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It's time for a PhoneDog Snapshot Review, where we take our typical two-part review and condense it down into a tiny little video that's loaded with information!  Today, the BLU Life Play.

What is the BLU Life Play?

I love a good disruptor in the wireless space.  In today's market, it seems like the conversation is focused on Apple, Samsung, and HTC - which gets incredibly boring over time.  Innovation needs to happen, and for many markets, the price of a high-end smartphone is exceptionally prohibitive.  Meet BLU, a company based in Miami - and the BLU Life Play.  While the specs are very similar to other high-end smartphones on the market and the BLU Life Play isn't replacing an older model, BLU's winning feature is a price point - their devices are sold through Amazon for a fraction of the cost of unsubsidized smartphones from HTC, LG, and Samsung.  The BLU Life Play can be had for $229.99 without a contract, bringing quad-core processing to an incredibly affordable price point.

How's the hardware?

Weighing in at 7.9mm thin, the BLU Life Play is a nice smartphone that fits in the hand quite nicely.  The volume rocker and power button are on the right spine, while the 3.5mm headphone jack and microUSB charging port are on the top.  Three capacitive buttons grace the space just below the display.  The internal hardware isn't revolutionary by any stretch of the imagination in comparison to what's already on the market.  The BLU Life Play offers a 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU, 4.7-inch 720p HD display, 1 GB of RAM, and a 1,800 mAh battery.  The phone offers dual SIM card slots, though the setup is rather interesting - one of the SIM card slots fits a micro-SIM, while the other slot fits a mini-SIM.

Other notable benefits:

  • The phone packs an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD recording capabilities, and takes solid pictures.
  • The phone is quick in most tasks, thanks to the quad-core processor.  So far, the 1 GB of RAM has not proven to be a major limitation.

How's the software experience?

The phone offers Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, and while the experience is mostly reminiscent of stock Android (particularly when compared to offerings from LG, HTC, and Samsung), it has some minor customizations here and there.  Overall, the customizations BLU provides are pretty clean, and for those dual-SIM users, makes it easier to distinguish communications from each SIM card.

What's great about the BLU Life Play?

The BLU Life Play brings nice specifications to an incredibly attractive, unsubsidized price point.  The specs are impressive for the price: it offers a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, a reasonably large 720p HD display, and a newer version of Android Jelly Bean (4.2.1).

What could be improved?

As you would expect, the low price point of the BLU Life Play brings some sacrifices over its more expensive brethren.  The phone offers a scant 4 GB of internal storage and only 1 GB of RAM.  Additionally, you'll lose LTE connectivity on AT&T and T-Mobile in the United States.  While the specifications are mostly solid, you'll still get that "budget feeling" with the BLU Life Play.

The Verdict

The BLU Life Play is an awesome addition to the smartphone space.  For those that want a phone with a quad-core CPU but don't want to pony up $500-$700, the BLU Life Play is a great option.  You'll need to be prepared to make some sacrifices - in the RAM and storage space departments, namely - but it's a great option for those on a budget.  Most of BLU's devices, including the Life Play, are available through Amazon.


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