back to article Blu Vivo 6: Top value trendsetter marred by Chino-English mangle

Does anyone buy phones purely on specs? If so, this one might interest you. If software updates, support, and overall fit and finish can be ignored, then perhaps Blu, a Miami-based phone brand might make you pay attention. That’s because Blu enters the UK market with a £229 5.5-inch model, which on the surface looks an …

  1. James 51

    Perhaps if there is a cyanogenmod for it.

    1. Steve Evans

      That would be the only hope...

      Andrew's complete failure to mention which antiquated version of Android it ships with (which you will be forever burdened with) does not fill me with hope for the shipped OS.

      Oh, I take that back... It's got Marshmallow according to the manufacturer's website... It'll never get an update mind.

  2. mathew42

    Security Updates & Standard GUI - Please!

    Is there any chance one of these companies could deliver standard Android interface and fast security updates?

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Security Updates & Standard GUI - Please!

      No and No.

      On the first one - they try (and fail) to ape Apple.

      On the second one - it is an unnecessary expense, go buy a new gadget instead of updating the old one. All those people in Shenzen need to eat ya kno.

    2. Milton

      Re: Security Updates & Standard GUI - Please!

      "Is there any chance one of these companies could deliver standard Android interface ...?"

      Not really. If they delivered standard Android there would be little excuse for not pumping out uodates. Instead, by obfuscating everything and interfering with the update process, they are better able to hide the spyware which passes all your personal data back to China.

  3. Triggerfish

    What abbout the firmware hack

    you guys reported.

    1. Just Enough

      Re: What abbout the firmware hack

      This was my first thought too.

      Can't say I'd be tempted. Maybe phoning home to China, flaky 'pretend I'm an iphone' interface, bad translations that could leave you mystified at any point, probably zero support or updates. No thanks.

  4. Electron Shepherd

    Come back, Nokia 3310, all is forgiven...

    And the battery quietly impressed too: you’ll get a day

    There's something seriously wrong with the smartphone market when a portable device that only lasts a day before needing a recharge is "impressive".

    1. Bassey

      Re: Come back, Nokia 3310, all is forgiven...

      "There's something seriously wrong with the smartphone market when a portable device that only lasts a day before needing a recharge is "impressive"."

      Can you explain WHY that is? I see it churned out on here over and over as some kind of self-explaining mantra. But, as far as I can see, for almost everyone +95% of the time, a portable device that lasts a little over a day is perfectly fine. The vast majority of people sleep every day and are usually in a position to plug their phone in to charge whilst asleep. Okay, I may occasionally go camping and, being a weirdo, I do 24hr races where I clearly don't have access to a charger. But that's okay. I'd far rather my phone was optimised for the +95% of use-cases leaving me to carry a battery pack the other -5%. Especially if the alternative is a device optimised for the -5% of use-cases.

      It was a similar thing with smart watches. If they won't run for over a year on a watch battery then having to charge it every night is no less convenient than having to charge it once a week; except that you'd quickly get into the habit of charging it every night. Who's going to remember to plug something in just on a Sunday?

      1. Electron Shepherd

        Re: Come back, Nokia 3310, all is forgiven...

        Li-ion batteries degrade with each charge cycle. This is a brand new phone. If the battery only lasts for a day now, do you really think it will still last a whole day in two year's time, when it's been recharged 730 times?

      2. Trumpet Winsock

        Re: Come back, Nokia 3310, all is forgiven...

        Your reference to 24 Hour races made me laugh, as a fellow Headbanger back in the 80's I remember pressing "Start " on my trusty Casio watch and realising how daft it was.

        Agree with the points mentioned in your post, I have a Samsung with wireless charging which gets plonked on the bedside charger each night.

    2. leon clarke

      Re: Come back, Nokia 3310, all is forgiven...

