We're taking a look at the $179 dual-SIM Windows Phone from BLU!
BLU is starting to make waves here in the Americas with their Win line of Windows Phones. Both the Win JR and Win HD offer customers yet another viable option for jumping on to Microsoft's growing platform while on a budget.
Previously, we showed you the Win JR, an $89 Windows Phone that left us impressed. Today, it is the Win HD, its bigger and much cooler looking sibling. Running for $179 on Amazon and Microsoft Stores (soon), the Win HD is one lovely looking Windows Phone.
Let's see what it is all about!
Win HD Specifications
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 1.2 GHz Quad-Core, Adreno 302 GPU
- Windows Phone 8.1 OS (build 12400)
- 8GB Internal Storage
- Micro SD Slot up to 32GB
- 1GB RAM
- 2200 mAh battery
- 5.0-inch Display (720x1280); 293 PPI
- 8MP Autofocus Camera with LED Flash, 1080p HD Video Recording, 2MP front camera
- Bluetooth 3.0
- Colors: Yellow, Orange, White or Magenta
- 4G HSPA + 42Mbps 850/1700/1900: Nationwide AT&T: Cricket Wireless, Tracfone, Straight Talk, Net10, H20 Wireless, 420 Wireless, Black Wireless, Consumer Cellular, Pure TalkUSA, Red Pocket, Telcel America.
- T-Mobile: MetroPCS, Lyca, Speedtalk, Go Smart, Simple Mobile, Net10, Straight Talk, Solavei, Ultra Mobile, Telcel America, Walmart Family Mobile.
Just about every feature of the Win HD is impressive for its $179 price tag save the Snapdragon 200. Although 1.2 GHz quad-core processors handle the Windows Phone OS just fine, with the slower GPU on board and more pixels than typically found in this genre, the Win HD can have some choppy performance. Still, it is far from a bad experience.
The other limiting factor is although the Win HD is dual-SIM, you are limited to HSPA + and not LTE. Therefore, although you can use this on AT&T, T-Mobile and other budget carriers, you are stuck on a slower connection. Whether or not that is important to you will vary, but it is something to consider.
In the box
Like the Win JR, BLU tosses in an excellent assortment of goodies into the box, including:
- Two screen protectors (one already preinstalled)
- TPU gel case (matches color)
- Stereo headphones with microphone and call-answer button
- USB cable and AC wall charger
You may not necessarily use all of those things, but it is certainly great to see them in the box. Kudos to BLU for taking the lead on giving customers an all-in-one experience.
The quality of the build for the BLU Win HD is quite reliable, in my opinion. Sure, the HD is plastic and the display it not Gorilla Glass, but the phone looks great (even if it borrows heavily from HTC's design language). In fact, I'd go so far to say this is one of the nicest looking Windows Phones around, and I am sure a few of you would want this with some higher end specs on board.
The display looks fantastic, even if it does not feel as smooth as a higher-end phone. Colors are bright and contrasty and once again, the display betrays the budget price tag of this phone.
The Win HD comes with an 8 MP rear camera and a 2 MP front-facing camera. Neither are spectacular, and the resulting photos are washed out. Still, if you consider the pricing of this phone, the bump in resolution for either camera is welcomed.
I was pleasantly surprised to see BLU delivering an over-the-air update to the Win HD for new firmware. The OS is still at build 12400, but the firmware was bumped, presumably for bug fixes and optimizations.
The BLU Win HD is an interesting phone. It looks much more high-end than it should for a $180, in fact, this is perhaps the most jarring part about the Win HD. It looks the part of a flagship, but it performs as its price tag suggests. This discrepancy is not a bad thing, per se after all, shouldn't people on a budget get a sweet looking phone too?
Overall, the BLU Win HD impresses us with their careful pricing but unique designs and colors. We will have more on this phone in the coming days, but if you have questions, sound off in comments. Make sure you watch the hands on video for a more detailed first look!
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.