A review of the Bluboo S3 smartphone
Chinese smartphone manufacturers are fast emerging as game changers, as they continue to dole out devices that impress with their looks, performance and price points. The fact that these phones are now readily available to be shipped across the globe has put the spotlight on how a good-looking, well-performing device doesn’t necessarily translate into a hefty price tag. One of the many China-based manufacturers carving a place for itself in the smartphone market is Bluboo, whose products are characterized by hardware, specs, and looks that go well beyond what can be a gauged from their price points. The Bluboo S3, which is up for grabs for as little as $149.99 (at launch), is the perfect example of it. Given its looks and performance, it is more than a bargain for that amount of money.
The Bluboo S3 was unveiled at the MWC 2018 in March, where it grabbed eyeballs for its striking resemblance to Samsung’s flagship device for the year, the Galaxy S9. Riding on the high wave of buzz created around its new offering at the Mobile World Congress, Bluboo launched the phone on April 18 with a promo video on its YouTube channel. While the smartphone is still up and coming on the market, the video does offer some interesting insights into the feel, aesthetics, and specs of the S3. And it looks like yet another promising midranger from Bluboo that packs impressive specs, eye-catching design and an insanely large battery on a budget.
Bluboo S3 Overview
From the first look, the Bluboo S3 comes across as a device designed to be on the trend. It gets all the design elements that are all rage these days right, down to the inclusion of an almost edge-to-edge display. While there is still some bezel on the top and bottom of the screen, all-screen design shines on best on the sides where the bezel aspect is almost negligible, with the screen just gliding into the body frame, just like the Samsung Galaxy S9.
The design of the phone is further enhanced by the addition of a textured back cover that makes its stylish demeanor come alive. One of the clear USPs of this device is its monstrous 8,300 mAh battery, which means you have abundant juice for long hours of uninterrupted usage. However, packing in such a huge battery does impact the overall design of the device, and so the Bluboo S3 isn’t sleekest of phones. While it isn’t overly thick, it is definitely bulkier than some of its counterparts as well as the Galaxy S9 that it seeks to mimic. In addition a humungous battery, you also get many modern features such as a fingerprint sensor and a dual camera setup.
The Bluboo S3’s Design
As mentioned before, the Bluboo S3 takes its design ‘inspiration’ from the Samsung Galaxy S9, sporting a bigger, more immersive screen with a larger screen-to-body ratio for enhanced user experience. The S3 rocks a 6-inch screen with FHD+ Sharp display, an aspect ratio of 18:9. With a display resolution of 2160×1080 pixels, the OGS panel offers stunning detailing with large brightness margins and great contrast.
While the bezels at the top and bottom of the device have been kept minimal, the frame to the side is next to non-existent, offering a 91 percent screen-to-body ratio and resulting in a bigger display. The inclusion of a hefty battery definitely adds some bulk to this device but Bluboo has balanced it out with accurately curved edges that have been developed on basis of a human palm analysis data to facilitate comfortable handling of the device despite its above average thickness.
The Bluboo S3 comes with a dual camera placed in the top center on the rear side, along with a dual-LED, dual-tone flash, and the company branding as well as the fingerprint sensor sitting right below it. The positioning of the fingerprint sensor on the rear seems to really tick these days, as it is considered a more convenient way for the finger to access the sensor. However, it does mean you always have to hold your phone in your hand to unlock it, making it harder to have a quick access when the phone is rested on a table.
The back panel of the Bluboo has a refreshing appeal. It is neither a flat metal surface nor a slippery glass but a pyramid textures frame that sits snugly in your palm and works well to improve the overall grip of the phone when paired with the curvy side design. All the physical keys have been placed on the left side of the device and a loudspeaker has been placed right at the bottom. The Bluboo S3 is available in two color variants – Champagne Gold and Midnight Dark.
Bluboo S3 Specs
For a mid-range device, the Bluboo S3 does have its fair share of special features that truly make this phone shine out in the crowd. The S3 is fired up by an octa-core MediaTek 6750 processor that is capable of clocking a frequency of 1.5 GHz. While there isn’t anything particularly fascinating about the processing power of this device, it isn’t particularly lackluster either. You get 4GB of RAM, which is pretty standard even by the standard of some of the flagships counterparts in the market right now, along with 64 GB of internal storage space, which is more than sufficient for most users. And for those who need more, there is an option of expanding the storage capacity of this device up to 256 GB with a microSD card.
The dual camera on the rear comprises a 21 MP main snapper with a Samsung sensor and a 5 MP secondary depth-sensing camera. Together these two cameras have everything you need to snap some great shots. The clarity, color palette, and size of the photos are downright impressive. The dual lens module can also be used in combination to click portrait-mode shots. On the front, you have a 13 MP camera for selfies and video calls, which again uses a Samsung sensor.
The S3 comes with a USB Type-C port at the bottom that doubles as a charging port and a headphone jack, as the phone lacks a dedicated 3.5 mm audio jack. The phone lacks water resistant properties, which can come off as a small inconvenience for some as the feature has gone mainstream with most other manufacturers going to town with it. The S3 runs the latest Android 8.1 OS and is equipped for upgrades in the future, as and when they are rolled out. It also sports an NFC chip that makes it double as your one-stop digital wallet for safer, hassle-free money transactions. In addition to this, the NFC functionality also adds to the overall convenience by supporting data exchange, electronic access, and transmission. Adding to the global appeal of the device is the 10 LTE band support around the world.
Bluboo S3’s Battery Life
The battery of the Bluboo S3 deserves a separate mention because it is the true ‘wow’ factor in the whole package. The Bluboo S3 has 8,500 mAh battery under the hood. The company claims that the battery offers a run time of six days on a single full charge. Even though that figure isn’t set in stone and may vary to a great extent depending on individual usage patterns, the battery life of this phone is unarguably impressive. You don’t have to worry about running out of juice. Even with heavy-duty usage such as constant gaming, watching videos and 4G surfing, the S3 battery will last you a good 10 hours.
If you really think about it, the battery on this phone is on par with that of an average power bank. And this fact is not lost on Bluboo, as the makers have added an option to use the S3 as a power bank to charge your other devices through the USB OTG cable. What makes the inclusion of such a massive battery all the better is the 12V/2A fast charging support, that tanks up a fully drained out S3 battery to its full capacity in just 2.5 hours.
The writing is on the wall for Bluboo S3 and there is little room to contend that the S3 is a well-rounded device with some seriously impressive features and few flaws, making it an ideal pick for anyone seeking a premium user experience from a mid-range device. The price tag just makes it all the more desirable. Grab yours from Amazon