Most helpful customer reviews
642 of 668 people found the following review helpful.
Would be perfect except for the screen
By Michael Crouse
To introduce myself, I had a Samsung Skyrocket S2 that decided to die on me at the end of last month, and then my backup phone (a cheap Chinese phone) decided to start dying too. There's a phone I want to spend some money on coming out in the next few months, but I need something to get by and to act as a backup phone when I do make that purchase, so after some searching I settled for this one. I listen to a lot of music on my phone, read email, do some app development of my own as a grad student, and occasionally watch videos on Youtube or use GPS to find some place I've never visited before. All in all, barring development I'm a fairly gentle phone user but I also have some tech savvy to form a useful opinion. When I looked up info on the Advance 4.0, I was able to find specs but not much in the way of useful reviews, so I tried to be as thorough writing this as possible.
Design: The Advance 4.0 is bulky for a 4" phone - it's nearly as large in length and width as my 4.5" Samsung S2 Skyrocket, and it's thicker too. The outside of the case is smooth plastic - it isn't slippery in the hand but it does attract fingerprints more than any other phone I've had. However, the phone does come with an Otterbox-like case and a screen protector, and I'd recommend using both. Inside under the battery are two SIM slots and an SD slot. The SIM slots are easy to use and well-labelled but the SD slot frankly scares me. It's flimsy and easy to bend and doesn't offer much protection to the card in the slot. Add that to being under the battery and this isn't a phone for someone who likes to use multiple SD cards. However, all of this is to be expected with a phone in this price range, and getting a case and screen protector included is a great deal.
Performance: The MediaTek chip and 512mb of RAM in this phone might not be impressive compared to a flagship phone, but for day to day operation they perform admirably. Multitasking is generally quick, Youtube and Google Maps load quickly and the phone is loaded with what is basically stock Jelly Bean, which is great. There's no extra junkware to get rid of and the Play Store is ready to go. I should note that I am not a phone gamer, but if you want a cell phone that can play high-end games this is probably not the phone for you. Social games and the like should work fine (I only tried Angry Birds, hardly a tech demo game).
Connectivity: The Advance 4.0's antenna is quite strong - I had trouble getting signal in my basement with my S2, but get 3 bars with this phone. Bluetooth connectivity is similarly impressive - I was able to pair my headset immediately and had signal with my phone in one corner of the house all the way to the garage on the other side - 45 feet away through walls. Data connectivity is flawless - both on wifi and 3g (the phone is compatible with HSPA+) are capped by my provider and ping was good per Speedtest. 3g tethering also works well - assuming your provider lets you do this.
Battery: The Advance 4.0 comes with a 1600mah battery, which with the MediaTek chip should last a very long time. To test, I unplugged the phone at 7AM yesterday, and for the entire day streamed music via wifi to my bluetooth headset - a double drain on the battery. I also downloaded a variety of apps and podcasts and browsed the web some. Then I left the phone on overnight, continuing to download more podcasts while I slept. When I plugged it in at 7:30 this morning it still had 25% battery left. For a budget phone this is outstanding. I wouldn't normally listen to 12 hours of music like that, so there's no way I'm going to kill the battery unless I forget to charge it for two days.
Screen: ... and this is where the wheels come off. The screen on this phone is just short of abysmal. It's not that it's an 800x480 screen - I've had that resolution on other phones and they looked much better than this one. The colors are distorted unless you are looking directly at the phone. This isn't the usual complaint that reviewers have about viewing angles - you literally can't be tilting the phone at all or it's no good. In addition, even if you are looking directly at it images and videos are grainy and just don't look right. However, for normal phone navigation and app use it's adequate. If you wanted to watch anything on your phone, you will be disappointed. I'm lucky that my top use for a smartphone (streaming music) doesn't require much use of this screen.
With a phone in this price range, something always has to give. You either get an a phone that's still running Gingerbread, specs that are subpar, or a battery that can't make it through the day. In this case it's the screen, but even that is really only so bad if you want to watch videos. I expect later this year there will be a lot of competition for budget phones, but if you need a phone right now and only have $100 to spare this is not at all a bad choice.
231 of 250 people found the following review helpful.
Great performance, great price!!! (but secondary camera really sucks =P)
By Ivan Igor
I like it!!! It works great:
+ Convenient price, I was looking for a phone with longlasting battery.
+ Android 4.2 ... same performance as other expensive phones like Samsung
+ 5.0 mp camera... I've made great photos!!!
