"Decent Phone for a First Android But Shop Around!"4.0 starson by Earl_C
Pros: Very light and small phone
Built in MP3 player and FM tuner with Android 2.2
Speaker is fine, in loud speaker mode or listening to MP3s the sound is fine
Cons: There's no support for flash
The camera could be better
Summary: When my old LG KP500 broke for a second time in the same way I decided it was time for a new phone. I decided to go Android but didnt want to deal with the contract phones and I hated the battery life complaints I heard about most of the current and past smartphones. I mean the KP500 lasted at least 2 and a half days with general use and calls as well as the occasional trip to face book or website. I'd seen a couple of the HTC phones in real life and was shocked at the need to recharge them almost every night because they were so drained by evening that they might run out by bedtime.Edit Link
Eventually I found the Blu Tango with the longest stated battery life of any Android phone I'd ever seen. I wanted to find out more and found it contained the latest version of the OS 2.2 (Froyo) which I heard would soon support flash! It sounds like a dream come true so I looked into the phones prices and user reviews only to find that it was in my price range ($150-185 Yeah, the price differences got kinda weird so I'd definitely tell you to shop around if you choose to buy this.) but the problem was that it had come out so recently that it hadn't been bought be enough people to have any first hand impressions. The website is woefully devoid of information other than the spec sheets for the tango and about 7 other phones the South American company produces. At first the fear hit me that this might be one of those random Chinese knock off phones that has a standard java OS customized to LOOK like the iOS ir Android but the details were too clearly stated to be fake and I found enough news clippings on websites the company had media blitzed to announce their first Android based phone, so much pride over this device, it couldn't be a hoax. I found a store selling it for a fairly low price nearby and decided to pick one up, if it sucked at least I wouldn't have spent 200 bucks for it, right?
It's a very light and small phone, the nearly 3 inch(diagonal) screen is serviceable, though it's aspect ration means most of the apps meant for the larger phones can be a little cramped on it. It's not a capacitive screen so it does require a firm press to register but not so much that it's uncomfortable. Turning on the phone reveals the kinda choppy animated BLU logo (but hey I've seen worse and it's not an obnoxious logo) The Froyo operating system is fairly fast on the 600mhz processor. You could complain that it's not the 1000mhz that the newer Androids have but if you're buying a phone with a 2.8" screen "High Performance" isn't really on the top of your requirement list. If you have T-mobile forget about 3G or 4G, and as far as I can tell I can't even do 2G, but I'm not a crazy cellphone internet junky, as long as I can read mail or hit up some facebook or see a youtube video it does it's job. Tmobile uses their own weird proprietary system for broadband cell signals so that's the best reason to use T-mobile's own branded devices on their network, but it wasnt a big deal to me, I just wanted a replacement for the KP500. Plus with wifi you can just use the internet to do all that stuff at faster speeds and the wifi has a pretty nice range too. It does have GPS (you'll need the internet to sync up with google maps if you want to use it though) and a bunch of fairly simple useful stock apps and menu options for just about everything you could want to change, MP3 ringtones and an option to use your own. You have 5 pages for aps and widgets, more than enough. There's a facebook app on board but it's not optimized for the phone and wont even start but there's nothing stopping you from downloading another from the android market for free and using it instead, unfortunately you can't delete or uninstall it and take back some of the 100mb of built in storage. The browser is serviceable, there's no support for flash, I tried, it wont install, apparently it's only for HTC phones, But it's still very youtube capable. I wouldnt bother trying to watch 720p videos on it because like I said it has a 600mhz processor and a 2.8" screen. There's no video out that I can tell, and a simple Mini USB connector on the bottom for a link cable which doubles as the power cord, a power button on the top that also doubles as a screen lock and a 3.5" headphone jack for listening to media (music sounds fine through headphones if you want to use it as an MP3 player though you could end up killing your battery fast if you do that), a micro SD card slot on the left side and a volume rocker on the right. There's no direction control on it but after a while you might find you even dont need it, I've been getting by without it anyway, but it does have the four standard android buttons(Home, instant search, back and menu). There's a 3 Mega pixle camera on the back for photos and video(no flash or mirror for self portraits), The camera could be better as it can be a hassle using it with some camera based apps like the barcode scanners, but they do work with it. The phone will also work as a hotspot for your laptops or other wifi enabled devices
The phone's call quality is a bit unfortunate. I can hear little static crackles and pops from the ear piece holding it to your ear in the beginning of a call, a few minutes in it seems to stop but for the price of the thing it's a minor annoyance, and you dont hear it at all if you use a bluetooth ear piece. Other wise the speaker is fine, in loud speaker mode or listening to MP3s the sound is fine. Another irritation for me is that there seems to be a bit of dirt trapped under the screen or maybe a defect in the plastic that looks like one, I'd say this and the speaker issue might just be unfortunate issues particular to my own phone so I wont hold it againt the product as a general issue. The battery cover is very simply attached, you'd think it might get lose or come off over time, BUT it stays on securely almost as if by magic! I'm really kinda surprised by that. The BLU website, as mentioned, is really empty, The instruction book does indeed say PC drivers will be available on the website, but they're not there. They only just recently added some background on the company and a couple of media clippings. Make sure you buy it somewhere with a good return policy because I'd fear trying to send it back to the company or get parts, I'm not even sure I can get a replacement battery currently. The phone WILL connect in harddrive mode though by pulling down the notification window after connecting and selecting it, but there doesnt seem to be a way to sync contacts.
Now for the part that I'm a bit more annoyed with; the battery. It's a 1000MaH battery, I was lead to believe it was closer to 1200 or more by many of the phone websites that list it's features not that it would help all that much. I'm confused by the phone's battery life, it'll last a whole day with occasional web surfing and MP3s or eBook reading and stuff but the speed at which it drains seems dependant on the phases of the moon. Even with the options in the OS menus to shut down apps you'll wonder where some of that energy went or why it doesn't always drain or recharge at the same rate every day. Again, it could be an issue of MY phone alone, maybe it was previously owned (I could swear I bought it brand new) and the battery had developed a memory issue, because I mean it'll charge in 2 hours up to 95 percent and then take 4 hours to get to 100 percent! The way websites list standby time for most phones, especially smart phones needs a serious reworking. I've seen it listed as 500 hours of standby, BS! There isn't a smart phone in the past 3 years with that kind of life. Are they assuming you'll never make a call or turn on the screen? What would be the point? If it's not on you might as well not even HAVE a phone, c'mon measure it in useful terms! Tell me the thing only lasts 36 hours so I won't get my hopes up! On the other hand as I said I've seen people with Android phones need to recharge the thing halfway through the day because their "super awesome" 4 inch screen phones use so much power that the room lights dim when they turn on the screen, so this phone lasting at least a whole day or so is not bad.
Over all I don't have much of a problem with it. I mean yeah it's got some issues but what phone doesn't? For an unlocked phone and your first experience with the android platform with decent battery life for a smart phone the company's got the right idea. It's an inexpensive (if you shop around), fairly solid device that does what you expect. You can access Android market places and get free (and paid) apps, play Angry Birds, check your email, find a restaurant with google maps, post a tweet or foursqaure update on facebook. If that's what you're looking for this might be up your alley.
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Updated on Oct 28, 2011
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