BLU R1 HD can be had for as little as $50, will be updated with LTE band 12 support


BLU today announced its latest Android smartphone, and so long as you don’t mind some ads, you can score one for pretty cheap.

The BLU R1 HD features a 5-inch 1280×720 display, 8-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel front camera with a wide-angle lens, quad-core MediaTek MT6735 processor, and 2500mAh battery. It’s available in two configurations, one with 8GB of storage and 1GB of RAM and the other with 16GB of storage and 2GB of RAM, but they both include a microSD slot for adding more storage. The R1 HD also comes equipped with Android 6.0, and BLU says that it’s upgradeable to Android N.

BLU’s R1 HD is being sold unlocked and includes HSPA+ 850/1700/1900/2100MHz as well as LTE bands 2, 4, 7, and 17. I asked BLU about the R1 HD’s T-Mobile support and was told that “it will have LTE band 12 enabled via OTA along with VoLTE.” BLU’s R1 HD product page says that this update will arrive “shortly after launch.”

Amazon is now taking pre-orders for the BLU R1 HD at a price of $99.99 for the 8GB/1GB model or $109.99 for the 16GB/2GB version. However, the BLU R1 HD is part of Amazon’s new Prime Exclusive program that will let you get it for even less. With this program, Amazon Prime members can get the 8GB/1GB version of the BLU R1 HD for $49.99, but the phone will show ads on the lock screen and will come preloaded with Amazon apps. The 16GB/2GB model is part of the program, too, coming in at a price of $59.99. The BLU R1 HD will ship July 12.


Amazon’s Prime Exclusive program is also offering the Moto G4 at a price of $149.99 for the 16GB model and $179.99 for the 32GB version, both of which are $50 off their regular prices.

T-Mobile has been pushing its Extended Range LTE coverage pretty hard lately, and if a device lacks LTE band 12 support, its appeal is limited. BLU says that the R1 HD will be updated with band 12 support, though, so when that update rolls out, it could be an interesting budget option for T-Mo customers. That’s especially true for folks that don’t mind the ads on the Prime Exclusive version.

Sources: BLU, Amazon: BLU R1 HD

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  • pseudoswede

    But will it also support Wi-Fi Calling?

  • besweeet

    Bought the 16GB / 2GB variant. Looking forward to it. Can finally have something to map Sensorly with.

  • jonzey231

    So I’ll be able to just flash the stock system on it once I get it though, right? So I can get rid of Amazon’s junk.

    • Acdc1a

      That’s what I’m hoping. I’m not sold on the Blu, but the Moto G4 for $124.99 is compelling.

  • Adam Newman

    I’d be a little wary of trusting Blu’s update promises. They promised Marshmallow on a bunch of phones and it hasn’t happened…

    • Mike Thaler

      I won’t order until it is completely usable on TM. Looks usable for att users.

    • besweeet

      How’s the custom ROM scene for BLU devices?

      • randypower

        Almost non-existent. Blu doesn’t release any Of their changes to GNU licensed source code like the Linux kernel (violating the license) or for drivers needed to support the hardware.

        I hope they change their ways for the better or go out of business.

        • besweeet

          That’s disappointing. Since this is something being fairly heavily promoted on Amazon, maybe the community well get something going.

  • Mike Thaler

    Description says:
    “. I asked BLU about the R1 HD’s T-Mobile support and was told that “it will have LTE band 12 enabled via OTA along with VoLTE.” BLU’s R1 HD product page says that this update will arrive “shortly after launch.””
    I assume this means it will have VOLTE on ALL bands used by TM.

    What is it lacking to be simple everyday phone – if all you do is voice, text and non data intensive activity?

    • besweeet

      “What is it lacking to be simple everyday phone – if all you do is voice, text and non data intensive activity?” From the looks of it, it doesn’t lack anything, except for perhaps Wi-Fi Calling.

      • Rob

        And any ability to do anything with your phone if all the coverage available is band 12 currently.

        • besweeet

          Assuming BLU holds their word, that’ll happen relatively quickly.

  • steveb944

    Best Buy is running a G4 promo at the same price sans ads.

    • Acdc1a

      The G4 promo at Best Buy is a gift card whereas Amazon is instant plus an extra $25. I pre ordered the G4 for $124.99 and I’m hoping I can root it to kill the ads.

      • QDawg

        Where did you pre order for so cheap? I can’t find it anywhere on Amazon!

        • Acdc1a

          You have to be a Prime member but I did just go back and it’s still there.

        • QDawg

          My bad. Got it, thanks!!

      • beachtrax

        Order on Prime also for $124.99. Thanks for the heads up.

  • cruzz563

    I have Blu Life One X 2016, and while I like my phone as an inexpensive device, Blu said it would be updated in Q1 2016; it never was and still hasn’t been. If you buy this phone, do so knowing it may never be updated.

