Blu Life One X 2016 Review

Posted: May 11, 2016

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The Blu Life One X 2016 is the first device we have reviewed from Blu. To be honest, we weren’t expecting much from a phone with a $150 price tag, but were pleasantly surprised by the quality of this device. In fact, the Blu Life One X has ousted the Motorola Moto G as our recommendation for the best budget phone. If you are looking for a new phone but have less than $200 to spend, you can’t go wrong with the Life One X.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Great value
  • Bright 1080p display with accurate colors
  • Excellent battery life
  • Expandable storage
  • Unlocked
Cons
  • Not the latest Android OS
  • Camera suffers in low light and dynamic range is limited
  • Charges slowly
  • Only 2.4GHz Wi-Fi
7.6
The Blu Life One X 2016 is one of the best budget phones you can buy.
HARDWARE & DESIGN7
DISPLAY8
CAMERAS5
SOFTWARE & FEATURES8
PERFORMANCE6
BATTERY LIFE9
VALUE10

Specifications

Blu Life One X 2016 Specifications
Display: 5.2 inch IPS LCD with a resolution of 1080 x 1920
Operating System: Android 5.1 Lollipop
Processor: Mediatek 6753, 1.3GHz octa-core CPU and Mali T720 GPU
Storage: 16 GB, expandable up to 64 GB with a microSD card
RAM: 2 GB
Cameras: Rear: 13MP with flash
Front: 5MP with flash
Video: 1080p video at 30fps
Connectivity: GSM: 850/1700/1900/2100
LTE: 2/4/7/12/17
WiFi 2.4Ghz only
Battery: Li-Ion 2900 mAh
Other: Dual SIM

Hardware & Design

The Blu Life One X has an aluminum frame and grippy faux-leather back finish similar to the Samsung Galaxy S5. The rounded aluminum sides and textured back make it easy to hold. Overall the phone looks more expensive than it is, the only notable exception is the removable back cover - we have never been fans of the plastic faux-leather look.

Blu Life One X 2016

The right side has the power button and volume rocker that are both precise and clicky. The headphone jack is on the top with the micro USB connector at the bottom. Unfortunately, Blu put the speaker on back of the phone.

Life One X Rear Facing Speaker

The plastic back is removable and underneath is the micro SD card expansion slot and two micro SIM card slots. The battery is non-removable.

Life One X Back Removed

The size is almost identical to the LG Nexus 5X. The Blu Life One X is just 1 mm taller with otherwise nearly identical dimensions to the Nexus 5X. It is thin at 8.4 mm and weighs just 4.9 oz. In the picture below the LG Nexus 5X is on the left with the Blu Life One X on the right.

Life One X compared to Nexus 5X

Blu includes a wallet style or flip cover case with a window that shows the time and notifications on the lock screen when closed. A screen protector is also included with the phone.

Life One X Flip Case

Display

The Blu Life One X sports a 1080p LCD display that looks great. It gets extremely bright and contains plenty of pixels for this size. Blu includes the ability to change the colors of the display through a software feature called MiraVision. The default mode is the most accurate, but if you prefer more saturated colors you can choose the vivid mode. There is even a user mode that provides granular controls over contrast, saturation, brightness, sharpness, and color temperature.

Life One X MiraVision Color

The LCD display is covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 to prevent scratches.

Cameras

The rear-facing camera is a 13 megapixel shooter while the front-facing camera is 5 megapixels. The front-facing selfie camera is pretty impressive: it has a very wide angle lens so you can get more people in a picture and includes a dedicated flash. We aren’t big selfie people around here, but if that is your thing, you won’t be disappointed.

Blu Life One X Selfie Flash

Sadly, the rear-facing camera is just okay. It works well under ideal lighting conditions, but struggles in low light, indoors, and environments that require high dynamic range. If you are taking a picture that is in shadow, it will frequently blow out the bright portions of the image. These issues are not terrible and honestly expected in a phone of this price. As far as we know there aren’t any phones in this price range that have good cameras. The Nexus 5X is the closest thing to a great camera on a budget phone, but still costs more than twice as much as the Life One X.

Blu Life One X Camera

We took some samples pictures with the Blu Life One X that are shown in the gallery below. You can click on the image to see a larger version. If you are interested in higher resolution images directly from the phone and a camera comparison with the LG Nexus 5X, check out our Blu Life One X vs. Nexus 5X picture gallery in Google Photos.

