You've probably still never heard of Blu Products, even though the Miami-based company has built a big business selling unlocked phones in developing markets. The company continues to prove that it's easier and simpler than ever to build a beautiful smartphone, and to sell it for next to nothing.
Its latest proof: the Vivo Air, the flagship in Blu's new line of Android devices, which at 5.1mm thick and 3.5 ounces clocks in as the thinnest and lightest phone you can buy in the United States. It's even made of aluminum magnesium alloy, unlike some of the plastic phones Blu has produced before. The phone looks a lot like a slightly more rounded iPhone 5S, with the same raised buttons on the side and even the same collection of sensors and lenses on the front. It's powered by a MediaTek MT6592 processor, 1GB of RAM, and a Mali GPU. On the front is a 4.8-inch, 720 display, and there's an 8-megapixel camera on the back and a 5-megapixel shooter on the front. Design has become effectively commoditized, accessible even at low prices, but money does still buy high-quality chipsets; MediaTek can't keep up with the Snapdragons of the world.
The phone comes in two models: white with gold accents, or black with gunmetal accents. Both are quite nice-looking. And for $199, unlocked, on sale from Amazon and other retailers? It's hard to argue with what Blu is offering.