Bluboo S8 review: a pleasant surprise at an affordable price!

Do you fancy the Samsung S8 but you aren’t willing to spend $629 or more on one? The next most similar phone is probably the recently launched Bluboo S8, which as the name suggest is a Samsung S8 “inspired device”. If you don’t mind not having the real thing and are happy with just the thin bezels and 18:9 display aspect ratio, then keep reading!

Blubbo S8 is one of those phones one has to be… ready to use, because its main feature is the similarity it bears to the original Galaxy S8 model. But if you manage to go through this issue (like I did) then you won’t have any problem spotting its awesome design, usability, the impressive built quality and obviously its gorgeous “Infinity style” display, with 18:9 aspect ratio and impressive brightness during day time.

Bluboo promotes this model as one of the most impressive dual camera/full display smartphones and has serious expectations from its performance in the mid-range market. So how does this affordable dual camera model fare at the end of the day? What are its best attributes and where could we see it… do a bit better?

Let’s have a look at this Bluboo S8 review.

18:9 aspect ratio, great display

Bluboo S8 – Technical specifications

  • SHARP 5.7” HD+ display
  • 18:9 aspect ratio screen design
  • MTK6750T octa-core processor
  • Dual Sony rear cameras: 16.0MP+3.0MP
  • 3GB of RAM, 32GB of ROM expandable up to 256GB
  • Zn-Ti alloy frame
  • 3450 lithium-ion polymer battery & fast charge
  • Type C 2.0 interface
  • 360 OS
  • dimensions: 149.5*70.6*8.4mm
  • Weight: 193g

Bluboo S8 review: Design and general appearance

I have to be honest, I loved the basic design of the Bluboo S8 – and didn’t even pay attention to its similarity to the Galaxy S8 model. The phone is available in 3 color variants which are mainly: Black, Gold and Blue. It surely looks impressive however despite its semi-plastic build and its general 18:9 design that allows for excellent grip and usability.

Note that the back side of the device is made out of plastic with a Zn-Ti alloy frame and a glossy finish on top, that may look beautiful but it turns out to be a fingerprint magnet, leaving fingerprint marks all over the place 🙁

If you are looking for a decent smartphone with an even better display, then the BLUBOO S8 is right up your alley. This phone comes with 1440×720 resolution and has an 18:9 aspect ratio. This means that you will get a full screen without anything interfering with your ability to see clearly. The glass is 2.5D and curved, which allows for better color saturation and more vibrancy. 

One of its unique selling points is its 18:9 full display, with really small bezels on top and bottom – that look really impressive, similar (NOT the same) to the ones the Galaxy S8 flagship has. The one that makes the difference is the tiny top bezel which extends the display almost all the way to the top, leaving a rather small gap for the speaker and camera. There’s no home button placed in front. Instead you will find three on display keys on the lower side of the display, that work as planned and allow for complete operation of the device.

If you’re looking for the fingerprint scanner, then you will find it placed just below the dual camera on the back of the device – at a position where you can easily touch it with your pointing finger. The scanner proves to be quite decent for what it’s worth.  It can unlock the phone in less than 0.1 second with almost 98% success rate. It can basically store up to 5 different fingerprints and can recognize them all from 360 degrees, something that’s a standard nowadays.

Don’t know about you, but I am a fan of full display smartphones because I enjoy the available screen size whenever I can. The 18:9 aspect ratio allows for excellent grip, average single hand usage and impressive multimedia viewing – you can watch video clips and/or movies with no black borders at all – something you’ll really like I bet. The colors of the display may be rather washed, but the images are crisp, with good viewing angles and a fully responsive panel if I may add. All in all a decent display – especially for a smartphone on this price range. 

If you take a good look at the back side of the Bluboo S8 then you will see that it comes with a vertical dual camera – a setup pretty common in phones nowadays with the goal of helping you take better photos. There’s also a USB Type-C port placed at the bottom, along with speaker grilles. If you’re looking for a 3.5mm audio jack then you’re out of luck. The device however comes with a USB Type-C adaptor to 3.5mm audio jack if you want to use your regular headphones.

Hardware & Performance

In terms of performance, despite its 3GB of RAM, the device DOES make a difference! I opened many apps, switched between them, watched videos, played a game (GT Racing 2) and the performance is buttery smooth. Nothing felt sluggish, and there was no lag at all.

It offers a rather impressive user experience with minimal lags and good multi-tasking, enabling users to keep several applications open in the background with no significant impact on its everyday performance. Oh and if you’re into checking benchmark results, this Bluboo model scored 43840 points in AntuTu but had average GPS reception. I didn’t have any issues with GPS related apps but it uses only a handful of the available satellites every time. It could be connected to more I guess, in order to offer even better results when scanning for our location.

