Reviews
Pros

-inexpensive
-sleek design
-near stock Android software
-good battery life
-performs well even when gaming
-good camera outdoors
-4G LTE compatibility in the US

Cons

-camera suffers in low light

Rating
Our Rating
Battery
8.2
Display
8.2
Camera
6.8
Performance
8.5
Software
9.2
Design
8.6
Bottom Line

The BLU Life One X offers more than its competitors at a much lower price point, and raises the bar for what a budget device can be. Whether you’re playing the most graphic intensive of games, multitasking, or taking pictures, the BLU Life One X doesn't fail to impress.

8.3
Our Rating
You have rated this
Buy now from Amazon

This year we’ve seen a much larger focus on affordability, without compromise in quality. The end result is a slew of fantastic, premium devices to choose from, without breaking the bank. This trend is not only limited to the high-end side of things, but has made its way across the entire price spectrum, resulting in some great “bang for your buck” smartphones that fall in the sub-$250 category.

With the year winding down, BLU, the Florida-based company known for their affordable devices, seems to have saved the best for last with their latest budget-friendly offering. Given the competition it faces, does this low-cost smartphone prove to be a compelling choice? We find out, in this in-depth BLU Life One X review!

See Also: Blu Life One X vs Moto G 2015

Design

BLU LIFE ONE X

Not a lot is expected from budget-friendly smartphones as far as design and build quality is concerned, but the BLU Life One X manages to pleasantly surprise. The device features a frame made from a high-quality aluminium, that has been sand-blasted to create a sort of matte finish texture, and the back cover is made with a faux leather plastic that has been coated in a smooth paint layer. All of this not only results in the phone feeling great in the hand, but contributes positively to the handling experience as well. Also helping is the fact that the device isn’t too tall, thick, or heavy, and with a 5.2-inch display up front, one-handed use is certainly comfortable.

BLU_2

Taking a look around the device, the power button and volume rocker are found on the right side. These buttons offer a fair amount of tactile feedback, and while they don’t come with a textured finish to help make a distinction between them, the buttons are spaced far apart enough for this to not become an issue. The headphone jack and microUSB port are at the top and bottom respectively, and a single speaker unit can be found on the back. The back cover is also removable, and while the battery itself isn’t user replaceable, opening it up allows for access to the microSD card slot and dual SIM card slots.

BLU_1

BLU certainly manages to bring home the point that affordable does not necessarily translate to cheap, and while the Life One X may not have the most intriguing design, its build quality far surpasses any expectations you may have from a device that falls in the sub-$200 price range.

Display

BLU LIFE ONE X

The BLU Life One X comes with a 5.2-inch IPS LCD display with a 1080p resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 424 ppi. The display is sharp, with good color reproduction, allowing for a great media-consumption experience, and you will be hard-pressed to find a display of a similar quality and resolution when compared to other devices that are in this price category.

Aiding the display experience is MiraVision, which includes a set of options you can choose between in the Settings. The default setting is the “Standard Mode,” and while that is good by itself, some users may appreciate the extra punch in colors that is available with the “Vivid Mode.” There is also an “User mode,” that lets you customize the settings to your liking, with you being able to fine tune the contrast, saturation, brightness, sharpness, color temperature, and dynamic contrast. The preset Standard and Vivid modes will be more than enough for most, but the ability to play around with the settings is a nice addition.

Performance and hardware

BLU LIFE ONE X

Under the hood, the BLU Life One X comes with an octa-core MediaTek MT6753 processor, clocked at 1.3 GHz, and backed by the Mali-T720 GPU and 2 GB RAM. This processing package is found with a few other similarly-priced smartphones as well, but while this is considered a low-end to mid-range setup, the performance it allows for is quite impressive, helped along with the availability of 2 GB of RAM and a near-stock software experience.

