Battery life

  • Huge 3,700mAh battery squeezed in
  • Will sneak through two days with steady use
  • No fast charging skills

What the Blu Life Max lacks in raw power and screen quality, it more than makes up for when it comes to battery life.

Arguably the phone’s best feature, it plays host to a massive 3,700mAh battery. That’s bigger than the power supply packed into the flagship, 5.5-inch, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

It’s not just size without substance, either, the Blu Life Max holds its charge well, too. The company’s claims of managing three days between trips to the mains are slightly exaggerated, but you should be able to eke two working days out of the device before requiring an urgent power up.

It’s good that the phone holds its charge well, because getting it in there is a pretty slow process. That’s because there are no fast charging skills. Although this is an addition usually reserved for higher end handsets, it has been creeping down the price points recently, popping up on phones such as the Wileyfox Swift 2 X.

Using the phone for a moderate amount of daily web-browsing, WhatsApp messaging and email answering - plus a bit of commute-busting gaming - we managed to get two days out of it before needing to connect to the mains.

Running our regular battery test - which involves playing a set 90-minute video with the brightness cranked up to full - the Blu Life Max showed its strong staying power, losing just 17% of a full charge.

This is much better than the 23% of its much smaller battery the Huawei P9 Lite haemorrhaged during the same test, and the 27% of charge given up by the Wileyfox Swift 2 X.

It’s not the best score we’ve seen recorded by an affordable phone though. 

Although equal to the result recorded by the Moto G4 Plus, the Blu Life Max lines up marginally behind the Honor 6X, which lost 15% of its battery life, and well behind the 8% loss of the Lenovo P2 – a phone with an even bigger 5,100mAh juice pack.

Camera

  • 8MP primary camera on the rear
  • 5MP selfie camera with its own flash

Smartphones have quickly become the camera of choice for most, killing off large swathes of dedicated snappers. The Blu Life Max, however, shouldn’t have the camera industry too worried, as its efforts tread the line between average and poor, even accounting for the phone’s minimalist price tag.

On paper, the phone’s two cameras - an 8MP, autofocus-enhanced rear offering and a 5MP front-facing selfie shooter that’s been bolstered with its own integrated flash - sound solid. Unfortunately, the on-paper specs don’t tell the whole story.

Break out the Blu Life Max to capture a can’t-miss moment, and, well, you might rather have missed it than be left with the blurry, low quality results you’re presented with.

One of the camera’s main problems is its focal length. There’s no wide angle offering here, which means capturing city shots requires a lot of leaning back to fit everything in.

Bundle this with a slow, inaccurate autofocus and an inability to handle light sources, and images quickly become overblown, with areas of both light and shade transforming into a muddled mess. Lacking any sort of HDR skills, the camera also really struggles to define intricate areas of light and shade, resulting in flat, lifeless images.

The addition of a selfie flash is welcome, but again it does little to mask the fundamental lack of quality beneath.

Images captured with the front-facing camera are grainy, noisy and lacking any sort of depth or definition. If you’re a Snapchat addict or fond of the occasional vanity post on Facebook, the Blu Life Max is going to do nothing to flatter.

Camera samples

Image 1 of 5

Close up snaps in balanced, even light come out respectably sharp, but light sources are often overblown.

Close up snaps in balanced, even light come out respectably sharp, but light sources are often overblown.

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Image 2 of 5

The Blu Life Max’s camera sensor is unable to cope with areas of bright light, creating patches of overblown, murky color.

The Blu Life Max’s camera sensor is unable to cope with areas of bright light, creating patches of overblown, murky color.

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Image 3 of 5

Due to the lighting issues, depth and definition is missing when shooting in areas of light and shade.

Due to the lighting issues, depth and definition is missing when shooting in areas of light and shade.

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Image 4 of 5

The camera’s autofocus skills are quite slow and not always the sharpest, creating blurry, unusable photos.

The camera’s autofocus skills are quite slow and not always the sharpest, creating blurry, unusable photos.

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Image 5 of 5

Depth of image is another issue for the Blu Life Max’s camera, with it failing to give impact to photos.

Depth of image is another issue for the Blu Life Max’s camera, with it failing to give impact to photos.

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