Bluboo is not exactly a household name at the moment, but the company is very much trying to catch up with all the other big players from its country and make a name for itself on the Chinese smartphone market. Needless to say, that’s not an easy task considering the huge number of phone manufacturers currently found in China. One of the company’s most recent efforts goes by the name Bluboo Xtouch and seems quite a bargain at first glance, however, a more in-depth look was needed before we could say if this device was actually worth buying or not. With that in mind, we went on to test the Blueboo Xtouch for a week or so and are now ready to give you our verdict, so make sure to read our review after the break if you are interested in this phone.
The Bluboo Xtouch sample we received came in a nicely designed box, along with a number of accessories, such as USB cable, power adapter, SIM needle, and English manual. It would have been nice to see a cover and an extra screen protector for the display like a lot of other manufacturers are offering, however, it is worth mentioning that the panel did feature some basic protection right out of the box.
Even though most of the promotional materials for this phone showcase the black version, the Bluboo Xtouch is actually available in white as well. Despite the fact that we’re not looking at any innovations here when it comes to the design itself, the build quality of the Bluboo Xtouch is actually quite impressive, with the device feeling surprisingly sturdy thanks to the materials used, which include metal and Corning Gorilla Glass 3. At first, I wasn’t convinced this was actually Gorilla Glass 3, but after several failed attempts at scratching the display with a key and other metal objects I came to the conclusion that the screen is indeed highly resistant to physical damage.
It’s pretty obvious that Bluboo took a lot of inspiration from the iPhone 6 and the OnePlus 2 when designing this phone, though that’s not necessarily such a bad thing, as the company did add a couple of personal touches here and there for good measure. The Bluboo Xtouch’s unibody comes equipped with a metallic frame capable of withstanding a decent amount of punishment while the back features a “3D mirror cover” as Bluboo calls it. The back panel seems shiny due to the reflecting materials used, however, there’s no need to worry about the grip because the phone is not slippery at all and will stay firmly in your hard even when you hold it with just two or three fingers.
What I don’t particularly like about the Bluboo Xtouch is that it comes with a non-removable back cover, which means that you won’t have direct access to the battery. Also, you’ll need to use the included SIM needle to gain access to the 3 in 1 SIM tray that can house 2 micro SIM card and a micro SD card. The reason why I don’t consider this to be a particularly great system is because you probably won’t have the needle with you at all times and won’t be able to access the cards on the go. As for the button placements, things are pretty standard with the power and volume buttons found on the right side and a physical home button that also houses a 360-degree fingerprint scanner, which is not exactly reliable, although it is very fast when it does decide to work. The bottom of the phone looks almost identical to that of the OnePlus 2 and it is there where you’ll find the charging port, microphone, and speakers, while the top is home to just the headphone jack.
The Bluboo Xtouch comes equipped with a 5-inch display @ 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution and 441 PPI. As mentioned before, the display is pretty sturdy and it’s also pretty responsive to boot. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect, though, because you may find that the touchscreen freezes a bit on occasion and I would have liked to see some haptic feedback here, but hey, the display is quite alright all things considered. While a lot of people are hyped up about the big 5.5-inch screens right now, 5-inch is still a good size if you want to watch a video, play games, or read something off the internet. In fact, the smaller screen size with 1080p resolution means that you’re getting more pixels per inch and better image clarity than on some of the bigger displays. A common problem you may have with the Bluboo Xtouch is fingerprint stains due to the lack of an additional screen protector. This means you’ll either need to buy a screen protector from somewhere or just wipe the thing with some cloth when things get too messy. Not a big hassle, but worth mentioning nevertheless.
Hardware and Performance
Now it’s time to get to the good stuff and talk about what’s hiding beneath the hood of the Bluboo Xtouch. Chinese smartphones are not necessarily the most durable devices out there, but a lot of them come equipped with beefy hardware and this phone is no exception. We’re looking at a 64-bit MTK6753 octa-core processor clocked at 1.3 GHz coupled with a Mali-T720 GPU and 3 GB of RAM. Raw power aside, the Blueboo Xtouch also comes with 32 GB of internal storage right off the bat and the possibility of upgrading that by up to 64 GB via microSD. On paper, these specs sound really great and might give you the impression that this smartphone can go head to head with a lot of other flagships, however, that’s not entirely the case as the device suffers from some optimization issues that cause it to fall short of its true potential and struggle a bit when running resource-intensive apps.
