- Size (LWH): 2.87 inches, 0.35 inches, 5.67 inches
- Weight: 4.8 ounces
- Minimum Rated Talk Time: 25 hours
- Minimum Rated Standby Time: 850 hours
- Battery Type: Lithium Ion
BLU Life One Unlocked Dual Sim Phone L120, 16 GB, White
- Life One comes with an exceptional build quality and luxurious design
- The Packaging includes: 1 Headset ;1 Battery ;1 Charger ;1 Data cable; 1 User manual; 1 Stereo headset; 1 Screen protector; 1 Protective silicone case
- Unlocked cell phones are compatible with GSM carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile as well as with GSM SIM cards (e.g. H20, Straight Talk, and select prepaid carriers). Unlocked cell phones will not work with CDMA Carriers like Sprint, Verizon, Boost or Virgin.
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All your work and personal experiences in one incredible device. Life One comes with an exceptional build quality and luxurious design, combined with the latest technology to provide the ultimate Smartphone experience.
Dimensions: 144 x 73 x 8.9 mm (5.67 x 2.87 x 0.35 in)
Weight: 145 g (5.11 oz)
Type: LED-backlit IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size: 720 x 1280 pixels, 5.0 inches (~294 ppi pixel density)
Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass 2
Alert types: Vibration, MP3 ringtones
3.5mm jack: Yes
Card slot: microSD, up to 32 GB
Internal: 16 GB ROM, 1 GB RAM
GPRS: Class 12 (4+1/3+2/2+3/1+4 slots), 32 - 48 kbps
EDGE: Class 12
Speed: HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSUPA, 21 Mbps
WLAN: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth: Yes, v4.0
USB: Yes, microUSB v2.0
Primary: 13 MP, 4032 x 3224 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
Features: Geo-tagging, touch focus, image stabilization, face and smile detection, HDR
Video: Yes, 1080p@30fps
Secondary: Yes, 5 MP
OS: Android OS, v4.2 (Jelly Bean)
Chipset: MTK MT6589
CPU: Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7
GPU: PowerVR Series 5XT
Sensors: Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Messaging: SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email, IM
Radio: Stereo FM radio
GPS: Yes, with A-GPS support
Java: Yes, via Java MIDP emulator
Colors: Black, White
Top Customer Reviews
- This phone doesn't lock you in to a certain carrier. You have the choice of any GSM carrier. In the USA, that means either AT&T or T-Mobile (or those who use their cell towers, such a Straight Talk, Solavei, etc). Thanks to the switch to unlocked phones, I'm paying ninety a month on a prepaid, no contract plan which offers UNLIMITED voice, text and data. Oh, and that's for TWO phones. Yes. Two phones for $90/mo unlimited everything. Can't beat it.
- The screen is so much larger than my old iPhone! It's large without being ridiculous to hold.
- The display is beautiful! The colours are vivid without being overly saturated. My husband even likes the colours on my Blu phone better than his Note II. The iPhone 4 was too dull, Note II is too saturated, but the Life One found the perfect balance that pleases the eye.
- This phone is gorgeous. It has a sleek, high-end look to it. Slim, easy to fit in your pocket (although it is a bit long).
- Lighter than the Note II but it's nearly identical in size.
- Despite being on the lighter side of the scale, it gives you the impression that it's a solid phone that won't break easily (though time will tell on that one).
- One of the things I always HATED about my iPhone was the poor battery life, and no ability to swap the battery if it got low. Now, I don't have to worry about that! Just buy a couple of spare batteries plus a wall charger and you'll never have to plug your phone in again. Just pop off the back cover and swap the dead battery for a fresh one. Farewell to my dozen iPhone chargers!
- This phone takes some surprisingly gorgeous pictures with it's 13 MP rear-facing camera. It comes with several shooting options, as well as built-in effects and editing tools. Beautiful!
- The 5MP front-facing camera makes video calls much more enjoyable! There's a lot more detail now than there was on my old iPhone.
- The Blue Life One actually has the ability to recognize when I'm speaking on the phone. Meaning, it doesn't BUZZZZ my skull and DIINGG my eardrums every time I get a text while on the phone (like my iPhone always did - Man, was that irritating!).
- More customization options than iOS while still remaining user-friendly.
