Today we’re checking out one of the best budget phones that I’ve tried so far – BOLD N1 (Amazon Link). In my opinion, it’s one of the best budget phones available in North America. Because as we all know there are a lot of great budget phones in India, China, Europe, but here in North America we don’t get that many options. So this one is called BOLD N1. This is a phone made by BLU and you can buy it for about $250 and let me tell you that for the price this one is quite impressive.
Everything starts with a 6.4″ screen. This is an AMOLED screen that has a 1080p resolution and this is one of the best screens that I’ve seen on any budget phone and even on some flagships.
So if you’d be to compare this screen to the screen on iPhone 11, well, BOLD N1 is 10 times better: the colors are super vibrant, the blacks are super deep. Not to mention the screen gets bright enough so you can see it outside in direct sunlight. So quite impressive that we get this screen on a budget device.
We even have an in-screen fingerprint scanner. Once again, a feature that you don’t usually see for a budget device. And this one seems to work well. It takes about half a second from the time you press the fingerprint scanner for the screen to be unlocked. Maybe not as fast as a flagship but decent enough.
The phone also supports that feature where the screen comes on every time you pick up the phone. So if you have BOLD N1 in your pocket or on a desk, by the time you pick up the phone and you touch the fingerprint scanner the screen will be turned on and then it will be unlocked.
Keep in mind the phone doesn’t support face unlocking and that probably has to do with the fact that we have a pop-up camera as a selfie camera. I guess it takes too long for that camera to come on so it can see your face.
Talking about that front-facing camera. If you take pictures with plenty of light, the pictures turn out decent. If you take pictures in low-light the pictures become a bit grainy. Not to mention the portrait mode from the front-facing camera doesn’t work that well. Overall for the price of the device I think it does really good.
Since we are talking about cameras we might as well talk about the rear camera. In the back we have two cameras but realistically you’re only going to use one of them most of the time. The second camera is used whenever you’re taking portrait mode pictures.
Portrait mode pictures turn out really good and better than I was expecting. The edge detection around the subject works pretty decently. If you’re taking pictures with the main lens, you’re probably going to want to turn on the HDR mode. Because if you don’t turn on the HDR mode, the dynamic range doesn’t seem that great. But whenever you’re taking pictures during the day with the HDR mode on, the pictures do turn out pretty good.
There is also a night mode available. Of course the night mode isn’t as good as the night mode that you’d find on a flagship from Huawei or from Apple, but definitely makes the pictures and look a bit better. Considering that BOLD N1 is only about $250, I think the night time pictures do look okay.
Now for video recording, the phone also only supports 1080p. That’s the maximum recording resolution. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to have any image stabilization at that resolution.
The build quality. Well, you’d never guess that this is a $250 phone. On the front we have scratch-resistant glass, then we have a metallic frame. The phone looks and feels pretty slim. The back does look like it’s made out of glass but I actually believe that this is plastic. Not necessarily a bad thing though.
On the bottom we even get a 3.5 mm audio jack. Something that I haven’t seen in quite some time. The only speaker available is probably one of the loudest speakers that I’ve heard on any phone and it does sound good.
Battery and charging
Next to that, we have a USB-C charging port. The phone supports fast charging but even the fast charging isn’t that crazy fast. We are still looking at about two hours to charge the phone from 0 to 100.
The phone also supports wireless charging, the feature that we don’t even get with OnePlus 7T, for example. So a great feature to have. As for the battery life, inside we have a 3500 mAh battery. On one charge BOLD N1 is going to make it through the entire day and get about 4 to 5 hours of screen on time. It depends on how you use the phone because if you’re playing games, you’re definitely not going to get 5 hours of screen on time. But if you’re just watching YouTube videos and stuff like that you will get 5 to 6 hours of screen on time.
The phone comes with Android 9 right out of the box. Supposedly BOLD N1 will also be updated to Android 10, but we’ll have to see when that happens. The launcher is very close to stock Android, so you don’t get any heavy skins. The phone doesn’t come pre-installed with any apps aside from the Google Apps, which is definitely a good thing. So nothing holding the phone back. But we do have some added features like a screen recorder, for example, and that could come in handy in multiple situations.
The score on the Antutu benchmark is about 150000 and you already know that with that score the phone performs well for pretty much any applications.
I tried a bunch of apps on BOLD N1 like Chrome, Facebook, etc. and everything seems to work well including multitasking. So if you’re thinking that you’re going to buy a budget phone and it’s going to be slow, then definitely not this one. We can also play a pretty much any game on this device as well. I tried playing PUBG and it does work really well. One thing I’ve noticed is the fact that whenever you’re holding the phone like a gamepad to play games, it’s super easy to cover the speaker. That is a downside. I wish that the speaker would have been on the other side.
Out of the 128 gigs of internal storage that comes with this device, you only get about 110 gigs left after the operating system. The phone can also take an SD card (Amazon Link) so you can expand the internal storage. If you’re not using an SD card, then you can use two SIM-cards at the same time.
I’m happy to see that the phone supports a bunch of bands and probably more than a bunch of other phones that I’ve tried in the past. Therefore you shouldn’t have any issues using this phone anywhere in the world.
The GPS unit inside works good as well. It takes about 4 to 5 seconds to find your location. Once your location is found, it doesn’t seem to lose it. As for sensors, you have all the sensors that you would find in a flagship. The phone works on 2G, 3G, and 4G here in Canada and it also supports dual-band WiFi.
Unfortunately, the phone doesn’t have NFC. So you’re not going to be able to make payments with BOLD N1. I really wish they would’ve included NFC because the phone would have been almost perfect. Without NFC you can’t go to the grocery store and buy something with it, so a bit disappointed that it doesn’t have NFC. Other than that, as for connectivity, it does work well and the speaker at the top gets loud enough so you can hear most conversations.
BOLD N1 is definitely one of the best budget phones that I’ve tried so far. It has one of the best screens that I have seen on any device. It has super small bezels all around that screen. The fingerprint scanner works decent, not as fast as that I’ve ever tried, but decent enough. The cameras are good enough for the price of the device. The battery life is average.
I wish we had a bigger battery inside, but then we’d have got a thicker phone. Personally I like a thicker phone with better battery life.
Overall I do recommend this phone. So if you’re looking for a budget-friendly device, definitely check out BOLD N1 because it’s a great phone.
Find it on Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2kKElAx
Watch full review in video format with video and audio samples: