The Vivo XL3 is a sub $2o0 smartphone and it’s the first smartphone from BLU that runs Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box. It features a 5.5-inch 18:9 LCD display with a 720x1440 resolution and 292 ppi index. I’m happy to see an 18:9 display with fairly thin bezels for a budget smartphone. But the pixel density is sub par, resulting in content that doesn’t appear very crisp or sharp. Color reproduction, however, is satisfactory and there are good viewing angles with little color shift.
The build is constructed primarily out of plastic, which brings me back to the old days of BLU smartphones. It looks really sleek and flashy with its metallic finish. But since it’s plastic, it’s going to pick up a lot of micro scratches over time and it does feel slimy and cheap to the touch. I will say the phone is extremely lightweight, coming in at around 143g. It’s also available in gold and silver color options.
We do have a headphone jack. We have a rear-facing speaker that doesn’t sound great and is in a pretty poor location, a microSD card slot for expandable storage, and a rear-facing fingerprint scanner. The scanner does work well and unlocks the phone consistently. Unlike the speaker grill, it’s actually in a great location. I’m able to easily reach it with my index finger. BLU says it can unlock the phone in 0.2 seconds but it doesn’t quite perform that consistently or quickly for me.
The XL3 is the first BLU smartphone running Android Oreo and while it doesn’t run pure stock Android, the skin is much more subdued when compared to previous BLU skins. You don’t have the quick settings and notifications split up like in previous BLU phones. The app drawer swipes up from the bottom and Google Now is a swipe away via the default launcher, which is really nice to see. You will see some re-textured icons and some added features in the settings as well as some Amazon bloatware. But even so, I still believe this is a step in the right direction when compared, once again, to other skin BLU smartphones.
With Android Oreo, there’s a handful of really neat features now available. You can now snooze notifications quickly and easily. A picture-in-picture mode will minimize the app you are in to allow you to navigate to a different area of your device. Google’s autofill API is now available to help you quickly sign into your favorite apps. You now have themed notifications. There’s even an expanded native file manager built-in via the Downloads app.
You get all of these features in a sub $200 smartphone. The MediaTek Quad-Core processor with 3GB of RAM also helps keep this phone running pretty well for the price. But don’t expect it to win any marathons. It’ll handle basic social media apps and web browsing and light gaming, but that’s about it. It’s pretty slow at times.
There is a 13-megapixel main and selfie camera with plenty of different camera modes to play around with. The f/2.0 aperture helps the phone compete with some of the others in its price category when capturing low light photos. However, I did notice sharpness and detail decrease quite a bit when in poorly lit environments. It’s the 13-megapixel front-facing camera sensor that is really the most impressive of the two sensors. But that might have something to do with the excellent subject matter.
Last but not least is the 3000mAh battery with support for fast-charging. BLU phones usually have pretty solid battery life and the XL3 is no exception. It should last you a full day of moderate to heavy usage on a single charge, thanks again to the improved battery optimizations made available via Android Oreo.
So there you have it-- the BLU Vivo XL3. If you’re watching this on launch date, you can actually head over to Amazon and pick it up for $109.99. This sale will only last for around 24 hours so you better act quick and visit the link. The price will then shoot up to about $190, which makes this more of a tough sell when you consider some of the other offerings from Huawei and Motorola. But since there are some premium flagship smartphones on the market that still do not have Android Oreo, I think it’s pretty neat to see a sub $200 phone with Oreo running out of the box.