Loading applications is pretty fast, and switching between apps via the Recent Apps screen is also smooth and snappy. The device also holds up very well while gaming, even with more processor-intensive games, and while you may see some dropped frames here and there, this isn’t a frequent occurrence, and rarely detracts from the gaming experience. Granted, the Life One X isn’t going to favorably compare in terms of performance when pit against the higher-end, and far more expensive, smartphones out there, but against its direct competition, the performance of this device is practically unmatched.

BLU LIFE ONE X

16 GB of on-board storage is the only option available here, but expandable storage via microSD card by up to 64 GB is possible, which is always a big plus for anyone concerned about meeting their storage needs. The device also comes with a standard suite of connectivity options, with the exception of NFC. Unlike a lot of other budget-friendly smartphones that are available from various Chinese OEMs, the Life One X has no trouble with accessing 4G LTE networks in the US, which is another big positive, and the device also comes with dual SIM capabilities.

The Life One X comes with a fairly large 2,900 mAh, which allows for a full day of use comfortably. Unlike other budget-friendly devices, you can get some pretty heavy usage with the device, including gaming and taking a lot of pictures, and the Life One X managed around 4.5 hours to 5 hours of screen-on time. There is no fast charging capabilities here, but you won’t find yourself needing to charge the device until the end of the day anyway.

Moto G4 Plus -9See also: Best cheap Android phones (December 2015)422

Camera

BLU LIFE ONE X

The camera is another aspect that is mostly overlooked as far as affordable smartphones are concerned, but even that is something that has been slowly changing. The BLU Life One X comes with a 13 MP rear camera with phase detection auto focus and an LED flash, along with a 5 MP front-facing unit, which also comes with a flash.

The camera interface is very simplistic, and while there are some go-to features already on the viewfinder, some key features, like HDR, are tucked away in a menu. The menu also includes a slew of other modes and settings, including a Beauty Mode, Sports Mode, Dual View Mode, Night Mode, and even a Pro Mode, that lets you adjust white balance, ISO, and more. With there being no Auto HDR, you will have to dive into this menu every time you want to enable HDR, but it does work well for the most part.

blu-life-one-x-vs-moto-g (23)

The camera is capable of taking some nice shots in good lighting conditions, and while the image may look a little soft and with subdued colors, most pictures look pretty decent. While HDR does bring out the shadows and add a lot of sharpening to the image, you may be better off not using it in well-lit situations, because of the time it takes to take a shot, which will require very steady hands, given the lack of OIS. HDR does make more of a difference in low-light conditions, making for a brighter image every  time, but once again, steady hands are a must to avoid blurry images.

The camera is capable of recording video at the 1080p resolution, but you can always lower that in the Settings. Like the images it takes, colors in the video are somewhat subdued and with cooler tones, but the videos captured do turn out looking quite nice, albeit a little shaky, with there being no optical image stabilization available. Selfies look quite good as well, with a good amount of detail. While the front-facing flash can be useful in extremely dark scenarios, it can be quite harsh, and tends to flood the subject.

Smartphone cameras have taken huge strides this year, and while the camera of the Life One X doesn’t come close to those of the flagship devices out there, it does  more than get the job done if you’re looking to share images and videos to social media, and does seem to provide a better camera experience than some of its competition.

Software

BLU LIFE ONE X

The software experience across BLU’s smartphone portfolio has been quite inconsistent, with some devices featuring drastically different user interfaces from others. However, in the case of the Life One X, what you get is a near stock version of Android 5.1 Lollipop out of the box, which also contributes to the smooth performance of the device, along with a few useful extras baked in.

BLU LIFE ONE X

A lot of Material Design elements can be seen throughout the UI, including the Recent Apps screen, which only adds a Clear All button, and the notification drop down, which comes with just a few extra options in the Quick Settings menu. Also available are some screen-off gestures that BLU is calling Smart Awake, which allow you to launch various apps by drawing letters on the screen when it is off, such as an M to launch the music player, C to quickly start the camera, and O, to turn on the flashlight. Other gestures include double tap to wake, and flipping the phone to silence a call or alarm. There is also a Pocket Mode, that uses the proximity sensor to save battery while the device is in your pocket.

