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Blu Gets Into US 5G with the Bold N2

Aug 11, 2022, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Bold (a sub-brand of Blu) has announced its first phone with 5G optimized for a US network: the Bold N2. The N2 is an affordable unlocked phone with very good support for T-Mobile's 5G and 4G networks, including mid-band 5G (bands 41 and 77). The N2 has a 6.6-inch, full-HD, curved-edge AMOLED display. It has a 4,200 mAh battery and supports 30-watt fast charging. It's powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 810 chip paired with a generous 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage. On the back is a 64 megapixel main camera and 5 megapixel wide camera. The front sports a 16 megapixel camera with its own dedicated depth camera for portrait-mode selfies. It has an in-display fingerprint reader and runs Android 11. The teal-tinted body is "designed with deluxe textured leather and metal housing using premium, high-end materials". It will sell for $349 on Amazon, but Blu is offering a launch-day "flash launch deal of $100 off where early birds can snag it for $249 while supplies last."

Blu's G91 Max Offers Flagship Features for Less

Feb 23, 2022, 3:01 PM   by Rich Brome

Blu has launched the G91 Max, a follow-up to its G91 Pro affordable gaming phone. For just $250 (or less), the phone offers a large 6.8-inch FHD+ display, a 108-megapixel Samsung main camera, large 5,000 mAh battery, 18W fast charging, 10W wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, and a generous 8 GB of RAM. It has only basic support for US 4G networks such as AT&T, supporting domestic LTE bands 2, 4, 5, 12, and 13. Blu says the phone is available for just $150 ($100 off) in a "a flash deal while supplies last", however it's currently listed on Amazon for $180. The phone is powered by a MediaTek Helio G96 chip and runs Android 11. It has 128 GB internal storage and supports memory cards. It has a side-mounted fingerprint reader and 16 megapixel selfie camera. It's available in either Spectrum Grey or Sky Blue.

Blu's New $200 Phone is Optimized for Gaming

Aug 26, 2020, 12:01 PM   by Rich Brome

The Blu G90 Pro is a $200 gaming phone. It's powered by a MediaTek Helio G90T processor, a chip introduced last year specifically to power affordable gaming phones such as the Blu G90 Pro. The phone also has a huge 5,000 mAh battery and supports 18W fast charging. The 6.5-inch display has full-HD resolution. It has 4 GB RAM, 128 GB storage, and a memory card slot. It has a 48 megapixel main camera with a Sony sensor, 8 megapixel wide camera, 2 megapixel macro camera, depth camera, and a 32 megapixel selfie camera. It also has USB-C, rear fingerprint reader, and Android 10. It's available in Purple Haze starting today from Amazon.

BLU Launches Premium "Bold" Brand With All-Screen N1

Sep 9, 2019, 7:00 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Sep 9, 2019, 11:00 AM

BLU Products is launching a new brand of phones today called "Bold". The new brand will release just one or two "premium flagship and flagship-like devices" per year. The first model, the N1, is being released today for $250. It has an all-screen, notch-less design thanks to a pop-up selfie camera. The full-HD AMOLED display measures 6.4 inches. It has a curved black glass back and a solid metal frame. It's powered by a MediaTek Helio P70 chipset with 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, plus a memory card slot. Its dual rear cameras include a 16-megapixel Sony IMX499 main sensor plus a depth sensor. It has an optical fingerprint reader built into the display. It has a 3,500 mAh battery, wireless charging, and 18W fast wired charging via USB-C. It also has a 3.5mm headset jack. The software is stock Android 9. The phone is being offered unlocked with basic support for AT&T and T-Mobile networks, and potentially Verizon. It supports US LTE bands 2, 4, 5, 12, and 13. While supplies last, boldphones.com is offering a $50 instant rebate on the N1, for a net price of just $200. The phone is also available from Amazon at the full price.

Blu Launches New Entry-Level Models

Sep 4, 2019, 7:00 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Sep 4, 2019, 1:45 PM

Blu today launched the Vivo X5 and Vivo XL5. The two unlocked Android phones come in at $100 and $130, respectively, before a limited-time $20-off launch deal. Both have tall HD displays, fingerprint reader on the back, 3.5mm audio jack, 13-megapixel main camera, 3 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage, a memory card slot, and dual SIM slots. The smaller X5 has a 5.7-inch HD+ display, 8-megapixel selfie camera with LED flash, and a removable 2,800 mAh battery. The larger XL5 has a 6.3-inch HD+ display with a small notch, 13-megapixel selfie camera, extra depth camera on the back, and a 4,000 mAh non-removable battery. Both have a plastic back with a stitched-leather texture design. They are both powered by a Unisoc SC9863A octa-core processor using an ARM A55 design, and support LTE bands 2, 4, 5, and 12, for basic support with networks like AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket, and Metro. With the special launch pricing, the Vivo X5 is just $79, and the XL5 runs $109.

