I was finally able to find a BLU Vivo XI+ in a Best Buy (Fifth Avenue, if you must know).
The Home screen as I found it:
The App Slider (slide up to get; no longer a “drawer” invoked by hitting an icon — although a “drawer” might be an option):
Right, time to get online …
Huh? That never happened before. Then this:
Everyone’s Red Alert klaxon should be sounding. But I was slow. I figured maybe this was a Chrome glitch and decided to try Opera:
It was only after I unsuccessfully tried to sign into three sites that my brain finally caught on.
I looked in the WiFi Settings and this phone wasn’t on the Best Buy WiFi at all! It was being spied on!
I switched WiFi to Best Buy’s and everything went well from there. But I was worried. Worried but nothing I could do, not being with my own machine on my own network. So … I had to carry on. Don’t Panic!
Here’s an interesting thing:
There were over forty browser tabs open (38 when I decided to take the snap). And when I looked at how many apps were available to switch between, there were a ton. This phone is a powerhouse!
I played around with a bunch of stuff, neglected to take snaps, then decided I Had To Know. Could this run SmartQ Reader and do Google Books PDFs?
I got SmartQ Reader via an APK download site.
And from Google Books:
(All those .txt files are not from me!)
There is no way in hell this or the iPhone Xs Max are a replacement for the iPad Mini! Because despite the size you’re seeing on your screen, in real-life on the phone, each page is about one-fourth the size of an iPad Mini screen! And totally unreadable.
The American Magazine (an issue I hadn’t tried before; the one I could grab first):
See the snap with the zoomed-in column? I tried to get a snap with the column filling the width. I couldn’t do it because of the way snaps are done. They’re done by doing two swipes of the Settings Shade, hitting an icon, then a banner appears near the bottom of the screen with three snap options, then you have to press one. Every time I pulled down the Shade, the column also moved! So, that was the best shot I could get.
As for accessing the PDFs, I didn’t even try through SmartQ Reader. I already knew it wouldn’t work from past tries on Android 6 and 7. I used the File Manager to list the PDFs, tapped one, and got the dialog that asked what to open it in, which listed SmartQ Reader as an option.
Google Books PDFs were rendered fast, with no delays when paging forward. Paging backward caused a great deal of delay. But, shrug, I could live with that. This would not be a device to read them on, however. Just to preview. Good Enough.
Now some full-resolution camera samples (click for big):
That camera is some sad shit. For the price, I expected something superior to the one on the Xiaomi Redmi 6A. But it’s not! I’d argue it was in fact worse! I don’t know if it’s the hardware or the app. Would it get better using a different camera app? I don’t know. All I know is that what it delivers as packaged is Barely Good Enough.
I also tried the video camera. That went well until I tried to get a close up of the pricing tag (by the way, Best Buy is now using eInk pricing tags like B&H). The camera lost focus. Manually tapping to regain focus worked for a second, then the camera image was blurry AF again. FAIL!
Now to close the loop: Was I being spied on at Best Buy?
When I got home, a Google Alert was waiting, telling me my account was accessed twenty minutes before. At that time, I was without a device!
So, I changed the affected passwords.
I’m just glad nothing was changed or deleted.
So, would I buy this phone? Even with that sad-ass camera? Hell yes. Because it’s a beast. And, it has to be faced, nothing out there can match an iPhone camera.
Speaking of which, I went over to hold and peer at the iPhone Xs Max. Don’t Do That. It makes every other phone seem sad-ass by comparison.
The BLU Vivo XI+ screen just isn’t as bright as the iPhone Xs Max. And despite the Vivo XI+’s beastliness, the iPhone Xs Max is a super beast.
Even so, having now fondled the Vivo XI+ for myself, it’s something I’d buy. Wallet willing!