- All of my favourite apps are still available through Google Play, so I don't have to miss out on anything following the switch from Apple.
- If you tend to travel overseas, having that spare SIM card slot comes in handy. Or, maybe you like using two different carriers (AT&T and T-Mobile) in order to get the best cell phone coverage while you drive across the country. In that case, you need dual SIM capability. Or, maybe you want just one phone to use two separate numbers (i.e. personal number and work number). Just use two different SIM cards and you can use two different numbers on the same phone. Spiffy.
- Comes with 16GB of built-in storage. Not bad for a phone that's under three hundred bucks. But what's even nicer...
- You can buy additional storage space, up to 64GB worth. That's 64GB + 16GB = 80GB of storage! This is something the iPhone just can't do. No comparison at all.
- An unlocked phone with a vivid 5" screen and 13 MP camera for under $300... and it still plays graphic-intensive games and multi-tasks without lag? I'm proud of this bargain I found!
- The screen is actually 720p instead of 1080p. Upon close comparison to my husband's Note II, the screen does lack a bit of the crispness that his has. But on its own, it's not something you'd notice.
- The back is quite slippery. If you tend to have a hard time hanging onto your phone, you might want to use the included silicone bumper.
- No LTE. For me, HSPA+ speeds are perfect and seem just as fast as my husband's LTE (we're both using AT&T's network). HSPA+ is basically 4G. There's an interesting debate about 3G versus 4G and whether 4G actually exists... but I digress.
- Minimal choices in accessories. If you're an accessory junkie, you may want to wait until more manufacturers start making accessories for Blu phones. The more people invest in Blu, the more accessories we'll start seeing become available. They're out there now but take quite a bit of hunting to track down.
- 1GB RAM. I haven't noticed any performance issues, but maybe someone with a serious gaming habit would. What I do know is, this phone handles GT Racing 2 without a hitch, even with other programs running in the background. If you need more processing power, look at the new Blu Life Pure.
- The speaker is pretty weak. It's also located on the back of the device, so if you set it down on its back, the speaker is easily muffled. I find this is a non-issue for me, since I rarely rely on phone speakers anyway.
- Should I get the latest iPhone? Or maybe a Samsung Galaxy S4? LG G2? This was a no-brainer for me. The Blue Life One is half the price of other "flagship" phones that are out there right now, while still getting the job done with flair.
Well done, Blu. Keep this up and you just might have a customer for life. Especially now that you're coming out with the Blu Life Pure...
This review is intended to address some concerns mentioned by other reviews if you are on the fence about purchasing this phone (I was on that situation and had some doubts after reading many reviews). But I bought the Blu Life One (Gray) anyway and here is the outcome:
First, a list of possible show stoppers that I saw in other reviews together with my personal experience related to those problems/issues:
1. Very weak Wi-Fi antenna: if this issue, which was mentioned on several reviews, had been accurate, it would have been a deal breaker for me as I am usually at home or in the office, with a 45-minutes commute in between the two. So I use Wi-Fi most of the day. The Wi-Fi antenna is actually pretty decent. I can be 20-30 feet away from the wireless router with a wall in between us and still get a pretty good signal (good enough for video streaming for example - definitely very good for web-browsing). I compared the Wi-Fi reception to a Samsung Galaxy SII (my previous phone) and I found them to be very similar actually (the Samsung Galaxy is a flagship phone and it costs $600 when it firsts comes out). The only difference that I noticed is in the number of bars that show the signal strength on the upper right corner of the screen (notifications bar). Sometimes the Galaxy would show three bars while the Blu Life One would show only two bars, etc. However, the actual speed/quality of video I used for testing purposes was similar with no lagging. I tested the same HD video clip from YouTube on both phones to compare and had similar results. Wi-Fi is a pretty tricky issue because it depends on what router you have, what channel you set it to broadcast, how many other routers are in the area (I live in a New York City apartment so usually there are 12-15 other wireless routers in range which is the reason why I consider 30 feet away to be "normal signal strength")
2. Screen auto-dims: I don't have that issue although I have seen it in some of the YouTube reviews when the phone first came out. I know that Blu customizes the Jelly Bean version of Android and they either corrected this problem with later builds or some models never had that problem. I own the Gray version with Custom build BLU_L120_V08_GENERICO3 which is dated 2014-01-11. Perhaps previous versions of the customized Android OS were different. There is a TIMEOUT shortcut in the "pull-down" Settings (when you pull down the notification bar and click on the Settings icon) and three different lengths can be set for time-outs (which is when the screen goes to sleep). There is also a customization option under Settings/Display/Sleep that allows for 15 Seconds, 30 Seconds and 1-2-5-10-30 minutes. The second option (the one where you select the length of time) overrides the TIMEOUT shortcut. Meaning that even if you set TIMEOUT to long, if you set 15 seconds in Settings/Display/Sleep the phone goes to sleep after 15 seconds. But this is exactly how Android is designed to work and no different than other Android devices I own or had in the past (Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, Acer Iconia, Samsung Galaxy phones, LG phones, etc.)
