BLU is a big player in the small pond of unlocked devices in the USA. They consistently, not always but consistently, deliver quality products in affordable price bands. Today I’m reviewing their newest device the $249 BLU G90 Pro. I’m going to use the same highlight/lowlight format as the TCL 10 Pro review to bring to the fore the most important things to know about this phone. Is the device worth buying? Read on to find out.
Design: BLU almost always delivers a good looking phone and the G90 Pro is no exception. The first thing everyone notices about it is the striking purple back cover. BLU calls it Purple Haze and I think it looks great. The back of the phone has the camera lenses and capacative fingerprint reader, which is fast and accurate. The right side has the power button and volume rocker and the SIM/SD tray is along the left side. The bottom edge houses the USB-C port , 3.5 mm headphone jack, and the solitary speaker. All of the edges are rounded and the phone feels great to hold and use. It’s a little thicker than other recent phones at 10.1 mm but the size doesn’t bother me any, especially when considering the excellent battery life.
Performance: BLU is positioning this as a gaming phone due to its MediaTek G90T processor package and liquid cooled design. I’m not much of a mobile gamer but I wouldn’t go as far as to call this a gaming phone. Yes, it does play Fortnite, Madden 21, and every other game I tried. It plays them pretty well but not perfectly smoothly. That’s not the most glowing assesment of the phones performance but as a general use phone the G90 Pro is excellent. Scrolling around in Android 10 and in apps is smooth and responsive. Apps open and close quickly. The G90 Pro performs like one that costs two or three times the $250 you’ll pay for it. I expected the 4 GB RAM to be an issue but I never found it to be.
Display: It’s no secret that I’m an OLED fan and the G90 Pro features an LCD but I think the display looks great. It’s a 6.5 inch 2340×1080 screen with a teardrop notch. The bezels are pretty small for an LCD. In fact, the phone has a 91% display-to-body ratio.
Battery Life: Battery life is an area where BLU has really outdone themselves. The G90 Pro has a massive 5100 mAh battery. That’s bigger than the $800 LG V60’s 5000 mAh battery. And just like the V60, you will be hard pressed to kill this phone in a single day’s use. The G90 Pro can get 6, 7, even 8 hours of screen on time in a single day and still not die before bedtime. The battery charges at 18W with the included charger and at 10W with the appropriate wireless charger. That’s not top drawer but I think it’s quite good at this price point.
Storage: The G90 Pro has 128 GB of internal storage and can accept up to 128 GB more via microSD. To me 128 GB is the sweet spot for onboard storage and I’m very pleased that BLU didn’t skimp out here.
Included Accessories: BLU includes everything you need in the G90 Pro box. You get the phone of course, but also a charging brick, charging cable, wired headphones, glass screen protector, and premium phone case. One of the things I really appreciate about BLU is that buyers get the complete package with every phone purchase.
SIM Tray: I can’t remember ever highlighting the SIM tray in a device review but here I must. It’s a dual SIM device, which is great. What sets it apart is that the tray supports two SIMs and a microSD card. It isn’t one of those hybrid trays that forces you to choose between a second SIM and extra storage. Well done!
Launcher: Like many phones since the advent of Android 10, the BLU G90 Pro struggles when using a non-system launcher. The default launcher is probably fine for most folks but it has some slight niggles that bug me. Most notably, there’s the “suggested apps” in the app drawer. The launcher surfaces your recently used apps on the top row of the app drawer. That’s fine, a lot of launchers do that. The problem with it is two-fold. First, you cannot disable this behavior. Second, once an app moves into the suggested section it disappears from its normal slot in the drawer. I can’t tell you how many times I scrolled down to “S” to find Settings only to be frustrated to find that it was in the suggested app row. It’s very annoying for the software to rearrange your apps. Phone navigation is largely muscle memory after a certain point and the G90 Pro interrupts it.
Software Bugs: If you do change the primary launcher like I do, be forewarned that the task switcher gesture doesn’t work on third party launchers. You can swipe up and hold all day long but the task switcher won’t show up. I tried working around this by using an app to launch the recents screen but even that doesn’t work. Another issue I came across was the volume changer. Occassionally, pressing the volume key will cause the volume to change by two. Rather than the seven presses it normally takes to go from min to max volume it only takes four.
Android Auto: This was the most disappointing thing about the G90 Pro and the thing that would keep me from using it daily. The AA software is there. It even tries to launch when connected to a car but it never connects. I spent way more time than I should have trying to troubleshoot this. I’m guessing that there’s some USB setting that BLU tweaked that broke the AA integration but, whatever it is, this is extremely annoying.
Speaker: There’s only one speaker on the G90 Pro. That’s not horrible in and of itself. I’ve used plenty of phones with a decent single speaker like the TCL 10 Pro or BlackBerry KEY2. The problem is that the G90 Pro’s speaker is pretty poor. It gets quite loud but is tinny. This isn’t a phone you’re going to want to use for playing music through the primary speaker.
Network: The phone has quite a few network bands and will work on any ATT or T-Mobile based carrier in the US. I used it with Mint Mobile, an excellent T-Mobile MVNO and I had zero issues. I did throw a Verizon SIM in the phone. I got data but nothing else.
Case: The case that is included is a step above the normal clear TPU case BLU gives out. It’s pretty bulky and protective. It’s vented in several places to keep your phone cool. And it has grippy corners for “intense” gamin sessions. I’m not sure how much of that is practical vs just marketing but, nonetheless, it’s a pretty cool pack-in.
Camera: The primary camera is a 48 MP shooter with a 2 MP depth sensor. There’s also an 8 MP wide angle camera. That’s cool and nice to have but, as we’ve learned the last few years, computational photography is where it’s at. And a company like BLU won’t be able to keep up there unless and until Google improves the default picture taking algorithms in Android. It’s not a horrible camera but it definitely isn’t a driving factor to purchase it. You can seem some example photos below. They get a bit blurry, even under full sun, but they aren’t horrible.
|CPU||MediaTek Helio G90T, 2.0GHz Octa-Core, 8 ARM Cortex-A53 up 1.8GHz|
|GPU||Mali-G76 800 MHz|
|Internal Storage||128 GB|
|microSD Support||Yes, up to 128 GB|
|Battery||5100 mAh, 18W wired charging, 10W wireless charging|
|Display||6.5 inches, 2340x1080, 396 PPI|
|Main Camera||48 MP with LED Flash, 8 MP 120 degree Wide Angle|
|Front Camera||32 MP|
|Fingerprint Sensor||Yes, Rear Capacative|
I like the BLU G90 Pro a lot. I love the color scheme and the overall look of the phone. I really love the battery life and the performance is quite good, especially for a $250 phone. A couple of tweaks could really put it over the top. I’m really bummed that Android Auto doesn’t work as I use that every day. If you don’t, or if you can live without it, I think the G90 Pro is an excellent choice for the cost-conscious buyer that also wants a high performer.