Okay, so, your pre-teen kid just dropped and broke their phone and you run down to AT&T or T-Mobile to get them a new one. Suddenly, you find that because you're not upgrade eligible, a basic, cheap phone can easily cost well over $100. BLU to the rescue! What, you say you've never heard of BLU? Well, they're new in the phone game. And their products are junk. They're very similar to all the Chinese junk on eBay, except they're made in America and they're 100% legit. Many Chinese no-name phones have fake IMEI numbers (serial numbers) which can get you into trouble/your phone banned in countries like India, France, and Brazil that track IMEI numbers for police state purposes. The BLU phones have real IMEIs, and actual tech support (which I had to use). Anyways, I'm reviewing the BLU Deco Mini, a quad-band GSM texting feature phone. Here's the very small box you get:
And once you open the box, you'll find these treats inside waiting for you:
There's a phone, warranty information, a battery, a charger, a USB cable (it's NOT a detachable cable and a USB charger, but two seperate items, which is quite a departure from modern custom). Setup is simple, just pop in your SIM card and go. Being a quad-band GSM phone it will work on any GSM carrier (notably, that does NOT include AT&T and Sprint which use proprietary networks and only work with their own phones). It is worth noting that, at least in the United States, networks now have areas that are UMTS (3G) only. AT&T clearly notes those areas with blue lines on their voice map, and this phone will not work in those areas since it only supports GSM (2G). It is a dual-SIM phone, so you can actually be connected to two networks at once, great for travelers and anyone needing two phone lines for any reason. If you only use one line though, it will always have a confusing "Insert SIM" message on the screen - referring to the second radio.
My advice? Yes, it's a piece of junk. But that's oddly okay since it's a great basic texting phone for the kids. Pick one up on Amazon.com, combine it with a cheap texting line, or texting prepaid, or use it as a replacement phone that doesn't require a new contract - you could certainly do a lot worse for under $50, and there aren't many others at that price point.