BLU Vivo 5 Review

Introduction


BLU Vivo 5 Review
BLU Vivo 5 Review
BLU Vivo 5 Review
BLU Vivo 5 Review
BLU Vivo 5 Review
By nature, phones under the $200 price point are expected to cut corners not only with the hardware on the inside, but especially in how they’re designed on the outside. Miami-based BLU has been trying dearly to change this perception with its line of affordable smartphones, boasting slick aesthetics that were once isolated to devices in the high end. The BLU Vivo 5, in particular, serves as a testament since it’s the first in the company’s history to feature a full metal body. But as we’ve seen already, there’s a lot of competition even in the sub-$200 segment. Let's see how well the Vivo 5 stands its ground.

The package contains:

  • BLU Vivo 5
  • Wall Charger
  • USB Type-C to USB Type-A cable
  • Stereo headphones
  • Silicone case
  • Screen protector
  • User guide

Design

Premium construction without the premium cost.

To be frank, the BLU Vivo 5 reminds us of the iPhone 5 with its metal body, chamfered edges, and mostly flat surfaces. While it’s not an original design per se, it’s remarkable to know that BLU is able to achieve such a premium build for a _phone_ that’s priced affordably. Best of all, there’s no hollowness, no cheap feel or flimsiness with its construction. BLU definitely establishes a new benchmark with this one, so we have high expectations going forward!

Although it’s still a rare find amongst smartphones, the USB Type-C port on the Vivo 5 is a welcome addition for its convenience of being reversible. Indeed, its presence is a surprising gesture for a _phone_ of this caliber. There's no fingerprint scanner, on the other hand, but we weren't expecting to find one on a sub-$200 phone.

 

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Front view | Side view
BLU Vivo 5
BLU Vivo 5
5.98 x 2.94 x 0.27 inches
151.9 x 74.6 x 6.9 mm
4.97 oz (141 g)

BLU Vivo 5

honor 5X
honor 5X
5.96 x 3 x 0.32 inches
151.3 x 76.3 x 8.15 mm
5.57 oz (158 g)

honor 5X

OnePlus X
OnePlus X
5.51 x 2.72 x 0.27 inches
140 x 69 x 6.9 mm
4.87 oz (138 g)

OnePlus X

Motorola Moto G (2015)
Motorola Moto G (2015)
5.59 x 2.85 x 0.48 inches
142 x 72.4 x 12.2 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)

Motorola Moto G (2015)



BLU Vivo 5 Review

Display

Overblown colors and super saturation, that’s what is on tap here.

For the price and all, it’s fitting that the Vivo 5 is accompanied by a 5.5-inch 720 x 1280 AMOLED screen. It’s the same display we saw in the Vivo XL, so it’s no surprise to us that the characteristics here are no different. Details, of course, are plentiful from a normal viewing distance, but we still need to point out that another comparably priced smartphone, the Honor 5X, features 1080p resolution.

Much like AMOLED panels of old, this one lacks the luminance, color accuracy, and strict calibration that Samsung’s AMOLED panels have become renowned for. In particular, its peak 320 nit luminance, colder ~8000K color temperature, and overblown color reproduction all indicate a poor quality screen. Yes, it has the iridescence to garner attention in the dark, but throw it outside in the high afternoon, and you’ll soon find it frustrating to use.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
honor 5X 585
(Excellent)
7
(Good)
1:1251
(Excellent)
8021
(Poor)
2.19
2.9
(Good)
6.77
(Average)
Motorola Moto G (2015) 449
(Good)
19
(Poor)
1:1116
(Good)
7440
(Good)
2.27
5.87
(Average)
4.04
(Average)
BLU Vivo 5 320
(Average)
3
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
7976
(Average)
2.3
7.54
(Average)
6.31
(Average)
OnePlus X 298
(Poor)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
8816
(Poor)
2
7.9
(Average)
8.12
(Poor)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
BLU Vivo 5 46.9%
66.7%
unmeasurable
16.2%
0%
34.4%
37.1%
OnePlus X 66.4%
0%
unmeasurable
35.2%
0%
37.8%
60.8%
honor 5X 86.3%
85.7%
84.2%
6.6%
0.5%
12.4%
4.3%
Motorola Moto G (2015) 86.6%
84.2%
83.1%
7.6%
1.3%
32.7%
14.4%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