  • BreakingData

    Blu isn’t really know for pushing out updates, I wouldn’t hold my breath on this, unless Amazon bring some heat on the issue.

    • Wezi427

      Agreed. They have decent phones for the price, but don’t count on support/updates.

  • riverhorse

    Thanks for the extra info you obtained, Alex.
    And the extra attention you’re contributing can only make the program stronger…seems like a winner.

  • riverhorse

    It’s a moonshot, but once/if upgraded, the Blu Studio 7 would make a great addition:

  • Ordeith

    The existence of the $30 Lumia 640 makes this Blu deal look worse than it probably is.

    • Locust Gee

      Not if no one makes apps for the MS OS as it satnds now common refrains are: I use it as a GPS/Mp3/backup dumb phone.

      • Ordeith

        Good thing there are hundreds of thousands of apps on the platform, with more coming every day. :)

        • Wezi427

          With a diminishing userbase. I actually have a Lumia 925 and it’s smooth, but they lack apps.

        • Impulse

          You also are using a 2013 phone unable to run a 2016 update. Enough said.

        • Wezi427

          I think you’re over qualified for this conversation. My Lumia isn’t my daily driver. My Nexus 6 is. I prefer Android over Windows. Regardless if my phone is outdated the fact remains that the app store doesn’t compare to what is available to Android and IOS users.

    • besweeet

      The $30 Lumia 640 is now rare and can only really be found for $50+, making the $50/$60 BLU a better deal.

      • Ordeith

        Rare, because it is a hell of a deal. Not impossible to find, though.

        • besweeet

          Where can brand new Lumia 640’s be purchased for $30?

        • Ordeith

          WalMart or Best Buy if you can find it in stock ( it sells out fast).

          Cricket also sells them for $29 if all else fails.

        • Guest

          Yea, and Cricket is giving everyone who switches from T-Mobile a $100 credit.

    • beachtrax

      Bought four of these early on. two are unlocked, debranded and flashed to T-Mobile rom with Band 12 active. Two still in box as backups if needed.

  • MisterSuperGod

    The Amazon Kindle has ads too.
    Is this something exclusive to Amazon and the products they sell from their site?
    Not a big fan of buying a device outright and having ads in my face.

    Edit: Yes, it is exclusive to Amazon.
    Lockscreen ads for a discounted price… nah!

  • Mo

    The price sure is right. Can’t get a full featured smart phone for this price anywhere! The ads part sort of sucks. Would rooting the phone kill the ads?

    • Acdc1a

      I’ll be able to tell you soon. I ordered the Moto. Even so, it’s not a big gamble is it?

      • kgraham182

        I ordered the R1 HD 2gb version, if its anything like the fire tablet you’ll be able to root and disable the ads. I saw a review on youtube, the person download a lockscreen app, that’ll work also.

        • Acdc1a

          That’s good thinking right there.

    • Southern

      Being one of those who has a Fire Phone, cause I didn’t think I would need Google Play… I can say the ad part is very unobtrusive really, just shows up on lock screen and if you are a heavy prime shopper like myself, it tailors it to you and I have found some great deals that I would have otherwise missed. Its not really an issue tbh. The camera is not the greatest according to some reviews, so if you are a huge selfie fan or are trying to replace a camera, you may want to move on.

  • Jak Lee

    Does anybody know if the BLU R1 HD will work for cricket.

    • Sim

      Yes it does. It can also be used as a hot spot without paying their $10 hotspot plan.

  • I bought this phone 1 week ago and its awesome. While, its true the camera specs do not match the camera specs of phones in the $500 – $700 range. I advise that you disregard those comments. Next, I would advise that you get the prime membership, which will discount the 2GB ram, 16GB hd version to $59 and you have all the benefits of the amazon prime membership…look it up. Back to the camera is very high quality and takes excellent photos and video here is the specs: Rear camera is 8 MP, f/2.0, auto-focus, LED flash with Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, panorama, and 1080p HDR Video @30fps. The ” selfie” Secondary Camera is also very good at 5 MP, LED flash!

    This phone is gorgeous, has an aluminum frame and gorilla glass. It feel like pure quality once its in your hand and people will ask about it, and then be shocked by the quality of the device. Especially, when you tell them what you paid for it! Yes, it is possible to remove the ad on the lock screen. Frankly, the ads are tasteful and non intrusive, so why bother. I had planned on rooting this phone. But, there isn’t a real need to do so since it doesn’t have the useless bloatware that you will find on any Samsung phone. I freaking love this phone and I feel like I stole it at $59. It works with ANY GSM carrier, and is dual sim phone. I have AT&T and T mobile. Both are working great.