The name ‘BLU,’ perhaps isn’t recognized by many. In the US alone, the Miami-based company has released many decent budget phones and higher-end handsets by partnering with large online retailers like Amazon. Blu also has made a significant presence in South America. The company recently unveiled a brand new model called R1 HD, selling for $50 for Amazon Prime subscribers. Can the cheap price tag live up your expectation? Let’s dig it out.


  • Bargain price
  • 4G LTE & GSM technology
  • Unlocked phone means freedom to switch to any carrier
  • Durable battery


  • Built-in ads on the lock screen (higher price for ad free version)
  • Some pre-installed Amazon apps that you won’t ever use


Given its price, my biggest concern was the company would slash some build quality to live up its cheap badge. That is traditionally the case in almost every under $100 phone who tend to opt for a clumsy plastic case or faux-metal just like Samsung. Blu R1 HD definitely cannot be said as a cheapish handset since the edge is built on real metal which solidly binds the curved glass at the front with the plastic cover at the back.

The 5-inch screen is made from IPS LCD, and it comes with 720p resolution. At 294 pixels per inch, and 420 nits of brightness making the display crisp and relatively easy to work outdoor.

The device supports 3G network at 850/1700/1900/2100MHz and 4G LTE bands 2/4/7/17 allowing it to works with the majority of US carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile and other cellular providers in the North America.

The Blu R1 HD packed quad-core MediaTek 6735 chipset at 1.3GHz speed rate. Consumers can opt for 1GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage for $50 ($99.9 without Amazon pre-installed) or 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage for $60 ($109.9 without). It comes with microSD slot that can accommodate cards up to 64GB.

The product stated that the lens has f/2.0 aperture, which is quite large for an entry-level device and recording up to 1080p. I found the camera okay for its price. The primary camera is 8MP with autofocus and LED Flash. While the secondary camera has 5MP and wide angle lens.

If you are looking for cheap, reliable phones for your teenagers, or if you want to have another communication lines, look no further. Even without the Amazon subsidy, the price tag still worth the value. For a budget phone that stands day-to-day usage, you can’t go wrong with this handset.