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Blu Life One X2 Mini


Blu Life One X2 Mini

The Blu Life One X2 Mini is a compact unlocked phone with a nice build and solid performance, but its slightly larger sibling offers better battery life.

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  • Pros

    Affordable. Compact build. Sharp display. Fingerprint sensor. Expandable storage doubles as dual-SIM slot.

  • Cons

    Lackluster battery life. Outdated software.

  • Bottom Line

    The Blu Life One X2 Mini is a compact unlocked phone with a nice build and solid performance, but its slightly larger sibling offers better battery life.

By Ajay Kumar

The Blu Life One X2 Mini is the slightly smaller sibling to the standard One X2. At 5.0 inches rather than 5.2, you won't feel a big difference in your hand, and with a $179.99 price ($20 less than the X2) you won't feel much difference in your wallet. If you're looking for an unlocked phone with a compact build and solid overall performance for under $200, the Life One X2 Mini is a solid choice. But the standard One X2 also fills the bill while offering better battery life.

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A (Very) Small Difference in Design

In terms of design, the One X2 Mini hits all the same notes as the One X2. It comes in gray, gold, and rose gold finishes, and has an aluminum battery cover on the back with strips of polycarbonate above and below it. It's a refreshing change from the all-plastic builds you tend to find in this price range.

Mini back

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The One X2 Mini is smaller than the regular X2, but just barely. It measures 5.6 by 2.7 by 0.3 inches (HWD) and weighs 5.4 ounces, compared with the X2, which measures 5.8 by 2.9 by 0.4 inches and 5.9 ounces. It's also quite similar in size and appearance to the Coolpad Conjr (5.6 by 2.8 by 0.3 inches, 5.2 ounces). It's comfortable to hold, and despite the sizeable top and bottom bezel, you shouldn't have any trouble reaching across the display with your thumb.

You'll find a clicky volume rocker and power button on the right side, a 3.5mm audio jack up top, and a micro USB port sandwiched between speaker and microphone grilles on the bottom. The left side is home to a SIM/microSD card slot that worked fine with a 256GB card; it can also take a second SIM instead. A fingerprint scanner that doubles as a home button is on the front.

The display is a 5.0-inch, 1,920-by-1,080 IPS panel. The resolution works out to 441 pixels per inch, slightly denser than the 5.2-inch One X2 (424ppi) and the 5.5-inch Moto G5 Plus (401ppi). It's significantly sharper than the 5-inch, 720p Conjr (294ppi). Text and graphics look crisp, viewing angles are good, and colors are accurate. Outdoor visibility can be a challenge under direct sunlight, however, as the display doesn't get very bright.

X2 bottom

Network Performance and Connectivity

Like most unlocked phones, the X2 Mini supports GSM carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile. It has LTE 2/4/7/12/17 bands, giving it good connectivity on both networks. We tested it on T-Mobile in midtown Manhattan, where we recorded average network performance, with a high of 6.4Mbps down. It's not the best result we've seen, but it's also not uncommon when network congestion rears its ugly head.

Other connectivity protocols include Wi-Fi on the 2.4GHz band and Bluetooth 4.2. There's no NFC, meaning no Android Pay, which is a common omission for this price range.

Call quality is good. Transmissions are clear, voices are natural, and earpiece volume is loud enough that you shouldn't have trouble hearing it in a noisy environment. Noise cancellation is also solid, blotting out the majority of background interference, though there's a bit of a hiss during intervals of silence. The speaker is reasonably loud, but tinny.

Processor, Battery, and Camera

The One X2 Mini is powered by the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor as the One X2. On the AnTuTu benchmark, a measure of overall system performance, the Mini scores 43,725. That puts it well ahead of the Alcatel A30 (16,672) and practically on par with the Snapdragon 435-powered ZTE Max XL (45,486). Naturally, the more powerful Snapdragon 625 chipset in the G5 Plus yields better performance results (63,845).

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Part of the reason for the Mini's relatively strong benchmark scores is its plentiful 4GB of RAM. Multitasking isn't a problem, and the phone handled all the apps we threw at it without significant lag. But while it can technically run demanding games like GTA: San Andreas, there's too much control latency to really enjoy them.

Battery life is a low point. The Mini clocked 4 hours, 26 minutes in our rundown test in which we streamed full-screen video over LTE at maximum brightness. That's an hour better than the Conjr's dreadful result (3 hours, 35 minutes), but far shorter than the X2 (6 hours, 16 minutes) and the Moto G5 Plus (7 hours, 35 minutes). Don't expect to make it through a full day of heavy use.

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The 13-megapixel rear camera sensor takes decent photos in good lighting, but tends to be unreliable in other conditions. There's some minor muddiness on more distant objects, but that's not unusual for the price.

The bigger issue is inconsistent autofocus. Every now and then you'll get an inexplicably blurry shot, even when you're certain your hand was perfectly stable. This crops up more often in low-light shots, which isn't surprising. Try as I might, I was unable to take a good indoor shot outside of the controlled conditions of the PC Labs photo studio. Indoor shots were almost universally noisy or out of focus.

The phone records solid 1080p video at 30fps, but once again autofocus can get thrown off a bit too easily. The 8-megapixel front-facing camera is fine for your average selfie.

The regular One X2 has a 16-megapixel rear camera, but in testing, those extra three megapixels don't make a noticeable difference.

X2 apps


The One X2 Mini still runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, an increasingly dated version of the OS especially now that O is around the corner. Don't count on receiving updates, though on the bright side, Blu hasn't muddied it up too much. It's not quite stock, but most of the UI changes are visual, with some alterations to app icons and the app drawer arranged in alphabetical order.

There's a handful of preinstalled apps like Amazon, Beacon Flashlight, Boss Revolution, Empire, Opera, Uber, and Z-Camera. All of them can be removed aside from Opera, which is the default web browser. Out of 64GB of total storage, you have 51.13GB available. That's plenty, but if you need more you can always toss in a microSD card.


The $180 Blu Life One X2 Mini is nearly identical to its slightly larger sibling. The main difference is in battery life, which is where the original One X2 pulls ahead. The Mini is perfectly solid if you're dead set on a 5-inch phone, but we think the One X2's added battery life is worth the extra $20. If you have even more flexibility in your budget (and don't mind a larger form factor), the Moto G5 Plus is your best option, with faster performance, a sharper camera, and newer software. It's a big improvement all around, and our Editors' Choice.

Ajay Kumar By Ajay Kumar Mobile Analyst

Ajay Kumar is PCMag's Analyst obsessed with all things mobile. Ajay reviews phones, tablets, accessories, and just about any other gadget that can be carried around with you. In his spare time he games on the rig he built himself, collects Nintendo amiibos, and tries his hand at publishing a novel. Follow Ajay on Twitter @Ajay_H_Kumar. More »

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