Friday, November 04, 2016

Review: BLU R1 HD 16GB Prime Exclusive Smartphone

I had an App project that required 2 phones to test, and I was looking to buy the cheapest Android phone for testing. Amazon offered the BLU R1 HD, with the 16GB Storage/2GB RAM model going for $60. The 8GB/1GB model goes for $50. The catch is that the phone comes with Amazon ads scattered everywhere, and is pre-loaded with Amazon apps.

For the price, I expected a slow, balky phone, but that was OK --- I wanted a phone just for testing, and I didn't care about performance. That it was unlocked was a bonus.

Instead, the phone impressed me. It was fast (almost as fast as my Moto G, and for development purposes I can't tell the difference), and almost immediately updated its OS, connecting to my WiFi without a SIM installed. The ads, while they show up on the home screen, don't bother me at all.

The places where costs are cut are the camera (which is relatively low quality, but good enough for receipts, etc) and the USB port: while my Moto G had no problem serving as a USB host for external flash drives, etc., the BLU R1 HD doesn't. And of course, the Moto G is waterproof. But for the same price, you can buy 3 of the BLU R1 HD! Compared to the Moto E, of course, the BLU R1 HD is superior --- there's no reason you should pay for a Moto E when you can get the BLU for the same price or less.

By the way, I looked into getting a tablet instead so I could test a bigger screen size. No dice --- the decent ones cost way more than the equivalent phones. I guess tablet sales have fallen off a cliff so there's no economy of scale there any more.

Recommended. It's a great development phone and a good general use phone.
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