January 7, 2016
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Here at CES 2016, BLU has just unveiled two new devices for the budget market, the BLU Vivo 5 and Vivo XL. Sporting a premium design, decent specs and some interesting features we aren’t used to seeing on budget devices, these new smartphones do a great job of not sacrificing build quality and features for a lower price point. With that said, the budget-friendly market is already quite large, so can these devices stand out from the crowd? Let’s try to find that out, as we take a first look at the BLU Vivo 5 and BLU Vivo XL.

One thing that should be clarified early on is that both of these smartphones are nearly identical in the specification department. The only difference between the two are the build materials, aesthetics and memory options.

BLU Vivo 5 Vivo XL hands on AA 1

Starting with the design, the Vivo 5 comes with an all-metal body crafted from a single block of aluminum, finished off with chamfered edges to make the phone look much more premium. On the other hand, the Vivo XL comes with a plastic build and a mirror-like finish that wraps around the device. It also comes with a unique pattern detail that will help make the phone stand out from the crowd.

BLU Vivo 5 Vivo XL hands on AA 4

Around front, both phones sport 5.5-inch Super AMOLED displays with a resolution of 1280 x 720. Considering the incredibly low price point that come with these phones, we’re not at all surprised BLU decided to forgo Full HD panels this time around. Aside from that, both the Vivo 5 and Vivo XL come with capacitive back, home and recent apps keys.

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BLU Vivo 5 Vivo XL hands on AA 5

Under the hood, both phones come with a 1.3GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6753 processor and a Mali-T720 GPU. The Vivo 5 sports 3GB of RAM, 32GB of on-board storage and microSD expansion, while the Vivo XL comes with just 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and microSD expansion. So far we haven’t really been able to make either of these phones stutter all that much, and navigating around BLU’s custom software interface is a breeze.

BLU Vivo 5 Vivo XL hands on AA 3

Speaking of software, both phones run Android 5.1 Lollipop, with a promised upgrade to Android 6.0 Marshmallow in the future. BLU is definitely getting better at updating its devices in a timely fashion, so we wouldn’t be surprised if the updates arrive sooner rather than later.

BLU Vivo 5 Vivo XL hands on AA 6

Both phones sport a 13MP rear camera with an LED flash, f/2.0 aperture and support for HD 1080p video recording at 30fps. The front cameras on the devices come in at 5MP, which should be plenty for all your selfie-taking needs. So far the cameras on these devices look very promising, so we’re excited to test them out in the future.

BLU Vivo 5 Vivo XL hands on AA 7

BLU has a few other things up its sleeve with these devices, too. Both the Vivo 5 and Vivo XL sport non-removable 3150mAh batteries, USB Type-C ports for charging and data transfer, as well as fast charging technology. Both also sport Hi-Fi DTS Sound for an enhanced audio experience.

 BLU Vivo 5 and Vivo XL
Display5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with 1280 x 720 resolution
Processor1.3GHz octa-core Mediatek MT6753
GPUMali-T720
RAMVivo 5: 3GB
Vivo XL: 2GB
StorageVivo 5: 32GB, microSD expansion
Vivo XL: 16GB, microSD expansion
Camera13MP rear camera
5MP front camera
ConnectivityWi-Fi a/b/g/n, GPS, Bluetooth v4.0, Hotspot, Type C-USB, FM Radio, VoLTE
Battery3,150mAh, non-removable
SoftwareAndroid 5.1 Lollipop
DimensionsVivo 5: 151.9 x 74.6 x 6.9mm
Vivo XL: 155.2 x 76.6 x 7.5mm
ColorsVivo 5: White-Silver, Solid Gold
Vivo XL: Liquid Gold, Chrome Silver, Midnight Blue, Rose Gold

Interested? BLU will begin selling these devices very soon, both for under $200. The Vivo 5 will be available in White-Silver and Solid Gold color options in February on Amazon and through Best Buy for only $199.00. The XL will be available in Liquid Gold, Chrome Silver, Midnight Blue and Rose Gold colors sometime in January through Amazon and Best Buy for $149.00.

No, these aren’t the most high-end devices we’ve ever seen, but we think $149-$200 is a steal for devices that boast these specs. What do you think? Are these phones worth the money? Let us know what you think in the comments!

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