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BLU Pure XL first impressions: hot damn!

Hands on first impressions of the BLU Pure XL, which offers a Quad HD display, fingerprint scanner, 24MP camera and 64GB storage for just $349 unlocked.
By
September 17, 2015

When you think of a handset from American manufacturer BLU, chances are that you will immediately think of the handset as being a low-cost, low-end model, and there’s a good reason for that. Until now, the company has focused on delivering low cost handsets with some trade-offs with the price tag a key focus during the design stages.

In the case of the BLU Pure XL however, we have the company’s best smartphone ever released and on paper at least, the handset is definitely up there with the best of them. Does the premium specs list deliver a premium experience?

At CTIA last week, I spent some time checking out the handset and ahead of our full review, here’s my first impressions of BLU’s latest (and greatest) smartphone.

The design

The first thing that immediately strikes you about the BLU Pure XL is the display and so it should: BLU have included a 6.0-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display that looks vibrant and colourful and at 490 pixels per inch density, it is one of the densest at the price point.

Measuring 164 x 82.2 x 9.6mm, the BLU Pure XL is certainly not the smallest or lightest smartphone on the market but given the large 6.0-inch display, the 73.49% screen to body ratio is certainly more than respectable.

In the hand, it doesn’t feel as large as the measurements suggest but stretching to reach the corners does prove to be somewhat challenging. The display is also backed by Gorilla Glass 3, which helps to prevent scratches and fingerprint marks and for the most part, this definitely helps to improve the overall experience.

The curved back of the BLU Pure XL makes the handset more ergonomically friendly and is essential to the usability of the smartphone, as without a curved rear, it would definitely feel too large in the hand. The metal trim around the edges help to make the handset feel more premium and the gold colour is by far my favourite, as it looks the best out of the three colours (Black, Silver and Gold).

Like many other devices (albeit some that are pricier), the BLU Pure XL comes with a one touch fingerprint sensor on the back. The position of the sensor is where your finger will naturally rest and at least from a quick test, it certainly seems snappy and responsive. One-touch sensors are quite useful as you can unlock your phone just by tapping the sensor with an enrolled fingerprint and at least from first glance, the BLU Pure XL definitely ticks the box here.

The smartphone also has a removable back cover and above the fingerprint sensor is the large 24MP camera, which comes equipped with a sapphire crystal lens cover to prevent damage and optical image stabilisation, phase detection auto focus, a plethora of software features and a dual LED true-tone flash.

The other specs

For a company known for making affordable smartphones in the sub $200 range, the switch to making a more premium handset at a higher price tag certainly comes with its own challenges. The biggest of these is improving the specs and experience enough to ensure that it delivers the value for money that its lower priced siblings off offer. Is the BLU Pure XL up to the mark?

Aside from the specs listed above, BLU has certainly aimed to pack the Pure XL with as much as possible, in order to justify the $350 price tag. The other key specs include a MediaTek Helio X10 octa-core processor clocked at 2.0GHz, 3GB RAM, 64GB internal storage (that can be expanded by a further 64GB), a 3500mAh battery with quick charging, LTE Cat 4, NFC, dual SIM card support and more.

In particular, the Helio X10 processor was the most surprising; while many MediaTek-powered handsets can be slow and sluggish compared to Qualcomm devices, the BLU Pure XL is fast, fluid and showed zero signs of lag. Granted, we only spent a few moments with the handset but with an experience that’s close to stock Android – the Pure XL runs Android 5.1 Lollipop with only a handful of changes to the stock experience – the experience certainly seems to be lag-free.

BLU Pure XL first impressions

It’s difficult to have a definitive opinion on a handset after spending just a few moments with it but the BLU Pure XL struck me from the moment I saw it. While plenty of higher priced handsets make do with IPS displays, the Super AMOLED display is vibrant and definitely a joy to use. The design is not exactly ground breaking but definitely gets the job done and given the price tag, the rest of the specs list is certainly impressive.

[related_videos title=”BLU in video:” align=”left” type=”custom” videos=”615697,615688,606924,583005″]At a cost of $349, the handset is higher priced than anything BLU have ever made before and means the Pure XL will go up against some excellent competition, including key competition from Huawei and the OnePlus 2. We’ve got a full review coming up of the BLU Pure XL but I, for one, would certainly not rule out this smartphone if you’re looking for an unlocked smartphone for under $350.

What do you think of the BLU Pure XL from our very brief hands-on, and would you buy one? Let us know your views in the comments below guys and stay tuned for our full review. I’ll leave you with my reaction when I first laid eyes on the BLU Pure XL: hot damn!