BLU Vivo 5 Review

Introduction


BLU Vivo 5 Review
BLU Vivo 5 Review
BLU Vivo 5 Review
BLU Vivo 5 Review
BLU Vivo 5 Review
By nature, phones under the $200 price point are expected to cut corners not only with the hardware on the inside, but especially in how they’re designed on the outside. Miami-based BLU has been trying dearly to change this perception with its line of affordable smartphones, boasting slick aesthetics that were once isolated to devices in the high end. The BLU Vivo 5, in particular, serves as a testament since it’s the first in the company’s history to feature a full metal body. But as we’ve seen already, there’s a lot of competition even in the sub-$200 segment. Let's see how well the Vivo 5 stands its ground.

The package contains:

  • BLU Vivo 5
  • Wall Charger
  • USB Type-C to USB Type-A cable
  • Stereo headphones
  • Silicone case
  • Screen protector
  • User guide

Design

Premium construction without the premium cost.

To be frank, the BLU Vivo 5 reminds us of the iPhone 5 with its metal body, chamfered edges, and mostly flat surfaces. While it’s not an original design per se, it’s remarkable to know that BLU is able to achieve such a premium build for a phone that’s priced affordably. Best of all, there’s no hollowness, no cheap feel or flimsiness with its construction. BLU definitely establishes a new benchmark with this one, so we have high expectations going forward!

Although it’s still a rare find amongst smartphones, the USB Type-C port on the Vivo 5 is a welcome addition for its convenience of being reversible. Indeed, its presence is a surprising gesture for a phone of this caliber. There's no fingerprint scanner, on the other hand, but we weren't expecting to find one on a sub-$200 phone.


Front view | Side view
BLU Vivo 5
BLU Vivo 5
5.98 x 2.94 x 0.27 inches
151.9 x 74.6 x 6.9 mm
4.97 oz (141 g)

BLU Vivo 5

honor 5X
honor 5X
5.96 x 3 x 0.32 inches
151.3 x 76.3 x 8.15 mm
5.57 oz (158 g)

honor 5X

OnePlus X
OnePlus X
5.51 x 2.72 x 0.27 inches
140 x 69 x 6.9 mm
4.87 oz (138 g)

OnePlus X

Motorola Moto G (2015)
Motorola Moto G (2015)
5.59 x 2.85 x 0.48 inches
142 x 72.4 x 12.2 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)

Motorola Moto G (2015)



BLU Vivo 5 Review

Display

Overblown colors and super saturation, that’s what is on tap here.

For the price and all, it’s fitting that the Vivo 5 is accompanied by a 5.5-inch 720 x 1280 AMOLED screen. It’s the same display we saw in the Vivo XL, so it’s no surprise to us that the characteristics here are no different. Details, of course, are plentiful from a normal viewing distance, but we still need to point out that another comparably priced smartphone, the Honor 5X, features 1080p resolution.

Much like AMOLED panels of old, this one lacks the luminance, color accuracy, and strict calibration that Samsung’s AMOLED panels have become renowned for. In particular, its peak 320 nit luminance, colder ~8000K color temperature, and overblown color reproduction all indicate a poor quality screen. Yes, it has the iridescence to garner attention in the dark, but throw it outside in the high afternoon, and you’ll soon find it frustrating to use.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
honor 5X 585
(Excellent)
7
(Good)
1:1251
(Excellent)
8021
(Poor)
2.19
2.9
(Good)
6.77
(Average)
Motorola Moto G (2015) 449
(Good)
19
(Poor)
1:1116
(Good)
7440
(Good)
2.27
5.87
(Average)
4.04
(Average)
BLU Vivo 5 320
(Average)
3
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
7976
(Average)
2.3
7.54
(Average)
6.31
(Average)
OnePlus X 298
(Poor)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
8816
(Poor)
2
7.9
(Average)
8.12
(Poor)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
BLU Vivo 5 46.9%
66.7%
unmeasurable
16.2%
0%
34.4%
37.1%
OnePlus X 66.4%
0%
unmeasurable
35.2%
0%
37.8%
60.8%
honor 5X 86.3%
85.7%
84.2%
6.6%
0.5%
12.4%
4.3%
Motorola Moto G (2015) 86.6%
84.2%
83.1%
7.6%
1.3%
32.7%
14.4%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Interface and Functionality

Power users won’t find much here, but at least BLU’s interpretation isn’t overbearing.

