Hands On with the BLU R1 HD with Amazon Offers


When I first heard of Amazon's Kindle with Offers I was little concerned that I would have ads interrupting my reading experience however, that never came to fruition because the ads only appear when the device is not being used.

So when I heard a few weeks ago about Amazon offering Prime subscribers an exclusive opportunity to get an unlocked Android phone at almost 50% off its normal retail price with a similar Amazon Offers set up I was intrigued to check it out.

I opted to get the BLU R1 HD handset that normally retails for $109.99 but with the Amazon Offers deal I was able to get the model with 16GB of storage and 2GB of RAM for just $59.99 (45% off retail price). There was another option to get this same handset configured with 8GB storage/1GB RAM for just $49.99 (50% off the $99.99 retail price.

Amazon was also offering the Moto G4 in a 32GB ($179.99 vs $229.99 retail) or 16GB ($149.99 vs $199.99 retail) configurations under the same program.

The BLU R1 HD has some decent specs which are the same for both the 8GB and 16GB models:

  • 1.3 GHz quad-core MediaTek 6735 ARM Cortex CPU
  • Android Marshmallow 6.0
  • Dual SIM (Micro size)
  • MicroSD support up to 64GB
  • 5 inch curved HD display (curved edges)
  • 8MP Main Camera
  • 5MP "Selfie" Camera with LED flash
  • 4G LTE

This handset is only compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile networks. If you want compatibility with all of the major US carriers and the Amazon offers deal you will need to consider the Moto G4.

One major benefit with this handset is, since it is an Amazon Prime Exclusive, is full access to your Amazon Prime Movies, TV, Music, Photo Storage plus full access to Amazon Underground for free apps.

The phone has a nice feel to it with a back cover that has a tactile feeling to it so no sense that it would easily slip out of my hand. The HD screen is bright and sharp and of course battery life is great.

Of course, just about every app you might want to use is available through the Google Play Store, including all kinds of Microsoft services and all of those niche apps everyone wants access to.

On the downside the camera can not even come close to the one on my Lumia 950 plus there is no accelerometer in the handset. Without that accelerometer there is no Pokemon Go using the Augmented Reality option but the game can still be played using the animated background.

The lock screen ads come in a couple of sizes depending on if you have other pending notifications and there is a locked in widget if you use the default Android launcher. That widget can be moved if you want - it just can not be deleted. I did try the Microsoft Arrow launcher and the widget is not transferred over so it appears 3rd party launchers can get around having the widget installed.

By the way, just like on the Kindle with Offers, the lock screen ads do not interfere with using the device at all.

So if you are a member of Amazon Prime and looking for an inexpensive Android handset as a primary, backup or even a testing device this could meet that need very easily despite the couple of hardware shortfalls.

Check out the gallery for examples of the ads, widgets, OTA update process from BLU, camera image comparisons against the Lumia 950 and some hardware shots alongside the 950 as well.


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