Another day, another dollar — or in this case, another smartphone. On Monday, timed conspicuously ahead of the imminent IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, Miami, Florida-based smartphone maker Blu took the wraps off the Pure XR. It’s a $300, octa-core smartphone with a fingerprint sensor and an abundance of memory, and it’s the latest to join Blu’s ever-growing parade of budget and mid-range devices.
Blu is known as a value brand, and the Pure XR continues in that tradition. The 154.3 x 74.9 x 7 mm, 147.2 g Android handset sports an all-metal unibody of “aerospace-grade aluminum” on the outside, and inside, a 5.5-inch 1,920 x 1,080 pixel Super AMOLED display protected by a transparent sheath of Gorilla Glass 3. Powering the thing is a 2.0 GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 chip, 4GB of RAM, and a 3,000mAh battery, and handling storage is a 64GB internal chip and a MicroSD that fits cards up to 64GB in size.
The XR’s primary optics come in the form of a 16MP camera — a slight step down from last year’s Pure XR’s 24 MP camera, it’s worth noting — with an f/1.8 aperture and two autofocus technologies, laser and phase detection. On the front, meanwhile, is an 8MP front-facing camera with a wide-angle lens. And the rest of the Pure XR’s hardware is just as capable: there’s a USB Type-C port, a fingerprint, GSM/LTE radios.
Finally, the Blu XR packs support for what the firm calls “Advanced 3D Touch” — haptics-based gestures that let you select, preview, and open apps on the phone’s home screen. It’s unclear if Blu’s implementation is quite as holistic as, say, equivalent functionality on Huawei’s Mate S or ZTE’s Axon Mini, but it at the very least appears to be a serviceable, if rough, approximation of the Apple iPhone 6s’s Force Touch. And that’s probably enough.
Blu has been on a roll, lately. In January, it debuted the Vivo XL, a $100 smartphone with a 5.5-inch 1,280 x 720 pixel AMOLED screen, an octa-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 3,160mAh battery. It followed that flagship killer in January with the Energy XL, which bumped the screen size (to 6 inches), resolution (to 1,920 x 1,080 pixels), RAM (to 3GB), and battery (to 5,020mAh) for $200 extra, or $300 total. The Blu XR falls a tad short of the Energy XL’s monster spec sheet, but its footprint is concededly a whole lot smaller. And that counts for something, many would argue.