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BLU R1 HD: Why Is This $50 Smartphone Selling Like Hotcakes

BLU R1 HD Review: Why This $50 Smartphone Is Selling Like Hotcakes
In case of BLU R1 HD, you get more than what you pay for. At just $50, this ultra-budget-friendly smartphone does wonder -making it the best selling phone.

It has been less than a month since BLU R1 HD has been launched. For many reasons, this ultra-budget-friendly smartphone has become a trending topic, with one of the reasons being its price. This $50 smartphone from BLU is currently the number one bestseller in Unlocked Cell Phones category on Amazon. So why is this smartphone selling like hotcakes, anyway? Well, it has its reasons.

The Look and Feel

BLU R1 HD is definitely not a piece of art -a piece of plastic, rather. BLU claims to have used the “highest grade materials” in R1 HD. I’m not sure about this claim but this budget-friendly smartphone doesn’t really “feel cheap.”

BLU R1 HD Front  and Back

It carries a 5.0-inch curved display accompanied by a metal trim around it. On the back, the battery cover carries a nicely done paint coat which provides smooth feeling and comfortable handheld experience.

It feels nice looking at this phone – just as much as it feels good to hold and use it. BLU has done pretty good job at the finishing of R1 HD -which you don’t get to see in cheap phones much often.

The Tech Specs

BLU R1 HD is powered by a 1.3 GHz quad-core MediaTek 6735 ARM Cortex processor and 1GB RAM. For storage, it provides 8GB on-board space. Just add $10 to its price and you get 2GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The internal storage can be expanded up to 64GB using a microSD card, by the way.

BLU R1 HD Smartphone Review

R1 HD features a 5-inch display with curved Gorilla Glass 3 protection. For photography, it provides an 8MP primary camera and 5MP front camera including a front-facing LED flash.

R1 HD carries dual-SIM capability and provides 4G LTE plus GSM for network connectivity. Being carrier-unlocked, you can use R1 HD with a (compatible) carrier of your choice instead of being tied to any carrier. (Checkout carrier compatibility)

On the software side, R1 HD is powered by Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system.

The Performance

The performance of BLU R1 HD is promising. The quad-core MediaTek 6735 processor provides enough power to handle day-to-day activities without lag. The 1GB RAM isn’t really useful for much. But if you use your $50 phone to make/receive calls, instant messaging and internet browsing, then 1GB is enough.

BLU R1 HD Performance Review

Adding $10 to its price will get you 2GB of total RAM which sufficiently provides multitasking and better performance across apps. In fact, it smoothly runs Pokemon Go (which is another trending topic these days) but be ready for more frequent crashes than other (costlier) smartphones (because the game crashes on them too).

The 5-inch HD display (1280 x 720 pixels) of R1 HD provides stunning performance. And by stunning, I don’t mean iPhone-stunning or Galaxy-stunning. I mean it is great given the price.

Coming to camera performance of BLU R1 HD, just get it straight; loud and clear: Don’t expect R1 HD to carry a great camera. You’re merely paying $50 after all, and you shouldn’t complain. For its price, R1 HD provides acceptable picture quality but it isn’t really that great.

Some other cons of R1 HD include poor audio quality and not-so-good network reception. If you can adjust with that, you’re all good.

The Price

Okay, here’s the fact: $50 (or $60) isn’t the actual retail price of BLU R1 HD. It costs $99.99 for 1GB RAM + 8GB storage and $109.99 for 2GB RAM + 16GB storage. So where does this $50 price come from? From Amazon!

If you purchase R1 HD with Prime Exclusive deal (with offers & ads) then you get $50 off your order. Amazon will subsidize your final cost by $50, bringing the actual price to $49.99 or $59.99 (for additional RAM and storage).

And why is Amazon is so kind to subsidize? Well, so that it can display ads on your phone. It’s pretty simple. If you purchase BLU R1 HD with offers & ads, Amazon will display ads on your screen. These ads can include product deals among other ads and sometimes it will take over your complete lockscreen to display full-page ads.

Amazon Prime Ads
Ads displayed on BLU R1 HD

This might sound annoying (because it is annoying) but you can easily get used to it. It’s not much of a sacrifice for an ultra-budget-friendly phone after all.

BLU R1 HD: The Bottom Line

I’m not sure why would anyone compare this $50 phone with premium smartphones such as iPhone 6s or Galaxy S7. And if you do compare, you’re (obviously) going to be disappointed. But to be true, BLU R1 HD is definitely one of the best phones available right now at given price.

If you plan to use this phone as your secondary phone on which you can make/receive calls, IMs and do some basic activities – then go for it without thinking too much.

If this is going to be your primary phone, then be aware of the facts that this is a really cheap phone and you’ll get what you pay for. You won’t be able to rely on R1 HD if you’re going to perform extensive tasks on it.

Overall, BLU R1 HD is a cost-effective smartphone you’d love to carry and use. In fact, you get more than what you’re paying for in case of this phone.

Buy from Amazon

Note: Amazon Prime membership is required to qualify for the $50 discount. You can try Amazon Prime for free and be eligible for this order.

Read offer details carefully before placing your order.

BLU R1 HD Smartphone Review
  • Look and Feel
  • Tech Specs
  • Performance
  • Price


BLU R1 HD is definitely one of the best budget-friendly Android smartphones available right now. At just $50, you get more than you pay for.