The specs of the new Blu R1 HD are almost too good for its price

The specs of the new Blu R1 HD are almost too good for its price
Blu, the US-based company that specializes in low-cost unlocked smartphones, has announced the Blu R1 HD, a handset that's priced starting at just $99.99 unlocked.

Given its price, some may hurry to dismiss the Blu R1 HD as a smartphone with horrible specs, but it turns out that this isn't the case.

Blu says that the R1 HD features a premium build quality at an entry-level price. While that affirmation might be an exaggeration, the handset does come with a metal frame that goes around the body as well as a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass on the front, a combination that's hard to find at the $100 price point. The back of the phone is made out of polycarbonate.

The body of the Blu R1 HD measures 8.8mm across the waist, although a downside of this slimness is the presence of a camera hump on the back.


The display of the Blu R1 HD is a 5-inch panel running at 720 by 1280 pixels, specs that are good enough for a PPI of 294. That's not a level of crispness that we'd be satisfied to see in a premium phone, but it will definitely suffice given the affordable price. Furthermore, Blu says that the display on the R1 HD features a brightness rating of 420 nits, which should mean that the panel is bright enough to be used in direct sunlight.

Under the hood beats the heart of a MediaTek MT6735 chipset, a SoC that integrates a 1.7GHz quad-core Cortex-A53 CPU and a Mali-T760MP2 GPU. In terms of processing power, the MT6735 should be on par with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410, a chip that you'll find powering pricier phones such as the Motorola Moto G3.

When it comes to the memory, the handset will be offered in two versions. The cheaper one is priced at $99.99 and comes with 8GB of integrated storage space and 1GB of RAM. The second one, which is is the one we'd recommend, comes with 16GB of integrated storage and 2GB of RAM at a price of $109.99. Usually, smartphone makers ask for much more than $10 to upgrade your phone to 2GB of RAM / 16GB of storage.

In the imaging department, the Blu R1 comes with an 8MP primary camera on the back as well as a 5MP selfie shooter with 84° wide-angle capture. Both cameras are equipped with LED flash.

The Blu R1 HD runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box, which is a pleasant surprise on such a cheap phone. Better still, Blu says that it guarantees an update to the final version of Android N. 

If need be mentioned, the Blu R1 HD will work just fine with GSM carriers in the US (such as T-Mobile or AT&T) but is not compatible with Verizon or Sprint.

As we've told your yesterday, the Blu R1 HD is one of the two phones that Amazon offers for Prime members at a $50 discount if they agree to personalized ads on the lockscreen. What this means is that Amazon Prime members can get the Blu R1 HD for just $49.99/$59.99. 

We have yet to test drive the Blu R1 HD for ourselves, but the handset sure is promising to offer a lot of phone at a killer price. The handset will officially launch on July 12. 

source: Blu

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15 Comments

1. libra89

Posts: 2280; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Yeah, not bad Blu! I wish there were some colors in this offering but it's fine.

2. GreenMan

Posts: 2697; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

Well, isn't The MT6735 is a mere Quad-Core instead of "Octa Core"...??? According to Wikipedia; The MT6753 is Octa-Core...

12. CellieCell

Posts: 151; Member since: Apr 14, 2010

Your right, even blu's website and Amazon is stating is a quad core. So phonearena has it incorrect.

14. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

they silently fix it

3. siddharthayadav202

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 23, 2016

On par with sd 410?? You mean destroy Sd 410?

5. GreenMan

Posts: 2697; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

@siddharthayadav202 It's performance is just slightly better than 410, and cost a LOT cheaper... But Snapdragon is Snapdragon... It's more efficient, durable, reliable, generates less heat and is optimized for low power consumption, has better GPS Module (quicker lock) although the GPU is slightly lacking... Dragon Inside, Taiwan Outside... G'Day!

4. Barney_stinson

Posts: 672; Member since: May 30, 2016

Not bad for US region!

6. perry1234

Posts: 645; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

Why does the CDMA standard even exist? Why don't all the network providers switch to GSM anyway since 90% of the devices are based on this tech ?

7. KingSam

Posts: 1448; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

6735 is indeed quad core and is better than SD 410. Nice I might get one for that $100. But I'm waiting for PA to test it.

8. JcHnd

Posts: 280; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Great offer indeed, just let me tell you the problem with BLU.... they wont ever update their phones even if they promise! For instance, I own the BLU Life One X 2016 and runs super smooth and build quality is awesome i seriously drop it even on concrete almost everyday (im really clumsy) and wont even scratch! BUT they promised android 6.0 for it on Q1 and just didnt, they even deleted all mentions on their website and social media about it and one of the real reason of buying it was the update. Still, this is a great offer for what they give you, but they seriously need to improve their costumer service, they release too many phones almost every month and they neglect the costumers they already have.

15. Joshing4fun

Posts: 1245; Member since: Aug 13, 2010

This is 100% true. But while it's a decent phone, it's not likely one you would want/be able to keep for more than a year.

9. fyah_king unregistered

Just bought the 16gb version for my mom, since her firephone is dying.

10. jimberkas

Posts: 18; Member since: Sep 14, 2015

bought the 16GB version for $60. not much to lose at this price and wanted to try BLU anyway. it won't be my primary phone and amazon is very good about returns if the ads are overbearing or the phone is crap.

11. Elfmonster unregistered

Amazing. If another variant added 1080 screen and 32gb storage for a few more bucks, that would be a pretty tough competitor, too.

13. fyah_king unregistered

Yep, another $20 for 1080p and 32gb woild be nice, but my mom will be fine with the sd card.:)

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