+ Wireless conection works fast without any problems;
+ Decent speakers... I also use it for listening music from YouTube
+ Front camera (secundary) really sucks... I prefer dont use it
+ Something everybody should know (it happens in all smartphones, all marks, its a "massive" fraud): description talks about 4 GB internal memory storage but the phone only shows 1.24 GB. The sellers never say that Android software decrease significantly available memory, so you are obligated to buy a SD card.
+ An Android system defect: it's designed more like minitablet than a phone... when you're in a call and look for some data in your phone, its difficult get back to the call for hang up.
196 of 212 people found the following review helpful.
Hard to complain at that price...
By Amazon Customer
I bought this phone to upgrade from my AT&T GoPhone Avail (ZTE-Z990). I didn't actually have much of a problem with the Z990, except for one thing: it only had 130MB usable space for installing apps. Even 4 years ago (when I originally bought it) that was considered a minuscule amount of space. After doing everything I could to get around this problem, I finally gave up and decided to find a new phone.
The BLU Advance 4.0 has 1.27GB of space for apps (the other 2.72GB is for the Android OS). I know that's still pretty small by today's cell phone standards but it's a HUGE upgrade to me. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to be able to download and install all the apps I want, plus some I never had the option of installing before. (I still use AppMgr Pro III. It lets me know what programs I can move to my external SD card. Out of the 26 apps I've installed, 11 were able to be moved to my SD card. At 37 apps I've only filled half the 1.27GB with the help of AppMgr.)
I switched to T-mobile (from AT&T) with this phone. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't have to touch any settings to get this phone to work with T-mobile. Call, text, and data all loaded automatically when I installed the SIM card. I'm told HSPA+ is 4G. If that's the case then this phone DOES get 4G (as well as 3G and 2G). Reception for cell and data are, of course, entirely dictated by location. I've been very fortunate thus far, all things considered (I live in Wyoming, lol).
I was pleasantly surprised to see there was absolutely no "bloatware" on this phone. I LOVE IT. There's something immensely satisfying knowing that not one bit of memory is being wasted on an app I don't want. Other than standard Google stuff (which is part and parcel with Android), you only get the basics. Everything else you can customize and tweak to your hearts content. Fantastic!
The screen is bright and crisp and it's 4" (the "sweet spot" for phone screens as far as I'm concerned). The up and down viewing angle is horrid though. Just a slight tilt and the colors are completely washed out. (Right and left are fine though.) And, of course, direct sunlight makes the screen unviewable. (My Z990 did the same thing, so I'm use to that.) Straight on view, though, and the screen is lovely.
Sadly, the only upgrade I got with the camera on this phone was having a flash. Otherwise it's the exact same as the Z990, if not a little worse. (The auto-focus/focus is middling at best on this phone. It doesn't seem to focus at all with things up-close.)
The touch screen is fine. It's no better or worse than other touch screens I've used. That is to say, using a keyboard can be a pain. Swiftkey is how I get around this and I recommend others either get Swiftkey or an app similar to it. (I've heard people have problems with the stock dialer too, their cheek accidently hitting the end-call button. I recommend getting an alternative dialer if that's an issue for you. ExDialer is pretty good.)
Speakers are loud enough. If you're in a crowded or noisy place you'll have difficulty (headphones or bluetooth headset might be in order). Minor complaint here: They have one of the worst speakerphone placements I've ever seen.They have the speaker in the lower back (!!) area of the phone... you know... the part of the phone you cover with your hand to hold it? So if you want to listen to music or have hand-free talking, you'll have to hold the phone from the top (!!!!!) or put it screen-side down. I have adapted but it's a very strange and inconvenient design decision on BLU's part.
Battery life is OK. It really depends on what you're doing with the phone and how many apps are running in the background. I've not had it die on me yet, but I do make it a point to charge it at night and I have a charger in my car just in case. Also, if you're curious, battery replacements are available. Go to BLU's Amazon Store Front and check their Accessory page to find it.
I got a screen protector, protective silicone case, and a earbuds with this phone (along with the standard charger and manual). I tried to use the screen protector but I didn't clean the phone well enough and ended up ruining it. Oh well. The phone itself has a slippery plastic feel to it, so the silicone case is useful as it gives the phone "grip". I haven't tested the earbuds but they seem sturdy and of good quality.
Speaking of the outside of the phone... it's lovely looking. Someone mentioned it looked cheap in the reviews. I guess that depends on where you're coming from. Having used a Z990 for the last 4 years, the Advance 4 is practically a work of art by comparison. The back is particularly cool looking. (I wish the silicone case was the same color as the phone, or see-through, because it's a shame to have it all covered up.)
At $82 this is a perfect phone. There are no "deal breaking" issues for me. All the minor annoyances I can either get around or live with. If this phone also proves to be durable (I haven't had it long), I'll be a BLU customer for life. :)