If you’re in the market for a new smartphone but don’t want to break the bank, the BLU Bold N3 is a compelling option that might just exceed your expectations.
The BLU Bold line of phones is a series of Android smartphones produced by BLU Products, an American company known for offering budget-friendly mobile devices. BLU stands for “Bold Like Us,” which reflects the company’s approach to providing affordable smartphones with competitive features.
The BLU Bold line typically features smartphones that offer a balance between price and performance, making them attractive options for users who want a functional device without spending a significant amount of money. These phones often come with decent specifications, including midrange processors, displays, and camera systems, at a lower price point compared to flagship devices from more well-known brands.
The Bold N3 ($250) marks the third generation of this experience which is more or less the upscale approach to Blu’s budget-friendly unlocked phones. I’ve been impressed with the first two models (N1, N2) and, thus far, dig what’s on offer here for 2023.
Solid Hardware and Design
The design of the BLU Bold N3 is all about sleek elegance and modern technology integration. The phone boasts a symmetrical dual-curved screen, which not only adds to its aesthetics but also provides boundless views. This design choice enhances the immersive experience for users.
The curved edge might divide some users but I’ve not experienced any phantom swipes or accidental touches along the sides.
The device is meticulously crafted using premium materials, giving it a sense of luxury and durability. This design choice reflects a focus on both elegance and technology. It certainly does not look at all like a phone that’s priced as low as $250.
I’m reminded of the OnePlus 11 and Google Pixel 6 Pro when I hold this phone. With its tapered edges and curved screen and the giant camera array on the back, it feels classy and sophisticated, and pricier. The sage green color is a nice touch, too, and the whole thing comes across as elegant looking.
The N3 features a 6.78-inch 120Hz display, providing users with a higher refresh rate which results in smoother and more fluid motion, enhancing the visual experience for gaming and video watching.
Under the hood, the phone houses a MediaTek Dimensity 7050 Octa-Core CPU, including two Arm Cortex-A78 processors clocked up to 2.6GHz, delivering exceptional performance and rapid app response. The Arm Mali-G68 graphics engine ensures power efficiency and extends battery life, especially for gamers.
With 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, the phone provides enough memory and space for smooth multitasking and storage of photos, videos, and apps. I appreciate BLU leaning into the storage while other manufacturers are still plugging along at 128GB. Sure, it’s somewhat of a non-issue for many users, but it’s nice to have the space should one want or need it.
The BLU Bold N3 boasts a versatile camera system that covers a wide range of photography needs, from capturing landscapes to detailed close-ups and beautiful selfies. Let’s take a closer look at the camera specifications:
Triple AI 50MP Super HDR Main Camera
- The primary camera is a powerful 50MP sensor that utilizes AI (Artificial Intelligence) for advanced features.
- Super HDR (High Dynamic Range) technology ensures that your photos have excellent clarity and dynamic range, even in challenging lighting conditions.
- This camera is designed to capture intricate details and vibrant colors, making it ideal for various photography scenarios.
- Whether you’re shooting in low light or bright sunlight, the AI capabilities help optimize your photos for the best results.
8MP Wide-Angle Camera
- The 8MP wide-angle camera allows you to capture expansive scenes and large groups of people without the need to step back.
- It’s perfect for landscape photography, group photos, and scenarios where you want to capture more in a single frame.
- Wide-angle lenses add depth and drama to your shots, making them visually engaging.
2MP Macro Camera
- The 2MP macro camera is designed for close-up photography, allowing you to capture the tiniest details of subjects up close.
- It’s great for taking photos of small objects, intricate textures, or even the world of tiny insects and plants.
- Macro photography opens up a new perspective, revealing the beauty of the miniature world.
16MP Selfie Camera
- The 16MP selfie camera is tailored for taking striking self-portraits.
- It uses AI to enhance your selfies, ensuring that your skin looks flawless and natural.
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The combination of these cameras provides users with the tools to capture a wide range of creative and memorable photos. Whether you’re a photography enthusiast or just someone who enjoys taking pictures of everyday moments, the BLU Bold N3’s camera system is equipped to meet your needs.
