The BLU Studio Touch 4G, officially released today, is the latest unlocked affordable smartphone from one of the world’s fastest growing mobile phone manufacturers, BLU Products. The company was founded in 2009, and they have since then sold more than 35 million devices in over 40 countries – all from their headquarters in Miami.
If you are looking for a budget-friendly replacement for your current smartphone, want a backup phone for travel, or don’t want to spend more money then you have to, the BLU Studio Touch certainly seems like a good choice. Of course, specifications alone hardly ever tell the entire story, which is where this in-depth review comes in.
Design and Build
In their promotional materials, BLU calls the new smartphone “an engineering wonder.” While that might be an overstatement, there’s no denying that the aluminum smartphone really feels like a premium product. Customers can choose between two colors – Slate Gray and Lavish Gold – both of which look gorgeous in real life and do a good job of keeping fingerprints at bay.
Despite the metal construction, the smartphone weighs only 141 grams and its dimensions are 143.2 x 71.2 x 8.4 mm, mainly thanks to the reasonably large 5” HD LCD with BLU Infinite View Technology. The resolution of the display is 720 x 1280, making it satisfactory sharp even when viewed up close. Scratch Resistant Glass Protection technology is there to protect the display against scratches and signs of daily use.
The presence of a regular 3.5mm audio jack for headphones or speakers allows you to connect your favorite pair headphones without the need to use a proprietary adapter. Charging and data transfers are realized via a microUSB v2.0 port.
One negative on the design is the speaker should be located either in the front or on the sides. With its current design with the speaker in the back, the sound can get muffled if you place the phone flat on the table. You would need to place the phone face down to get the full speaker experience.
If we were to dig deeper beneath the surface of the phone, we would discover the usual assortment of sensors, including an accelerometer, light sensor, proximity sensor, and, above all else, fingerprint sensor.
The fingerprint sensor is an uncommon feature for a smartphone in this price range. It brings better security and convenience by replacing complicated passwords and security patterns with a simple swipe of your finger. What’s more, you can use it to encrypt all your emails and confidential documents to prevent malicious attackers from being able to access them.
A nice bonus from the box is BLU includes a free phone case and screen protector that are specifically made for this phone. It is a nice touch by BLU, you do not see that too often, especially from the larger brands.
An adequate performance for all daily tasks in guaranteed by the MediaTek 6735P with 1.0GHz Quad Core and Mali-T720 GPU. ARM, the manufacturer of the GPU, describes it as “an extremely area-efficient GPU designed specifically to bring high quality, energy efficient GPU Compute graphics features to the low- to mid- range Android mobile market.”
We ran the device through Geekbench and got a respectable score of 1164, which is around the range of the Nexus 7 or Moto X.
For the best performance, we highly recommend downloading the Nova Launcher from the Play Store and make it the default launcher.
The BLU Studio Touch 4G is a dual SIM smartphone with an excellent connectivity. You can enjoy fast download and upload speeds using 4G LTE ((2/4/7/12/17) or 4G HSPA+. This makes the Touch 4G perfect for international travelers or anyone who wants to take advantage of different voice/data plans for better rates and coverage.
Storage and RAM
Unfortunately, the overall performance is undermined by the fact that the smartphone comes with only 1GB of RAM. Such a low amount of RAM seems really obsolete in 2016, and it means that the smartphone is not suitable for complex multitasking scenarios. How much will that affect you in practice depends on how you use your smartphone. If you don’t jump from one app to another, you are likely to not experience any slowdowns at all. On the other hand, if you tend to work with multiple applications at the same time, you are probably in for a more than few moments of bitter frustration.
BLU included 8GB of internal storage space and even added in the option to use microSD cards to increase the total space to up to 40GB.
If the size of the RAM and storage is a deal breaker for you, fortunately, BLU announced that they will release a 16GB storage and 2GB RAM variant in September. We simply cannot stress the value for this phone enough. The upgrade for this new variant will cost just $10 more. Stay tuned for the release of this new variant in just a little over a month.
The BLU Studio Touch comes packed with a 2,500 mAh battery. This non-removable battery should be enough to last you all day on normal usage. We ran the phone through the Geekbench battery test and came out with a battery score of 2905, which is great for a budget phone.
We would like to see a fast-charging technology, but it’s understandable that BLU had to save money somewhere, and leaving out fast-charging is, indeed, a sensible choice.
The smartphone comes with two workable cameras that simply does what it is suppose to do, but the quality isn’t spectacular with the 8 MP main camera and 5 MP front selfie camera. But again, these specs are great for a sub-$100 level budget phone. A big bonus is the flash on both sides, so this would be a great option for taking selfies. Both cameras have autofocus, automatic white balance, geotagging, face detection, and support for custom ISO, HDR, panorama pictures, voice capture, and gesture shots.
The main camera records full HD video footage in at 30fps or 720p footage at 30fps. The image quality of still pictures and video is slightly above what you normally get from smartphones in this price range. Noise can become an issue when shooting at night, but the built-in LED flash works surprisingly well for close up shots and self-portraits.
- CPU: Quad-Core 1.0 GHz ARM Cortex A53
- GPU: ARM Mali-T720 MP4
- RAM: 1GB, 533 MHz
- Storage: 8GB
- Display: 5.0 inches IPS HD Display
- Resolution: 720 x 1280 Pixels
- Camera: 8 Megapixels / 5 Megapixels
- Dimensions: 143.2 x 71.2 x 8.4 mm
- Weight: 141 Grams, 0.141Kg
- Battery: 2,500 mAh
- OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
- Network Technology: GSM / UMTS / LTE
- 2G Network Bands: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
- 3G Network Bands: 850 / 1900 / 2100
- 4G Network Bands: 700 / 1700 / 1900 / 2600 MHz
Priced at under $100, the BLU Studio Touch 4G is a very pleasant surprise in the budget category. The smartphone is more than capable of handling all common tasks, and the presence of the fingerprint scanner is a very compelling argument why you should choose it over its competition.