Owning the latest & greatest smartphone in 2017 has become an extremely expensive luxury. If you opt for the flagship devices from Samsung or Apple you will get little change from one thousand pounds.
At the other end of the scale we have numerous budget handsets that still promise some of the latest features, but at a fraction of the price… but are they really any good?
Aiming to prove that a feature packed & stylish phone doesn’t have to cost the earth, is the latest smartphone from Chinese manufacturer Bluboo. Here we give an overview of their latest model, the S1.
- Brand: BLUBOO
- Model: S1
- Operating System: Android 7.0 Nougat
- CPU: MTK6757 Octa-core / Helio P25 2.5GHz
- GPU: ARM Mali-T880 MP2 900MHz
- RAM: 4GB
- ROM: 64GB
- Battery: 3500mA nondetachable lithium-ion polymer battery, 4.4V battery core
- Side keys: Volume+/Volume-, Power key
- Dual Rear Cameras: 13.0MP AF +3.0MP FF
- Front Camera: 5.0MP FF
- Flashlight: Rear Highlight LED Flash
- Video: 1920*1080P
- Bands: 2G GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
- 3G WCDMA: 900/2100MHz
- 4G FDD-LTE:2100/1800/2600/900/800MHz
- SIM Card: Dual SIM, Dual Standby
- Nano SIM+Nano SIM/SD Card
- WIFI: 802.11a/b/g/n
- WIFI Hotspot: Support
- Bluetooth: 4.0
- GPS: GPS+A-GPS+GLONASS
- Item size: Approx.14.3 * 7.4 * 0.87cm / 5.6 * 2.9 * 0.34in
- Item weight: Approx.169g / 5.96oz
In The Box
Lifting the lid off the sleek black box embossed with silver text, we are immediately presented with the handset itself. Wrapped in a plastic protective sheath, this also serves as a guide to the location of the handset features of camera, receiver, speaker and button placement.
Alongside the handset itself, the S1 comes bundled with a good few accessories which is quite usual for Chinese phones now. Availability of a bespoke case and screen protector is not going to be widespread, so it is nice that these come included.
At first glance, the device looks really nice, with the handset having an entirely black gloss finish. This does mean however that it is a fingerprint magnet, and within seconds the sleek gloss finish sports smudges all over it!
Directly beneath the screen we have a front mounted finger print sensor, and a front facing camera situated to the bottom right hand side. To the base of the phone we have a USB Type-C port, flanked by dual speakers.
The power and volume rocker buttons for the S1 are situated on the right-hand side of the handset, and are finished in the same black gloss, blending seamlessly into the overall design of the unit.
The left hand side of the handset is the home of the dual sim and micro-sd card tray, which indicates that this is a sealed unit, and the battery isn’t removable.
The 5.5” screen appears to be nice & sharp, thanks to it’s 1920x1080p resolution, sitting under what is claimed to be Gorilla Glass 4. The S1 one certainly has a good screen to body ratio, but it certainly seems to have a much larger bezel than the promotional shots seemed to show.
Colours are vivid even on standard settings, and viewing angles are also pretty good. The black levels aren’t of AMOLED screen quality, but they are by no means anything that the average user would quibble about. Given the price of the S1, the screen is really very good.
With the S1 featuring a front mounted finger print sensor, that just leaves the rear facing camera as the only feature on the back of the device. Here we have a 13 megapixel, dual lens setup, flanked by the LED flash to the right hand side.
With out of the box settings, picture sharpness is good, but colours look a little washed out. For users requiring nothing more than a quick snapshot this is perfectly fine, but anyone that needs anything more than this, then you will need to tweak the settings.
The operating system on the Bluboo S1 is Android 7.0 Nougat, and the implementation here is very similar to previous Chinese phones I have seen in the past. The Bluboo UI here is more weighted towards a vanilla android experience, with a few tweaks thrown in. Third party UI designs will always divide opinion, but Bluboo have opted for a light touch approach here. If you don’t like it, there are numerous 3rd party launchers available on the Play Store.
One addition I did quite like a little feature called Free Touch, which places a small semi-transparent dot on screen, that fires up a circular quick launch feature for certain settings.
So far the S1 has performed pretty well. Response times to touch is really snappy, and it performs all daily tasks with no issues at all, and it switches between apps with no noticeable lag. Casual gaming was also completed with no issues at all, but it’s fair to say that we never threw anything too demanding at it during our brief testing.
With a 3500mAh battery installed, the S1 easily lasts the full working day with light to medium usage. The inbuilt battery monitor states around 4 hours of on screen time, which is a little lower than I would expect, so it will be interesting to see how this fares as time goes on.
The Bluboo S1 isn’t going to trouble the likes of the iPhone 8 or the Samsung Galaxy S8, but then no one should expect it to, given that at the time of review, it can be bought for just £110 from Gearbest (depending on how long you are prepared to wait for delivery).
You read that right… £110! For that price, this handset is serious value for money. Anyone in the market for something that looks stylish, packs a fair amount of features, but doesn’t break the bank, you would be hard pushed to find anything better than the Bluboo S1. Therefore I am more than happy to give it our Gold award.
You can purchase HERE from Gearbest
More deals from Gearbest can be found on their Flashsale page HERE
- Nice big screen with full HD display
- Sleek design with good body to screen ratio
- Lots of features for little money
- Case & screen protector included in the box
- Good value for money
- Bezels are bigger in real life than the advertising pictures show
- Camera colours are a little washed out with out of the box settings