BLU employs its own interpretation of Android here with the Vivo 5, which is currently running on top of Android 5.1 Lollipop. Yes, we're kind of disappointed that it's launching without the latest version of the platform, and unacceptable at the same time, but it's mentioned as being upgradeable to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Although that might be regarded as a comforting idea, we're curious to see if BLU will follow through with that pledge – knowing fully that the software in its phones rarely sees upgrades.

The experience itself follows the implementation used by many Chinese makers, as in eliminating the apps panel entirely and placing everything on the homescreen. Functionally, BLU provides some useful tricks to deepen the experience, like its various smart gestures (double tap to turn on the screen) and “super screen shot” feature. It's not trying to be a mega-Android experience, so the features that are in its arsenal don't come off as overpowering or redundant.

Comparing it to other prized Android experiences, BLU's interpretation is a tepid one at best, combining the core fundamental features of the platform, while sprinkling on a few of its own. Needless to say, it suffices for basic things, but work is still needed to entice power users.

System Performance

Good for the basic stuff, choppy with the graphics.

Nowadays, every phone is capable of handling basic tasks to some delightful degree. Such is the case for the BLU Vivo 5, which is powered by an octa-core 1.3GHz MediaTek 6753 processor based on 64-bit architecture, accompanied by 3GB of RAM and the MALI-T720 GPU. Sufficing for the mundane is one thing, but the arsenal here is ill-equipped for graphics processing. Choppiness – that’s what we get, so don’t expect the Vivo 5 to be a gaming machine.

Hey, for a $200 smartphone, there’s nothing wrong with it being outfitted with 32GB of internal storage – more so when there’s expansion available courtesy of its microSD slot.

Performance benchmarks

AnTuTu
Higher is better
OnePlus X 40173
BLU Vivo 5 38346
honor 5X 35183
Motorola Moto G (2015) 22406
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
OnePlus X 1542
BLU Vivo 5 1172
honor 5X 1108
Motorola Moto G (2015) 1224
Vellamo Browser
Higher is better
OnePlus X 2661
BLU Vivo 5 2960
honor 5X 2327
Motorola Moto G (2015) 2186
Sunspider
Lower is better
OnePlus X 1285.5
BLU Vivo 5 1540
honor 5X 1171.7
Motorola Moto G (2015) 1361.8
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
OnePlus X 23
BLU Vivo 5 20
honor 5X 15
Motorola Moto G (2015) 9.6
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
OnePlus X 10
BLU Vivo 5 8.6
honor 5X 6
Motorola Moto G (2015) 3.9
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
OnePlus X 1185.66
BLU Vivo 5 859
Motorola Moto G (2015) 581
Geekbench 3 single-core
Higher is better
OnePlus X 910.33
BLU Vivo 5 641
honor 5X 696
Motorola Moto G (2015) 528
Geekbench 3 multi-core
Higher is better
OnePlus X 2415.33
BLU Vivo 5 2862
honor 5X 3028
Motorola Moto G (2015) 1554
View all


Camera

Good enough considering the price, but hardly class-leading.

On the back, there’s a 13-megapixel sensor that features 5-element sapphire blue lenses, f/2.0 aperture, Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF), and an LED flash. For the front, it chimes in with a reasonable wide-angle 5-megapixel camera.

BLU, thankfully, offers a meaningful shooting experience by cramming a ton of camera modes inside the Vivo 5, and a manual one as well. There’s plenty for causal shutterbugs to tinker with.


Image Quality


Since it shares the same camera that’s used by the Vivo XL, the Vivo 5 shows no difference in quality whatsoever. Like many smartphones nowadays, it captures some decent looking images when lighting is plentiful. Still, we notice a few subpar qualities, like splotchy details and noticeably colder color tones, that soften its overall quality. The more pressing matter, however, relates to its low light performance, which is accompanied with the typical set of degradations, but made worse because of its inability to focus properly.


Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
OnePlus X 2
3.2
711
543
BLU Vivo 5 2.5
No data
546
418
honor 5X 3
3.5
556
506
Motorola Moto G (2015) 3.4
5
658
641
View all

Video Quality


Likewise, the Vivo 5 fails to command our attention with its video recording quality. While there’s a decent level of sharpness and detail in it, footage is shaky and contains visible artifacting elements when panning, which don't help its cause. And there's no continuous autofocus, on top of all that. Interestingly, there's an anti-shaking setting that attempts to stabilize the footage by cropping the video and using software tricks to guise its usual shakiness – albeit, the end result still appears a bit artificial.


Multimedia

Just like what you’d expect, it gets the job done at the very least.

BLU's media gallery works in the same capacity as others, so photos are arranged in a grid-like layout. We do, however, enjoy the expansive editing tools that are at our disposal.

While there's generally little bloatware baked in with this, BLU does happen to throw in its own music player. It's not fanciful or ornate by any capacity, but the core functions are intact. The speaker on the back of the phone produces an output of 73.7 dB, making it sound a bit underpowered. That assertion is confirmed by how it sounds thin and light to the ear, lacking any sort of substance to deepen its range.

Thankfully, the phone's processing power is effective in playing videos smoothly and without any glitches. Combine that with the iridescent Super AMOLED display, we have no qualms with the overall experience. It even features a useful multi-tasking mode that plays a video in its own, separate window.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
honor 5X 0.52
OnePlus X 0.44
BLU Vivo 5 0.402
Motorola Moto G (2015) 0.377
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
honor 5X 73.7
OnePlus X 73
BLU Vivo 5 73.7
Motorola Moto G (2015) 78.5
View all


Call Quality

It suffices enough for the occasion.

BLU Vivo 5 Review
Aside from the robotic toned voices our callers mentioning hearing on their end of the line, the calling experience is otherwise tolerable with its strong volume and audible voices through the earpiece – enough to handle conversations in loud situations. We gladly accept its quality, even though there are still some minor nuances that sometimes get in the way.

Battery

You’ll be pleased by its better-than-average performance.

BLU Vivo 5 Review
By looking at the Vivo 5's mostly uniform, streamlined chassis, most people would be surprised to know there's a 3150 mAh battery in there. The sleekness by itself is remarkable, and we're pleased to report that the phone achieves better-than-average battery life.

In its battery, the Vivo 5 holds enough charge to get us through an entire work day. Bettering its sibling, too, the Vivo 5 reaches an on-screen time of 8 hours and 3 minutes in our custom battery benchmark test – while the 107 minutes it requires to recharge fully is a speedy time as well.

Battery Benchmarks

Battery life (hours)
Higher is better
Motorola Moto G (2015) 8h 3 min (Excellent)
BLU Vivo 5 8h 3 min (Excellent)
honor 5X 6h 54 min (Average)
OnePlus X 5h 57 min (Average)
Charging time (minutes)
Lower is better
Motorola Moto G (2015) 251
BLU Vivo 5 107
honor 5X 170
OnePlus X 121
View all

Conclusion


Slowly but surely, BLU has been gaining traction on the entry-level side of the US smartphone market, and the BLU Vivo 5, along with the Vivo XL, is a testament to how far the company's products have come. A year or so ago, BLU’s phones hardly drew much attention, but fast forward to the present, we have a premium designed phone in the BLU Vivo 5. Seriously, it is a bit hard to believe that a phone looking like this could cost just $200 outright.

To sum it all up, this unlocked dual-SIM GSM smartphone is sure to attract those who would appreciate a good-looking, beautifully designed smartphone, yet aren't willing to pay an exorbitant price for one. The large display, spacious internal storage, and decent battery life are also worth pointing out. Sure, it’s not a hit in all categories – the camera and gaming performance being two of the phone's weak spots – but with all taken into account, the Vivo 5 is worth a look.



Software version of the review unit:  Android Version: 5.1;  Build Number: BLU_V0050UU_V09_GENERIC

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