BLU Vivo XI+ Review
Review indexDisplay | Interface and Functionality | Processor and Performance | Camera | Battery life | Call quality | Conclusion
BLU has been a minor player delivering affordable smartphones to consumers, but they’ve never been in contention for being a flagship killer. Well, that may change starting with the introduction of the BLU VIVO XI+, which comes packed with all of the aforementioned features above, but at the fraction of the cost at only $350! Let’s dive in and see if this is really a serious contender.
No shocker here, it’s a premium design without the premium cost.
What’s really impressive is how they’re able to cram so many things into its already thin 7.8mm body. For starters, there’s a fingerprint sensor slapped on the rear, followed by dual-cameras, built-in Qi wireless charging, and even sensors near the earpiece that delivers facial unlocking. We don’t see these kinds of things in a phone under the $500 mark, so to find them here is pretty impressive. If there’s one thing missing from its design, it has to be a headphone jack, but we suppose that’s the one single compromise BLU had to make – albeit, there’s an included adapter for it.
The saturated colors do more bad than good
Interface and functionality
BLU’s custom Android experiences were never really polarizing. However, what really infuriated users in the past was the lack of support in the form of software updates – so when you got the phone, the software that was preloaded was pretty much what you were getting for the life of the phone. That’s pretty crummy when you think about it, but that was reality.
Superficially here with the VIVO XI+, BLU’s skin running on top of Android 8.1 Oreo still looks plain and generic just as before, but the saving grace this time is BLU’s commitment in getting those updates. In fact, it’s being promised that it’ll get treated to Android 9.0 Pie when it arrives, which is a totally new and different strategy for BLU. Even though the experience suffices enough for basic things, the prospect of getting real software updates is definitely an unprecedented offering for BLU.
Processor and performance
Powering the BLU VIVO XI+ is an octa-core 2GHz MediaTek Helio P60 chipset coupled with a generous 6GB of RAM. The horsepower is enough to handle basic phone operations, such as the occasional email reply, surfing the web, and social media posts. We do notice that it’s not quite as tight with its responsiveness, but it’s not terrible either. However, it’s simply underpowered when it comes to gaming! The choppy frame rates make it nearly impossible to recommend for any form of 3D gaming.
We’re not sugar coating anything here, the camera’s performance is predictably disappointing – in comparison to what flagships produce with their cameras. The biggest thing about it is quite simply the lack of fine detail, it’s just devoid of any of it. When lighting is abundant, shots are more than sufficient for sharing on social media, but that’s about it! Under low light situations, the camera continues to exhibit weak details in the shot, which tends to give it a soft and hazy appearance. Making matters worse, images come out extremely dark – while colors appear dull and washed out.
Surprisingly enough, the VIVO XI+’s 3000 mAh battery delivers great longevity – something we really weren’t expecting to find. Our real-world usage easily eclipses a full day, with the battery at roughly 25% capacity by the end of the night. Meanwhile, it manages to reach a mark of 8 hours and 14 minutes in our battery benchmark test, which is a fine result.
At least it’s not downright terrible in this area. Placing phone calls with the VIVO XI+, voices exhibit some distortion through the earpiece, but the volume output is still loud enough to use in noisy conditions. Conversely, our callers mention that we sound a little distant on their end, which leads us to believe that the mics on the phone may be struggling to pick up our voice. For most people, the experience should be tolerable, but it’s certainly not the best either.
Without a doubt, the $350 price of the phone certainly undercuts many of the major players out there, including the OnePlus 6, but its performance in many key areas will probably keep most people from deciding to buy it. Two of the big ones include its choppy graphics processing performance, as well as the subpar results from its cameras. When we look at the overall picture, the BLU VIVO XI+ paints a picture of being a disruptive smartphone, but underneath the sharp looks and ample features, it’s still a phone that’s indicative of its low-cost price.