Performance: Hardware and battery life
The phone can be slow and buggy at times -- my finger taps didn't register right away, apps would be slow to load, and the keyboard would sometimes display in the wrong orientation so I'd physically rotate the device in order for it to correct itself. Apps like the camera would also quit on their own without any prompting from me, which was particularly annoying.
On paper, it scored on par with other handsets in its ~$100 (non-Prime discount) price range. It beat out the Moto G4 Play on all our benchmark tests as well as the Galaxy J3 on 3D Mark's Ice Storm Unlimited (we weren't able to run the Geekbench test on the J3 after the app's update). However, the ZMax Pro noticeably edged out all comparable phones, including the R1 HD.
Our lab tests for the nonremovable 2,500mAh battery were inconsistent with what I personally observed. During our tests for continuous video playback in Airplane mode, the device lasted an average of 11 hours and 13 minutes after two trials, which is a great time.
But anecdotally, the battery drained quickly. With mild usage, it appeared to drain at a rate of about one percent per minute -- so if I were using the handset for a mere 10 minutes, it'd drop from 90 to 80 percent battery, and so on. Though this rate slowed down at about 70 percent (perhaps that is why it was able to last 11 hours during our lab tests), it's still unnerving to lose that much battery that quickly at any point during usage.
Charging the phone also took a while. From a completely drained battery, it took about 2 hours and 30 minutes to regain its reserves. Most handsets of this caliber usually take about one and a half to two hours.
Blu R1 HD spec comparison chart
|Blu R1 HD||Motorola Moto G4 Play||ZTE ZMax Pro||Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)|
|Display size, resolution||5-inch; 1,280x720 pixels||5-inch; 1,280x720 pixels||6-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels||5-inch; 1,280x720 pixels|
|Pixel density||294 ppi||294 ppi||367 ppi||294 ppi|
|Dimensions (inches)||5.65x2.83x0.34 inches||5.7x2.8x0.39 inches||6.50x3.30x0.35 inches||5.6x2.8x0.3 inches|
|Weight (ounces, grams)||5.01 oz.; 142 g||4.83 oz.; 137 g||6.7 oz.; 190 g||4.87 oz.; 138 g|
|Mobile software||Android 6.0 Marshmallow||Android 6.0 Marshmallow||Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow||Android 6.0 Marshmallow|
|Processor||1.3GHz quad-core processor||1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410||1.5GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617||1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410|
|Expandable storage||Up to 64GB||Up to 128GB||Up to 128GB||Up to 128GB|
|Battery||2,500mAh (nonremovable)||2,800mAh (removable)||3,400mAh (nonremovable)||2,600mAh (removable)|
|Fingerprint sensor||No||No||Back cover||No|
|Price off-contract (USD)||$110 (16GB), $100 (8GB); $60 (16GB, with ads), $50 (8GB, with ads)||$150||$100||$110-$180 (varies by carrier)|