First Look: A trim and unlocked Android for less
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First Look: A trim and unlocked Android for less

2:44 /

At $229, the Blu Life Play offers a thin design plus Android Jelly Bean for a low price.

Hi, this is Brian Bennett for CNET.com and right now we're taking a first look at the Blu Life Play unlocked smart phone. At $229, this device is very affordable when stacked up against the other unlocked handsets that you find on the market. For example, Sony sells its Xperia Z flagship phone for a steep $570 while Google Play editions for the HTC One and Galaxy S4 run $599 and $649 respectfully. Now that's a lot of money. The Blu Life Play even costs $70 less than the venerable LG Nexus 4. So what does the Blu Life Play bring to the table? First, it comes equipped with a large 4.7-inch 720p resolution screen. It's not as sharp as the displays you'll find on the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4, or even LG Nexus 4. Still, it's plenty bright and colorful. The Blu Life Play also runs an almost stock version of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. That means you get many of the performance improvements Google has recently added to the OS including the Google Now personal assistant. With it, you can initiate voice searches and command the phone to perform various actions including setting reminders in your calendar. Google Now will also automatically present handy information in a form of graphical cards based on your current location, time and your past search history. The Blu Life Play also flaunts a very slim and modern design. It's [unk], it's just a hair thinner than the Galaxy S4 in fact. The handset is available in the striking electric blue color you see here as well as purple, silver and yellow hues. Above the display is a 2 megapixel front facing camera and below the screen are 3 capacitor buttons for menu, home and back. The only physical buttons on the phone are keys for volume and power lining the device's right side. On the top edge are a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack and microUSB port. On back is the 8 megapixel camera and LED flash. The back panel uses a soft touch coding which makes the surface easy to grip, yet repels fingerprints and smudges. Removing the back cover reveals a removable battery, microSD card slot and not one, but 2 sim card slots in mini and standard size. The Blu Life Play's camera has a lot of features and extra shooting modes as well. You'll find modes for HDR, panorama, lots of color filters and admittedly, goofy frames to place around pictures. Unfortunately, the Life Play which connects to GSM cellular networks, doesn't support 4G LTE for fast data access. I'm Brian Bennett for CNET.com and this has been a First Look at the Blu Life Play. Be sure to check back soon for a full review.

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