A new Challenger has arrived: Blu Vivo XL review – Best phone under $150?


Blu is a new American phone company based in Florida. They seem to get their phones from China and seem to be pretty popular lately. I picked up a launch edition Blu Vivo XL for $150 minus a instant $50 launch discount (total $100!) … For 100$ This phone is amazing, for 150$ this phone really is something still.


Size wise it is a 5.5″ 720P phone which is the same size as my iPhone 6 plus, but with lower screen resolution. I didn’t notice the screen resolution difference but then again, I don’t hold my phone up to my eye (haha).


What is cool , which is common with Chinese/Asian phones is that it has dual Sims. This is a popular feature over in Asia. This allows the phone to use 2 Sim cards at once, allowing you to call or receive calls from 2 phone lines/sim cards. This is a great feature to have if you have a business phone and a personal phone but want to only keep one phone in your pocket.

This phone also comes unlocked for any GSM carrier , which means it is perfect for international travel straight out of the box.

It runs Android 5.1 Lollipop , with a promised update to Android 6 Marshmellow, the interface/launcher is a generic “Chinese” launcher.  Typical Chinese style launchers do not have an App menu but instead the home screens have all the apps. Therefore there is no button to goto the “apps” menu as they all reside on the home menu. This can be changed by downloading a custom Launcher

Another good feature which I did not expect in a sub $150 phone is this phone has a USB-C connection. This allows for fast charging and the connector is reversible so you can plug it in easily in dark conditions.

it has 2gb of ram and 16gb of onboard storage with a microSD slot for additional storage. The front facing camera is 5MP (wow)  and the rear facing camera is 13Mp. The camera produced decent pictures and the camera  is pretty fast considering the price of this phone

The battery life is great because of the massive 3150 mAh battery and 720P screen


The phone also comes with a screen protector and case in the box (I have never seen a phone come with a case and screen protector before!… Apple you guys need to start doing this!)


Now for the downsides of this phone   ….

Mediatek MT6753 Octa-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A53   processor …. while it sounds great that it has 8 cores … it doesn’t really do much .. It is like the AMD processors of the mobile world .. yes it has more Cores but it doesn’t perform any better than a 4 core Snapdragon processor.Synthetic tests place this above the Snapdragon 410, but after using this phone and the ZTE Zmax 2 (Snapdragon 410) side by side, I can say this phone has some lag compared to the ZTE Zmax 2. The place you feel it the most is when it downloads and installs apps … the Snapdragon processor installs Apps without a hitch while this phone struggles slowly to install apps. Switching from screen to screen and browsing the web or watching videos there is no difference, but gaming like Minecraft and installing/decompressing files, you will feel the difference.

Also the only other Mediatek processor Android device I had experience with  was the Android stick from Amazon I reviewed a few pages back … this left me with a bad experience with Mediatek processors as that stick kept overheating


Overall this is a great phone at under $150.  I rate the ZTE Zmax 2 higher than this phone, only because it is cheaper and the processor feels more snappy. But overall I would recommend this phone. Blu is  a new company and seems to be getting better, I think if they dropped the Mediatek processors,  they would have a winner on their hands!


Overall Nathan Wan rates this 3 stars 





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