BLU Win JR First Impressions

BLU Win JR First Impressions

A cute little Lumia 530 competitor

Yesterday, I took a quick look at the BLU Win HD, a fun and colorful midlevel Windows Phone handset. But BLU is also offering a more traditional entry-level Windows Phone handset, the Win JR, which retails for under $100 with no contract. And if you're looking a great value, it appears that the Nokia Lumia 530 and 635 now have some serious competition.

Like the Win HD, the Win JR features a removable back so you can access its innards, which includes a removal battery, two SIM slots and a microSD slot. And like the Win HD, the Win JR comes in multiple, bright colors, so you can find a device that really meets your fashion sense. As a budget device, the Win JR does of course cut some corners, so I'll be comparing to low-end Lumias in the weeks ahead. Here's what I know about this device so far.

BLU Win JR (left), Nokia Lumia 520 (middle) and Nokia Lumia 635 (right) - Yes, the dates are different; I hadn't yet set up the Win JR.

Colors. The Win JR is available in neon orange, pink, or yellow, or matte white.

Processor. This handset features the same fairly low-end quad-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 200 processor as the Win HD, and the same Adreno 302 GPU.

Screen. The Win JR has a tiny 4-inch screen running at the Windows Phone minimum of 800 x 480. It does offer automatic brightness control, unlike the new low-end Lumias. But the quality isn't great, and there's almost a tearing effect when you scroll the screen. I've never found 800 x 480 Windows Phone displays to be an issue, but this one is definitely a step down from the Lumia 635.

RAM. The Win JR does provide 512 MB of RAM, which is typical for this segment.

Storage. It ships with a paltry 4 GB of onboard storage but can be expanded with microSD to 32 GB.

Camera. The rear camera is 5 megapixels (2581 x 1936) with LED flash and 720p video capture, and there is no physical camera button, as with Win HD. The front camera is VGA.

OS. The BLU Win JR ships with Windows Phone 8.1. The version number is 8.10.12400.899 as with the Win HD.

Navigation bar. This handset ships with physical (capacitive) Back, Start and Search buttons, and not software buttons.

Wireless. The Win JR supports 4G HSPA/3G cellular connectivity, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0.

USB. The micro-USB port is on the top rather than the bottom of the device.

Dual SIMs. As with the BLU Win HD, the Win JR supports two SIM cards.

Size: It's very small and light, but a bit pudgy-looking.

Win JR (top), Lumia 520 (middle) and Lumia 635 (bottom)

Battery: 1950 mAh, an improvement over the Lumia 530's 1430 mAh unit.

Pricing. At $99 with no contract, the Win JR is quite affordable. You can order it now from Amazon.com.

More soon.

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