Hands On with the Blu G9 Pro

Aug 27, 2019, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Aug 28, 2019, 7:58 AM

Blu's latest "flagship" phone is really more mid-range, but it's unique as a $250 phone with wireless charging and triple rear cameras. It doesn't have everything, but the specs are decent, and if your priorities are screen and battery, it might be worth a look. We check it out in this hands-on.

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Blu G9 Pro Includes Wireless Charging

Aug 27, 2019, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Aug 27, 2019, 9:30 AM

BLU today announced the G9 Pro, the company's latest higher-end phone in its lineup of affordable unlocked Android phones. Unusual features for its price class include wireless charging and triple rear cameras. The front sports an all-screen design with a 6.3-inch, full-HD display with a small notch. The glass rear has a shimmering blue/purple design. The main camera is 16 megapixel, assisted by a 5-megapixel depth camera for portrait mode. The third camera is a 20-megapixel module dedicated to night mode. The selfie camera clocks in as 24 megapixels. The G9 Pro is powered by a MediaTek Helio P60 processor paired with 4 GB of RAM. It comes with 128 GB of internal storage and supports an additional 128 GB via its memory card slot. It also has a large 4,000 mAh battery and supports 18W fast charging via USB-C. The phone also has a fingerprint reader on the back, 3.5mm audio jack, and FM radio. Included in the box are a clear case, fast charger, and 3.5mm earbuds. The phone is normally $250, but "lucky customers who are first in line will be able to purchase the G9 Pro ... for $199.99 while supplies last." The phone is available now from Amazon.

Hands On with the Blu G9

May 22, 2019, 9:00 AM   by Rich Brome

The Blu G9 is $180 Android phone that tries very hard to look like a flagship-level phone, and pulls off the look pretty well. Its HD screen has a small notch, it supports fast charging of the large 4,000 mAh battery, and it has 4GB of RAM, so there's substance behind the style. What's this eye-catching phone like in person? We checked it out.

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Blu G9 Offers Large Battery, Premium Look for Less

May 22, 2019, 9:00 AM   by Rich Brome

The Blu G9 went on sale today, offering mid-range specs and flagship looks for just $130 for a limited time on Amazon, and $180 thereafter. The phone has a metallic frame and glass-like metallic back with color gradient. Its 6.3-inch HD screen has a small notch and a 19:9 aspect ratio. Its large 4,000 mAh battery supports fast charging via USB-C. It also has dual rear cameras, Android 9 (Pie), a MediaTek Helio P22 processor, 4 GB of RAM, and 64 GB of storage. It also has a fingerprint reader, 3.5mm audio jack, and memory card slot. The G9, an unlocked phone, has Cat. 6 LTE in bands 2, 4, 5, 12, and 13, providing basic support for AT&T and T-Mobile networks.

Two Blu Phones now Work on Verizon

Jan 4, 2019, 12:00 PM   by Rich Brome

For the first time, Verizon customers can use an unlocked Blu phone certified by Verizon for use on its network. Two models are compatible: the recently-launched Blu Vivo XI and Vivo XI+. The phones can be used with Verizon’s Bring your Own Device Promotion, where customers will get a $150 prepaid MasterCard and free SIM card with activation. Best Buy is also running a sale today of $20 off the Vivo XI. Customers who have already purchased one of these phones can request a software update from Blu that will add official Verizon compatibility.

Blu Vivo Go Packs Android 9 Pie Go Edition

Dec 13, 2018, 10:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Blu today revealed the Vivo Go, a sub-$100 smartphone that runs the Go Edition of Android 9 Pie. Android Go focuses on delivering the core Android experience through lightweight versions of Google's apps. The phone has a curved glass front, mirrored frame, and metal-plated rear panel. The Vivo Go includes a 6-inch, HD+ (1,440 by 720p) screen with a 2:1 aspect ratio. It is powered by a 1.5 GHz quad-core MediaTek chipset with 1 GB of memory and 16 GB of storage. The phone supports microSD memory cards up to 64 GB. Blu paired an 8-megapixel main sensor with a VGA secondary sensor on the rear. The dual-camera setup supports adjustable depth-of-field portrait shooting. The selfie camera has a 5-megapixel sensor and a flash of its own. Other features include a rear-mounted fingerprint reader, 3.5mm headphone jack, microUSB, and basic support for AT&T/Cricket Wireless and T-Mobile/Metro. The Blu Vivo Go goes on sale via Amazon.com today for $80. It will be available briefly at a price of $60 upon launch.