BLU has stated that they will be making software updates a priority, and have a promised an official update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow by the end of Q1 2016.

Specifications

Display5.2-inch LCD display
1920 x 1080 resolution, 424ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Processor1.3GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6753
GPUMali T720 GPU
RAM2GB
Storage16GB
MicroSDYes, up to 64GB
Dual SIMYes
Networks3G: 850/1700/1900/2100
4G: 2/4/7/12/17
Up to 150Mbps
SoftwareAndroid 5.1 Lollipop
Camera13MP rear-facing camera, Phase Data Autofocus
5MP front-facing camera, LED flash
Battery2900mAh, non-removable
Dimensions186.8 x 72.8 x 8.4mm
Price$149

Pricing and final thoughts

The BLU Life One X is currently available for just $149 from Amazon, with the color options including black and white.

So there you have it for this in-depth look at the BLU Life One X! Pricing is always a priority for users looking for budget-friendly devices, and it doesn’t get any better than the Life One X.

Priced at just $149, what you get is an impressive build quality, beautiful display, solid internals, and a great software experience, all for what is essentially one of the cheapest smartphones out there. BLU also adds some extras to the deal, including a pair of earphones and a replacement back cover with a flap to cover the display, which brings a little bit more durability. The compatibility with 4G LTE networks in the US is also a big plus, and with everything that this device brings to the table, it really is one of the best phones you can get for under $150.

Buy now from Amazon
  • Wave

    Can this be used for international specifically Vietnam/Japan?

    • mulva

      Probably no or limited LTE, but this is basically a rebadged Indian phone with a different radio (Micromax Canvas something and another name)–search for that and maybe it has those bands. Otherwise it is an unlocked quad-band device.

      • netanil

        Wiko Fever is the other re-badge version.

        • balcobomber25

          There are several rebadged versions they are all made by Tinno mobile of China (who owns Wiko).

          To the OP to work on LTE in Japan and Vietnam you would need at least the following bands:

          Japan: 1, 8, 9, 11, 18 or 28 (check with individual carriers as to which they use)

          Vietnam: One of the few countries where LTE hasn’t been deployed for commercial use, it is supposed to launch in 2016. The awesome thing about Vietnam though is you can get an unlimited data 3G plan for about $4 a month.

  • eddnav

    This thing is outrageously good. How, what? why? Blu needs more recognition their devices are always great, but this is far and beyond awesome.

  • kig3e

    this review is so fake, how the hell a mt6753 have good performance ? it’s like 3 time slower than the mt6752 you can also find in this price range.

    • Karly Johnston

      Not hardly, it is only 15% slower and half the price.

    • balcobomber25

      So because it is slower than another processor (and not even close to 3x), it can’t have good performance? By that logic the 6752 isn’t good performance either because it is slower than the X10.

  • [A]dri[A]n

    I have this phone and I can’t believe how awesome it is! $99 was a complete steal for this device :)

  • Jonathan Kramer

    It’s missing LTE Band 5 which is one of those that AT&T uses so while it seems like a great deal (though when first released it was $99), it may not suit those like myself who prefer AT&T LTE reliability and network.

    • weaves insight

      I did notice this, but it does have the other three (2, 4, and the main one, 17). Seems they’re mostly using band 5 where they don’t have band 17 spectrum–for my home state of California, I’m told that’s only on the far north coast. (Awaiting mine, ordered early for $99)

      • balcobomber25

        Yea it’s usually very rural areas that use Band 5, Vermont for instance uses a lot of Band 5.

    • netanil

      B5 LTE, you serious?
      AT&T barely uses B5(850), if at all. Main LTE bands for AT&T are 2,4,17. Those three are far more important to have.
      Maybe you’re thinking of US Cellular, which is the only US carrier currently that really uses B5.

