Blu is a company renowned for building very affordable smartphones without too many compromises in performance and quality. Granted, they never quite compete with the best phones out there, but they certainly push the limits of what you can expect for your money. At no time has that been more true than now, with the arrival of the Blu Life Max, which is currently available on pre-order in the UK for just £89.99.
From a design standpoint, there’s nothing entirely remarkable about the materials and finish used by Blu. As you’d expect, it’s built predominantly from plastic, but the screen is coated in a protective glass which is slightly rounded towards the edges.
The back features a removable plastic battery cover, finished with a grippy texture and fake stitching which reminds us very much of the finish on some of Samsung’s older devices. In fact, it’s almost identical to the texture and design of the Galaxy Note 4’s back cover. It’s just as thin and bendy too.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that Blu has included a fingerprint sensor, which isn’t something you’d expect to see in a phone that costs less than £100. But it’s there, and it works. Although it it can be a little tricky to press your finger on since the back cover doesn’t sit completely flush with the edges of the sensor.
There’s a large 5.5-inch screen on the front of the device, with a 720p standard HD IPS panel. It’s not the sharpest display around, but the content sits close to the surface and it’s generally pretty bright and colourful, all things considered.
As you’d predict based on the price, there are compromises on the internal componentry side in a £90 phone. Apart from the 720p screen, the phone also has a bare minimum 2GB RAM and 16GB storage, although you can boost that using a microSD card up to 512GB. There’s also a mid-range quad-core processor from MediaTek, and an 8-megapixel main camera.
Perhaps the one specification that does impress is the battery capacity. With a beefy 3,700mAh of battery juice - and considering all the other components and screen resolution - we could be looking at a phone that easily makes it through two days of use. Especially with Android Marshmallow’s battery optimisations on board.
Blu is due to launch the Life Max on 6 March for £109, but if you want to snag one for less, you can buy the newest affordable Blu phone for just £89 if you pre-order from the company’s Amazon page.