Blu Vivo XL4 Boasts Wide-Angle Selfie Camera and Facemoji

Dec 6, 2018, 10:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Blu Products today unveiled the Vivo XL4, an affordable device with a large screen. The XL4 has a curved glass front and a metal chassis. The notched display measures 6.2 inches across the diagonal and has slim side bezels. The display resolution is HD+ with 1,520 by 720 pixels in a 19:9 aspect ratio. The XL4 is powered by a 2.0 GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P22 processor with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. The main camera has a 13-/2-megapixel configuration and supports portrait or bokeh-style images. The selfie camera also has a 13-megapixel sensor. It can take advantage of pixel binning in low light situations, as well as capture wide-angle shots. The selfie cam powers the Facemoji feature, which lets people create animated likenesses of themselves that can then be shared via social media. Other features of the Vivo XL4 include a 4,000mAh battery with quick charge, fingerprint sensor, microSD memory card slot, microUSB, dual SIM card, and split-screen operation when in landscape orientation. The phone runs Android 8.1 Oreo and is sold unlocked via Amazon. The retail price is $150, but it is being offered at $99 for a short time. The Vivo XL4 supports AT&T/Cricket and T-Mobile/Metro.

Blu Debuts Vivo XI+ Flagship with Liquid Design

Aug 29, 2018, 9:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Blu Products today announced its flagship phone for the second half of the year, the Vivo XI+. This phone drops the mostly metal build of older Blu phones in favor of a glass front, metal frame, and plastic rear that are assembled with a smooth profile all around. The Vivo XI+ boasts a 6.2-inch full HD+ display with a notched area up top. The phone is powered by the MediaTek Helio P60 processor with 6 GB of RAM to ensure smooth performance. The Vivo XI+ sports AI-assisted Face ID that relies on infrared to detect the owner's face and irises. Blu gave the Vivo XI+ a dual camera system on the back. The main shooter has a 16-megapixel sensor while the second had a 5-megapixel sensor. Together, they can take bokeh/portrait shots, as well as time-lapse, slow-motion, HDR, and beauty shots. The selfie camera has a 16-megapixel sensor and screen-based flash. The 3,050mAh battery supports wireless charging (Qi) and rapid charging. Other features include support for microSD memory cards or two SIM cards, USB-C, WiFi, GPS, and LTE. It runs Android 8.1 Oreo. The phone can operate on the networks of AT&T/Cricket and T-Mobile/MetroPCS. It is being sold unlocked from Amazon.com for $350. For a limited time (while supplies last), Blu is offering the phone for sale at $250.

Blu Pure View Boasts an 18:9 Screen and Dual Selfie Cams

May 31, 2018, 5:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Blu Products today announced the Pure View, a premium handset that adopts modern design aesthetics and features. The Pure View has a metal frame and ultraviolet battery cover on the rear in midnight black. The phone has a 5.7-inch HD+ display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and Gorilla Glass 3 for protection. The Pure View is powered by a 1.3 GHz MediaTek octa-core processor with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. The phone features a 13-megapixel main camera at f/2.2 on the rear with flash and dual selfie cameras on the front with flash. Both front cameras have 8-megapixel sensors, one with a standard-view lens and the other with a 120-degree wide-angle lens at f/2.2. Other features include a 3,000mAh battery with rapid charging, fingerprint scanner, face unlock, memory card slot, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, WiFi, and microUSB. The phone is sold unlocked with modest support for AT&T/Cricket Wireless and T-Mobile/MetroPCS. The Blu Pure View retails at $199, but Amazon.com is offering it for $129 for a limited time.

Blu Settles with FTC Over Data-Scarfing and Security Claims

May 1, 2018, 7:17 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Blu Products has reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over allegations that it allowed its phones to surreptitiously collect owner data. Blu installed software from a China-based company called ADUPS Technology. The software was intended to help issue security and operating system updates to Blu devices. ADUPS, however, ferreted tons of user data, including calls and text messages with phone numbers and content, contact lists, installed app lists, and real-time location. The FTC said Blu misled customers by claiming only the needed information was collected, and then further falsely claimed that it had implemented measures to protect consumer information. Moreover, ADUPS' software was insecure and left owners of Blu phones vulnerable to attack. At one point, Amazon.com ceased selling Blu handsets. Under the terms of the settlement with the FTC, Blu is cannot mislead customers about the information it collects, why that info is collected, and what it does with the information. It must also put into practice comprehensive security measures to address security risks. Blu will be subject to third-party audits very two years for 20 years to ensure compliance. Blu will not have to pay a fine. Blu Products is based in Miami and makes low-cost phones.

