Here are our impressions of the BLU Win HD with Dual SIM LTE

The BLU Win HD Windows Phone with Dual SIM LTE may be the best contract bargain yet

Back in 2014, BLU became one of a handful of new white-label manufacturers to add their services to the Windows Phone ecosystem. Offering low cost but eye-catching phones to consumers, companies like BLU brought something other than Lumias to those in the US. Perhaps more importantly, they finally offered a vision of unlocked, carrier free devices, giving consumers the ultimate choice.

The BLU Win HD was a strong first effort. With its bright colors and bold design, the Win HD had a lot of potential. However, lacking 4G LTE data is a major setback for devices in the US, where the speedy standard is found on the most basic phones. Due in part to the chipset used at the time, this was one of the roadblocks keeping the otherwise stellar Win HD out of some people's hands.

Now, in April 2015, we have a sequel: the BLU Win HD LTE. Nonetheless, this phone is much more than just faster data.

BLU WIN HD LTE

New, much better processor

The specs in the BLU Win HD LTE at first blush do not read as anything incredible. However, there is a subtle difference found in the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor that makes this phone very interesting.

BLU Win HD LTE (2015)

  • Colors: Grey, White, Orange, Yellow
  • Windows Phone 8.1 build 14226; upgradable to Windows 10 later this year
  • 1.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410, Adreno 306 GPU
  • LTE Band 4(1700) / 7(2600) / 17(700)
  • Dual SIM
  • 5-inch IPS 720p display (293 ppi)
  • 8GB internal storage, micro SD up to 32 GB
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8MB rear camera, auto-focus, flash; 2MP front-facing camera
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Proximity, Gravity, Compass, A-GPS
  • 146 grams
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Bluetooth 4.0

BLU WIN HD LTE

I am going to cut to the chase here: I have been using this phone for the last week, and it is a fantastic improvement from the original Win HD from 2014. Here are a couple of things that I immediately love about this phone.

Dual SIM with AT&T and T-Mobile 4G support

This BLU Win HD finally has LTE and yes, it works on AT&T and T-Mobile for those speeds (MetroPCS, Cricket Wireless, Simple Mobile, and Net 10 too, although I have not yet tried them yet). In fact, since it is a dual-SIM phone I was able to put both AT&T and T-Mobile SIM cards in the device at the same time.

Keep in mind that while dual SIM is common in other markets, it is unusual for those in the US. It is finally nice to see it in action. This is how it works. Insert both SIMs (you may need a micro-SIM adapter if currently using a nano-SIM card) and the phone will ask you to pick the configuration settings matching that carrier. In my case, I chose AT&T and T-Mobile US respectively. You can then choose which SIM handles data, and you can change this at any time (although the radios will reboot momentarily).

BLU Win HD LTE

Since Windows Phone can handle dual SIM with ease, phone calls and SMS can go to both SIMs at the same time. It is exactly like having two phones in one. 4G LTE data, however, only goes to one SIM, which makes sense if you think about it (you really can't have two data streams in at the same time, plus that would quickly kill the battery). So if this week you want your T-Mobile SIM to handle data, you choose that one, or swap to MetroPCS the next week if you want, all within the OS settings.

BLU Win HD LTE

Slick design

BLU is not using the same design as they did last year. Instead, this model has a metal strip around the front bezel and some other minor cosmetic changes like 'cross-hatched patterns' etched into the side buttons.

Currently, I have the black version, which is very conservative looking (and yes, it bears a striking resemblance to a certain HTC phone). However, for my personal device, I will likely opt for the bright yellow or orange because they are just awesome. Even the white one stands out in a good way.

BLU WIN HD LTE

The quality of the build for the phone is also very good. No creaks, smooth finish and it feels great to hold with its soft touch paint on the back. Oh and the BLU Win HD finally has backlit keys on the front now. They still lack haptic feedback, but the fact they light up now is a big step in the right direction.