      • balcobomber25

        ATT does use Band 5 in some markets where 17 isn’t available usually rural areas. But it is one of the least used bands in the US LTE spectrum.

  • Pete

    You should add “non-removable battery” to the CONS list.

    • balcobomber25

      Not a con for everybody, I haven’t a had a need to remove my battery on any phone in the past few years. Not since the days of horrible software that would freeze up and required a battery pull.

      • LogicalMadman

        It’s a con when the battery life sucks, like in this phone.

        • balcobomber25

          That’s not a con, that is a negative. A con would be if they advertised the battery as being great and then it sucked.

          • LogicalMadman

            A con is a negative by definition. Go pick up a dictionary or use Google.

          • balcobomber25

            Here’s what Google says, top 2 definitions:

            persuade (someone) to do or believe something, typically by use of a deception.

            “I conned him into giving me your home number”

            noun

            1.

            an instance of deceiving or tricking someone.

            “when depositors, realizing that the whole thing is a con, demand repayment”

          • LogicalMadman

            OMG, how old are you? Am I arguing with some stupid kid here about a simple definition?

            con2
            kän/
            noun
            noun: con; plural noun: cons
            a disadvantage.”borrowers have to weigh up the pros and cons of each mortgage offer”

          • balcobomber25

            OMG, how old are you? You don’t know words have multiple definitions?

          • LogicalMadman

            Actually, it’s not the same word. It’s spelled the same, but it’s a different word. When people are talking about pros and cons, and the way it was used in this context by Pete above “You should add “non-removable battery” to the CONS list,” it means by definition a NEGATIVE. The context of the statement makes it obvious which word it is.
            Now listen, I need to go to work now, and I don’t have any more time to argue with 10 year old who needs to pay more attention to his English teacher.

          • balcobomber25

            Actually I didn’t even read the original comment that was months ago, I just read it in disqus. But if your going to talk about other people’s English, you might want to check your own.

          • Gábor Mészáros

            FYI : CON is a short for contra here

          • Tracy

            No fool, you are the one that started talking about English and that it isn’t a con.

          • Tracy

            omg you are an idiot. You presented only one definition of the word “con”.

  • netanil

    Btw, nice job with the review Krystal.

  • bpcooper14

    I know some dual sim phones do not have lte capabilities on both sims. does this one? I haven’t had a chance to dig into the info yet. Thanks!

  • Ron

    Agreed Krystal. I moved over from another nice budget phone, the Samsung Grand Prime, and this BLU Life One X (2016) is overall much better. Great all-around package, except for the mediocre camera — which none of the budget phones have a superb camera. I like to stream bluetooth audio to my (high-end) car stereo system and the streaming quality from the BLU phone is excellent. Great, concise review Krystal — I especially like your video comparison with the Moto G 2015 edition.

  • Theresa

    Nexus 6p, 5x and other Nexus Phones are now on sale only on

  • C Lo

    What sort of future proofing does this device offer? 2GB RAM and a mediatek processor worry me. I’d rather buy a device that lasts me two-three years at double the initial price as this one than have to buy a new Blu phone every year.

    • Airyl

      Why would you even be looking at budget devices if you’re willing to pay double?

      • C Lo

        Not all devices double this price are worth it. I personally see any phone priced over $300 as a bad choice. In the case of this device, if I have to replace it every year, its not a good value versus something like a Zenfone 2 where it may offer more future proofed specs and UX. If BLU can be used for 2+ years, it may provide greater value to me.

        • balcobomber25

          No one knows where the industry will be in 2+ years so a device that may seem “future proof” today, might not be 2 years from now. What I can say about Blu is they have excellent build quality and I have had multiple Blu phones that lasted well beyond 2 years. In fact I found one of my old ones (Blu Life Play) this summer and started using it as a travel phone, still works without issue.