      Getting phones with multi-day battery life is easy - buy any remotely modern smartphone and turn off wifi and mobile data. I find they'll last a long weekend if you don't spend too long chatting. The reason for the massive battery drain is 2 related things - the phone is constantly talking to the network get get all those wonderful apps to do all their exciting notifications, and you use the phone for rather more jobs than a 3310 was used for. Get a smartphone to behave like a 3310, and it's a perfectly reasonable substitute for one.

      In fact, I suspect that phones will always have a battery life of just under a day - if someone installs a better battery, users will install more apps with more notifications until battery life decreases to the point where it becomes annoying, then uninstall the most pointless couple of apps, leaving battery life in an equilibrium state of not quite good enough but not really annoying.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Come back, Nokia 3310, all is forgiven...

        buy any remotely modern smartphone and turn off wifi and mobile data

        Or just install any of the current no-root firewall apps. Same effect - it nearly doubled the battery life on mine.

      2. IsJustabloke

        Re: Come back, Nokia 3310, all is forgiven...

        "In fact, I suspect that phones will always have a battery life of just under a day"

        I have a Sony right here in front of me that strongly disagrees with your opinion.

  5. MrRimmerSIR!

    Good luck getting a CM ROM on this

    It'll follow the usual pattern for a Mediatek phone - no kernel source, no OS source so no chance of a custom ROM. It's why I'm never buying MK again.

    For similar money the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro delivers twice the battery and a much more powerful SoC with dozens of ROMs to choose from, including builds of 7.1.

    1. inmypjs Silver badge

      Re: Good luck getting a CM ROM on this

      Vernee Releases Complete Source Code for MediaTek X20-based Apollo Lite

    2. Naselus

      Re: Good luck getting a CM ROM on this

      Totally read the title of your post as 'Good luck getting a CD ROM on this', which confused the shit out of me.

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Good luck getting a CM ROM on this

      All Bananas are mediatek and this one looks like using the same SoC as banana M3. So the source for this SoC is available. Now the firmware for the baseband, etc - you might as well forget it.

  6. Dr_N


    Is there a Wiko equivalent model?

  7. Andrew 6

    Moto G4 plus

    after a couple of deals and cashback I managed to get the 64gb/ 4GB ram version of the Moto G4+ for about 225, and that has a qualcomm chip in and a pretty high likelihood of getting a few updates at least...

    1. Kubla Cant

      Re: Moto G4 plus

      I bought a Moto G4 Plus 16GB from Amazon for £199 from Amazon in August. It looks like it's still available at that price. It's a decent phone, from a brand I've heard of, with a full English version of Android. When I plug in the charger at the end of the day it's usually showing more than 50% battery charge left.

      In what way is the Blu Vivo better value at £229?

      1. James Hughes 1

        Re: Moto G4 plus

        I just got the Amazon G4 plus 2GB/16GB, it was £179. I'm pleased with it so far! First Android smartphone - upgrading from a Symbian Nokia 808.....

        1. Colin Ritchie

          Re: Moto G4 plus

          Argos do the same Moto G4 for £160 sim free:

          Cracking phone at a cracking price!

        2. knottedhandkerchief

          Re: Moto G4 plus

          I got it the G4 plus, 16GB ROM, 2GB RAM, dual SIM, for £165 at on Black Friday. Extremely pleased with it, excellent camera and Qualcomm (far better GPS than others). Was going to buy it earlier, but decided to wait for Black Friday and proven right ;-)

  8. Kornelis


    I ran into this article.

    Is this than total bs?

    He makes it sounds so easy!

  9. MrWibble

    "The task switch and back buttons are reversed for no apparent reason (although you can revert to the Android convention in settings)."

    Which way is it? The stock-Android way (back, home, recent) or the Samsung way (recent, home, back)?

