BLU R1 HD Review: An Affordable Smartphone with Limited Features

Are you planning to cut costs to an extremely low level on your next smartphone purchase? Then you should read this BLU R1 HD review.

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Itechguides' Take on BLU R1 HD


The BLU R1 HD is a surprisingly good smartphone for its price. It offers a colorful 720p display, reasonably good performance, a solid build, and good battery life. However, the camera is not that great.



  • Affordable price
  • Solid build
  • Good battery life


  • Average camera performance
  • Excess bloatware

This review will take a step-by-step approach to fully analyze the essential aspects of the BLU R1 HD. I will review the smartphone’s design, display, camera, storage, security & sensor, and battery.

I will also take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the smartphone. At the end of this review, you will be able to decide whether or not the BLU R1 HD suits your needs.

My Initial Thoughts

BLU R1 HD Review: My Initial Thoughts

The BLU R1 HD is like the Amazon Fire tablet for smartphones. It has a mostly metal design, fast processor, 3 GB RAM, and 32 GB internal storage.

All these leave a good first impression when you consider its price. Moreover, the price of the BLU R1 HD is the most interesting thing about it.

However, getting a smartphone at this price point definitely means you will have to settle for lower quality in some areas if not all.

Even though the BLU R1 HD doesn’t feel totally cheap nor flimsy, this alone is not enough to conclude on the smartphone’s overall quality. Therefore, in the succeeding paragraphs, I will dig further into more features of the phone.

BLU R1 HD Design, Dimension & Weight Review

The BLU R1 HD has a surprisingly good build. It even shares build quality with some more expensive budget smartphones.

BLU was able to achieve this feat because of its awesome blend of technology and design. Even with the necessity to cut costs, BLU endeavored to incorporate few high-grade materials into the build of the BLU R1 HD.

Along the sides, the BLU R1 HD is adorned with a silver metallic frame. This frame separates the top and bottom plastic ends.

Though the color scheme between the side frame and the top of the BLU R1 HD looks mismatched, it makes the BLU R1 HD look more premium.

The design of the BLU R1 HD is not spectacular, but you shouldn’t be expecting a flagship-like kind of design. After all, the main idea behind the smartphone’s design is to make it look more expensive than it really is.

If you look at the BLU R1 HD, you will conclude BLU did a good job of making the smartphone look a bit premium.

Not only does the BLU R1 HD look a bit premium, but it also feels premium too. Moreover, the curved glass around the edges of the smartphone helps it sit comfortably in your palm.

To add to the comfortability of using the BLU R1 HD, BLU utilized a soft-touch grip on the back of the smartphone. Unfortunately, this back cover has a matte finish that easily retains smudges and fingerprints, so you might need to constantly clean the back cover.

Generally, the BLU R1 HD doesn’t feel like a burden in your pocket either. The smartphone feels considerably light despite its form factor.

Speaking of form factor, the BLU R1 HD measures 143.5 x 72 x 8.7 mm and weighs 142 g. The smartphone is just a bit thicker in comparison to Apple’s iPhone 6S.

Reverting back to the back covering of the BLU R1 HD, you will see a rear camera, an LED flash, and a small speaker.

On the right side of the BLU R1 HD, you’ll notice the smartphone features a volume rocker along with a power button. These buttons also have the same metal finish as the sides which house them.

Interestingly, the left side of the smartphone has no buttons.

At the bottom of the BLU R1 HD, you get a microphone and a USB charging port. As you might have predicted, the charging port is not a Type-C and it doesn’t have fast charging capabilities.

The top of the smartphone houses just the headphone jack.

On the front of the BLU R1 HD, you will not find any visible button. BLU decided to go for on-screen buttons instead of physical buttons.

One would think this will help improve the screen-to-body ratio of the smartphone, but sadly, it didn’t. Though the smartphone’s side bezels are thin, the top and bottom bezels are chunky.

