 1

5. MATOZ (Posts: 71; Member since: 10 Aug 2011)

BLU Life View:
2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - SIM 1 & SIM 2
3G Network HSDPA 850 / 1900 / 2100

As posted on gsmarena.

posted on 18 Mar 2013, 21:58

7. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1052; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)

Yeah... That means it'll only work on Tmobile with Edge (2G) speeds. Except maybe in Las Vegas or Kansas city where they started refarming their network.

posted on 19 Mar 2013, 00:33

13. izim1 (Posts: 74; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)

Yea. Las Vegas, Kansas city... And all the other major cities that theyve already refarmed to 1900. Dude you can't live in the middle of nowhere in some podunk town and complain that a carrier is slow to upgrade their network there. I find that amusing though. But seriously. Get with the program. Tmobile is almost done with the refarming.

posted on 19 Mar 2013, 01:07

14. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1052; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)

Nothing like jumping to conclusions. I live in a CITY and no, Tmobiles network has not been refarmed here yet. It has not been refarmed in many places. And im not complaining about tmobile, I'm just disappointed that this phone doesn't cover more frequencies to work better on tmobile. If you're gonna jump into a friendly discussion, please bring something to the table instead of just trying to insult me.

posted on 18 Mar 2013, 21:39 3

3. chemhaz (Posts: 160; Member since: 04 May 2012)

At that price, sounds like a nice phone for my kids, who would enjoy the larger screen for games and videos.

posted on 18 Mar 2013, 22:06

9. Muayyad (Posts: 138; Member since: 05 Oct 2012)

Hope it is made from safe materials..

posted on 18 Mar 2013, 22:10

10. jcpwn2004 (Posts: 314; Member since: 18 Jan 2012)

Can't wait for the reviews, hopefully battery life & camera are good! May be my next phone since I'm on prepaid and all the new phones will likely be 600$+ off contract.

posted on 19 Mar 2013, 07:47

15. JunitoNH (Posts: 964; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)

You can buy the S3 unlocked at Amazon for $459 and bunch of Sony Xperia(s)

posted on 19 Mar 2013, 12:15

16. jcpwn2004 (Posts: 314; Member since: 18 Jan 2012)

thanks for the heads up, I'm sure the s3 prices will start plunging though once the s4 rolls out.

posted on 18 Mar 2013, 23:20

11. Twitch016 (Posts: 23; Member since: 26 Jan 2012)

It's an interesting thought, but honestly the vast majority of people who want a stock 4.2 off-contract phone are going to go Nexus if they're willing to venture away from the traditional model. The 5.7 and budget phones have a chance (slight though it is) only because they're different enough from the Nexus 4, but nothing about them seems compelling enough to choose this over the straight-from-Google phone unless you love that extra inch or that extra $70, although at least the storage is 16gb.

I appreciate the thought and effort these guys are putting forth, but for better or worse I don't feel like there's a lot of market share for them to even have a good chance to claim.

posted on 19 Mar 2013, 00:10 1

12. pixelado (Posts: 130; Member since: 16 Feb 2013)

Given that supply meets demand, BLU handsets might give the Nexus 4 a hard time.

I can see two major problems coming with these handsets: bad upgrade policy (if they ever get one) and weak Cortex A7-based CPU. They come with stock 4.2, sure, and minimal customization "should" speed up updates, but we've seen that's not the case with small time manufacturers (oh hey there, huawei).

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