BLU Life One X3 Launch Review

Adam Matlock

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Jul 24, 2015
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLY2DWYAP3k&feature=youtu.be

If you’ve been following BLU then there’s one thing that you know for sure; they love life! In fact, they love life so much that they have named their new phone the “Life One X3”, which is separate from their VIVO series (fun-fact VIVO means “living”). The Life series devices are one of their main product lines, and the X3 is a direct successor to last year’s Life One X2. Are you interested in loving Life too? If so, then check out the details on this fancy new device which just launched today on Amazon with a limited-time sale price of $149.99, while supplies last (normal MSRP will be $249.99).

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Specs: Here’s the rundown on what’s under the hood.

Specs:
- An Octa-core MediaTek 6753 processor (and Mali T720 GPU), clocked at a top end speed of 1.3ghz
- 3GB of memory
- a 5.5” curved display, with 1920x1080 HD resolution, made with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 (400ppi)
- A 5,000 mAh battery!!!!! (this isn’t a typo) – with QuickCharge
- 32GB of internal storage (expandable; supports up to 64GB SD card)
- A 13MP f/2.2 aperture main camera with LED flash – records video at 1080p @30fps
- A 13MP front-facing camera with LED flash
- Runs Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box
- GSM Unlocked 4G LTE for use with ATT/TMO, and other MVNOs
- Bonus --- it also comes with earphones, a clear TPU style case, and a screen protector (installation required)

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Overview and Performance: This is my first time reviewing one of BLU’s Life series devices, and my initial impressions are really good. The “life” moniker has real meaning for this device, especially when you look at the specs. The MediaTek 6753 is no new surprise, and I have laid out my comments on it before in my BLU VIVO 8L review, but for those of you haven’t seen that review I’ll give you the quick rundown. It’s a very power efficient processor that handles multitasking well. It’s doesn’t have the prowess of a SnapDragon 8xx series processor, but for multi-tasking, casual usage and a little bit of gaming, it’s just what the doctor ordered for balancing your daily use. One big selling point for me here is the winning combination of the MediaTek processor, combined with a 5,000mAh battery – yeah; this phone really has a 5,000mAh battery in it. This phone is built for the long haul. In fact, it’s built for more than that. It’s built for life, just like the name implies! This phone will get you through morning, noon and night, and then into the next day, well before your morning cup of coffee runs out.

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Pricing: As I briefly mentioned above, the MSRP is $249, but BLU has partnered with Amazon for an exclusive limited-time sale price of $149, which is an absolute steal of a deal! The device currently only comes in one color: Black.

Display: Overall, I have been very impressed with the graphics. The screen is the same 5.5” 1080p display that the flagship VIVO 8 carries, which is a nice addition to the spec spectrum in this phone. The color saturation is good and the overall balance of color and temperature are sharp as well. Of course, if you want to change things up a little you can go into the display settings and adjust the warmth to your individual preference. The color accuracy is also more on the natural side, versus the ever popular over-saturation technique that Samsung employs in their devices. I am happy that the blacks balance out well, especially considering it has an LCD screen. Generally LCD screens have more of a white-color effect that makes some of the colors look light and faded. Where the display really shines in this device is in longevity. The 1080p display combined with the power efficient processor and 5,000mAh battery will allow you to binge video, games, and YouTube, all day long. There are very little compromises you have to make with this phone, and I like it.
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Battery Life: The battery life on this phone is insane. It is really phenomenal – I can’t describe it any other way. I thought that the VIVO 8 and 8L were amazing with their 4,000mAh batteries, but just when you think it can’t get any better… BLU says “hold my beer.” – or root beer, if you’re under the age of 21. It is nearly impossible for me to kill this thing in one day, and I’m on my phone all the time – which is an understatement itself. I don’t do a lot of video watching, but my screen is usually on from sun up to sun down, and I was nowhere near worrying about running out of juice. BLU says the battery life is rated at two days of use, which is pretty spot-on for normal users. I’m sure there are people out there who could kill this phone in a day if they really wanted to, but barring streaming 1080p video on Netflix for 24hrs straight, you’ll be fine. And in the event that you are so excited about testing out the battery life that you burn the midnight oil and test it out into day two, the phone supports QuickCharge, so you can be back up and running again in no time. The phone also comes with a 5V/2A charger, which is still using USB 2.0 – I wish they would go ahead and change this soon, but it’s not the end of the world.