Photos from the Blu Life One X
Video recording

The video recording quality is okay, but suffers in low light and has poor dynamic range as well. The resolution and frame-rate is limited to 1080p and 30 frames per second.

Software and Features

User Interface

Thankfully, Blu has provided a nearly stock version of Android on the Life One X. There is only minimal bloatware: McAfee Security, TouchPal Keyboard, Yahoo Weather, Amazon App Store, and the Opera browser. You can completely uninstall all of these except TouchPal Keyboard and Opera which can be disabled.

Blu has provided a nearly stock version of Android with some useful features added

The features that Blu has added to stock Android are useful. In addition the aforementioned display features, there are smart awake and other gestures, as well as customization of the user interface, and four sound modes.

Smart awake allows you unlock the device to perform a specific task. For example, drawing a circle on the locked screen turns on the flashlight and double tapping the screen unlocks it.

Smart gestures allow you to silence calls or alarms when flipped over as well as the other functions shown in the screenshot below.

Smart Awake Gestures

Performance

The processor in the Life One X is the 1.3 GHz Octa-Core Mediatek 6753 with a MALI T720 GPU. This Mediatek processor provides very similar performance as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 615. Don’t know what that means? Basically its fast enough for most tasks, but isn’t nearly as fast in benchmarks as new flagship phones.

Benchmarks aren’t everything, though. The performance in daily tasks is quick and fluid. The 2GB of RAM ensures multitasking is seamless, and we rarely noticed any hiccups or issues while doing everything from making phone calls and texting to playing most games.
performance in daily tasks is quick and fluid

Some graphically intense games - like modern racing games - don’t run as smoothly on the Blu Life One X compared to higher end devices, but most games will look just fine.

Benchmarks - CPU, GPU, and Storage

CPU Performance - Geekbench 3

Geekbench is a popular benchmark that measures CPU performance. We tested the Blu Life One X 2016 using Geekbench 3. The single and multi-core performance are shown in the graphs below.

Blu Life One X Geekbench 3 Single-Core

In single core tasks the MediaTek processor in the Life One X doesn't hold up as well as many of the other phones in our database.

Blu Life One X Geekbench 3 Multi-Core

In multicore tasks, the Life One X's performance is significantly better - similar to flagship phones from a couple years ago.

Graphics Performance - 3DMark

In 3DMark we used the Ice Storm Unlimited test. A graphics scene is rendered offscreen at 720p and a total score is calculated depending on how quickly the phone is able to create the scene.

Blu Life One X 3DMark

The GPU included in this phone just can't compete with most flagship phones. If you play a lot of very graphically intense games, this phone is probably not best for you.

Storage Performance - AndroBench

In the sequential read and write tests, the Blu Life One X does pretty well. It is in the competition with the much more expensive current generation phones.

The Blu Life One X is able to put up respectable write speeds as well. Note that the read and write storage tests were done while the phone was encrypted to better compare with other devices, but it doesn't come encrypted out of the box. The unencrypted storage speeds are faster than the results shown here.

Reception and Call Quality

Call quality is good overall and reception is average compared to similar phones on T-Mobile and AT&T. Unfortunately, when connected to LTE this device won't use VoLTE, but will instead use the legacy GSM network for calls.

Battery Life

Battery life on the Blu Life One X is very good. In typical daily use it easily lasted the entire day. As you can see from our battery test below, the Life One X has the best battery life of any phone we have tested.

Blu Life One X Battery Life

The major downside regarding this phone’s battery is that it doesn’t have any sort of quick charging, so charging is slow. It takes 80 minutes to get to a 50% charge and over 3 hours to fully charge.

Blu Life One X Charging Time

Conclusion

Blu has really impressed us with the quality of the Life One X for a mere $150. Considering that you are getting about 75% of the flagship experience for less than 25% of the flagship price, it gets our recommendation for anyone on a budget.

Review Summary
Product: Blu Life One X 2016
Description: The Blu Life One X is an excellent unlocked phone for those on a budget.
Rating: 7.6 out of 10
Author:
Editor: R. G. Medlin
Published: 05/11/2016

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I'm using a Blu Life One X 2016