BLU Win HD LTE

Seems faster

The Windows Phone OS handles 1.2 GHz speeds quite well. However, up until now we have not seen it run on the newer, beefier Snapdragon 410 processor with peppier Adreno 306 GPU. Let me tell you: it gives the Windows Phone OS just enough breathing room to make a big impact on usage. Fewer lags, quicker app launches and just a smoother experience.

Yeah, I could use the older Snapdragon 400 devices, but I did feel the slowdown. The 410, though, is the perfect fit for Windows Phone and makes the Win HD LTE feel like a different phone altogether. BLU is also boasting that this is a 64-bit processor in their sales materials as improving battery life too.

Blu Win HD

Wrapping it up

I'll be doing more on the Win HD LTE and its cheaper, smaller sibling the Win Jr LTE, later this week, including a video hands on soon. All I can say for now is that I would personally use this Win HD LTE as my main phone.

Is the 8MP camera great? I would say it is adequate, maybe what was high-end camera was a few years ago. However, for the pricing of this phone, features, performance, and design, and it is a small ding against an otherwise fantastic entry to the Windows Phone ecosystem. In fact, I think it is an improvement over last year's version, but I need to do a side by side. I have certainly used much worse at this price point.

For those yearning for a new, flagship Windows Phone, we are unfortunately still quite a few months away from that happening (I would personal guess November). If you are looking for a holdover and you do not mind spending $200, the BLU Win HD LTE is your phone. That price is not cheap, but considering you would not be renewing your contract with your carrier, it may something worth considering.

The New Win JR LTE will be available at launch for $99.99 at Microsoft Stores and Amazon US, while the Win HD LTE will be available for $199.99 exclusively at Microsoft Stores both online, and in-store, completely unlocked with Dual Sim functionality and 4G LTE.

BLU WIN HD LTE

You can find more information about the Win HD LTE from BLU here while details about the more affordable Win Jr LTE can be checked out here. Stay tuned for more coverage of the Win HD LTE and Win Jr LTE at Windows Central. In the meantime, tell us what you think of this phone in comments: yay or nay?

Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

255 Comments
  • Seems faster lol
  • Hey, that was one of the gripes about the old one, when playing games, the Snapdragon 200 with a 720p display would have noticable lag. So I hope this seems faster. :D  
  • Another gripe was having only bright colors. It's good to see the black / grey model. That alone should increase sales.
  • The old one wasn't available in grey at launch, but did come out in grey after a fashion.
  • I never saw it or was aware of it. Promo material on the net only showed the colors plus white.
  • This snapdragon update and graphc card update should also be brought by microsoft to their Lumia lineup who still are using the same old snapdragon 400 and the adreno 305 .!! Ok that they don't cause so much difference on Lumia but yeah upgraded to the latest means in future making out way to new will be better
  • Actually Adreno 306 is identical in power to the 305. Its just more efficient.
  • I wish is that Microsoft though they must compile for the Arms chipset and would rather them put their Lumias on the Intel Chipset. I would love to have a Lumia on this chipset with at least 2 gigs of memory. My requirement for the screen is to be able to read in bright sunlight and or high lighted places.
  • It's due popular demand!
  • So Daniel Rubino seems to be enjoying SEEMS FASTER... And put that in article heading
  • Um, you do realize the 'seems faster' thing was a joke started by the writers of this site and those in comments years ago, right? We also made a t-shirt with it.
  • Indee. It is iconic in this site. I love the phrase.
  • Hey Daniel, the article suggests you can receive calls from both SIMs simultaneously. That's not accurate. Blu says its a dual-standby phone, which means it'll use time-duplexing to rapidly switch between what SIM it's polling for incoming calls/SMSs on, but once a call comes in the phone has only one radio and it's locked to that SIM until the call is over. It's the one radio in the phone that explains why once data is in use that you can't use the other. There's no point in polling for data use on both SIMs, which is why it doesn't have a time-duplexing option for data. All dual-SIM Windows Phones thus far are dual-standby. Dual-active would mean two radios and the ability to use both SIMs simultaneously, but these are rare in the industry and non-existent for Windows Phone (not to mention bad for battery life).
  • It will send it straight to voicemail if you're on the other line. The article mentioned switching between carriers, but I use it for my personal Utah phone number on one SIM and my Nevada business number on the other SIM, both T-mobile. Very handy.
  • Except with the Win HD, one SIM is 3G and the other is 2G. Hopefully with the LTE model, one is LTE and the other at least HSPA. A 2G SIM slot is useless for most Canadians (and this phone is sold in Canada), as most Canadian carriers are HSPA and LTE only. The only Canadian carrier with 2G/Edge is Rogers. No matter where you live in the world, even if your carrier has 2G, why would you want to have to use it? :-)
  • The other is technically "G" while the lead is LTE (if available).
  • "G" as in GPRS? G as in 3G? I don't follow.
  • connectivity of this smartphone is bad.there is an lte problem i dont know if its the smartphone or if its denim   . i own a lumia 635 lte with cyan ,and dont have the problem . so it might be the ms that changed a setting . or its a setting only nokia provide . in any case . its a nice phone on paper but in real use ? os resolution and this smarrtphone are not matched so everything get confused (win jr lte)
  • Oh... I am active at WC since 6/7 months...
  • Daniel, the headline says "contract bargain" rather than no contract.
  • I want a "Seems Faster" t-shirt.
  • That's what she said!
  • And so I gave it to her...
  • Getting this to replace my work phone. Needed one to use for a sim for metro piece of shit. I despise the LG "Opitimus my ass " I was given.
  • Why yellow is mentioned... As a colour option...it seems to be lime/green... Or am I going colour blind?
  • I believe it's a yellow with a hint of green. Like what many of us from southwestern USA call a Mexican lime. That fruit is more yellow than green.
  • You're banned Rubino! :p
  • Dat HTC ONE design copy&paste OMG! :D    
  • Yet somehow better looking.
  • I need to get my son a new phone so it's a toss up between this and the lumia 640XL.
  • I would do with BLU.. :) looks more fun, premium, better processor and gpu. There's no Lumia exclusive you really need in my honest opinion. Just it's camera software that will roll out to every phone in 10 anyway. I find other apps more useful for editing too. I don't actually trust Microsoft as much as Nokia in terms of quality anymore. They are of course following lower cost trends now. For instance, I do love my 830, but yeah it has spaces between the glass, frame and plastic back like it doesn't fit perfectly.
  • The 830 was built by Nokia not Microsoft.
  • I knew I would get comment like this, of course these phones had some impact from either Microsoft or financial problems. It's build quality cannot stand old Nokias.