Blu Vivo X Boasts 4 Cameras, 6-Inch 18:9 Display

Feb 21, 2018, 11:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Feb 21, 2018, 6:48 PM

Blu Products today announced the Vivo X, a flagship handset that costs less than $300. The phone is among the first from Blu to jump to the 18:9 aspect ratio for its 6-inch 1440 by 720p display. The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. A MediaTek Helio P25 processor powers the phone with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage. The Vivo X features two sets of dual cameras. A 13-megapixel main camera adorns the rear of the phone with LED flash, f/2.0 aperture, PDAF, and full HD video capture. The secondary camera has a 5-megapixel sensor. Together, they can produce bokeh-style images. On the front, the Vivo X features a 20-megapixel standard-angle camera with user-facing LED flash, f/2.0 aperture, and face unlock, and an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera. Other features include a 4,010mAh battery with rapid charging, fingerprint reader, MaxxAudio speakers, dual SIM card support, Bluetooth 4.1, WiFi, GPS, and support for GSM networks in the U.S. It runs Android 7 Nougat. Blu is selling the Vivo X unlocked from its own web site as well as Amazon for $249.

Blu Life One X3 Adopts Metal-and-Glass Design and Packs 5,000mAh Battery

Dec 14, 2017, 6:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Dec 14, 2017, 11:34 PM

Blu Products today announced the Life One X3, a mid-range handset from the unlocked phone maker. The One X3 has a curved-edge glass screen and an aluminum frame painted in matte black. The display measures 5.5 inches and offers full HD resolution. Blu gave the One X3 an octa-core MediaTek 6753 processor at 1.3 GHz with 3 GB of memory and 32 GB of storage. An impressively large 5,000mAh battery lurks within in the chassis to provide more than a day of battery life. The One X3 sports two 13-megapixel cameras, one on front and one on back. Both cameras have their own flash and can capture full HD video. Other specs include Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, and LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 12, 17, 28) for moderate compatibility with AT&T/Cricket and T-Mobile/MetroPCS. The phone ships with Android 7 Nougat. Blu says the One X3 is available from Amazon.com starting today. The standard retail price is $250, but the Life One X3 will be available for a limited time at $150.

Unlocked Blu S1 Compatible with Most U.S. Carriers

Nov 1, 2017, 7:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Nov 6, 2017, 1:23 PM

Blu Products recently announced the S1, an inexpensive Android smartphone that's available unlocked from Amazon.com and BestBuy.com. One of the chief benefits of the S1 is its wide compatibility with U.S. LTE networks. It supports AT&T and T-Mobile, and, unusually, Sprint, as well as their prepaid services including Cricket Wireless, Boost Mobile, and MetroPCS. Blu says it also offers SIM kits for the S1 from Tracfone, Net10, and H2O. The S1 features a curved glass front with metallic paint on the smooth rear panel. The 5.2-inch display offers 720p HD resolution in a 16:9 aspect ratio, and the phone is powered by an octa-core 1.5 GHz MediaTek 6750 processor with 2 GB of RAM. The main camera has a 13-megapixel sensor with an aperture of f/2.0 and an LED flash, while the front camera has a 5-megapixel sensor. Other features include Bluetooth, FM radio, GPS, and WiFi; 16 GB of storage and support for microSD memory cards; front-mounted fingerprint sensor; and a 2,800mAh battery. The Blu S1 runs Android 7 Nougat and is available online for $130 from Amazon and $180 from Best Buy.

Blu Vivo 8L Takes Aim At Selfie Fans

Oct 24, 2017, 7:03 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Blu Products today announced the Vivo 8L, an update to the Vivo 8 that boasts a powerful selfie camera. The Vivo 8L is based around a 5.3-inch 720p HD screen with curved Gorilla Glass 3. Blu put a 1.3 GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6753 processor under the hood with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage. The selfie camera has a 20-megapixel, wide-angle sensor with a f/2.0 aperture, LED flash, and features such as smart scene detection and face beautification software. The main camera is based on a 13-megapixel Sony IMX258 sensor with f/2.0 aperture, LED flash, HDR, PDAF/laser focus, and slow-motion video capture. Other features include Bluetooth, GPS, LTE, WiFi, fingerprint reader, and 4,000mAh battery with rapid charging. It runs Android 7 Nougat and is sold unlocked with basic support for AT&T and T-Mobile. The Blu Vivo 8L costs $200, but Amazon.com is offering it for $150 starting today.

