Review index

Display | Interface and Functionality | Processor and Performance | Camera | Battery life | Call quality | Conclusion

By now, it’s pretty apparent what it takes to be considered a flagship caliber smartphone. From that all-screen minimal bezel look, to wielding dual-cameras, and wireless charging, these are just a few of the features that typically accompany today’s flagships. Then again, they’re also priced accordingly at roughly $650 starting – with several inching closer to the $1000 mark.

BLU has been a minor player delivering affordable smartphones to consumers, but they’ve never been in contention for being a flagship killer. Well, that may change starting with the introduction of the BLU VIVO XI+, which comes packed with all of the aforementioned features above, but at the fraction of the cost at only $350! Let’s dive in and see if this is really a serious contender.

Design

No shocker here, it’s a premium design without the premium cost.

BLU Vivo XI+ Review
BLU Vivo XI+ Review
BLU Vivo XI+ Review

BLU has always found a way to deliver quality looking smartphones at significantly lower prices, so there’s not much of a shock that we’re finding that here with the VIVO XI+. Flaunting a glass meets metal design, there’s no arguing that the VIVO XI+ is a stunning looking thing. Although, it really shares a close resemblance to the OnePlus 6 with its polished front/back surfaces and curved edges. Usually, phones in this price range tend to be poorly constructed, but that’s far from the truth here with its premium looks and solid construction.

What’s really impressive is how they’re able to cram so many things into its already thin 7.8mm body. For starters, there’s a fingerprint sensor slapped on the rear, followed by dual-cameras, built-in Qi wireless charging, and even sensors near the earpiece that delivers facial unlocking. We don’t see these kinds of things in a _phone_ under the $500 mark, so to find them here is pretty impressive. If there’s one thing missing from its design, it has to be a headphone jack, but we suppose that’s the one single compromise BLU had to make – albeit, there’s an included adapter for it.

View more
+ 12 images
prev image
next image
Front view | Side view
BLU VIVO XI+
BLU VIVO XI+
6.1 x 2.97 x 0.31 inches
155 x 75.5 x 7.8 mm
7.02 oz (199 g)

BLU VIVO XI+

Motorola Moto G6
Motorola Moto G6
6.06 x 2.85 x 0.33 inches
153.8 x 72.3 x 8.3 mm
5.89 oz (167 g)

Motorola Moto G6

Honor 7X
Honor 7X
6.16 x 2.96 x 0.3 inches
156.5 x 75.3 x 7.6 mm
5.82 oz (165 g)

Honor 7X

Motorola Moto E5 Plus
Motorola Moto E5 Plus
6.37 x 2.96 x 0.37 inches
161.9 x 75.3 x 9.35 mm
7.05 oz (200 g)

Motorola Moto E5 Plus




Display

The saturated colors do more bad than good

In keeping up with the trends, the BLU VIVO XI+ follows suit with an all-screen look. It’s a 6.2-inch HD+ 1080 x 2246 display protected by Gorilla Glass 3, with a 19:9 screen aspect ratio. That's certainly wider than most others, but we have to point out the substantial notch with the display, which is indeed a distraction because it’s just as wide as the iPhone X’s notch, but it can be at least masked through the display settings.

BLU Vivo XI+ Review

While the specs are favorable for a device of its caliber, we really can’t say the same for the display’s actual characteristics. Unfortunately, it has an extremely cold color temperature of over 9000K and it tends to favor an oversaturated color tone, making it far from producing realistic and true-to-life colors. The saturation in particular is a bit overkill, seeing that it does more bad than good. The one bright spot is its peak brightness output of 525 nits, which is undeniably bright for a _phone_ of this caliber.

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
BLU VIVO XI+ 525
(Excellent)
20
(Poor)
1:1507
(Excellent)
9148
(Poor)
2.12
6.25
(Average)
8.57
(Poor)
Motorola Moto G6 573
(Excellent)
5
(Excellent)
1:1159
(Good)
8579
(Poor)
2.36
4.91
(Average)
8.21
(Poor)
Honor 7X 530
(Excellent)
4
(Excellent)
1:2139
(Excellent)
7736
(Average)
2.05
4.19
(Average)
5.61
(Average)
Motorola Moto E5 Plus 559
(Excellent)
7
(Good)
1:1718
(Excellent)
9568
(Poor)
2.51
5.13
(Average)
9.35
(Poor)
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.

These 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.

These 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.

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

View all

Interface and functionality

prev image
next image
Image: 1 of 9
prev image
next image

BLU’s custom Android experiences were never really polarizing. However, what really infuriated users in the past was the lack of support in the form of software updates – so when you got the phone, the software that was preloaded was pretty much what you were getting for the life of the phone. That’s pretty crummy when you think about it, but that was reality.

Superficially here with the VIVO XI+, BLU’s skin running on top of Android 8.1 Oreo still looks plain and generic just as before, but the saving grace this time is BLU’s commitment in getting those updates. In fact, it’s being promised that it’ll get treated to Android 9.0 Pie when it arrives, which is a totally new and different strategy for BLU. Even though the experience suffices enough for basic things, the prospect of getting real software updates is definitely an unprecedented offering for BLU.

Processor and performance


Powering the BLU VIVO XI+ is an octa-core 2GHz MediaTek Helio P60 chipset coupled with a generous 6GB of RAM. The horsepower is enough to handle basic phone operations, such as the occasional email reply, surfing the web, and social media posts. We do notice that it’s not quite as tight with its responsiveness, but it’s not terrible either. However, it’s simply underpowered when it comes to gaming! The choppy frame rates make it nearly impossible to recommend for any form of 3D gaming.

