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Featured Review: BLU Life Pure XL

May 26, 2014 - Written By Alexander Maxham

BLU Adds Top-of-the-line specs to an already successful line of smartphones, but lacking LTE

BLU decided to continue their line of Life Pure smartphones with the XL earlier this month. They already put out the Life Pure and Life Pure mini earlier this year. Which we reviewed both here on the site. Both are pretty great devices in their own right. But now we have the BLU Life Pure XL, which has some pretty outstanding specs. We’re looking at a 5.5-inch 1920×1080 resolution IPS Display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, 2500mAh battery inside, 16MP camera on the back and a 8MP front-facing shooter. We also have Android 4.2 on board with NFC, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, and Bluetooth 4.0. To say it’s a beast is almost an understatement here. The Life Pure XL is going for $399 right now, which is a helluva price to say the least. But is it worth the price? That’s the question we’ll be attempting to answer in this review. So let’s get started.

Video Review

Hardware

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As we stated above, it has some pretty spectacular internals. Obviously with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor inside the device does not lag at all and game-play is absolutely amazing. The build quality is about what you expect from the Life Pure series of smartphones. It’s made of the glossy plastic that many of us dislike, but I’m okay with it I think. Although, it doesn’t feel as comfortable in the hand as other devices, like the Samsung Galaxy S5 or even Galaxy S4. The top and bottom of the phone are curved, while the left and right sides are flat and a bit sharp. Making it less comfortable to hold in hand. Not to mention that it’s a pretty big device.

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Over on the left side you’ve got the microSIM card slot, up top is the power and headphone jack, on the right side is the volume rocker, while the bottom houses the speaker and microUSB port. On the back you’ve got the 16MP camera which does have a bit of a bump to it, along with the flash. There’s also BLU’s logo at the bottom. On the front is your 5.5-inch display along with capacitive keys for menu, home and back. The bezels on the Life Pure XL are pretty small as well, which is great to see. As more and more devices are getting larger and larger, but the bezels weren’t really shrinking until recently.

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As far as performance goes on the BLU Life Pure XL, it’s second to none. I’d say it’s right up there with the Galaxy S5 and the LG G2. Both of which I have here, and you can check out our comparison videos as well. Playing games on the Life Pure XL have been a treat. Playing Asphalt 8, Dead Trigger 2 and Riptide GP2 have been amazing in my experience with the device.

Software

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The software on the Life Pure XL hasn’t really changed much from the Life Pure and the Life Pure Mini. But BLU has added in some other features which I think are great to have on this device. There’s still no app drawer. Much like MIUI, Huawei or even the iPhone, all your apps are on your home screens. Which some may like that, while others don’t. In the notification panel you can switch over to “settings” and you’ll see all your quick settings there. Which there are a ton here. There’s Alarm, Guest Mode, NFC, Quick Power Saving mode, Ring, Silent, Vibrate, outdoor, airplane mode, wireless, data connection, bluetooth, GPS, Auto-rotation, Brightness, and then More. Which these are customizable, and that’s one of the things I wish Google would bake into stock Android, that is the ability to rearrange and customize the quick settings.

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Some of the new apps include Phone Accelerate, Traffic Assistant and Power Manager. Let’s start off with Phone Accelerate. This is kind of like Clean Master, but it’s already built into the device. By opening the app you can see how many processes you can clean from the RAM, how much cache you can clean as well as optimizing the bootup. Now traffic assistant is basically a more in-depth app for tracking data usage. Finally there’s Power Manager, which allows you to change the power settings, power consume and allows you to see the estimated charging time or estimated time until dead. Which is a nice app to have, since I always use Battery Widget Reborn on my devices.

The skin that BLU uses is a bit different than what I’m used to with reviewing Samsung, HTC, Motorola, LG, etc., devices. But I actually like it. And that’s coming from someone that’s all about stock Android. Although it does take some getting used too. It’s still pretty smooth and fast. Which is really what matters.

Benchmarks

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For those interested, we did benchmark testing on the BLU Life Pure XL using AnTuTu X. The results are posted above.

Battery Life

While battery life was pretty stellar, it wasn’t quite as good as I expected. I also expected a bit bigger of a battery size in the Life Pure XL since the Mini has a 3000mAh battery. But I was able to get through about an entire day with the device. Which is great to see, although I would have liked a bit more juice in the Life Pure XL.

Camera

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This is the biggest deal on the Life Pure XL, I think. Since It has a 16MP camera on the back. So we’ve got a nice gallery of images taken with the phone down below. We also have a video test for those interested – no 4K though.

Final Thoughts

The BLU Life Pure XL is definitely a promising device. At $399, it’s almost hard to recommend the Nexus 5 over this, considering the only real differences in terms of specs are LTE and 3GB of RAM. If BLU could have gotten LTE into the Life Pure XL, I believe this would be hands down a Nexus 5 competitor, but since there’s no LTE it’s hard to justify it over the Nexus 5. Since the Nexus 5 does have LTE and does get updates from Google.