Cheap phones are easy to come by, but cheap 4G phones that are actually good don’t get often. Chinese Company Bluboo is jumping in the market of affordable smartphones with an affordable model that has a possibility of having three SIM cards, and it will cost us less than $90 USD.
Did Bluboo cut any corners to produce a quality, yet so affordable device? We have prepared a detailed review for you so let’s find out how the Bluboo Xfire 2 compares to other smartphones of its size class.
Here is a quick specification table of Xfire 2
|Processor||Mediatek MT6735 1.5 GHz|
|GPU||ARM Mali-T720 MP2|
|Display||5.0 inch 16:9, 960×540 pixel, 2-point capacitive, IPS|
|Storage||8 GB eMMC Flash, 8 GB|
|Rear Camera||8 megapixel, autofocus, OIS, LED flash|
|Front Camera||5 megapixel with fill LED|
|WiFi||Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot|
|Battery||Li-ion 2,150 mAh|
|Weight||145 g ( = 5.11 oz / 0.32 pounds), Power Supply: 40 g ( = 1.41 oz / 0.09 pounds)|
The low starting price isn’t surely a sign of a poorly made smartphone. The Blueboo Xfire 2 is generally well-made, with its Gorilla Glass front cover and smooth plastic case, though it can twist more easily than even other budget smartphones like the iOcean Rock M6752 or Doogee Y100X.
Besides metallic black, the back cover comes in white and blue, but none has differing texture options like the ones for the LG G4 smartphone. Removing the cover from the device is very swift and smooth though closing it back on round edges requires more effort.
When we talk about the size, the Xfire is pretty thick at 9.3 mm. Its width and length are no larger than most other 5-inch smartphones. The 80 percent screen-to-body ratio is not original for smartphones in this price range.
The 5-inch 720p display is using the same one glass solution (OGS) technology as we can see at the older iPhones, which will allow the actual pixels to be closer to the surface for the greater “pop-up” effect. Bluboo Company claims a display brightness of up to 450 units while our measurements show an average brightness of 400 units on the highest setting. Contrast is good at just below 1000:1 as are many of its funds and mainstream competitors.
The Xfire 2 capacitive touchscreen can recognize up to two fingers together as opposed to 5 or even all ten on most other smartphones. This is likely a cost-saving measure that should have little effect on most apps since gestures of more than two fingers are uncommon.
We have encountered an odd bug during the use where sometimes the screen calibration would go off for apparently no reason at all. Although this bug was rare, the standard touch keys on the bottom of the display would sometimes be unresponsive. By tapping the Home button, for example, may register as a tap nearer the center of the screen. A quick reboot will quickly fix the following issue.
CPU and RAM
As we expected, the Xfire 2 is equipped with MediaTek SoC and 1 GB of RAM, which is average on most budget devices. The same MT6735 quad-core processor can also be found in the Doogee Valencia 2 Y100 Pro and ZTE Blade V6. The integrated Mali-T720 GPU is most similar to the budget of older NVidia Tegra 3 or Adreno 302. According to CPU-Z, the processor can stop all its cores except for one at just 221 MHz to save the power. All CPU cores are capable of running at up to 1 GHz together. We suspect that the Xfire 2 is underclocked as the MT6735 SoC itself is officially rated for up to 1.5 GHz.
CPU benchmarks place the Xfire 2 underneath the low-end Snapdragon 210 regarding its raw performance. The Cat S40 is about 50 percent faster than Bluboo XFire 2 in multi-threaded procedures. Mainstream devices with at least a Snapdragon 410 will be faster than the MT6735 in basically all cases.
The 8 MP rear camera provides poor results even for budget devices. The Xfire 2 seems to have issues at focusing on far away objects towards the center of the picture. The minimum distance is about 3 cm, and the camera is very decent for macro shots.
Even if the focusing problems can be fixed, color temperature is much too cold, and colors will not be natural at all, especially the Blue one. Low-light situations suffer from soft pictures with rough edges and corners and lots of noise.
We have compared the camera from Canon EOS Rebel XSi and LG G2 with our Xfire 2 and here are some of the picture samples:
LG G2 Canon EOS Rebel XSi Bluboo Xfire 2
click on a thumbnail for larger images
The integrated 8 GB eMMC doesn’t give us a lot of space to operate with as only 4.99 GB is instantly available to the user. Luckily, MicroSD is supported up to 32 GB for additional storage space to fulfill all our needs.
Triple SIM card functionality is definitely a great thing to have if you maintain several numbers. One card can be Nano, and two others are Micro SIM size. The frequencies covered are:
2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
3G: WCDMA 850/2100MHz
802.11 b/g/n is maintained with built-in Bluetooth 4.0. We encountered no connectivity issues when we were browsing while connected to a regular home network. The wireless radio is a little on the negative side since signal quality will drop to below -60 dBm when it’s standing roughly 10 m away from the source with no obstacles in between. Increasing that distance will result in a much more unstable connection reaching below -80 dBm.
GPS signal recovery is fast with A-GPS enabled. Signal quality is also good according to GPS Test both inside and outside the buildings. On the other side, accuracy could have been a little better as the phone will frequently cycle between 10 ft up to 40 ft even when it is standing still outdoors. Its use as a driving aid is reliable nonetheless.
With the battery of 2150 mAh, runtimes are good at only above 7 hours of constant WLAN use at 150 units of brightness. This compare is good against the HTC One M9 and Huawei P8 Lite but falls behind the Galaxy J5 and Moto G 2015. Its battery capacity is slightly higher than the average 5-inch smartphone at 2750 mAh.
Considering the specs mentioned, this is overall an excellent opportunity to get a smartphone with moderate specs, for unbelievably low price. Additionally, you can have three SIM cards with this phone, which can be really convenient. You can get Bluboo Xfire 2 while it’s on Pre-Sale from GearBest online store for only $82 USD / 538.9 Yuan.