While the phone is more than capable of running most of the usual apps you may want to use, I wouldn’t recommend using it for demanding games because the Blueboo Xtouch tends to get pretty hot if you’re not careful. That’s not to say that it can’t handle demanding games – it definitely can- but a 2-hour gaming session is enough to make the device very hot and drain most of its battery, which can lead to certain problems that we are going to discuss a bit later on. Perhaps future software updates will be able to fix some of these shortcomings.
A quick test with the latest version of the AnTuTu benchmarking tool pretty much reveals the whole story. The scores we got weren’t the absolute worst, but at a little over 36K overall, they were beneath what we expected when we first checked out the spec list. The main reason for this is that even though the Bluboo Xtouch seems to have an octa-core processor, only three of the cores seem to actually be working. Having said all that, this is a relatively cheap device with an emphasis on style and durability over raw performance, so these results aren’t all that surprising at the end of the day. To make a long story short, if you’re interested in this device just make sure to take into consideration the whole package and not just the hardware.
Camera and Battery Life
The camera combo on the Bluboo Xtouch is definitely one of its strongest points thanks to its Sony-made 13 MP sensor on the back and 8 MP selfie snapper on the front. Not only can you take some pretty pictures with this phone, but you can also play around with some of the included features. You’ve got the usual things like Face Beauty, Panorama, Multi-Angle, Multi-Shot, Face Detection, HDR and more. In addition, there are also a couple of more interesting features like Gesture Shot, Voice Shot or even Smile Shot. But while I found the cameras to be decent enough, I do have to take issue with the little camera lid that’s supposed to protect the back sensor because it essentially came off after only a few days of use. I suspect the heating issues mentioned above had something to do with this, though I’m not sure the phone got hot enough to dry up the glue holding the lid in place. In any case, this isn’t a major issue since the lid can easily be placed back, but this incident was a bit disappointing given that the rest of the device is actually pretty solid and can withstand quite a few drops without leaving much of a mark.
As for the battery, we’re looking at a 3,050 mAh unit that seems to drain awfully fast for some reason. As with most modern smartphones, you can expect the Bluboo Xtouch to last from morning till dusk if you’re a casual user, but if you’re planning to fire up the 4G or start playing some games you may wanna keep a close eye on the battery level because it’s going to drop dramatically in just a couple of hours. Most people should get anywhere between 10 and 14 hours of juice on average if they’re just making calls or sending texts, but I’m a bit disappointed by how fast the battery drains if you try to do something a little bit more intensive. On the bright side, the battery goes from 0 to 100 in about 2 hours, so at least the charging speed is good.
Software and Interface
There’s actually not a whole lot to mention when it comes to the software itself because the Bluboo Xtouch is running Android 5.1 Lollipop with very few alterations done by the manufacturer. By this, I mean that Bluboo was wise enough not to add any annoying bloatware to the phone like so many other manufacturers tend to do. Despite the fact that this is a Chinese smartphone, the manufacturer was clearly thinking about the western world when it included Google Maps, Facebook and the Play Store among the apps you get right off the bat. Aside from those, you only get a few other basic ones so no need to worry about finding any mysterious Chinese apps.
The operating system supports a few dozen different languages, which is always nice to see. On top of that, the OS usually runs extremely smooth and browsing is very fast thanks to the 3 gigs of RAM. Bluboo may be advertising the SIM tray, cameras, or fingerprint sensor as main selling points for the Xtouch, but I consider the bloatware-free UI and buttery smooth OS to be some of the biggest strengths of this device, especially for those looking for a near-stock Android 5.1 Lollipop experience.
I was able to test many Chinese smartphones over the last few months but I have to say that the Bluboo Xtouch is definitely in my top 3. This phone does have a number of weaknesses, but it’s also trying to differentiate itself from its cousins by using quality materials for its build, which is not something I can say for most other smartphones in its price range. However, I do have to criticize the poor battery life and hope that future software updates will be able to fix the heating issues and give it a bit of a boost when it comes to performance. Still, the Bluboo Xtouch makes up for its drawbacks in other departments and only comes in at around $180 at the moment.