I’m old enough to recall phones that cost three times this much with a fraction of the image quality. Results have been generally great across the board with snappy shutter speeds producing pictures with balanced and accurate colors.
There’s a number of shooting modes, aspect ratios, AI settings, and more to keep yourself busy but it doesn’t take long to figure things out. If I can leave you with one parting piece of advice in the camera, it’s to stay away from the 4x zoom. Let’s just say the results were less than desirable.
Battery and Charging
The Bold N3 is equipped with a 4,700mAh battery and supports 66W fast charging. Paired with the Dimensity 7050 CPU and 2400 x 1080 Resolution display, and you’ll get all-day battery life without worry. Plus, when it comes time to charge it up, things move along swimmingly.
Software – Android 13
The BLU Bold N3 runs on Android 13 out of the box, which makes setting up and transferring your old phone’s data a breeze. It’s a snappy and responsive experience, and the user interface is clean and functional. It’s very much a clean-looking vanilla Android but there’s quite a bit of customization hiding behind the settings.
I love being able to tweak my phone’s look and feel and Material You gives me a good starting point. Other settings in the N3 let users decide how it looks and behaves. Beyond wallpapers and colors you can adjust things like whether or not the edge lights up when you have notifications, and for which apps. Also, how do you like your app displayed? Play with icon size, notification dots, bold text, and more to your liking.
The side application bar is a handy tool for accessing some of your most often used apps or tools. And speaking of productivity and efficiency, you can also opt for lifting to wake your device, double tapping to wake, double tapping the camera, and other shortcuts and gestures.
I’d suggest spending a few minutes in the various menus over the first couple of days you use this phone. That way you can slowly dial up the personality and preferences.
Other Features and Notes
Other noteworthy features in the phone include NFC connectivity, Face ID and in-display fingerprint sensor, and 5G connectivity. We’ve come to expect these details in mid-range and upper-end phones nowadays but it’s here where a corner is sometimes cut for budget-priced devices.
As streamlined as the phone appears software-wise, it does come with a few preloaded apps and extras. Indeed, part of the setup process also asks whether you’d like to install some recommended titles. For some this might be a quick way to add your favorites; for others it might feel like (easily removed) bloatware.
Titles that you’ll likely end up with at start include games like Chain Cube, Dominoes, Hidden Objects, Hit Master 3D, Spades, Solitaire, Western Sniper, and Woodoku. Toss in FM Radio (use included USB-C earbuds), Moment (curated personalized news), and TikTok and you have a fair amount of apps and games on top of the standard Google suite.
I’m not certain what sort of major Android updates BLU is ready to commit to for the Bold N3 but it does tell me that we can expect at least two years of security patches. Given how Android’s evolution has somewhat slowed in recent years, the bug fixes and security stuff is more important.
Despite its many positives, the BLU Bold N3 has a few drawbacks and depending on the user, one or two could be a deal-breaker. The phone lacks an official water-resistant rating, so it’s best to keep it away from water. Wireless charging isn’t on the menu either, and there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack.
All things considered, and weighed against its predecessor, you come away with a device that’s not only boosted in a number of key areas, but it’s less expensive, too.
A Great Value Overall
In the grand scheme of things, the BLU Bold N3 offers excellent value for its price. The large, crisp AMOLED screen with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate, fast charging, NFC, and Android 13 make it a solid choice for budget-conscious users.
The BLU Bold N3 showcases a sleek and lightweight design that combines premium materials with advanced technology features. It offers an immersive display, powerful hardware, efficient 5G connectivity, versatile camera capabilities, and extended battery life. It’s a compelling option for users looking for a balance between style and functionality in a budget-friendly smartphone.
The lack of guaranteed updates and the absence of support for carriers like AT&T and Verizon are downsides, but if you’re on T-Mobile or an MVNO that uses its network, it’s certainly an option worth exploring.
The BLU Bold N3 is a budget-friendly smartphone that delivers a lot more than you’d expect. It offers a flagship-like experience without the hefty price tag. If you’re looking for a capable smartphone that won’t break the bank, the BLU Bold N3 is an easy one to recommend.
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