To wrap up, I would say the BLU R1 HD’s design turned out a bit better than I expected. Based on the price tag, I had expected to see a smartphone with a lot of sacrifices in terms of build quality, but this wasn’t the case.

The BLU R1 HD is one of those affordable smartphones that offer a value beyond their price point in terms of design and build quality. Hence, it scores an eight in this review.

BLU R1 HD Display Features Review

BLU R1 HD Display Features Review

The BLU R1 HD comes with a 5.0-inch IPS LCD display. It offers an HD resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels.

This resolution results in a pixel density of 294 pixels per inch. Hence, texts, images, and videos appear clearly and crispy.

Although this display’s resolution may not be up to the standards of some users, there’s a level of quality you can demand from a smartphone of this price. That said, the quality of this display is fair enough.

Contents appear as sharp as a sword. Also, the contents on the display are always buttery smooth thanks to its excellent color reproduction.

Furthermore, the BLU R1 HD’s display is immersive from different angles. You will barely notice the colors on the display fade out when you tilt the phone, neither will you notice extreme brightness loss.

At 420 nits, the LCD panel is quite bright. This makes the BLU R1 HD bright enough to be used outdoors.

Though, you will experience glares from the smartphone’s Corning Gorilla Glass when under direct sunlight, this glass protection comes into good use sometimes. In the case of accidental falls, the glass protection protects the display from cracks and scratches.

One feature I would have loved on the BLU R1 HD is the alternative power-on method to the regular power button press. Also, double-tapping the screen to wake the smartphone would have been nice, but you can only demand so much from a smartphone of this price.

A disappointing feature, however, is the chunky top and bottom bezel. It would have helped more with the viewing experience if the bezels were thinner.

After all, the bottom bezel doesn’t feature any physical button. Additionally, the decision to paint the BLU logo on the bottom bezel was totally unnecessary since it has already been placed on the back.

On second thought, these few dislikable features can be overlooked considering the smartphone’s price. Moreover, the screen is adequate enough for regular activities.

Hence, it scores a seven in this review for its colorful and sharp display.

BLU R1 HD Camera Features Review

The BLU R1 HD features an 8 MP rear camera with an f/2.0 aperture and a 5 MP front-facing camera with an f/1.4 aperture.

Considering its price, the BLU R1 HD camera performs fairly well. Though it doesn’t offer accurate details, it can capture objects clearly in a bright environment.

Sometimes, images taken outdoors tend to look noisy because of how soft the camera is on details. While the images were visible enough, the outlines on the images were a bit blurred.

This is a result of its inadequate auto-focus feature. The camera fails to focus sharply on objects, especially those very close to it.

Furthermore, pictures come out nearly the same way even if you have a steady hand placement to make up for the lack of optical image stabilization on the camera.

Likewise, pictures taken indoors also appear muddy at times.

In extremely low light conditions, images look very blurry, grainy, and noisy. There’s not enough sensitivity for the camera to be effective under these conditions.

The BLU R1 HD’s front camera also has issues with over-exposure. Picture details are often inadequate with a lack of color depth.

That aside, it is a fairly good camera for the price. Moreover, both cameras are equipped with single LED flashlights to improve picture quality.

In terms of video recording, the BLU R1 HD can record 1080p videos at 30 FPS. The results produced are quite good.

However, the BLU R1 HD doesn’t offer continuous autofocusing, so you will have to tap the screen to re-focus your shot as you move the camera around.

The biggest complaint with video recording on the BLU R1 HD is that exposure tends to jump around a lot.

Overall, the BLU R1 HD scores a six in this review for its fairly good camera.

BLU R1 HD Battery Life and Talk Time Review

The BLU R1 HD comes with a 2,500 mAh. For a 2,500 mAh capacity battery, the smartphone’s battery life is satisfactory.

On a battery test that involved continuous video playback in airplane mode, the BLU R1 HD lasted for 11 hours and 15 minutes. It also offered 15 hours of battery talk time.

These results are comparatively good enough.

