Tag Archives: Blu

April 2017

This month could have been a better month, but I made due. A number of things have happened which is probably worth mentioning. Some of these changes will also have an impact on my goal of getting out of debt which will cause some setbacks. Also, someone out of the blue have contacted me which was not expected and finally got an appointment I needed for a few months, but will have to wait on the appointment.

First, for the contacts. My brother as usual will call about once a month, and offer some vague promise of visiting. This month, he called twice with the same vague promise which never happened. This is normal lately. He is also making some choices I would not agree with, but he is his own person, and he knows my opinion. I also received a call for a psychiatrist appointment which will hopefully address some of the severe anxiety issues I have. I won’t see the psychiatrist until the second week of May. I had been in need of a new one since January. Since I am not running around with a shot gun, I guess I am not a priority. A distant family member also got a hold of me by email asking if I had the contact information of my Aunt (Mother’s sister). This is not something I have, and have yet to hear back from her. I would assume as with most of my family, she won’t need of me any longer. Continue reading April 2017

I Will Be Blu No More

There was a time when I needed a dual SIM phone. The reason of this is because I cancelled my service with T-Mobile (due to costs), and pushed to rely on my Lifeline service for voice calls. However, at the time, data service was not included into the Lifeline service. I therefore had to use my lifeline SIM for voice calls, and my FreedomPop SIM for data services. This required that I have a dual SIM phone.

Thankfully, in January of 2017, Life Wireless (my lifeline provider) offered a new plan with 500 minutes, and 500MB of data with their Lifeline program. Now, I continued to use a Blu phone only because I didn’t want to have to do a massive load of updates on my only phone I had not from Blu. However with the problems I had with Blu, I given up on them completely. Continue reading I Will Be Blu No More

Blu Advance 4.0 Final Review

It’s been more than a month since I had this phone, and I bought it to try to reduce my current phone bill once my EIPs (Easy Installment Payments) was paid off. The reason for this purchase is the phone is Dual SIM (capable of supporting 2 SIM cards at one time). The idea would have been to use T-Mobile’s free 200MB data plan and a cheap or free voice plan with another company. I would have used a SIP client to make my phone a home phone as well. Good News and Bad News.

Good News is the concept works. The bad news is the phone is too under powered to be fully functional. The reason is again – I would want a SIP client to run to always provide a “Home Phone” line when I am in a Wifi Network. Having a Lifeline subsidized phone plan would have meant just 100 – 250 minutes per month, and less important calls (such as unknown callers) shouldn’t eat my cellular minutes. However, while testing this – the phone locked up too many times through the Acrobits Softphone which is the best and maybe the only SIP client worth mentioning for Android.

The Good

The phone at time of writing this is $75 through Amazon, and there is an Amazon Prime option for shipping. This makes the phone affordable and actually competing with the price of a good basic phone. The OS is not the most up to date, but if Blu Products (the OEM) was to update the phone with Android M, then there could be a chance this phone might actually be able to do the ideal situation. The phone supports micro-SD card which is always a good thing. And with dual SIM, one SIM could be data while another is for voice. Another option is to where you would have a “work” and a “personal” phone – this could solve that.

The Bad

Yes, I know that this is a low budget phone, but I am disappointed with the 512MB size. This should never be in phones nowadays as almost every application demands that much or more. Simply put, building a phone with that little memory is begging to have a bad experience with the customer. Yes, I know they need to cut corners – but you should find somewhere else. The phone has a front side camera. Maybe remove that so you can have 1GB of memory. Yes, the teenie boppers who want to show themselves making duck faces won’t find this cool – but your market probably isn’t that.

I am disappoited about the fact that the phone does not support all five GSM-3G bands. This is like saying only certain people should have 3G. I can almost accept that with LTE since every country seems to have 5 different bands, but this is not the case for GSM-3G. And while we are at, Blu – HSPA is NOT 4G. Please stop lying to perspective customers. Thank you.

The Ugly

Say it with me – top mount USB charging. This is ridiculous, and is more of an inconvenience to the user than saying “Look at me, I am different”. Capacitive buttons are also Ugly. Let’s move to On-Screen buttons please. The speaker is a little tin sounding – but I am OK with that as this is a sub-$100 phone.

Verdict

If you go in knowing what to expect, you should be OK. Keep in mind – this is a basic smart phone. You won’t get games on there, and don’t expect to be a productivity power house. You may be able to install a few of your favorite apps.

