Vivo 6 by BLU is the latest affordable Android smartphone to hit the UK with a solid build quality, but is it attractive enough to hook us in?
The Vivo 6 features a fingerprint sensor, metal jacket, 5.5 full HD display, 13 MP camera, 3130 mAh battery, 4GB of RAM coupled with an Octa-Core MediaTek processor, 64GB of storage space and a USB Type-C connection. Sounds good so far? keep reading..
Everything about the Vivo 6 is very bold; when it arrived, the box alone is very prominent and very gold. In case you didn’t know also, BLU is an American smartphone maker and it stands for Bold Like US.
From aerospace grade aluminium to diamond cut edges, they thoroughly thought of the design
The Vivo 6 is not one to be hidden away in public; its anodised aerospace grade aluminium finishing stands out especially in rose gold. When you put it under bright light, you see the diamond cut edges shimmer and its curved glass display and slim design makes it feel nice in hand.
Unlike most budget Android smartphones on the market, you are getting a great deal of design for the price point. It measures 154.3 x 74.9 x 7 mm and weighs just 170 g, that’s 18g less than the iPhone 7 Plus.
Around the device, you get a dual sim card tray on the left which can also be used for storage expansion up to 256GB (microSD). To the right is a volume rocker and a dedicated power button, both finished with a groove to make it easy to feel without looking and also add to its style.
Move below the belt, you will notice a USB C port for fast charging as well as data transfer. On either side of the Type-C connection, BLU has included two Stereo DTS speakers, again surprising for the price point, not even the Google Pixel XL have stereo speakers.
Flip it around and you will notice the 13MP shooter with f/2.0 aperture, same as the Pixel XL (f 2.0) – although different sensor sizes – , phase detection autofocus and LED flash. It doesn’t capture 4K videos, but will comfortably get you full HD 1080p videos.
On the front side, there’s an 8MP selfie camera, a vibrant display topped with and at the bottom is the home button with a fingerprint scanner built in. The home button can also be used to swipe left and right for extra options – more on this later.
Overall the BLU Vivo 6 is not only here to compete in the budget smartphone space but you can also pit it against the big timers when it comes to its design. Did I forget to mention that you get a spare screen protector in the box? also, don’t forget to peel off the blue protector to reveal the diamond cut edges.
BLU Vivo 6 Software is simple to use
You only have to spend a couple of hours with the Vivo 6 and you’ll soon get a sense of simplicity. Android is usually very Windows computer-like, where you have to sometimes dig deep to find the settings you need or to figure out how to do things, however on this smartphone, everything is straightforward.
Included on top of the Android 6.0 Marshmallow powering it are some subtle differences or changes added when compared to other Android smartphones; first, there’s no app drawer that some may be used to, instead, you can setup multiple pages for all your apps and also create folders by simply dropping one app on top of each other.
Secondly, you will notice that you can swipe up to reveal you quick settings menu, it reminds me of what Apple have done with iOS and when you slide down from the top, it’s dedicated to all you notifications. BLU have not done this for the sake of it, but what they have done is cater to those who may find stretching their finger to the top of its big display a hassle.
Elsewhere, pressing the left capacitive touch key reveals all the apps running in the background in order to quickly switch between them. Here you can also dismiss or close apps you’re no longer using. An added feature here, however, is the display of memory usage; a quick glance you will see the ring around the circle at the bottom showing you how much you’re using and a long press on it reveals the option to quickly clear all apps.
under the long press settings, you can whitelist apps you don’t want to dismiss, and automate the phone memory cleaning feature to free up the phone memory. You could even set it to prompt you to clean phone memory everytime you unlock your phone.
Another quirky addition that Samsung Galaxy S7 edge users would be used to is the edge feature; sliding on the fingerprint/home button to the left or right reveals a set of assigned shortcuts so you can quickly fire them up when needed.
Fire up the Camera app, you continue to see that simplicity across the board. Using the mode selection located top left corner of the screen, you get access to more camera modes and depending on which one you select, it will be added to the far right of the mode selection options available, next to “photo”.
BLU boldly claims the Vivo 6 has the best display, but how accurate is that claim?
It uses an LCD panel which straight away raised some flags when it comes to BLU’s bold claim, perhaps if compared to smartphones in the same price bracket, it could be up there as one of the best displays. In technical terms, it offers a The 5.5-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) display dishing out 401 ppi.
Although LCD panels are known to produce cleaner whites and natural colours, AMOLED or even Samsung’s Super AMOLED display can match that brightness and add that extra wow factor from its saturation and deep blacks. As the Vivo 6 is only 1080p, I don’t think it’s a big issue anyway.
In the real world, however, the Vivo 6’s display looks vibrant, doesn’t look over saturated and whether you’re reading books, playing games or watching movies and videos on YouTube, it looks great and has no issue with viewing angles either. In fact, you will have to take a look at one to see for yourself.
Budget processor and battery performance could be better
With such a sleek hardware, I wish what was underneath was just a tad bit better. It’s rocking a MediaTek helio P10 MT6755M, 1.8GHz Octa-core Cortex-A53 with Mali-T860 graphics GPU and when you transition from one app to another, sometimes you feel it thinking about it.
Thanks to its 4GB RAM, though, it can have multiple apps running without any hiccups or crashes and if there’s a silver lining with the processor spec, I didn’t experience any random app crashes which could be down to the barely overlayed OS.
When it comes to its efficiency, the Vivo 6 is loaded with a non-removable Li-Polymer 3130 mAh battery and again the software saves it in many ways and allows it to run all day, however, under heavy use, you will need to recharge it later in the day to keep it going for the rest of the day. Thanks to its fast charging capability, though, you can quickly fire it back up to full capacity in no time.
Camera performance is generally good for the price point
For the price you pay for the Vivo 6, you can’t expect it to beat the likes of the Galaxy S7 edge or even Honor 8, however, it does perform well enough to capture the beauty around you every day, day or night. Packed with a 13.0 megapixel with 6P Lens, Laser Focus, Phase Detection Autofocus, and LED Flash, you have what it takes to never miss a moment again.
When you need to shoot videos, it’s capable of shooting 1080p HD videos at 30fps, which is more than enough for the average user. On the front, there’s an 8.0 megapixel, wide-angle selfie shooter and not only can you get more people in your shots, you can also capture more light too.
We won’t touch on its camera modes too much, but there’s a professional mode that allows you to manually change ISO, Shutter speed, White balance, Focus and Exposure. You can tap each one to adjust its levels or you can tap the settings button to see all at once and change as you go along; you will see changes live as you adjust settings.
BLU Vivo 6 Image samples:
The images below were shot with HDR on and the blacks look very good, the brown on the bricks are a true representation of the subject and looking at the graffiti shots, colours are vibrant and even in the overcast weather, highlights are not bad at all. Dynamic range is still lacking, but you can’t expect more from a smartphone of this price point.
Without HDR, the image below is lacking colour and vibrancy; it looks noisy even in daylight and a little washed out, therefore I’d stick to HDR mode. At night, you can only rely on a good level of lighting and flash, but you will definitely experience a lot of noisy images.
Conclusion – Is it worth buying?
It’s definitely worth buying if you’re looking for a phone that looks sleek, offer simplicity and some competitive specs when compared to other smartphones in the same price bracket. It works well and if I have any notable negatives it would be that battery life could be better, the home button does not feel clicky enough and it lacks an app drawer (coming from an Android user).
The BLU Vivo 6 was given to us for review before its UK launch via Amazon and has been in use since them for this review. All opinion here remains UNILAD Tech’s.