  10. tiggity Silver badge

    Lack of updates

    Is also the case with lots of big name manufacturers (not quite as bad on a "flagship" model, but anything a tier down loses updates very quickly, and if they do crawl out it takes so long as to be near pointless in security terms)

    I have a spare cheapo Chinese model ( Cubot - I'm sure Amazon have good deals on them too) - it's far from perfect but has is cheap (& good spec for the price) stuff I need such as dual sim, SD card, removeable battery. I don't do banking, shopping etc. on my phone but its big screen & OK spec is handy for games, watching / listening to media

    A cheap & cheerful Chines phone is, with a bit of care, a useful spare phone in case anything nasty happens to main one / to just use as an MP3 / video player (so not hammering battery of your main phone) / to give to the mugger so keeping main phone safe.

  11. Mage

    “Control Center” and Updates.

    My Linux Desktop Windows Like "Control Panel" is called “Control Center”

    I doubt either term can be protected.

    Lack of Updates

    Often not feasible due to lack of Flash space to download the new to before upgrade. Amazon sells loads of 8G Flash tablets with Android 4.4, with only 3G free.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, we have a device that uses a SoC who's manufacturer is well known for shipping backdoors, coupled with a fingerprint reader that can probably be easily fooled with a silicon mold fingerprint. But, hey, it's cheap and comes with McAfee enrolment, right?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There are no smartphone fingerprint readers that can't be fooled. Some are better than others, and all are probably beyond the typical mugger's ability, but your fingerprint is a username, not a password.

      So if you want real security use a password - not a PIN, not 'draw a squiggle', not a fingerprint, not an iris, not a face!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not a new brand ...

    I have a "Bold Like Us" (BLU - geddit ?) dual SIM Windows (8) phone I bought last Black Friday via Amazon.

    Well, I have the replacement for the original (which had some power-reset loop fault).

    I can't really comment on it's performance. It was bought as an (as yet un-needed) how standby for my Wileyfox.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    strange way to tackle the world’s fifth biggest economy

    Aren't we now sixth, following the fall in sterling?

    Then again, with Italy's banking sector about to drop down the crapper taking the entire economy with it, maybe we can still stick with fifth.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Mr Orlowski - don't you think you should be warning your readers and potential buyers of the recently discovered adups spyware on BLU devices? (and others)

    The wife has owned 2 BLU devices previously. Good and cheap phones... but I shudder to think what else are lurking on them...

    How could BLU not know about what they are running on their own phones??

    I'm guessing they did know...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: adups!

      somewhere in Beijing, a nameless state official is browsing through your wife's selfies.

  16. raving angry loony


    Does the low price include the Chinese spyware?

    Also curious as to why the article makes zero mention of such issues in Chinese-sourced android phones, if for no other reason than to say "we checked, and it's not there". Who do you REALLY work for, Orlowski?

  17. Shaha Alam

    "Operating the suspend button, achieved to return, sleep and so on,"

    what's wrong with that? sounds perfectly cromulant to me.

  18. Richard Lloyd

    Blu Vivo 6 is probably the best 2016 phone sold in the UK under 200 quid

    I got this phone on Black Friday and, for the price, it's quite impressive. If its missing features (NFC, waterproofing, Nougat) are important to you, then you'll have to spend quite a lot more to get them I suspect. I only saw a couple of mangled English mesages in the Settings - this article overblows that in the extreme. The display is good, the phone doesn't lag and the Android interface has only minor changes (use Nova Launcher to bring more sanity), with swiping the Quick Settings from the bottom rather than the top being the most obvious.

    You get a shed-load of accessories in the box - so much so, that maybe a second type C cable is the only optional purchase you might consider. I think the only concern I might have about the Vivo 6 is the timeliness of the updates. It's currently only got the Sep 2016 Android security updates and although Blu have promised Nougat in the future, there's no firm date for that yet.

    BTW, Amazon UK dropped the price back to 184.99 for the end of its Cyber Week - as I write this, it's probably got one more day (Sunday) left before it returns to 239.99. At the lower price, the Vivo 6 beats or equals its nearest rival (the Moto G4 Plus) in most categories except the rear camera specs.

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