Hands on: Blu Vivo 6 review

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OUR EARLY VERDICT

The Blu Vivo 6 has a design that would fit most flagship devices but may be a bit of a letdown when it comes to the spec inside the phone. Either way, the Vivo 6 seems to be cheap for the setup it offers.

FOR

  • Great feeling design
  • Low price for high spec

AGAINST

  • Dark screen
  • Limited colour choices

There are a lot of manufacturers looking toward the low priced yet premium phone space, but Blu is one of the only companies trying to do that from within the US.

Founded in 2009, Blu has been impressing Americans with its range of devices – which are designed in the country but manufactured in China – over the last few years. The Blu Vivo 6 marks the very first time the brand has come to the UK and it’s exclusively available on this side of the pond.

It’s a high-end phone too, with a lower price than you may expect from just looking at the handset.

Blu Vivo 6 price and release date

You can buy the Vivo 6 right now from Amazon, but only in the UK currently. Amazon is the only site the phone is available from and it usually costs £239.99/$359.99, but if you buy it on Black Friday it’ll only be £184.99/$277.49.

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Blu Vivo 6 design

When you first pick up the Vivo 6, it’s notable how premium the device feels. It’s large, but still light and sits in the hand comfortably considering this is a large phablet device.

On the front of the phone there’s a 5.5-inch Full HD display.

The picture quality and viewing angles look good upon first impressions, but it’s not particularly bright. The auto-brightness mode in particular doesn’t seem to be that impressive.

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The device has a full aluminium unibody that feels soft on the palm of your hand when you’re holding it. The Vivo 6 also has chamfered edges, that give it a particularly high-end look that’s not usually found on devices at this price point.

You especially notice how good it appears when looking at the all-metal back of the phone.

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You’re going to have to like bright colors to buy the Vivo 6 though – you can only get it in either gold or rose gold. Both are bold choices and it’s a shame there’s not a grey, white or black version as well because not everybody wants a vibrantly coloured phone.

On the bottom of the phone sits a USB-C port alongside the Stereo DTS speakers, that have OK sound quality, but don’t offer anything groundbreaking.

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On the top edge of the phone there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack, but you can also use Bluetooth here if you own a wireless headset.

Below the screen there’s a fingerprint scanner – something you won’t always get at this price point – which is easy to set up and doubles as a home button.

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Under the hood of the Vivo 6 there’s a MediaTek P10 octa-core chipset, alongside 64GB of storage (with microSD support) and 4GB of RAM.

Our limited testing so far suggests the processor is OK, but won’t be able to do as much as your average flagship phone.

The Vivo 6 uses the same chipset we saw in the Sony Xperia XA, which is a phone that really struggled with some processing tasks.

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Battery wise there’s a 3,130mAh battery to keep the whole thing running, and there’s an Extreme Power Saver Mode for real battery emergencies.

As for software, the Vivo 6 is running a version of Android 6 with a Blu skin overlay on top. A Blu representative confirmed there are plans to bring Android 7 to the phone, but there’s no timescale at the moment.

The overlay on Blu phones is an interesting addition that you may or may not like.

It looks very different to stock Android and tries to simplify the experience, but it’s not clear why the changes have been made. It doesn’t seem to add many new features on top of normal Android software, instead just replacing what you’d usually get.

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For example, the Blu Vivo 6 has Opera instead of Chrome as its default browser.

There are a few interesting additions though, such as an app called Chameleon that allows you to change the phone’s interface based on a real life colour you find. Take a photo of it, and your phone’s UI will change to that look.

It’s not always accurate, but it’s an interesting idea and means you can customise the look of your phone around your favourite colours in a matter of seconds.

Another interesting Blu UI feature is fake call. It works from the Apple-like control center you’ll find when you swipe up from the bottom of the phone.

Press the button and in 15 seconds (or you can change the time) you’ll get a fake phone call come through from an unknown number with someone asking if you have “sorted the files yet”, so you can get out of awkward situations.

If you’re on a horrible date and you want to get out in a hurry, this may well be the perfect feature for you.

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In terms of the camera, the Vivo 6 offers you a 13MP rear shooter from Sony and an 8MP selfie snapper. From our limited testing, the Vivo 6 looks to create some OK images but nothing game-changing.

Early verdict

Blu wants to make an impact in the UK, and the Vivo 6 may well do that at under £250/$375, thanks to a lovely design and some fantastic features.

Whether is succeeds will come down to how powerful the phone is in practice, but it’s rare to find such a premium feeling handset with so many features on board and at such a low price.

(techradar.com, https://goo.gl/MTgNPl)

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