If you want to know about its battery life, then you’ll be pleased to know it can offer up to 4,5 hours of active display, which translates to almost a full day’s usage. So, on normal usage (reading emails, watching videos, surfing the Web, listening to music), I can easily get a day of usage for each charge. For streaming videos at full brightness and volume, it can last for 6 hours. Depending on your usage, it will have no problem lasting for a full day.

There are a lot of very high-quality internal components to the Bluboo S8. As I told you before, there is 3GB RAM and 32GB ROM, which is expandable up to 256GB. Inside you will find an octa-Core MediaTek MT6750T processor @1.5GHz that may not be the best available SoC around but it is in the higher mid-range category, which gives you decent performance at a reasonably low price.

Bluboo S8 review: Android software and UI performance

If you like Samsung Galaxy clones, then you will surely gonna love the Bluboo S8 in terms of UI and software. The device comes with its own 360 OS (based on Android 7.0.1) which is surprisingly solid, fast and easy to use. Damn it’s much more stable and lag free than Samsung’s horrible UX interface, even with this average chipset and only 3GB of RAM!

One thing I noticed however is that you cannot really use another launcher, because there’s no way to place it as default. The system always reverts back to its own launcher every time you press the (virtual) Home button. I tried to change Permissions, to make it autostart after reboot, but nothing. In any case, the Android 7.0 gives you more control on the smartphone and also lets you customize the phone just like any other Nougat based device.

There are a few custom apps pre-installed in the phone, but they can be easily uninstalled if you have no intention of using them. Thankfully there is no bloatware but you will find some other unnecessary apps inside (that cannot be uninstalled). The device supports all the classic Nougat features and it also has a Themes support with 5 pre installed themes for us to use. I didn’t find a way to download more however.

Other customization options include Float gesture, which is a floating ball that opens a radial view for you to quickly access various modes. I don’t find this useful, as it doesn’t allow me to customize the control items in the list. There is also the ability to lock apps with the fingerprint scanner which is common these days.

Dual camera/Selfie camera performance

I guess we all know by now that the Bluboo S8 is equipped with a Sony dual camera setup at the back composed of a 16MP main snapper and a 3MP secondary one. The secondary sensor is used to collect object and distance data and is mainly used during “blur” modes, such as Portrait. The main sensor uses phase detection autofocus and has an aperture of F/2.0. On the front, we have an 8MP selfie snapper.

View more Bluboo S8 camera samples here (Flickr)

The fact is it doesn’t translate to great photos. It can take decent photos, but they are generally whitewashed. Even with HDR mode, the quality of the photos is not any better.

Note that one camera is used for creating the bokeh effect and other will capture the image with quite impressive portrait photos and decent performance in low light conditions.

GOOD PHOTOS, AVERAGE VIDEOS but there’s potential!

Both cameras have independent vision processing unit, which enables background blurring in real time. It also allows you to choose where to focus (touch focus) and where to blur, with the ability to adjust the intensity of blurring, too.

Battery consumption

The Bluboo S8 is equipped with a 3450mAh battery but numbers don’t mean anything in this situation. The device comes with an energy efficient processor and generally it performs well, providing more than a full day’s usage with no problems and works great in cooperation with the Android Nougat interface in order to block access to battery “hungry” apps, reduce energy consumption when possible and all those little things that make our lives easier when using a smartphone.

If you’re a heavy duty user then you won’t probably be satisfied with the battery performance of the Bluboo S8, that’s for sure. If you expect to recharge your phone every night but enjoy several hours of multimedia experience, web browsing, several email messaging and social networking, then this is a phone for you, no doubt about it.

Conclusion – Our opinion

Beautiful, budget galaxy s8 clone

I really enjoyed this small beauty from Bluboo guys. It’s not featured as the super wow dual camera phone that everyone should buy, but as a budget Galaxy S8 clone with really impressive specs – given its current price tag of course which is just 149,99$. It’s a decent dual camera phone, with acceptable photos in daylight conditions, average photos in low light conditions and… average (shaky) videos. It offers however average battery consumption, good performance for an avid Android user and decent build quality.

The 3GB RAM + 32GB ROM variant I got for my tests, costs 149,99$ and – I believe that its fair price for what it offers. It’s really impressive when you hold it in your hands and use it, it packs a bright display with 18:9 aspect ratio, an average chipset and – strangely enough- a snappy UI that I loved in my everyday use. Perhaps you will too…

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