Performance benchmarks

AnTuTu
Higher is better
BLU VIVO XI+ 138383
Motorola Moto G6 70490
Honor 7X 57970
Motorola Moto E5 Plus 56592
JetStream
Higher is better
BLU VIVO XI+ 48.247
Motorola Moto G6 22.512
Honor 7X 30.948
GFXBench Car Chase on-screen
Higher is better
BLU VIVO XI+ 6.7
Motorola Moto G6 3.2
Honor 7X 4.7
Motorola Moto E5 Plus 5.6
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen
Higher is better
BLU VIVO XI+ 11
Motorola Moto G6 5.8
Honor 7X 2.8
Motorola Moto E5 Plus 11
Geekbench 4 single-core
Higher is better
BLU VIVO XI+ 1507
Motorola Moto G6 750
Honor 7X 909
Motorola Moto E5 Plus 613
Geekbench 4 multi-core
Higher is better
BLU VIVO XI+ 5799
Motorola Moto G6 3928
Honor 7X 3381
Motorola Moto E5 Plus 2030
View all

Call it being extra generous, the VIVO XI+ is packing a whopping 128GB of storage, which is a ridiculous amount to wrap our heads around. We’re appreciative of it, but even more so when there’s an expansion possibility courtesy of its microSD card slot.

Camera


BLU Vivo XI+ Review

BLU has dabbled in the dual-camera configuration before, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we’re given the same here with the VIVO XI+. Being a bit more specific, it breaks down to a 16MP and 5MP combo, which like other implementations, conjures up depth perception and object focus to get those snazzy looking portrait shots. Meanwhile, the front-facing camera features a pixel crunching 16MP sensor. As for the shooting experience, it does come with an assortment of modes that diversifies its package.

We’re not sugar coating anything here, the camera’s performance is predictably disappointing – in comparison to what flagships produce with their cameras. The biggest thing about it is quite simply the lack of fine detail, it’s just devoid of any of it. When lighting is abundant, shots are more than sufficient for sharing on social media, but that’s about it! Under low light situations, the camera continues to exhibit weak details in the shot, which tends to give it a soft and hazy appearance. Making matters worse, images come out extremely dark – while colors appear dull and washed out.

BLU Vivo XI+ sample images

View more
+ 38 images
prev image
next image

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
BLU VIVO XI+ 1.89
No data
463
309
Motorola Moto G6 2.15
2.50
667
679
Honor 7X 2.8
3
401
362
Motorola Moto E5 Plus 1.72
4.86
597
335
View all

The camera’s video performance doesn’t get any better, seeing that it suffers from the same issues that plague its still shot performance. Topping out at 1080p, which by itself is a disappointment considering there’s no option for Quad-HD resolution, videos once again lack any distinguishable fine details. Additionally, there’s far too much noise in the shot when shooting under low light, and when you combine the choppy frame rate, makes the footage almost unusable.


Battery life


Surprisingly enough, the VIVO XI+’s 3000 mAh battery delivers great longevity – something we really weren’t expecting to find. Our real-world usage easily eclipses a full day, with the battery at roughly 25% capacity by the end of the night. Meanwhile, it manages to reach a mark of 8 hours and 14 minutes in our battery benchmark test, which is a fine result.

BLU Vivo XI+ Review

Over on the recharge side, the VIVO XI+ requires 122 minutes to get back to full capacity. That may not be the fasting time, but it’s nonetheless still swift. Even better, this is the first BLU smartphone we’ve come across to feature Qi wireless charging, which is a nice addition considering the budget nature of the phone.

Battery Benchmarks

Battery life (hours)
Higher is better
BLU VIVO XI+ 8h 14 min (Excellent)
Motorola Moto G6 8h 25 min (Excellent)
Honor 7X 8h 14 min (Excellent)
Motorola Moto E5 Plus 15h 8 min (Excellent)
Charging time (minutes)
Lower is better
BLU VIVO XI+ 122
Honor 7X 146
Motorola Moto E5 Plus 315
View all

Call Quality


At least it’s not downright terrible in this area. Placing phone calls with the VIVO XI+, voices exhibit some distortion through the earpiece, but the volume output is still loud enough to use in noisy conditions. Conversely, our callers mention that we sound a little distant on their end, which leads us to believe that the mics on the phone may be struggling to pick up our voice. For most people, the experience should be tolerable, but it’s certainly not the best either.

Conclusion


BLU Vivo XI+ Review

The BLU VIVO XI+ is a promising new smartphone from the company, mainly for the fact that they’re committed to finally delivering timely software updates. Beyond that, it embodies all of the practices that we’ve seen BLU put to strategy with its previous smartphones. On one hand, it certainly has a compelling package filled with flagship caliber features, like its Qi wireless charging, dual cameras, and premium construction, but its performance is still what’s holding it back from truly being a flagship contender.

Without a doubt, the $350 price of the phone certainly undercuts many of the major players out there, including the OnePlus 6, but its performance in many key areas will probably keep most people from deciding to buy it. Two of the big ones include its choppy graphics processing performance, as well as the subpar results from its cameras. When we look at the overall picture, the BLU VIVO XI+ paints a picture of being a disruptive smartphone, but underneath the sharp looks and ample features, it’s still a phone that’s indicative of its low-cost price.

Hey, at least there’s an introductory discount for the phone, which drops its price to $249.99, but it’s only for a limited time.