First Impression – Blu Advance 4.0

This will be a first impression review of the Blu Advance 4.0. I had this phone for a week, although wasn’t able to make full use of the features until about 24 hours ago. There are a couple of reasons why I purchased this phone. The first is to replace the role of my DECT phone which is a terrible product (as with most VTECH phones) for something that will function better in the modern world. The second reason is to see if I will be able to suffice off of a free phone plan when my obligations are completed.

The Blu Advance 4.0 (Model Number A270a) is a Dual SIM GSM-3G phone. It has a 4″ screen, capacitive touch buttons, and a physical power and volume keys. There is also a micro-USB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There is a replaceable battery which hides the dual SIM trays, and micro-SD card slot. The Advance can be acquired for less than $100 on Amazon (as of 2015-04-21), and comes in black or white. The phone supports Wifi-N, and Bluetooth. It runs Android 4.2 OS.

The Good

This phone functions well enough as a budget phone. Spending less than $100 on an Android phone is typically a very bad mistake, and while I would never be able to use this a primary phone (due to my requirements), for those on a tight budget – they might find this suitable. The phone comes with 1.27GB of storage space out of the box, but if you need or want a basic phone, expect another 500MB of apps to be loaded. This is good considering that I had real concern that there would have been 250 or 500MB of storage. It’s not the 16-128GB found on newer higher end phones, but the micro-SD card makes up for that somewhat.

The phone is dual SIM. This means I can have 2 SIM cards from the same or different providers. This is unusual in the US, as there are still times when one is required to sign a 2 year contract (which you should run from like the plague). In my instance, I am using one SIM for data, and another for voice. You just have to be careful to install the data SIM into SIM 1. SIM 2 only supports GSM-2G.

And of course, you will find it hard to beat the price. I last seen this phone for $75, and I bought it on sale for $50. Even the Motorola Moto E doesn’t compete on those grounds, although the Moto E has advantages over this phone, it is worth looking at if nothing else.

The Dual SIM management tool was simple enough. I was able to select SIM 2 as default for voice calls, and allowed SIM 1 to handle data by simply selecting the appropriate card. There was a couple of hiccups in navigating when it came to the phone, and services – but this more of an Android problem.

The Bad

There are a number of things that I find at fault with this phone. Yes, I understand that the phone is less than $100, and I am taking that into consideration. There are still some things that needs to be addressed.

First, the OS. Android 4.2 is just not an inconvenience of not having newer features in Android, but a security flaw. Just as people should update the OS on their PC, so should the phone OS be updated. I have concerns that this will never happen and that is a shame. And considering this is a brand new phone – it should have an updated OS. Now some will say that the phone is a lower spec phone. I call bulls**t on that as Android’s newer versions are to be easier on lower end phones.

Next is marketing. The phone claims 3D gaming, and I doubt that with a Dual Core 1.3Ghz CPU on 512MB of memory, nad only 1.3GB of storage. The marketing on the box also screams 4G, and again – Bulls**t. Under the ITU Specs, 4G cellular is LTE and WiMax with Wimax seeing the last days, so let’s just say LTE. HSPA is 3G. Plain and simple, and just because the top of the line HSPA is equivalent to LTE in the infancy doesn’t make it 4G.

And speaking of 3G, it would have been a better value if Blu didn’t skimp on supporting the other two 3G bands. My Nexus 4 from 3 years ago with no LTE at the time supported all of the GSM 3G bands, and I can’t see why a new budget phone can’t do the same. Bands supported are 850/1700/1900 bands. If they are trying to cater to the emerging market, or budget friendly choices, they have made a failing here.

The Ugly

For what ever reason, companies known to be budget likes to put the micro-USB port on the top of the device. Not only is this unusual, but it can be a problem with handling the device while charging. Next, the micro-SD card cage was a pain to open. The arrows suggested on direction which one will likely imply to open where it is to close. The capacitive touch buttons would have been nice to be rid of. A 4.3″ screen with onscreen buttons would have been better.

Initial Impression

This phone is good enough. I wouldn’t expect it to be anything really good, or an impression, but even as a Single SIM service, it could serve well enough. If you are looking for a “first” smart phone, back up, or in need of a low cost dual SIM phone, this is a good enough choice.

My main gripe is the OS. This is something that Blu can solve with all of this model phone, they just choose not too. If you are worried of a reliable update path, you may have to consider spending twice as much for a Motorola Moto series phones which have a reputation of a reliable update path. However, you may find it hard to get a dual SIM phone, and only model I know is the Moto-G.