Blu Vivo 8 Enters the Flagship Fray

Aug 30, 2017, 2:35 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Blu Products today announced the Vivo 8, the company's flagship smartphone. The handset is crafted from aluminum and has a 5.5-inch full HD display with curved edges. The phone is powered by an octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor clocked at 2 GHz with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. The main rear camera has a 13-megapixel Sony IMX258 sensor with laser and phase detection autofocus, an LED flash, and an aperture of f/2.0. The main camera includes features such as adjustable bokeh, slow motion video capture, and face beautification. Blu expects Vivo 8 owners will be more interested in taking selfies, as the phone includes a 16-megapixel, wide-angle selfie cam with its own LED flash. The selfie cam includes features such as panorama mode, bright and soft flash bursts, group selfie mode, and face beautification software. The phone packs a large 4,010mAh battery and includes 18W rapid charging. The Vivo 8 supports the LTE networks of AT&T/Cricket and T-Mobile/MetroPCS. Other specs include WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, and a fingerprint scanner. It ships with Android 7 Nougat. The Blu Vivo 8 is available from Amazon for $299, though Blu is running a limited sale wherein the phone will cost $199 from August 31 to September 1. The Vivo 8 comes in black or gold.

Amazon Resumes Selling Blu Handsets After 'False Alarm'

Aug 7, 2017, 7:14 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Blu Products said over the weekend that its phones are once again available from Amazon.com. Amazon ceased selling the phones after it discovered the phones may be collecting consumer data and sending the data to remote servers. Blu maintained that any data collected by its phones was "standard for OTA functionality" and "[did] not affect any user's privacy or security," according to a statement provided to Engadget. Blu and Amazon resolved the matter through conversations between them, though Amazon said it will pull the phones again if it feels its customers' privacy is being violated. While consumers can once again purchase Blu smartphones from Amazon.com, the company's phones have not returned to Amazon.com's Prime Exclusives. Prime Exclusive devices cost less as long as the owner agrees to view ads on the lock screen.

Amazon Pulls Blu Smartphones from Its Virtual Shelves

Aug 1, 2017, 7:10 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Amazon has suspended sales of smartphones made by Blu over privacy concerns. A security firm called Kryptowire recently demonstrated that Blu phones collect consumer data and send it to servers located in China — all without alerting the owner. "Because security and privacy of our customers is of the utmost importance, all Blu phone models have been made unavailable for purchase on Amazon.com until the issue is resolved," said Amazon in a statement provided to CNET. Blu vehemently denies any wrongdoing. "There is absolutely no spyware or malware or secret software on Blu devices," insisted Carmen Gonzalez, Marketing Director at Blu. The Adups OTA application, which what Kryptowire identified as the bad actor, is standard software, according to Blu. "The data that is currently being collected [by Adups] is standard for OTA functionally and basic informational reporting. This is in line with every other smartphone device manufacturer in the world. There is nothing out of the ordinary that is being collected, and certainly does not affect any user's privacy or security." Blu went on to defend the company's decision to store information in China, as well, claiming Huawei and ZTE have plenty of servers in China that contain consumer data. The company says it takes customer privacy seriously and there have been no security breaches due to its data collection policies. Blu did not address Amazon's decision to halt sales. Amazon did not say what it has asked Blu to change in order to bring its phones back online. Blu was one of the first handset companies to participate in Amazon's Prime Exclusive Phones program, which offers steeply discounted handsets in exchange for ads that appear on the lock screen.

Blu R1 Plus Includes 5.5-Inch Screen, 4,000mAh Battery

Apr 28, 2017, 1:46 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Blu today announced the R1 Plus, an update to the R1 HD. The Plus builds on the R1 HD's foundation with a larger 5.5-inch 720p HD screen with curved edges and Gorilla Glass 3. The R1 Plus is powered by a 1.3 GHz quad-core MediaTek 6737 processor with the Mali T720 GPU. It ships with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. Both the 13-megapixel main camera and the 5-megapixel front camera have flashes for low-light shooting. The selfie camera has an 84-degree wide field of view. The R1 Plus improves the battery capacity to 4,000mAh, which Blu says delivers more than a full day of use. This dual-SIM phone is being sold unlocked with support for the GSM/LTE networks of AT&T/Cricket, T-Mobile/MetroPCS, and others. The phone supports VoLTE and HD Voice when used on T-Mobile's network. Other specs include Bluetooth 4, GPS, WiFi, and an FM radio. The R1 Plus runs Android 6 Marshmallow, though Blu says an update to Android 7 Nougat is in the works. The Blu R1 Plus goes on sale via Amazon and BestBuy Saturday, April 29. The phone normally costs $160, but Blu is offering it for $110 during its first 24 hours of availability online.

