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Bluboo S1 Unboxing and First Impressions

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Aside from the Bluboo S8, Bluboo also launched the Bluboo S1 in the Philippines. It's a promising smartphone equipped with high specs for the price.
Bluboo S1 Unboxing and First Impressions
Meet Bluboo S1

In particular, the Bluboo S1 is the only smartphone that we know that has the capable 2.5GHz 64-bit Helio P25 octa-core processor, Mali-T880 MP2 GPU, 4GB RAM, and 64GB expandable storage under PHP 7.5K.

Yes, you read that part right. The Bluboo S1 is priced at just PHP 7,499.

In addition, the Bluboo S1 highlights the weird yet familiar "tri-bezel-less" design found on the first generation Doogee Mix and Xiaomi Mi Mix.

Let's check it out!

Bluboo S1 Specs

Display: 5.5-inch FHD IPS 1920 x 1080 resolution w/ 2.5D curved glass and Gorilla Glass 4 protection at 401 ppi 
CPU: 2.5GHz 64-bit Helio P25 octa-core processor
GPU: Mali-T880 MP2
RAM: 4GB
ROM: 64GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 256GB
Back Camera: 16MP + 3MP  f/2.0 w/ AF and triple LED flash
Selfie Camera: 8MP f/1.8
Battery: 3,500mAh w/ fast charging
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, LTE Cat 6, Bluetooth 4.0, OTG, GPS, A-GPS, dual SIM (hybrid)
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others: Fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C, Colors: piano black, pearl white
Dimensions: 148.6 x 74.3 x 7.9 mm
Weight: 175 g
Price: PHP 7,999

Disclaimer: This unit was borrowed from Bluboo Philippines for our honest review.

Unboxing / Accessories

Loaded package
Loaded package

Like its Bluboo S8 sibling, Bluboo S1's package is loaded with goodies.
Inside, it has a 2A USB wall charger, USB to USB Type-C charging cable, USB Type-C to 3.5 mm female headphone slot dongle, SIM ejector tool, tempered glass-like screen protector, pre-installed plastic protection at the back, TPU clear case, and the paper documents.

Build Quality / Design

Glass back!
Glass back!

In terms of build, the Bluboo S1 is mostly made out of plastic. The plastic that they used for the frame of the phone has a glossy ceramic-like feel. At the back, it has a 2.5D curved glass-like material. In front, the 2.5D glass covering the screen has Gorilla Glass 4 protection.

Decent plastic build with strong Gorilla Glass 4 protection on top!

Overall build of the phone feels solid and sturdy enough. It looks quite refined for the price. But, make sure to put the FREE case and screen protector found inside the package to prevent unwanted damages.
Nothing on top
Nothing on top
Mic, USB Type-C and single speaker below
Mic, USB Type-C and single speaker below
Removable hybrid SIM tray at left
Removable hybrid SIM tray at left
Power button and volume rocker at right
Power button and volume rocker at right

Design-wise, it looks like the Doogee Mix. It still has the boxy like design with nice curves on the corners. It still sports the tri-bezel-less look with slim bezels on top and on the sides. However, it has an unwanted black bezel on the sides to make its bezels appear slimmer than its actual thickness.

The phone is quite thick at around 8 mm, but fortunately, it doesn't have protruding cameras at the back.

Ergonomically, most of the ports, buttons, and parts of the phone are found on strategic and familiar placements. Only the front camera is found on an awkward postion below to make the tri-bezel-less design possible.

Taking selfies would be a bit harder as you need to tilt the phone to 180 degrees first (the camera software will rotate as well) before you can take a selfie.

Unforunately, it doesn't have a headphone jack slot anymore. Dongle is life with Bluboo S1.

The handset feels very good to hold though. This 5.5-inch phone is just as big as most 5.2-inch traditional phones.

Initial Findings

Playing NBA 2K18 on medium settings is smooth with this phone
Playing NBA 2K18 on medium settings is smooth with this phone

1. Design is alright. Design is not that common. Build is okay, but nothing spectacular. We like that it has Gorilla Glass 4 protection on top though. Screen quality is amazing for the price. It's arguably the best 5.5-inch FHD panel at this price point.
2. It arguably has the best chipset for the price. MediaTek's Helio P25 64-bit chip with Mali-T880 MP2 GPU is commonly found on phones priced at PHP 13K and above. But this phone is priced at just PHP 7.5K! Bluboo even paired it with large 4GB RAM and 64GB expandable storage. We are suspicious with its 3,500mAh battery though. It doesn't last as long as other phones with that big battery capacity. That's weird considering that Helio P25 is a pretty power efficient chip.
3. The Android 7.0 Nougat OS it used is clean. It looks modern as well. It has minimal bloats too! It has no app drawer though. It is pretty rich in features too.
4. At the back, it has a "dual camera" setup. In particular, it is a 16MP + 3MP f/2.0 sensor. In front, it has a pretty bright 8MP f/1.8 lens for selfies. The daylight shots that we initially took are okayish, but it isn't that impressive in other lighting conditions.
5. Fingerprint scanner is slow. It doesn't work all the time. Like the Bluboo S8, it has a hidden face unlock feature. It has OTG via USB Type-C and gyroscope sensor. I can't find the LED notification though.


As of the moment

The Bluboo S1 is mostly good so far. We like its design and really high specs for the price. However, as expected, it won't really perform as good as it is on paper. It has obvious shortcomings.

But, before jumping into conclusion, we will full review this device first.

Watch out for it!
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