3. Buttons under the screen are hard to see in the White version of the Blu Life One: it's true. The problem is that Blu designed the Menu, Back and Option buttons (cut-outs more than buttons since they are not physical buttons but touch-responsive) simply too thin for the back-light to be noticeable enough. I compared those buttons with the counterparts from the Samsung Galaxy SII and the icons/cut outs that represent each one of those three functions are much wider/bigger, making the back-light much more visible. This is by the way the reason why I decided on the gray color phone after watching a video review of the white version on YouTube where you couldn't see the buttons at all. On the gray version, you can minimally see the buttons but on the white version you can't because the back-light is white also so the combination of size and color of the back-light makes it impossible to see. This was an oversight from the designers but once your fingers "learn" where the buttons are located, you can press them without looking at them as it is not too hard to memorize their location. If you absolutely need to see the buttons every time, then I recommend the gray version.
4. It doesn't come with KitKat flavor of Android (the latest version): this is true as of 6/10/2014; there is no update to the Android version yet. However, it is very likely that Blu will have an update in the future. But even if that doesn't happen, this is still a great phone and Jelly Bean works really well in general and with this particular phone (I have Jelly Bean in 3-4 different devices and I have no complains about it). In fact, I heard complains about KitKat like not being able to move App data to the memory card, something that it is very useful when you have many Apps and the 1GB of RAM memory starts getting full...
1. Warranty: the phone doesn't come with a warranty sheet/policy or even a mention of it in the instruction manual, which is pretty minimal too (no warranty explanation inside the box at all). At first I thought there is no warranty whatsoever and if anything happens to the phone you are on your own. I contacted Blu and they sent me a PDF via email that explains the warranty: 1 year parts - 6 months battery - 6 months accessories. Of course nothing is covered if you damage it due to improper use but that's standard with any phone manufacturer.
2. Customer Service: it's pretty bad. They take 2-3 days to answer a question via email and they usually half answer it. For example, I asked them about the warranty and how much would it cost to repair a broken/damaged screen (which is never covered by any manufacturer warranty) in the same email. They responded about the policy but forgot to attach the actual document (even though they said: "please find attached" and they didn't say anything about the screen repair. So I emailed them a few more times and finally they sent the attachment and told me that it costs $145 to repair the screen for the white version. It is my guess that the reps are not there full time. They use names like A.C. and R.C. and either they are business people or engineers responding whenever they can, or they are not properly trained customer service reps. Their written English is perfect so this is no overseas operation (they are probably in Miami where the company is based). The not so great customer service is somewhat expected of a company the size of Blu - basically they are a start-up in the mobile industry (they don't have the budget of a Samsung/HTC/Motorola, etc. for customer service, marketing, QA Testing and other operations). But customer service does exist and if you ever need to send your phone in for a repair it will happen (although it may take weeks until you see your phone back)
Things I liked about this phone (there is a lot to like...):
1. Screen: the phone has a very sharp 5 inches screen. Forget what the resolution nerds and marketing teams going after your hard earned money tell you. 300dpi is as detailed a resolution as the human eye is trained to see on a 5 inches screen. This phone has 296dpi (approx.) so it is right there. Today some phones are made with screen resolutions that are actually higher than 50 inches TVs were two years ago (on a 5 inches screen). That is to make you think that it is better than older models. But there is a point where you just can't see the difference. And Blu Life One is right there at the edge of where you can't tell the difference anymore. All I can tell you is that when I watched Planet Earth on HD from YouTube to test video image quality, what I saw is as good as it gets.
