Specs summary


The BLU R1 HD's screen is 5 inches with 720 x 1280 pixels resolution.


There is a MediaTek MT6735 Quad core 1.3 GHz processor (CPU).


The phone runs on the Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system (OS).

8+ MP
You can take photos or capture video with the phone's onboard 8+ megapixel camera. There is also a secondary front facing camera with 5+ megapixels resolution.
16 GB

Internal memory is 16 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 64 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.


The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 2500 mAh battery. BLU's performance ratings are 25 days standby time, 1440 minutes (2G), 900 minutes (3G).

BLU gets a lot right with the R1 HD, with its solid design and build quality, decent performance, and clean software experience.

- Android Authority team , Android Authority 

The Blu R1 HD gives you a lot for just $50, including a bright 5-inch screen, sleek design and long-lasting battery, but this Amazon Prime special shows lots of ads.

- Michael Andronico , Tom's Guide 

Reviews summary

Based on 5 reviews

What's good  

  • Budget priced
  • Bright and relatively sharp display
  • Good performance
  • Good battery life

What's bad  

  • Camera works poorly in low light situations
  • Amazon subsidized version places ads in lock screen and notifications
  • Lots of preinstalled Amazon apps

Blu is a relatively unknown name in the smartphone market. The Florida-based company specializes in affordable hardware and the R1 HD is no exception to the rule. The phone is available to Amazon Prime members for under $100, though that also means they will need to allow ads on their lock screen, in their notifications and agree to a suite of preinstalled Amazon apps. For those who don’t want to deal with all of that, there is an unlocked version, but it will cost a little over $100.

For a budget phone it surprised experts with its sleek design from its slim aluminum frame to the curved-rectangle shape. While it won’t be confused with a flagship phone, they note it does have its own charm and is quite easy to grip thanks to the soft-touch back and comfortable dimensions of 5.6 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches. The back also snaps off to reveal two SIM slots and a microSD slot. Despite the low price tag, critics did not experience and issues that plague many other lower end phones like flexing, creaks or loose buttons.

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The 5-inch, 720p LCD display isn’t the best one you’ll find on the market, but reviewers still came out impressed with its color, contrast and viewing angles. At 294 ppi, it might not be as sharp as the top smartphones on the market, but reviewers were still quite happy with how well text and images look. It wasn’t until the compared it beside a top tier phone that they really noticed the difference. Still, for the price, they consider it quite good.

It shouldn’t be surprising that this is no powerhouse. Still, armed with a quad-core 1.3GHz processor and up to 2GB of RAM, it also isn’t painfully slow. In fact, most experts consider it quite good as it had no serious issues during day-to-day tasks. Surprisingly, it also handles games quite well though they did notice a bit of stuttering for more graphic-intensive games. The life of the 2500mAh battery was also quite good and generally lasted them around a full day even with heavy usage. Sadly, there are no quick charging capabilities, but that isn’t too unexpected considering many higher priced smartphones don’t come with this feature either.

The 8MP rear camera cannot possibly stand up to higher end phones like the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, but it managed to provide experts with color accurate images in good lighting conditions. With such a low megapixel count, they weren’t surprised to see pixilation in the images, especially when they zoomed in. Unfortunately, as light diminished so did the cameras capacity to take good pictures. In dimly lit situations, there was noticeable grain and an even greater loss in detail.

Depending on what model you get – the unlocked or Amazon exclusive version – will affect the cost of the Blu R1 HD. Reviewers have a hard time recommending the phone for power users as the pop up ads on the lock screen and notifications are annoying. For the cost of an unlocked version, they were also able to find other comparable smartphones that offer better performance, higher resolution screen and better cameras. Toms Guide adds, “…the Blu R1 HD is still a very good value if…other phones are out of your price range, but be prepared to deal with ads if you’re looking to pay as little as possible.” Ars Technica states, “BLU’s R1 HD should only really be on the table if you’re trying to buy the most phone you can for the least amount of money…As a phone buyer, I’d be much happier to have a phone subsidized by Amazon but not cut off from Google’s ecosystem than I would be to buy a Fire product…”

Reviews (7.2/10 Avg. rating)

Ars Technica

A $60 Amazon phone that’s way better than Amazon’s actual phone

from Ars Technica
BLU’s R1 HD should only really be on the table if you’re trying to buy the most phone you can for the least amount of money. Other phones are faster and have better cameras and receive updates more consistently. But it’s a solid bargain even at its non-Amazon price of $100 (or $110 for the 2GB version I’d strongly recommend)... Full review
Android Authority

Helping redefine the budget smartphone

from Android Authority
This phone gets a lot right, with a solid design and build quality, decent performance, a clean software package, and an unbeatable price point. The camera experience is a bit of a let down, and the ads, if you go for the Prime version, can get annoying, but at this price, these are understandable compromises to make. If you are looking for a good option on a budget, the BLU R1 HD should definitely be considered... Full review

Insanely cheap for what it does

from Wired
This is the phone for when you break your real phone and need to fill the gap until you’re ready for a true upgrade. This is the phone you get if you feel like your life would benefit from a second smartphone but don’t want to commit to the idea. Better still, this is the phone you don’t get, but use as a baseline for how inconceivably good and how cheap smartphones have gotten. The Blu R1 HD isn’t better than anything. But it’s still plenty good... Full review
Tom's Guide

A decent smartphone for as low a price as possible

from Tom's Guide
The Blu R1 HD is certainly affordable, but that doesn't necessarily make it a bargain. The phone's design, display and battery life are satisfactory for a low-cost device, but its weak camera and inability to run graphically demanding apps serve as a constant reminder that this is a budget option... Full review
PC Magazine

Solid build, reasonably fast performance

from PC Magazine
The Blu R1 HD is an unlocked Android phone with a good balance of performance for the price, making it a fantastic value for Amazon Prime users and regular customers alike... Full review

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