$350 Unlocked, but can it compete with the Nexus 5 at the same price point?
BLU Products has a reputation for putting out nice devices that may not be the best. But they are really cheap. In fact, I think the Life Pure is their most expensive phone at $350 unlocked. I've checked out their BLU Life Play in the past, which was a pretty nice device. It was essentially the Nexus 4, at about half the price. What else is nice about their phones is that they include a nice case (matching colors even) and a screen protector as well. Now as far as the specs go for the Life Pure, we're looking at a 5-inch 1920x1080 resolution display, powered by a quad-core Mediatek MT6589T 1.5GHz processor, 13MP camera on the back and a 5MP front-facing camera, 2GB of RAM with 32GB of internal storage, along with a 2000mAh battery and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. It's also only compatible with HSPA+ networks up to 42mbps. Which means it's great for T-Mobile, and compatible with AT&T's network. All that for $350, but is it worth it? Well to put it simply, yes. But we'll explore that more throughout this review.
I've said before that the Life Pure kind of reminds me of an iPhone 5c mixed with an Xperia device. Why? Well because it's plastic, like an iPhone 5c, but it has pretty big bezels and is squarish like many Sony Xperia devices out there. Not that, that's a bad thing or anything. It is glossy plastic like Samsung devices, but hey there are millions out there that love the Galaxy S4, and Galaxy Note 2, so it's gotta be alright for most people. As far as the hardware tour goes, we're looking at the 5-inch Full HD display on the front with the 5MP camera up top with the speaker grill and sensors and the menu, home and back capacitive buttons down at the bottom. On the left side is the micro SIM card slot, on the bottom is the speakers (sort of like the Nexus 5 speaker grill) and the microUSB port for charging. On the right side you'll find the volume rocker and power button on the top along with the 3.5mm headphone jack. On the back you'll see the 13MP shooter with flash and a microphone hole in the top left corner. With a subtle BLU logo at the bottom.
As far as the build quality goes here, I actually kind of like it. Now I won't say I'd prefer this build over my Moto X's build, but they could have done worse. As far as performance goes, the MediaTek MT6589T processor actually performed quite well. I've heard many people that dislike the MediaTek processors, but I've never had an issue with them and I've used plenty of devices with this same processor inside. Of course, I'd rather have a Snapdragon 600 or 800 inside, but the MT6589T does it's job just fine. I haven't experienced any type of lag or anything in the OS on the Life Pure at all. Even playing games like Angry Birds Go was quick and snappy. Which is due to the MediaTek MT6589T processor and the 2GB of RAM inside. Which is a nice upgrade over the 1GB of RAM inside most of BLU's other phones.
The display on the Life Pure is actually really nice. It's a full HD IPS display, so you'd expect it to be pretty bright and vivid. I wouldn't say it's as good as the panel on the G2, but right in the middle of the Nexus 5's and the G2's panel. BLU really shows off the display by using wallpapers and icons that are very colorful. They also have a transparent notification bar, that is now a feature in KitKat even though OEMs have been using that for a while now.
BLU actually made some changes to their skin over the Life Play I reviewed last summer. You'll notice in the Life Play review, that BLU was using pretty much stock Android on that device, and the real only change was the icons (in quick settings and the notification bar) as well as the settings menu. But here on the Life Pure, there's a lot more that's different. I'd actually go as far as to say that their skin now reminds me of a Chinese OEM's like Huawei. It's very colorful, but for the most part there's no app drawer, which some may like, some may not. But on the other hand, it's fixable by putting a third-party launcher on there like Nova or Action Launcher.
One of the things that I really like about their skin, is the customization. In the "Color" app you can choose the theme, wallpaper and effect of your device, as seen in the screenshots above. So you can choose from 6 different themes, which is a common thing with devices from China, even though BLU is from the US.
There are a few bloatware apps in the Life Pure, but they are very minimal compared to other devices out there. The only "bloat" on the Life Pure is the App Manager, Color, FM Radio, and that's about it. There's also a sound recorder and file manager as well as your usual camera, gallery, calculator, clock, etc. apps on board. The File Manager is actually a pretty nice looking app, as is most of the other apps that BLU has designed on the Life Pure.
We ran AnTuTu on the BLU Life Pure as we do with every other device that we review here at Android Headlines. And the score wasn't really all that surprising, as this isn't a high-end CPU or device. But you can see the results above.
Recently, we had the North American International Auto Show here in Detroit. I took my sister with me and we went and checked it out a few weeks ago. I gave the BLU Life Pure to her to take pictures of different cars and such there. Now she's not a camera expert or anything, she's someone who will fire up the camera and just hit the shutter. Which I thought was great, so we can all see how great the camera is on the BLU Life Pure, which you can see in the gallery down below. The Life Pure is sporting a 13MP camera on the back, and it's definitely a nice camera with great looking images.
While the Life Pure isn't my first choice for a $350 phone, it's definitely a good choice for your money. Right now we've got the Google Nexus 5 on the market for the same price, which has better hardware and gets updates straight from Google. So it's hard to compete with that. But the Life Pure certainly tries hard to do so. If you're someone who doesn't want to pay a fortune for your device, then the BLU Life Pure should definitely be on your list for your next phone, alongside the Moto G and the Nexus 5.