2. Cameras: both of them are really good. The front camera at 5 Megapixels is superb. Quality of Skype calls and even the occasional "selfie" pictures are simply outstanding (much better than my work iPhone 5 is on Skype or Facetime for example). I use the back camera (13 Megapixels) to photograph receipts for tax purposes with an App called Expense Manager and the receipts look as good as in real life (very detailed). Landscapes look very sharp too.
3. Antennas: Wi-Fi, GPS, and HDSP+ on T-Mobile all work fine and fast (fast Wi-Fi, fast Mobile Data, GPS gets your location fast). Don't even mind not having 4G LTD. It's plenty fast (similar to Wi-Fi "N" at home)
4. Dual SIM: nice if you travel to other countries for work/vacation and want to use a local service.
5. Construction: Blu Life One looks and feels very solid and stylish with no flaws other than the buttons that are hard to see in the white version (volume button, power button, headphone jack, USB port all are where they should be and they work very well). The case that it comes with is very nice too and not bulky at all. It doesn't provide great protection so if you are likely to drop your phone (I know I am) I would suggest to get an armor or hybrid case, or at least a plastic/silicone case (anything will be more protective than the case that it comes with, but it will add more bulk too and perhaps they will be less stylish).
6. The battery is removable and the ROM memory is expandable. You can buy replacement batteries here on Amazon for about $15. This is very nice. I can't tell you how many times a phone's battery became much weaker after one year of use and I had no means to replace it (I am looking at you iPhone). Also, if the 16GB memory that are built into the Blu Life One aren't enough, you can buy a MicroSD card with another 16-32GB and put your entire music collection on your phone. Those are features that are normally not part of budget phones but only included in flagship phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S family. I was very surprised that even middle range phones like the Moto X doesn't have removable battery or expandable memory. Job well done Blu for adding those two.
A couple of things I disliked (or at least I didn't understand the thinking of the peeps at Blu):
1. Customized version of Android. Why? Why? Why? Here the Blu folks had a great opportunity to deploy a plain Vanilla OS (original Android version without modifications) and join the ranks of Nexus phones or the Moto G-E-X phones but did not take that chance. The modifications aren't many but none of them are necessary (the camera has a different user interface for example but the stock Android interface is just fine. Under "Display" they have an option for "Theme" which allows you to choose between Default (blue), Mint, Mocha and Raspberry. That changes the colors of all the buttons, navigation, etc. but there is no need to include a Theme option outside of the customization options that are native to Android. However, in the Blu customized version of Android they omitted a few very useful features. For example, HTC and Samsung phones with Jelly Bean 4.1 and older have an option to output audio via the micro USB port (dock mode). I use that in my car because with one cable you can both charge the phone and play music via the Aux input (provided that you have the right cable). This is better than using Bluetooth for example because all you have to do is plug in the phone and it automatically goes into "Dock" mode and sends the music to the car stereo from Pandora or other Apps/music players. This is similar to how the iPhone works when docked. So while the alterations by Blu weren't many, it is annoying that they added useless things like color options for the menus while they subtracted useful operational features. I always resented carriers like Verizon who customizes the OS to be able to sell you more things and block you from using third party services, etc. So here you have a company (Blu) that builds only unlocked cell phones but they decided to monkey with the OS without a real need to do so. That's almost tragic, as they had an opportunity to be the kings of unlocked, untouched, un-customized devices which would have put them in a very unique position compared to the other phones which unfortunately need to be customized for each carrier (because the carriers require that from each device manufacturer). If Blu deploys KitKat at some point and they don't remove useful Android features, I'll update this review.
2. Headphones come included, which is very nice. However, I can't use iPhone's original headphones with the Blu Life One. I have no idea why. The jacks look very similar in size (with three white lines on the metal prong) but for some reason when I plug in the headphones that came with Blu Life One, there is a little headphone icon that appears on the notification bar and phone calls/Skype calls go through the headphones. However, when I plug in the iPhone's headphones nothing happens and the calls go to the Phone's speakers. I haven't experimented with other headphones but if the Blu Life One only works with the included Blu headphones, that's an issue (headphones always break sooner or later and I don't believe Blu sells them separately). I'll update the review if I find that the Life One actually works with any other third party headphones different from the iPhone's.