Fingerprint Sensor: The Fingerprint Sensor (FPS) on the Life One X3 works well. As I have mentioned before, I really prefer having the FPS on the front of the phone, and apparently BLU feels the same way. Even though the 8L changed things up a little bit, I’m glad they had a change of heart with this phone and moved it back to the front. I really liked how the VIVO 8 FPS was also a home button, which could be pressed down to return to the home screen. The Life One X3 isn’t a physical home button, as much as it is a soft home button. You can touch it to get back to the home screen, but it doesn’t press in. The FPS is accurate and works well enough. The only time I had any complaints was when I went to unlock it from standby. Once or twice it would vibrate and not turn the screen on, but I only managed to get it to do this twice. Every other time it worked just fine. It also has a little bit of lag when opening from standby. It’s not overly slow, but compared to my Pixel 2 that I carry as a daily driver, it’s not quite on the same level. However, I have to temper this claim with the fact that the Pixel 2 cost me $649, and the Life One X3 is $149. You have to make some compromises on your expectations when you’re comparing arguably the best android device on the market to a $150 phone.
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Sound: The sound on the phone is very good, and definitely better than many other phones off the shelf now-days, especially in this class of devices. The dual-speaker setup on the phone is very much akin to the VIVO 8, and it works well. I especially like the downward firing speakers because the sound bounces right off of your hands, which directs the sound toward you when you're holding it. The volume is great, and it puts out some pretty good sound in the mid, to high range. The bass isn’t spectacular, but it works well for watching shows/movies and casual usage. Oh, and bonus…. It has a 3.5mm jack, which also makes me a happy camper. I know we’re on the doorstep of 2018 here but it still drives me crazy that many flagship devices these days are leaving the 3.5mm headphone jack in the dust. They seem to think that tossing a dongle in the box is an acceptable solution… I respectfully disagree, and shall continue to lament the slow death of the headphone jack. However, today is not that day because BLU rocks and allows us the ability to plug in our earphones, headphones and auxiliary cords, so we can get our audio straight from the tap.
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Camera: The camera on this phone is very similar to the 13MP camera that’s in the VIVO 8 (F2.2 vs. F2.0), which is pretty darn good for an economy level, unlocked phone. However, this time around BLU doubled down on 13MP awesomeness and threw a 13MP front-facing camera in as well, with a handily paired LED flash as well – they spared no expense (RIP John Hammond). In addition to the impressive photographic hardware, BLU included tons of built-in features, all at the tip of your fingers. All you have to do is a quick swipe to the left while using the camera to access all of the enhancements and tons of other options to help you shoot the perfect picture. I have definitely been impressed with the camera suite, which is built into the camera and allows you to make adjustments on the fly and doesn’t require an additional app to tweak the camera or add enhancements – very nice! The cameras definitely get the job done. The only hang-ups I have are the image stabilization and noise that you get when trying to snap pictures up close, or of moving objects. Noise you say… what’s that? The noise I’m referring to is the sharpness and clarity of the photographs. You’ll still snag a decent image, but the focus can sometimes give away the low-price underpinnings behind the camera hardware. However, it’s definitely not the end of the world, and once you get used to it you can learn how to take excellent pictures with this phone.
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Software: Ok… before I get too deep into the weeds about the software, I’m going to go ahead and address the elephant in the room. For those of you who are in the know, or experienced the problem firsthand, there was a problem with an update for the Life One X2 recently (it was isolated to only that device). When the update was pushed out, if effectively “bricked” the device, meaning it couldn’t be unlocked or used temporarily until BLU came up with a solution to the issue. This lasted about a week until BLU was able to figure out the problem and get people back on track with their devices. As hard as it is to remain neutral when it comes to opinions regarding the issue, I must place it all in context. This is not the Life One X2; it is the One X3. Additionally, the software issue was limited and did not affect everyone running the device, and BLU has subsequently fixed it. So… rejoice and be happy, for the X3 is here, fun and fancy free, and amazingly cheap for the awesome hardware that it has under the hood. Getting more into the details of the user experience, I am happy to report that the device comes with Android 7.0 Nougat. BLU has been spot on this year with their phone releases, shipping all of their latest devices out with Nougat. I know some people are still die hard OS upgrade fanatics and expect everything to come with Oreo straight out of the box this late in the year, but I want to place that into context. Oreo is still only on 0.5% of all devices, so simmer down. We will get there. Nougat just finally almost passed the percentage of phones that are still running Lollipop (26% vs. 23% ... Seriously… it's still behind Lollipop). So, enjoy the 7.0 experience. It’s nice, it’s sharp and it’s here to stay for a while.

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Moving on... With the Life One X3, BLU decided to stick with the more mainstream approach of the S1 and keep things running a more traditional Nougat interface, using the swipe down from the top for quick-options, notifications and settings, and swipe up no longer does anything. The VIVO 8 and 8L changed things up for a short while with their counter intuitive swiping from the bottom for settings and all of that jazz, but now BLU seems to have decided to change everything back to normal, which I appreciate. Swiping to the right will still get you over to the handy-dandy Google Assistant, which I absolutely love. All in all, I enjoyed the software experience and I’m glad that they adjusted the UI to bring back the pull-down quick settings menu, and kept the app drawer intact as well. The overall look and feel of the user-interface is clean, and looks almost stock. There isn’t a lot of pre-loaded software and bloatware clogging up the home screen or the memory, which is a winner for me.

Conclusion: All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed using the Life One X3, and I have no hesitation in recommending it. Whether you’re looking for a great experience without the high price tag of many other devices, or you just want a solid backup phone to carry around with you, the Life One X3 is a capable phone that checks lots of boxes for a wide variety of people. The Life One X3 is a quality device that lives up to its name and is very competitive within the budget arena. In fact, I’d say that it’s even a step above much of the budget competition, with its golden crown made of 5,000 glorious milliamps, and sharp 5.5” Full HD screen. It’s really hard to go wrong with this device, and I think that anyone that purchases it will be very pleased.

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If you’re interested in picking up a Life One X3, you can find them on Amazon’s website today, 14 December 2017, with exclusive limited-time pricing of $149,99, and a regular MSRP of $249.99 - here's the link: https://www.amazon.com/BLU-Life-One-X3-Smartphone/dp/B0784VB4JX/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1513224699&sr=8-2&keywords=blu+life+one+x3 So, if you’re interested in picking one up, I doubly recommend that you snag one now while it’s $100 off – you can’t beat this deal with a stick!

Planning on picking up one of BLU’s new Life One X3 phones? Let me know down in the comments. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts and questions.

Here's my full review on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrjdSa1GfYA&t=1s
 
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