BLU Pure XL Review
A specs-monster indeed, it handles the task well, but it’s still below the quality we get in other high-end phones.
Okay, so we’ve seen a handful of newer phones that break the 20-megapixel mark. Now, the Blue Pure XL joins this same club. Ensuring its place in the grand scheme of things, the BLU Pure XL impressively comes equipped with a 1/2.3” 24-megapixel rear camera sensor. The fun doesn’t end there, since it also features an f/2.0 aperture lens, dual-tone LED flash, OIS, sapphire lens cover, and yes, a dedicated shutter key as well. The front camera gets treated to a wide-angle 8-megapixel one, so that tally is impressive in its own regard.
Catering to both novice users and enthusiast, the camera interface is filled with an array of shooting modes and controls, which are complements to its camera hardware. Usual shooting modes are present here, such as HDR, panorama, and face beauty, but it’s deepened thanks to its magic focus, ultra pixel, and professional modes – where the latter even offers us up to 12 seconds of shutter speed. At first glance, the interface might seem generic, as most of the layout is reserved for the viewfinder, but there are guidelines and a level meter that give it that camera-like operation. Now the only thing missing here is support for RAW capture.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll keep saying it: just because there’s a high megapixel count camera on board, it doesn’t automatically make it a strong performer. This is certainly true here with the BLU Pure XL! Even though it’s backed by a beefy camera and a range of useful shooting modes, its performance is average at most, definitely not in the same caliber as brand name high-end phones such as the Note5 or LG G4. For a device with a monster 24-megapixel camera, you’d think it would deliver resounding fine details over its 16-megapixel rivals, right? Well, it actually produces the same level of detail, so it’s nothing extraordinary with its compilation. This means that we’re still able to crop photos to our liking, without diminishing the quality of the cropped shot.
One issue we do find problematic is how it favors an over exposed composition with outdoor, sunny shots. Not only does that mitigate some of the details in the shots, but it just throws off some of its balance. Luckily, colors come out realistic for the most part under this condition, favoring a neutral production more than anything else. With the HDR mode, however, it boosts the contrast and exposure to the point that photos sometimes appear washed out.
Fortunately, the camera’s f/2.0 aperture lens helps to improve its performance under low light, as it’s able to draw in more light to expose details that would otherwise be lost. Although there’s still some noise speckling evident in some of our shots, it’s toned down for the most part – and it’s able to reasonably retain a decent level of detail and colors. Using its professional mode and setting its exposure to its longest setting, while keeping the phone still, it delivers crisp looking photos that breathe a lot of life. You can see it in how well each blade of grass are individualized in one of the photos.
If it’s too dim, its dual-LED flash does nicely to cast even lighting throughout the shot. The 7 feet mark seems to be its sweet spot, mainly because the light is cast evenly – whereas at 3 to 5 feet, we sometimes get an over-exposed composition.
Equally as well, the BLU Pure XL is equipped with a degree of video recording resolutions that can go up to 4K UHD. And just like its still shot performance, the video recording quality is average at best. There’s a decent amount of detailed captured by it, but its color reproduction favors a colder tone. Despite that, the overall production still looks visually appealing – and it helps, too, that a digital zoom still reels in some acceptable footage.
Some of our issues with the performance, however, include its lack of continuous auto-focus, which means that adjusting it is done through touch interaction with the screen. Secondly, its audio recording is a bit unpleasant to the ear due to the thin toned voices it captures and the overall sharpness of the audio quality. And finally, the digital zoom doesn’t operate in a smooth and fluid manner. Rather, it jumps to certain zoom levels, so the end result looks choppier.
Prepared to have your ears blow away, the audio experience is one of the best!
The gallery app can be arranged in timeline and folder views, so it follows in the same manner as other phones with its implementation. And just like them, it comes packaged with a multitude of editing tools and filters to enhance captured footage. All told, the gallery app functions to what we’d expect out of any phone.
While there’s the Google Play Music app for our music listening needs, BLU also packages in its own custom music player. On the surface, it appears pretty conventional, but we do like how it employs some of Material Design’s traits with its bright and bold color scheme, which can be customized too. There’s even a section where lyrics are displayed as a song is playing, but the rest of its functionality is generic.
Placing a lot of emphasis on the audio experience, BLU has endowed the Pure XL with some outstanding qualities that make it quite immersive. Starting with the rear-firing speaker, it’s undoubtedly commanding with its 80.8 dB output – a tally that’s remarkably potent and powerful, so it’s extremely deafening with its tone! Not only that, but the ample bass and treble that accompanies the output gives it impeccable dynamic range.
Now, the same level of attention has been placed on the 3.5mm headphone jack too. Despite putting out a weak 0.406 V of power, the various DTS equalizer settings it offers enhances the quality considerably. By choosing the correct device adapter and effects volume settings, it achieves poppy and thumping tones that make it equally compelling.
And it certainly can stand its own ground when it comes to watching videos on its AMOLED display! Due to its vivid color reproduction, videos just look fancy watching them on the phone, even if colors tend to be off. Adding to that, there’s also a multi-tasking function that’s available that puts the playing video into its own window, which can then be positioned on top of whatever we’re doing.