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Informr score
The BLU R1 HD currently has an Informr score of 7.2 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 5 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

What's good

  • Budget priced
  • Bright and relatively sharp display
  • Good performance
  • Good battery life

What's bad

  • Camera works poorly in low light situations
  • Amazon subsidized version places ads in lock screen and notifications
  • Lots of preinstalled Amazon apps

Blu is a relatively unknown name in the smartphone market. The Florida-based company specializes in affordable hardware and the R1 HD is no exception to the rule. The phone is available to Amazon Prime members for under $100, though that also means they will need to allow ads on their lock screen, in their notifications and agree to a suite of preinstalled Amazon apps. For those who don’t want to deal with all of that, there is an unlocked version, but it will cost a little over $100.

For a budget phone it surprised experts with its sleek design from its slim aluminum frame to the curved-rectangle shape. While it won’t be confused with a flagship phone, they note it does have its own charm and is quite easy to grip thanks to the soft-touch back and comfortable dimensions of 5.6 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches. The back also snaps off to reveal two SIM slots and a microSD slot. Despite the low price tag, critics did not experience and issues that plague many other lower end phones like flexing, creaks or loose buttons.

The 5-inch, 720p LCD display isn’t the best one you’ll find on the market, but reviewers still came out impressed with its color, contrast and viewing angles. At 294 ppi, it might not be as sharp as the top smartphones on the market, but reviewers were still quite happy with how well text and images look. It wasn’t until the compared it beside a top tier phone that they really noticed the difference. Still, for the price, they consider it quite good.

It shouldn’t be surprising that this is no powerhouse. Still, armed with a quad-core 1.3GHz processor and up to 2GB of RAM, it also isn’t painfully slow. In fact, most experts consider it quite good as it had no serious issues during day-to-day tasks. Surprisingly, it also handles games quite well though they did notice a bit of stuttering for more graphic-intensive games. The life of the 2500mAh battery was also quite good and generally lasted them around a full day even with heavy usage. Sadly, there are no quick charging capabilities, but that isn’t too unexpected considering many higher priced smartphones don’t come with this feature either.

The 8MP rear camera cannot possibly stand up to higher end phones like the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, but it managed to provide experts with color accurate images in good lighting conditions. With such a low megapixel count, they weren’t surprised to see pixilation in the images, especially when they zoomed in. Unfortunately, as light diminished so did the cameras capacity to take good pictures. In dimly lit situations, there was noticeable grain and an even greater loss in detail.

Depending on what model you get – the unlocked or Amazon exclusive version – will affect the cost of the Blu R1 HD. Reviewers have a hard time recommending the phone for power users as the pop up ads on the lock screen and notifications are annoying. For the cost of an unlocked version, they were also able to find other comparable smartphones that offer better performance, higher resolution screen and better cameras. Toms Guide adds, “…the Blu R1 HD is still a very good value if…other phones are out of your price range, but be prepared to deal with ads if you’re looking to pay as little as possible.” Ars Technica states, “BLU’s R1 HD should only really be on the table if you’re trying to buy the most phone you can for the least amount of money…As a phone buyer, I’d be much happier to have a phone subsidized by Amazon but not cut off from Google’s ecosystem than I would be to buy a Fire product…”

Operating system
1.3 GHz
Screen Size
8+ MP

What the Critics Are Saying...

Ars Technica

BLU’s R1 HD should only really be on the table if you’re trying to buy the most phone you can for the least amount of money. Other phones are faster and have better cameras and receive updates more consistently. But it’s a solid bargain even at its non-Amazon price of $100 (or $110...

- Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica
Android Authority

BLU gets a lot right with the R1 HD, with its solid design and build quality, decent performance, and clean software experience.

- Android Authority team, Android Authority

This is the phone for when you break your real phone and need to fill the gap until you’re ready for a true upgrade. This is the phone you get if you feel like your life would benefit from a second smartphone but don’t want to commit to the idea. Better still, this is the phone you don&r...

- Brian Barrett, Wired
Tom's Guide

The Blu R1 HD gives you a lot for just $50, including a bright 5-inch screen, sleek design and long-lasting battery, but this Amazon Prime special shows lots of ads.

- Michael Andronico, Tom's Guide
PC Magazine

The Blu R1 HD is an unlocked Android phone with a good balance of performance for the price, making it a fantastic value for Amazon Prime users and regular customers alike.

- Ajay Kumar, PC Magazine

Prices (Where to Buy)

Common Questions

BLU released the R1 HD on June 30, 2016.

We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the BLU R1 HD user manual here.

BLU backs up the R1 HD with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.

If your R1 HD has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact BLU support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find BLU's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.


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Quick view

Screen Size

The BLU R1 HD's screen size is 5 inches with x pixels resolution.

1.3 GHz

There is a MediaTek MT6735 Quad core 1.3 GHz processor (CPU).


The phone runs on proprietary operating system firmware.

8+ MP

You can take photos or capture video with the phone's onboard 8+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 5+ megapixels resolution.

16 GB

Internal memory is 16 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 64 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.


The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 2500 mAh battery. BLU's performance ratings are 25 days standby time, 1440 minutes.

R1 HD Specs

Release date June 30, 2016
Regions available USA
Mobile / Cellular Data
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
850/1700/1900/2100 MHz
1700/1900/700/2100 /2600 MHz
SIM card size
Dual SIM Yes
Operating System No

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor MediaTek MT6735 Quad core 1.3 GHz
Internal Storage 16 GB
Hearing Aid Compatible No
Noise Cancellation No
SAR Unknown
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included Data Cable, Manual, USB Power Adapter
Power & battery
Battery Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 2500 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Video Playback Time Unknown
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Unknown
Internet Use (Celluar) Unknown
Talk Time Up to: 1440 minutes
Standby Time Up to: 25 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Plastic
Colors Black
Dimensions [H x W x D] 14.4 x 7.2 x 0.9 cm (5.7 x 2.8 x 0.4 in)
Weight 142 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology LCD (IPS)
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution x pixels
Pixel density 294 pixels
Size 5 inches
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer
Graphics Yes
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling No
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) No
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols No
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, IM
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
USB Micro-USB 2.0
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth 4.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HFP, HSP
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot Yes
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 64 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out No
DLNA Support No
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
Main Camera
ƒ/ 2
8+ megapixels
Yes (LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Effects, Geotagging, Self-timer
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4
Video Recording Parameters
Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), 30 fps
Front Camera
5+ megapixels
Additional Front Camera Info
Front camera flash
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats MIDI, MP3, MP4, eAAC+, AAC+, AAC, WMA, WAV, M4A
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Viewable document types No
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad No
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable ()
Included Software / Apps -
Additional comments Variation: BLU R1 HD with 1 GB RAM and 8 GB storage
Related Links Manual (PDF)
BLU R1 HD Reviews
Where to buy BLU R1 HD
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