The Bluboo S1 is a great looking phone. Bezel-less design (sort of) and a great 2,5 GHz processor. Is this THE china phone you want?
Recently I reviewed another phone of Bluboo, the Bluboo S8 which looks just like the Samsung S8. Let's have a look if the Bluboo S1 is the better of the two.
Bluboo was found in 2006 and, according to their website, they are devoted to bring the latest and high-quality smart mobile devices. As of now Bluboo already sent products to over 30 countries world wide, including Europe, South-America and South-Africa. With the high-quality, latest technology and user-friendly services, Bluboo gains wide favor of global customers. The Bluboo brand is working on a real nice line of smartphones now. They have the S1 and the S8, but they have over 15 phones in total! For an "unknown" brand, that is an huge number.
But, quality over quantity is what they say. Let see if Bluboo is able to make a lot of good working phones.
- Screen size: 5,5"
- Resolution 1920x1080
- Touchscreen: Yes
- Glass: Corning Gorilla Glass 4 Protection -2.5D curved glass
- CPU/SoC: MediaTek Helio P25 (MT6757) (4x 2.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, 4x 1.6 GHz ARM Cortex-A53)
- RAM Memory: 3,906GB
- Storage: 64GB
- Operating System: Android 7.0
- Battery: 3500 mAh, Li-Polymer
- Camera: 4160 x 3120 pixels, 1920 x 1080 pixels, 30 fps
- WiFi: a, b, g, n, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Wi-Fi Direct
- Bluetooth: 4.0
- USB: 2.0, USB Type-C
- 2G: Network 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
- 3G: Network 900 / 2100
- 4G: Network FDD LTE 800 / 900/ 1800 / 2100 / 2600 MHz
If we only look at the specs, this is a very promising phone. Octa-core, 4GB of RAM and a good camera? Seems to good to be true.
If we open the box, we see the Bluboo S1 first, in some sort of sleeve with information with what is what.
Underneath the Bluboo S1 is the charger with the USB-C cable. And of course we have the information and warranty books.
As extra there is a screen protector in the box and a normal case to protect your phone. I've seen it earlier with the Bluboo S8 and I hope other brand will to the same thing!
Hardware & Design
If we just look at the specs, this is high end smartphone. Octa-core processor, 4GB of RAM and 3500 mAh battery is not bad! But most of the times it is the software that makes it run smooth or make it feel really buggy. Personally I'm really happy with the hardware of the Bluboo S1. It makes the whole experience feel high end.
The design of the smartphone is not my favorite, but it is not ugly or bad. I would prefer a different kind of smartphone, even though Bluboo made it work with the S1. It is not slippery but it is a little big to handle. There is a case in the box and screen protector to protect it from falling, which is needed if you have not the biggest hands. It has the same screen size as the Xiaomi Mi A1, which is better to handle if you ask me. This might me just a feeling, but it feels like a square to me. Again, there is nothing wrong with that and some people might love the design, but I rather have the "candy bar" design.
At the bottom you will find the speaker, but there is no 3.5mm jack. A lot of people hate it that it is gone, but I don't miss it at all. It is a feature I rarely use and it will become an outdated port soon. Everything will be over Bluetooth and I just love it. Have you guys read the 5 wireless headphone blog? Buy one of those with the Bluboo S1 and you will never miss the 3.5mm jack again.
The Bluboo S1 is made out of plastic and you feel that as well. It has a cheap feeling to it, but performs great. The S1 is a fast phone which almost never lags. Just the feeling is cheap, but with the case, you won't notice it.
The fingerprint scanner is at the front of the Bluboo S1. It is inside the home button like many other brands, and that is where I like it. I've had the fingerprint scanner on the back with the Xiaomi Mi A1, and it worked fine as well. But if you ask me where I would prefer it, I will always say at the front.
