In the past year or so, the market has seen a big shift. You can call it the rise of the usable sub $200 phone. First came the Nokia Lumia 520 and Motorola Moto G which had the under $200 market to themselves for quite some time. Now we have competitors which offer even more than the Moto G for well under the $200 price point. Among others, Iím talking about the Blu Studio 5.0C HD and the ZTE Grand X which Iím checking out today.
The X is a Bell exclusive and goes for $149.99 off-contract. I should point out that the ZTE Grand X sold by Bell has much better specs than the Grand X thatís sold south of the border.
While there are a number of $150 phones in Canada, the X has 2 features which really set it apart. First off, you get a 5Ē 1280x720 high definition screen. Most phones in at this price point either come with a 854x480 or 960x540 display which is usually smaller. You also get 1GB instead of 512MB of RAM which makes the X a much more capable phone.
With that in mind, the X has 3 main competitors; the Motorola Moto G (the one sold by TELUS/Bell) and the Blu Studio 5.0C HD.
What about the Motorola Moto G?
With the Grand X, you get a bigger display, MicroSD slot and a removable battery.
The Moto G counters with a newer version of Android (4.4.4 vs 4.3) plus it receives frequent updates. It also comes with a more powerful Snapdragon 400 SoC while the X comes with a Snapdragon 200.
I think the X with itís larger screen makes a better first impression but the thing is, the Snapdragon 200 is a bit overwhelmed by the high definition display. The X gets choppy at times, so while itís a fairly capable phone, itís not always very smooth.
The Moto G looks like itís going on the way out and can be had for as low as ~$110. At that price the Moto G represents a better deal.
What about the Blu Studio 5.0C HD?
Both the Blu and the X have 5Ē 1280x720 IPS display but the Xís is covered with Gorilla Glass while the Blu has a cheap glass screen which has really lousy coatings so it gets dirty very easily and is hard to clean.
Both come with 1GB of RAM and 4GB of Storage. 4GB of storage doesnít leave a lot of extra room for Apps so youíll have to be very selective with what you install. Somehow, the Blu has around 1GB more space available (2.6GB vs 1.5GB).
As far performance goes, the Bluís MTK SoC is a bit more capable than the Snapdragon 200. That means the Blu runs a bit more smoothly.
The Blu is also dual SIM capable and its HSPA works with AWS (Wind/Mobilicity and some T-Mobile). Then again, it lacks support for overseas HSPA networks so itís not a great choice if youíre travelling.
You also get a few more extras with the Blu, itís available in different colours including hot pink like mine. It also comes with a TPU case and a screen protector.
Between the Iíd have to go with the Blu because it has more well-rounded performance. Just remember that the Blu isnít as easy to source as the X.
- 5Ē 1280x720 IPS LCD
- 1.2Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200
- 1GB RAM
- 5 megapixel autofocus camera
- 1 megapixel front facing camera
- 2400mAh battery
- 4GB Storage (1.54GB available)
- MicroSD slot
- Android 4.3
- HSPA 850/1900/2100