BLU VIVO XI+ - 6.2” Full HD+ Display Smartphone, 128GB+6GB RAM, AI Dual Cameras -Silver
I was really on the fence about this purchase. It was pushing both my general budget for a new phone as well as the price I felt comfortable buying from BLU. I've had one BLU phone in the past and it was okay. Not great, but basically good. It was the Life One X (this was a few years back) and I think it was probably about $100 cheaper than this phone. However, I ended up pulling the trigger because of the sheer number of features this phone has over others in the same price range, and after about a week of having it, I'm glad I did.
The build quality is pretty good, but the back was immediately covered in fingerprints. I was not going to use the included case but honestly it protects the back from fingerprints and it's really slim so I've put it on and I think it will stay on. It's got a very solid feel to it and more weight than the Moto G5 Plus it replaced. The screen to body ratio is great too. It looks sleek and fancier than its price tag. I've had multiple people mention how similar it looks to the new iPhone, which I get is probably very intentional on BLU's part, but hey, I don't mind people thinking I've got a way more expensive phone than I actually have.
The processor/memory combo is beating the pants off my old Moto G5 Plus. It does everything significantly and noticeably faster. Haven't done a ton of gaming, but the games I do play load and play faster and smoother.
I noticed that without the case, the fingerprint reader is so subtly outlined on the back that I was often not placing my finger properly on it to be read correctly. This has mostly cleared up with the added outline provided by the case. I'm kind of loving the face unlock, and it works really well no matter what the light level is, and even works whether I have my glasses on or not.
Qi charging is great (and not impeded by the slim included case), and I love being able to just rest my phone on a charger at work, and grab it when I walk away from my desk without having to repeatedly use the USB port. To me, it extends the overall life of the phone, because on my old phone, the port was starting to get a little finicky (sometimes I had to fiddle with it to get it to charge properly), and I feel like it's just a common point of failure on most devices with a USB port that gets used a lot.
Please note that none of these negatives are dealbreakers in my book, and none of them warranted me dropping my overall rating of the phone. I think the internal parts/components in the phone are not necessarily as good as they would be in a more mainstream name brand, which I guessed before I bought it, but gambled on anyway. I've had some Bluetooth pairing issues, but they've mostly cleared up over the last few days. I've also noticed that my WearOS watch has had more connectivity issues (a small handful) with this phone than my Motorola (almost none over 1+ year with the watch), and the overall range of the Bluetooth connection doesn't seem to be quite as good either (but it's not so bad that I'd call it out as being bad). The cellular antenna seems to be not as good as the one in my old phone and also in my wife's iPhone 6 Plus. I consistently have one or more fewer bars at home than I did previously. I also don't really understand why they ditched the headphones jack other than to just look more premium? The phone's not remotely IP rated or anything like that, so why not just leave the jack in place? That being said, the included dongle is functional and as long as you have a Qi charger, you can charge and use wired headphones at once. Last negative is probably that even though it's got 2 reasonable cameras on the back and higher megapixels than the Moto G5 Plus, the photos I've taken so far range from a little better than my old phone to a little worse. It's honestly not even much of a negative, as like I said, some of the photos do come out better, and the depth functionality is a nice addition.
If I waited a few more months to get a new phone, I may not have ended up going with this one, because other phones from more respected brands and around the same feature set are starting to get nice price drops (the Nokia 7.1 dropped $50 off its price a day after I ordered this phone, which almost made me cancel my order). If some of the mid-range Chinese phones had better US band support, I may have gotten one of those instead (Poco F1 was a serious contender for half a second until I realized how poor the US band support is). But with every other option I looked at leading up to my purchase, I was compromising at least 2 features on this phone that I was looking forward to. Every one of them was missing something, whether it's USB C, Qi charging, expandable storage, dual cameras, 128GB storage, 6GB RAM, etc. and in the end, I decided this was the most complete package I could find for the price I wanted to pay right now.