  • At the end of the day Lumia phones are designed and built by designers and factories, these designers and factories once owned by Nokia are now owned by Microsoft and pretty much the same are still making devices as they did before. Little change, except brand ownership in my eyes.
  • 830 was made by Microsoft. Even 735 was made by Microsoft. Last phone made by Nokia is Lumia 630. Check the back of phone and you will see(I know you cant do it on 830 because of monolith)
  • Those are speed holes.
  • Speed holes? .. Anyways its not only me noticing this, I found this issue on forums so I'm not alone. It's my first phone with such design issue. (frame not fitting perfectly on some locations (not brushed well), 0.5-0.7mm space between camera glass and half the back plate)
  • It was a Simpsons reference.
  • Dw man, someone here got the reference (me)
  • Arrr alrighty then :D
    http://imgur.com/r/TheSimpsons/zll6M
  • The 830 was made by Nokia not Microsoft.
  • I think the 830 was made by Microsoft, but using Nokia name
  • Strange that you mention the 830 as an example of declining quality.  The 830 was one of the last phones that Nokia designed (it is, after all, just a resized Icon/930).  Any hardware problems you have is because of Nokia, not Microsoft.  And my Nokia designed Lumia 1520 has a screen sensitivity issue.  Even worse, it's a hardware issue that affects almost every 1520.  Oh, and my old Nokia designed Lumia 920?  Gaps in the handset allows dust to get inside of the camera lens glass.  A ton of people had to get their 920 exchanged because of it.  We all like to think that Nokia makes perfect phones, when in truth Nokia's quality control isn't always the greatest.
  • How would you explain the massive flop of MICROSOFT Lumia 535 with touchscreen problem? Would you ascribe that to Nokia also? :)
  • ...which has nothing to do with Nokia's past hardware problems.  No one is saying that Microsoft's phones are flawless.  We're addressing the myth that the build quality of Lumia phones is worse since Microsoft took over.  Have we forgotten that Microsoft purchased Nokia's hardware division?  There's nothing to suggest that the build quality is any worse (or better).  The biggest difference is that the Microsoft Lumia phones offer more bang for your buck due to better specs.
  • Lumia 1520 is the best there is..... I've been using it for the past 3 months with the Denim update & is better than today's Android flagships... No issues with the screen either..... Not to mention the best smartphone display ever with an awesome 4K video capture!
  • 1520 "Ghost screen" was solved by a M$ firmware. And The issue isn't hardware flaw, but software dependent. 1520 is a flagship as anyone other is.
  • It's really remarkable flaw is the really fragile GGII screen, but it was a logistic option. 6" GGIII were inavaible in industry, at its conception.
  • Oh please Lumia phones are better. I'd recommend the Lumia over this for the sheer reasoning it is likely to be better supported.
  • 640XL Microsoft supports lumia more than other brands...believe it
  • 640xl will have much better front and back cameras. And almost an inch more screen.
  • Also twice the price
  • Ya it resembles certain HTC phone in a gud way
  • Not really. It looks loads better than that certain HTC
  • Sometimes copies can be better than the original.....but I doubt this is that time
  • Considering HTC crap they have thrown out. I doubt it.
  • Come on Micah, this isn't a Lumia either so it's also rubbish right?
  • Actually I like this phone :) I'd be inclined to buy one of their higher end models if they ever released because blu appears to support windows phone :)
  • Was wondering if it'll work on a Sprint, no mention of them, ny girlfriend hates her Iphone and wants something else, she really enjoys using my phone and wants one herself. ​ ​
  • The phones are GSM ready - however, Sprint is solely CDMA.
  • You mean Verizon is CDMA.
  • Yes but some phones of them are GSM like 822
  • GSM LTE for data only. Verizon and Sprint still both use CDMA technology for voice. Different bands at that. So BLU would have to make special devices for either carrier in order to work.
  • Wasn't Verizon switching over to VOLTE in a few months? I'm pretty sure it is live in NYC and SF.
  • yeah, VOLTE will eventually supplant CDMA, but we are talking years from now. Both carriers have legacy CDMA support on their maps for a long, long time.
  • She's a keeper!
  • Question... Why is the W10PCTP so much more polished than the WPTP❓
  • Does windows phone even have 64bit support?
  • I googled it and found out that.......
  • Drum rolls please
  • 64 bit support is .........
  • What are you on, Dial Up? You should have the answer by now :P
  • Error 404 ... File Not Found ....
    Try to type the correct address and navigate again ....
  • The Windows NT core used in Windows Phone supports 64-bit since like, forever...
  • Ya 8.1 update 1 added that...now I don't have the article but you can find it out in the WC search I guess
  • In the toilet? O.o x{D
  • As far as I remember, it was to support 64bit processors like 410. But the OS itself still in 32bit.
     
  • No, WP8.1.2 still doesn't support 64 bit and nothing has been announced about W10 regarding 64 bit.
  • wp 8.1 supports 64-bit CPU (the SD 410 is 64 bit), but OS itself is 32 bit