          What is more “future proof” in the Asus? They both feature 64 bit SoC’s.

        • Merwinn

          No one has a crystal ball unless you are working for Android R&D.

  • Gerard Boris Rojas

    budget phones are no longer synonym of bad phones! :D

  • SteveNR

    Hey Krystal, I would like to know if you’ve had issues with the headphone jack on this phone. There’s some people on Reddit saying that there is a problem. Great article BTW.

  • Krystal is so cute! Ehm… and a good reviewer, too!

  • balcobomber25

    Not a bad phone but the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 blows this out of the water in every way (except LTE coverage) for roughly the same price. I have had a few Blu phones and all received at least one OTA, with Xiaomi you get one every week.

    • Charles Pauzé-Robert

      I always asked myself if Xiaomi phones could have Google Play Services on them? I know stock it isn’t there, but can you get it without rooting?

  • Manfred von Lühmann

    just 2gb of ram? that’s strange, we have a local brand here called myphone and they released their latest flagship called the My36 its the same make and model of the BLU Life One X but it has 3gb of ram…

    • we_the_people324

      And how much does said phone cost? I doubt its in the same price range as the life one x. And if it is, theres probably other tradeoffs it makes for that extra GB if ram.

      • Manfred von Lühmann

        Costs 6,999 philippine pesos around 148.32 USD not sure about the tradeoff’s though, everything is simillar with most of its hardware only difference is the 3gb ram and the type of rom it uses, our version has no app drawer a bit similar to the MIUI rom from xiaomi

  • Willphazer

    Will it play real racing 3?

  • Very good budget smartphone. Perfect smartphone size if you ask me. 5.5 screens are just too big, Sigh! Maybe I just have small hands. :(

  • sdrgf

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  • Reginald

    **Crickets**is anyone there**Crickets**. Quarter 1 ending soon. That promise of 6.0 is running out of time.

  • Jose Gonzalez

    My Idol 3 after just 4 months hit the s#!++3r and I’ve been looking at this. The only real con to me is no NFC. I’ve fallen in love in Android Pay recently, though it is definitely a luxury. The camera isn’t too big of a deal since I’m mainly on Snapchat more than anything and I’m not expecting top tier photography from a sub $200 device. Anyone had this phone for a while to say their thoughts?

    • animatethant

      It’s a nice phone … it’s a little buggy though compared to the experience my wife had with her old S3. Of course, it all depends. It’s mainly centered around whatsapp … it freezes here and there and she has to reset phone which annoys her.

      on the other hand, the price is good, the fit and finish is impressive for such an affordable phone.

      but the problems she’s having is downgrading her experience and if it keeps happening any longer she will probably ask for another phone.

  • djack

    what carriers support this phone?

    • Kelli2011

      Most GSM carriers will support it. I am use TracFone’s BYOP and it seems to work well for my light use.

  • Luca Magnani

    Would you recommend this phone for people with small hands?

  • Linda Everett

    Very good phone overall, but it does not have the option to automatically save photos to the SD card – wonder why? I’d like that option.

  • MountainMiss

    I am extremely disappointed in the high reviews of this phone. I bought it for my husband, and barely a month in the phone refused to acknowledge the existence of the camera– upon further research, this is a well-known issue. Blu’s only solution is for my husband to send the phone to them and if they find a problem they will send a new phone– with a turn around time of 20 days!! My husband is suppose to go without a phone for 3 weeks?? Terrible customer service and a clearly flawed product. Really ticked that we were swayed into buying this.

  • TickingMind

    Dual Sim active, with data available on both?

  • DarkMaster

    Terrible customer service!! My Blu Life One X has a dead pixel and I didn’t notice it until after Amazon’s return period was over so I contacted customer service and they requested a picture. But when I try to take a picture, you can’t see the dead pixel because its too small. Blu did not allow me to bring it to a Best Buy or another credible tech store and have them check it out.