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Blu's new phones pair premium finishes with bargain prices

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If you know the name Blu, you probably know that it sells unlocked phones on Amazon and at Best Buy for budget prices. Most of Blu's phones retail for less than $250, so it's not surprising that they don't have the most premium design or finishes. The company is trying to change that perception with its new Vivo 5 and Vivo XL, two new phones that pair slick designs and upscale materials with Blu's traditionally low prices.

The $199 Vivo 5 is a 5.5-inch smartphone with Android 5.1 Lollipop, a 720p Super AMOLED display, octacore MediaTek processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, 3,150mAh battery, and a 13-megapixel camera. Those specs are solidly mid-range, but still impressive for the Vivo 5's price. Perhaps even more surprising is the Vivo 5's slick design, slim, 6.9mm-thick frame, and metal finish, which are not common to see at this price level. Its design is very similar to Apple's iPhone 5 and 5S from 2013 and 2014.

Blu Vivo 5

The $149 Vivo XL is even cheaper than the Vivo 5, though it trades the true metal frame for a plastic finish "inspired by liquid metal." Despite its name, the XL has the same 5.5-inch, 720p Super AMOLED display as the Vivo 5, along with the octacore processor and 13-megapixel camera. It steps down to 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage and has a slightly thicker 7.5mm frame.

Both phones have USB Type-C charging ports and support LTE on T-Mobile. The Vivo XL will work with AT&T LTE in majority of areas across the country, but the Vivo 5 lacks support for AT&T's most popular LTE bands. Blu says that both phones will be upgradable to Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but it doesn't say when the update will be available. The Vivo XL will hit Best Buy and Amazon this month, while the Vivo 5 will arrive some time in February.

Blu Vivo XL

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