Update:While there is no Blu Life One OEM headphones on Amazon, there are headphones by third party manufacturers (for example EMPIRE FLATZ) that claim they work with Blu phones. Haven't tested it but it's good to know that if my oriignal headphones break at some point (they will) there are some replacement options.
3. As mentioned above, Customer Service at Blu is an after-thought. I imagine Blu being a company with some very smart/geeky engineers, some of whom seem to speak Spanish (they name their own software modifications: "GENERICO") who started the company and still run it (if you look at the Life One reviews on YouTube posted by Blu Products, you'll see what I am talking about. I've seen this cheese take on The Matrix where they talk about the Red Box versus the "Blu box" - come on, seriously? You would give Steve Jobs and his marketing team at Apple a heart attack if they ever saw that. These Blu folks probably really get excited about Specs (how fast the processor is, how many Gigs of memory, who has the largest screen... "9 inch phone dude - totally") but they probably don't really put too much attention to user experience (hence the buttons you can't see in the white phone), customer service (it's like going to the dentist - medium to very painful) or getting deals in place with third party accessory makers (top dogs like Otterbox don't even make cases for Blu phones...the iPhone headphones don't work with Blu phones but work with just about any other phone, and so on and so forth)
When you think that the Blu Life One costs only $200 which is not much more than it costs to repair/replace a Smartphone screen (usually around $150-$175), it is easy to overcome some of the very minor annoyances (they are really very minor and I have never seen a phone that was actually perfect, they all have a couple of annoyances - even the $600-$800 Samsung Galaxies and iPhones do). If you actually compare it with other phones in the $200-$250 range (thinking about you Moto G) it is easy to determine that the Blu Life One is the clear winner in all aspects: size, design, functionality, speed. In fact, the Life One puts a good fight against Android heavy-weights like the Samsung Galaxy S4-S5 or the HTC One - M7-M8 at basically 1/3 of those flagship phone's price, which is pretty darn good. Since phones don't last more than 1-2 years anyway because they become obsolete, their screen breaks when you drop them or they slow down due to software issues, I don't see any reason to spend $600-$800 on a phone when you can get the Blu Life One for $200. It's simply the best your money can buy at this price point. Personally, I find it very hard to justify spending $600-$800 because in all honesty, the Moto X, the Samsung Galaxy S5 or the iPhone 5S are not that much better anyway. They are some folks that probably have some very particular needs like NFC - Near Field Communication, Wireless charging (Nexus 5 has that),2GB of RAM, or Application developers who want to experiment with Flagship phones that are the most popular. They may want to spend $600-$800 on a phone. Good for them. For the rest of us mortals, the Blu Life One does the job and it does it fast, in style and for a fraction of the cost. For that achievement, Blu deserves all the credit and then some.
If after reading this review, you have any questions about the Blu Life One, please let me know and I'll try to respond (if I know the answer) when I have a chance. Thank you!
* 13-Mpx camera is nice
* The carrier-signal indicator is informative--E for Edge (2G) service, H+ for HSPA+ (3G) service; white triangles that indicate data up/down; red R for roaming; magnifying glass for searching for service
* Good sound quality
* Headphones are good quality; uses a kink-free, ribbon-format cable
* The Micro-USB cable seats solidly in the telephones bottom edge; cable is a kink-free, ribbon-format
* Bluetooth paired easily with my 2010 E92 BMW
* Technical-support inquiries are usually answered in 48 hours
* The manufacture will not assist in unlocking the baseband or 'rooting' the device
* Does not contain a LTE radio (true 4G), which would be nice
* The back of the telephone is a flexible plastic
* Supports T-Mobile 3G (HSPA+) in areas where the towers has been modified to include the 1900MHz band (Minneapolis/St. Paul area); otherwise the data service is 2G (Duluth; Grand Marais; hwy 35 north of 494)
* The telephone uses a 'standard' version of Androdi. By comparison, the Android version installed on my HTC Amaze had been substantially modified to make it more 'jazzy'.
* There are no carrier-specific 'bloatware' applications installed
These Bluetooth profiles ([...] seem to be supported:
* Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP)
* Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP)
* Headset Profile (HSP)
* Phone Book Access Profile (PBAP, PBA)
* A screenshot is done by pressing the power+volume down buttons simultaneously and holding for 2 seconds
* Detailed specifications: [...]