Blu Makes the Vivo XL2 Official

Jan 25, 2017, 8:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Blu today announced the Vivo XL2, a sequel its popular Vivo XL phablet. Like its predecessor, the XL2 is an affordable, unlocked Android handset that's available to consumers directly online. The XL2 has a 5.5-inch 720p HD display and the phone is powered by a MediaTek 6737T quad-core processor with Mali T720 GPU, 3 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of storage. The 13-megapixel main camera is assistant by phase-detection autofocus, an aperture of f/2.2, and an LED flash. The user-facing camera boasts a wide-angle lens and an 8-megapixel sensor. The XL2 can record video up to 1080p HD. Blu ensured the Vivo XL2 can support AT&T/Cricket and T-Mobile/MetroPCS by including LTE Bands 2, 4, 7, 12, and 17. The phone also offers WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, and an infrared blaster. The Vivo XL2 runs Android 6 Marshmallow and is supported by a 3,150mAh battery. The phone goes on sale today via Amazon.com for $150.

FCC Reveals Blu Vivo XL2

Dec 29, 2016, 8:02 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Documents spotted on the FCC web site show off an unannounced phone from Blu called the Vivo XL2. According to the FCC, the XL2 includes support for similar radio bands to the Blu Vivo XL. The draft user manual for the XL2 points out features such as a rear camera with flash, user-facing camera, memory card support, and Google's Android operating system. The Vivo XL has a 5.5-inch screen, 3,150mAh battery, and MediaTek processor, but the FCC doesn't carry information about those specs for the XL2. Blu has not yet confirmed any details about the Vivo XL2.

Blu Phones Among Those Impacted By Hidden Backdoor

Nov 15, 2016, 1:06 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Kryptowire, a security research firm, says millions of phones made by Chinese companies, including Blu, include a secret backdoor that send owner text messages to a server in China. The backdoor also records location data, reports the contents of messages, and identifies the recipients of those messages. The software in question is made by a Chinese corporation called Shanghai Adups Technology Company and is installed on some 700 million phones, connected devices, and cars from Huawei, ZTE, Blu, and others. Adups says its software is meant to help improve customer service by identifying junk messages and phone calls. Adups installed the software at the request of one of its Chinese phone-maker clients, but the company would not disclose which one. Blu Products executive Samuel Ohev-Zion says the software was found on about 120,000 of its devices in the U.S., but was removed. "It was obviously something that we were not aware of. We moved very quickly to correct it," said Ohev-Zion in a statement provided to the New York Times. "Today there is no Blu device that is collecting that information." Ohev-Zion did not say how recently Blu discovered the software, nor when it was removed. Kryptowire says Adups' software was hidden deep within the firmware of Android phones, invisible to end users. Adups insists it is the phone-maker's responsibility to disclose such software and data collection to end users. Kryptowire has brought the matter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The research company did not say if Huawei or ZTE handsets are affected.

Hands On with Blu's Life One X2

Sep 23, 2016, 10:46 AM   by Rich Brome

Blu has a new Android phone offering desirable specs like a fingerprint reader, 5.2-inch, full-HD screen, 16-megapixel camera, fast charging, and memory card slot, all for under $200 unlocked. We spent a little time with it. Read on for our impressions.

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Blu Shows Off the Life One X2

Sep 22, 2016, 7:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Blu today announced the Blu Life One X2, a successor to the Blu Life One X. The Life One X2 features a 5.2-inch full HD display with curved glass, a metal chassis, and a fingerprint reader for biometric security. The phone is powered by a 1.4 GHz octa-core Snapdragon 430 processor with 2 or 4 GB of RAM and 16 or 64 GB of storage. The main camera has a 16-megapixel sensor with phase-detection autofocus and LED flash, and the selfie camera has an 8-megapixel sensor with a forward-facing LED flash. The phone supports Qualcomm's QuickCharge technology for rapid power-ups. The Life One X2 supports LTE Bands 2, 4, 7, 12, and 17 for AT&T, MetroPCS, and T-Mobile. Preorders for the phone kick off today from Amazon.com. Consumers who preorder Sept. 22 or 23 will receive a 10% discount. The 2 GB / 16 GB model costs $150 and the 4 GB / 64 GB model costs $200. Blu didn't say when the Life One X2 will ship.