It unlocks the phone really quick and make it feel even more high end then the promising hardware on the inside. With the iPhone I had a lot of times that the fingerprint was not able to unlock my phone and I had to fill in the pincode. Luckily for me the Bluboo S1 does a better job then my iPhone. (I hope for Apple it was my phone and not in general) It unlocks really fast and almost always accepts my fingerprint in the first 2 tries. It is a relief to unlock your phone without having to hold your finger on the scanner 3 times or clean the scanner first.
The audio in the Bluboo S1 is good for watching video's or playing the games. The sound is loud enough and still sound good. I've seen phones where the sound was just the absolute worse in the phone when you want to show a video to some friends. With the Bluboo S1 you should be able to show any video you want to your friends and it will sound good!
There are two speakers at the bottom of the phone. If you accidentally cover one with you finger, that is just fine. You will hear everything through the other speaker.
The Bluboo S1 runs Android 7.0 which feels pretty much like Stock Android. There are not a lot of annoying pre-installed apps or some heavy skin installed. This was a surprise to me. For this price, the hardware and the software? Almost to good to be true. Bluboo did a really good job with the S1 considering the software. There are no major bugs and I already received 3 updates in 2 months. This means that there is an active developers team behind it, which is very promising.
The software is not that interesting to show since there are no additional software that I would like to show you. The software is a major benefit for the Bluboo S1.
This will be an interesting part of the review. As we've seen before with the Maze Alpha or the Bluboo S8, the camera is worst part of the cheap china phones. This is no different with the Bluboo S1. The camera is not the best in daylight and even worse in night time. Here are some examples:
But there is something much more interesting. It seems like one of the camera's is not working? Or did they place a dummy camera in there? If we open the camera on what ever setting we like, it seems like one of the camera's is not working. I can cover the camera with my finger and nothing changes! Hopefully for Bluboo this is just a software issue where the camera is not active yet, but I think they placed a dummy camera in there.
If the pictures were really good and they placed a dummy camera to show off the "dual" camera, I would accept it. But in this case it seems like they are selling it as dual camera smartphone, while in fact it is only one camera. I will contact Bluboo about this and post you the response if I get it.
The camera quality is not good enough if you ask me. Future smartphone really need to work on the camera. I never thought I valued the camera that much or that I can live with a shitty camera, but I noticed that I really enjoy a good camera. This camera is just not enough and would need some real upgrades to get to an acceptable level. It looks like the colors are different and with night time it is almost impossible to take normal pictures.
The selfie camera is not that much better then the camera in the rear. They are equally bad. Not that I use it that often. When I turn it on, I'm in shock when I see my double chins.
The battery of the Bluboo S1 is good! I can last a day without having to charge my device or put it into battery saving mode. This is a major benefit over a lot of other phones. I hate it and want to buy a new one that same moment when I have to charge my device mid day. I once had a OnePlus 3 which I took from the charger at 08:00 AM and when I arrived at work at 08:45 AM it was down to 35%! My whole day was ruined and I decided to buy the Lenovo P2 as primary phone now, which will last me, if I want, 3 days with battery! Normally I'm able to get 2 days out of it with 3-4 hours of usage each day.
This level of usage and battery life is not expected from the Bluboo S1 and it won't reach it of course. But I'm able to go to bed with around 15-25%, which is more then enough. Even if I have a day where I will use my phone more then normal, I should be able to make it. This is a big benefit if you ask me.
Overall the Bluboo S1 is a good phone, but can do better. The design is something I would like to see different and the camera is a real down side of the Bluboo S1. If they only approve the camera, I would buy a Bluboo S1 for my whole family. The phone runs smooth and the software is great (almost stock Android). All apps are available and the battery life is more then enough.
Right now I would advice the Bluboo S1 to people who like to watch a movie or game on the smartphone, not for people who like to take a picture of everything they do. If you want to take a picture once a month, sure! Buy the Bluboo S1, you don't value the quality of the picture that much that you have to spent hundreds of dollars more for a good camera which you will never use.
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