BLU sent me the Vivo XL budget smartphone that first debuted at CES 2016 in Las Vegas. It's a $150 off-contract GSM headset that features some very tempting specifications for the price. Are you guys ready for it? Alright, here they are:
The device packs in a 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED display with a 720p resolution and Corning Gorilla Glass 3. We have a MediaTek 1.3GHz octa-core processor which is powering the device along with 2GB of RAM. There's a 13MP rear and 5MP front-facing camera sensor, a 3150mAh battery with quick charging and Android 5.1 Lollipop on the software side of things. You probably noticed the flashy gold box. It's flashy because the device itself is flashy. You'll know what I'm talking about here in a moment.
BLU made it really easy for us to take a look inside. You just have to lift off the top of the box and we'll see the Vivo XL sitting right on top, which I'm going to put off to the side for now. Underneath, we have a 3150mAh battery that we'll have to install later. Then we have a pair of earphones with removable tips and music playback controls. There's a 2A quick charging wall wart here and a USB Type-C. The near future is USB Type-C and I'm glad to see it implemented into this budget smartphone, especially this early in the game so good job BLU.
If we journey further into the box, we'll find a SIM Card Installation Guide with a Quick Start Setup Guide that will help you set up your new device. There's a clear plastic protective case and a screen protector, both of which are always nice to see included right here in the box. You don't see that very often.
But let's take a look at the Vivo XL. Unwrap all the plastic and you'll see an aluminum frame that wraps around the entire device. It's certainly nice to see that. It gives the device some nice integrity in the hand. However, the back cover is made of a slimy plastic. It looks super flashy and stylish from a distance, kind of like the box that was holding the device. But when it comes into contact with your hand, you start to notice how slimy it feels and it takes away from the overall experience. With that said, the Vivo XL is incredibly lightweight. It's so light that it literally floats in the air when you toss it up. No, it doesn't actually defy gravity but it's a one heck of a lightweight device. I will say that.
In order to power on the device, we'll need to insert the 3150mAh battery into the back of the device. The back cover is removable and you'll find access to a microSD card slot and two SIM card slots. As for that display, it is a 5.5-inch 720p Super AMOLED display and I'm seriously impressed with the quality of this panel on first impressions. It's incredibly bright and vivid. And for a 5.5-inch display, content looks surprisingly nice and crisp. I would not have guessed this display has a 720p resolution.
The software is a bit wonky. First of all, the overview and back navigation buttons are flipped from stock Android so that'll take some time adjusting to personally. Secondly, the notification panel doesn't feature any quick settings icons. There's one little settings icon in the upper right hand corner that brings you to the app management section. All of your quick settings will be on a separate menu that can be accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the display. From here, you'll find all of the normal quick settings as well as an option to toggle the brightness. You also have some shortcuts below all of that.
In terms of performance, it's one of the most fluid BLU devices I've ever navigated. It definitely does not feel slow or give any signs of strain on the processor,which is a good thing. If you're a fan of stock Android, you might not like the looks of this skin initially. But I think you'll be able to adjust and maybe you might even like it. I feel like I'll be able to.
The Vivo XL is rocking a 13MP rear and 5MP front-facing camera sensor. Here is a sample photo from the front-facing camera sensor and here are some sample photos from the rear-facing camera sensor. I'm going to wait and see how the camera performs on a daily basis. I don't want to make any preliminary comments at this time but feel free to let me know your initial thoughts in a comment down below. I'd love to hear them.
I did mention the battery inside is a 3150mAh battery which is pretty large. It's larger than the battery inside the LG V10 for example. So it has some serious potential. But overall, I'm extremely impressed with the performance and display on first impressions. The slimy back cover and build quality in general is my only major con. But if you slap on a skin or throw in a case, the build quality becomes irrelevant.
For only $150 off-contract, the Vivo XL offers some serious bang for your buck. I'll leave a link down below on how to purchase the device on Best Buy in a description. They're actually offering a $50 off promotion starting this Friday so you're definitely not going to want to miss that.