Hands-On with the Blu Vivo 5R

Sep 15, 2016, 10:06 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Blu recently announced the Vivo 5R, a well-spec'd device that it plans to sell directly to U.S. consumers. We spent a few moments with it today. Here are our initial thoughts.

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Hands-On with the Blu Studio Touch

Sep 15, 2016, 7:50 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 16, 2016, 12:33 AM

Blu's Studio Touch is another low-cost option that's available unlocked. It's not quite as polished as the Blu R1 HD, but it has a few surprising features. Here our our first impressions.

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Hands-On with the Blu R1 HD

Sep 15, 2016, 7:50 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Blu's R1 HD is a compact budget phone that offers a lot of bank for the proverbial buck. It's well made, attractive, and boasts some features that are hard to find at this prince point. Here are our initial thoughts.

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Blu Debuts Vivo 5R Handset, for Sale from Amazon and Best Buy

Sep 13, 2016, 7:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Blu announced the Vivo 5R, what it calls a refresh of the Vivo 5. The 5R features a metal-and-glass design, with aluminum body panels, 2.5D curved glass, and a fingerprint reader on back. The display measures 5.5 inches across the diagonal and offers full HD resolution. The Vivo 5R is powered by a MediaTek 6753 processor, which has eight cores clocked at 1.3 GHz, and is accompanied by a Mali T-720 GPU. The phone includes 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, and supports memory cards up to 64 GB. Blu gave the phone a 13-megapixel main camera with LED flash and phase-detection autofocus, and an 8-megapixel front camera with LED selfie flash. The phone includes a 3,150mAh battery with rapid charging, and it supports LTE bands 2, 4, 7, 12, and 17 for moderate compatibility with AT&T, Cricket, T-Mobile, and MetroPCS. The Blu Vivo 5R runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and goes on sale September 21 for $199. It is sold unlocked.

Blu R1 HD Revealed In Full

Jun 29, 2016, 8:44 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Amazon today announced the Blu R1 HD, an inexpensive Android smartphone that will be sold unlocked starting July 12. The R1 HD boasts curved Gorilla Glass 3, a metal frame, and soft-touch paint job on the rear cover to give it a premium feel. The screen measures 5 inches with 720p HD resolution and the phone is powered by a 1.3 GHz quad-core MediaTek 6735 processor with 8 GB of storage and 1 GB of RAM. The R1 HD includes an 8-megapixel main camera with f/2.0 aperture and LED flash, while the selfie camera — which has an LED flash of its own — captures 5-megapixel images. The phone can record video up to 1080p HD. The Blu R1 HD runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and comes with support for two SIM cards and microSD cards up to 64 GB. The phone is sold unlocked and is compatible with the networks run by AT&T and T-Mobile (LTE in Bands 2, 4, 7, 17). The device costs $100, but will be sold exclusively by Amazon for $50 with ads and promotions appearing on the lock screen. A second variant includes 16 GB of storage and 2 GB of RAM for $10 more.

Amazon to Sell Discounted Unlocked Phones As Long As You Agree to Watch Ads

Jun 29, 2016, 8:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Amazon today announced a new promotion that will allow Amazon Prime subscribers to buy unlocked handsets at reduced prices. The first two phones eligible for the promotion include the Motorola Moto G4 (pictured) and the Blu R1 HD. Amazon said the Moto G4 will cost $150, rather than $200, and the Blu R1 HD will cost $50, rather than $100. There's a big catch, however; people who buy these phones will be required to watch ads. "The breakthrough pricing on unlocked smartphones is supported by personalized offers and ads," explained Amazon, "including deals and product recommendations, displayed on the phone's lockscreen. When a customer sees an offer, they can tap to learn more about it or simply unlock their phone to dismiss." Amazon uses a similar model to discount the price of its own Kindle-branded e-readers. Both the Moto G4 and Blu R1 HD go on sale July 12. For a limited time, Prime subscribers can get an additional $25 off the G4, dropping the total price to $125.

Hands On with the Blu Vivo 5 and XL

Jan 8, 2016, 10:00 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Jan 8, 2016, 11:27 AM

Blu is not only a fast-growing company, they're a fast-changing one as well. Most Blu phones to date have been cheap, plastic, and loaded with plain Android. At CES this year, Blu had a bit of a coming out party as a more aspirational brand. Their new Vivo 5 and Vivo XL have AMOLED displays, premium designs, advanced features, and a new, custom Blu skin on top of Android. Yet they stay true to Blu%u2019s mission of providing affordability, topping out at $200. We spent some time with the new models.