However, I discovered that the smartphone’s battery drained quickly on another test which involved regular internet usage over Wi-Fi. It drained at a rate of one percent per minute.

Approximately, the smartphone lost 10% of the battery percentage after every 10 minutes. Though the battery consumption slowed down after dropping to 65%, it’s still annoying to lose that much battery quickly.

Additionally, it also took a while to charge the BLU R1 HD to full capacity after the battery got drained. The BLU R1 HD took about 2.5 hours to charge completely.

Nonetheless, the BLU R1 HD scores a seven in this review for its relatively good battery life.

BLU R1 HD Storage Options & Performance Review

BLU R1 HD Storage Options & Performance Review

BLU equipped BLU R1 HD with 16 GB of internal storage.

This storage capacity will be enough for moderate users. It will easily store a good number of pictures, music, videos, and documents.

However, it will be insufficient for users who shoot videos very often or those who install a lot of games.

Moreover, the smartphone’s operating system operates using a part of this internal storage. As a result, you are left with about 9.48 GB available for your use.

Fortunately, the BLU R1 HD supports storage expansion with microSD cards. You can increase the smartphone’s storage capacity by up to 64 GB microSD card.

Overall, the BLU R1 HD scores an eight in this review for its excellent storage options.

BLU R1 HD Security Features & Sensors Review

Sensors are components of smartphones that are used to detect various aspects of the smartphone’s environment. Generally, these sensors are designed for different functions.

Hence, they sense data for which they are made and use the information received from the smartphone’s environment to serve their purpose. The BLU R1 HD comes with two sensors.

One of the sensors is an accelerometer that helps to sense the changes in the orientation of smartphones. The BLU R1 HD and its apps use this sensor to change their orientation from portrait to landscape and vice versa.

The other sensor featured in BLU R1 HD is a proximity sensor that detects when the smartphone is very close to an external object such as the ear during phone calls. During a phone call, the proximity sensor automatically turns off the display to conserve the phone’s battery life.

In terms of security features, the BLU R1 HD doesn’t offer a fingerprint sensor. However, it features the regular pattern, pin, and password lock features.

In conclusion, the BLU R1 HD scores a five in this review for its very limited number of sensors.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Year Did The BLU R1 HD Come Out?

The BLU R1 HD was released in June 2016.

2. Is The BLU R1 HD Waterproof?

The BLU R1 HD does not have any IP rating. Hence, it is not water resistant.

3. How Big Is The BLU R1 HD?

The BLU R1 HD measures 143.5 x 72 x 8.7 mm.

4. Does The BLU R1 HD Have Wireless Charging?

The BLU R1 HD doesn’t have wireless charging feature.

5. Does The BLU R1 HD Have Fast Charging Feature?

No, the BLU R1 HD doesn’t have fast charging feature.

6. Which Operating System Does The BLU R1 HD Run On?

The BLU R1 HD runs on Android 6.0 (Marshmallow).

7. Does The BLU R1 HD Have NFC?

No, the BLU R1 HD doesn’t support NFC.

8. Does The BLU R1 HD Have Wi-Fi?

Yes, the BLU R1 HD is equipped with Wi-Fi technology.

9. Is The BLU R1 HD Heavy?

For its size, the BLU R1 HD’s weight is considerably light. At 142 g, the BLU R1 HD shouldn’t feel heavy in your hand or pocket.

10. Is The BLU R1 HD Good?

For its price, the BLU R1 HD offers a good amount of value. It has a great build, sharp display, and fast processor. However, the camera quality is a bit on the budget side.

My Final Thoughts

BLU R1 HD Review: My Final Thoughts

It is surprising that the BLU R1 HD offers a good build quality despite how affordable it is. You also get a reasonably good level of performance for a smartphone as cheap it is.

However, the camera on the BLU R1 HD is not the best, but it will suffice for casual photoshoots. Overall, if you are a casual phone user with a budget in mind, then you should consider the BLU R1 HD.

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