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Blu Monetizes Lock Screens

Jan 7, 2016, 3:00 PM   by Rich Brome

Blu and Celltick today announced a deal to put Celltick's Start screen technology on all new Blu phones. Start is an interactive lock screen that includes shortcuts to favorite contacts, apps, and more, while displaying content automatically personalized to the user. Users can customize the shortcuts and content they see, or turn off Start completely. Celltick and Blu make money form the arrangement by suggesting content from media partners — such as Huffington Post — and adding pre-roll video ads to video content selected by the user. Blu is also able to gather data to better understand which apps and content its users prefer. The new Blu Vivo 5 and Vivo XL include Start.

Blu Vivo 5 Has Unibody Metal Design

Jan 7, 2016, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Blu today announced the Vivo 5 and Vivo XL affordable Android smartphones. Both have a premium design, and similar specs. The Vivo 5 (pictured on the right) is Blu's first phone with unibody metal design carved from a single block of aluminum. Both phones sport a 5.5-inch HD AMOLED display, 1.3 GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6753 processor, 13-megapixel camera, Type-C USB connector, and 3,150 mAh battery. The phones ship with Android 5.1, upgradeable to Android 6. Besides design, the two phones differ in a few other areas. The Vivo 5 is 6.9mm thick, while the Vivo XL is 7.5mm. The 5 has 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of memory, while the XL has 2 GB of RAM and 16 of memory (both have a memory card slot.) Finally, the XL supports LTE bands 2, 4, 7, 12, and 17 - for full US network support - while the Vivo 5 only supports LTE bands 2, 4, and 7. The Vivo 5 will sell for $199 unlocked next month, while the Vivo XL will go for $149 this month. Both will be sold via BestBuy.com and Amazon.com.

Hands On with the Blu Studio Selfie for T-Mobile

Oct 16, 2015, 9:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Blu is a fast-growing name in the U.S. phone market. To date, they've focused on selling unlocked phone to be used with T-Mobile and MetroPCS. Now, for the first time, they are offering phones officially certified by T-Mobile, that will be sold by official T-Mobile dealers. This is increasingly important for good LTE service with T-Mobile. The Studio Selfie is the first such phone. We spent some time with it, as well as the incredibly thin Vivo Air and Studio Energy 2 with its massive battery. Read on to find out what they're like in person.

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Blu Vivo Air LTE Measures 5.1mm Thick

Sep 9, 2015, 7:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 9, 2015, 7:23 AM

Blu updated the Vivo Air today to include 4G LTE for AT&T, T-Mobile, and other GSM providers. The Vivo Air LTE is machined from aluminum and maintains a slim profile at 5.1mm thick. The phone weighs a mere 3.42 ounces. The Vivo Air LTE includes a 4.8-inch 720p AMOLED HD screen protected by Gorilla Glass 2. The Vivo Air LTE is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. The main camera includes an 8-megapixel sensor with LED flash and 1080p HD video capture, and the user-facing camera has a 5-megapixel sensor. Other features include a 2,050mAh battery, HD sound, and global 3G support. LTE compatibility for AT&T is limited to markets that include bands 2 and 4. The phone ships with Android 5.0 Lollipop, but will be updated to Android 6.0 Marshmallow in the first quarter of 2016. Blu is selling the device unlocked via Amazon. Pre-orders begin today and it ships Sept. 22. The Blu Vivo Air LTE costs $199.99.

Blu Products' Pure XL Boasts 6-Inch Quad HD Screen

Sep 9, 2015, 6:40 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 9, 2015, 7:37 AM

Blu Products unwrapped a new phablet called the Pure XL, which has a refined design and solid spec sheet. The Pure XL features a quad HD screen measuring 6 inches across the diagonal. The display uses Super AMOLED technology and is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. The phone is powered by a 2.0GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio X10 processor with 3 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. It supports memory cards up to 64GB. The main camera has six lens elements with a sapphire cover and captures 24-megapixel images. The selfie camera captures 8-megapixel photos. A fingerprint reader is positioned on the back for securing the handset and the 3,500mAh battery supports quick charge technology. Other features include DTS surround sound, Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, and support for LTE networks such as those operated by AT&T and T-Mobile. The phone runs Android 5.1 Lollipop. Availability was not immediately disclosed. The Pure XL costs $350.

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