Product review: BLU Dash 4.5

BLU's new Dash 4.5 is cheap (approx. 120-150 USD) and includes a Quad core processor, 4GB ROM, 512MB RAM, 5M pixel camera and it's a dual SIM phone.

It may sound too good to be true to some of you.

These are my conclusions after using this phone for a few weeks...

Initial setup

It is very hard to remove the back cover, the cover doesn't disconnect very well from the area surrounding the earphone socket. In fact, you might want to use a pair of tweezers to help remove the cover. You might want to keep the tweezers handy if you want to remove your SIM card(s) or SD card, as everything fits in tightly.


The only accessory, currently available is a screen guard. My phone came with a complimentary screen guard, however, it was stuck poorly to the outside of its package, resulting in a screen guard covered in dust which wouldn't attach to the phone without loads of bubbles and didn't stay on the phone for more than a day.

Dual SIM and mobile frequencies

The Dash 4.5 comes in a few versions including the D310a and the D310i. According to gsmarena.com the phone supports:

GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 for both SIMs

HSDPA (3G) 850 / 1900 for the D310a model

HSDPA (3G) 850 / 2100 for the D310i model.

Attempts to find out whether the 3G was for both SIMs or only one prior to purchase failed, I kept getting the gsmarena.com quote/link and no reply to further inqueries.

After a few weeks of owning this phone, I decided to borrow a second SIM and test this for myself and the result is that the second SIM can not connect via 3G, which limits you to connecting to providers that support 2G GSM for the 2nd SIM. Connection via 2G worked fine and via settings you can choose which SIM is used for default for calls, messages and data and the phone accepts calls from both SIMs.

Reception and call quality

The phone has a suprizingly good reception, I can pick up the carrier signal 3 floors underground (in parking lots), whereas my previous phone couldn't pick up the signal 1 floor underground. The call quality is good too, both during regular usage and via bluetooth.


The phone reacts quickly, you can not feel the processor crawling during most uses (calls, emails, calendar, navigation, browsing).


The time to capture is slow, mainly due to the time it takes focus. The picture is pretty clear in both stills and video. There is an electronic stabilization mode for the video, however, I haven't played with that enough to comment on it.

Operating System

The phone comes with Android 4.2.1. The default browser is pretty bad, it goes mad if you try to switch Google account and it just doesn't come near the Firefox or Chrome for Android experience. Luckily you can download and install Firefox and Chrome. The system comes with various pre-installed apps such as a behind the scenes task manager, which has no UI, a battery thermal monitor (apparently BLU wants to make sure your phone doesn't blow up in your face) and a few others. Also the calendar it comes with isn't the same one Google published in the play store, however, it looks identical, other than the widget colors and the icon and you can download the Google app (and disable the old one, once you root the phone).

System-apps interaction

Unless you root your phone, using widgets to turn on your mobile data connection won't work (but they will be able to disable it), most apps seem to run smoothly, one by one, on the phone.

Memory and Multitasking

The phone officially comes with 512MB of RAM and 1GB ROM, however, task/files managers see 469MB of RAM and 0.98GB ROM (labelled internal storage) + another 1.8GB built in SD (labelled phone storage).

Available memory
Practially, there is only about 110-130MB of RAM available when you turn the phone on, this quickly drops to about 70MB of RAM. If you don't root your phone and remove a few system apps from the startup, you may end up with 60MB, 50MB or even only 40MB of RAM available, which means some apps won't run without crashing, when you load one app it will cause previous app to be killed, meaning you can't talk on the phone while navigating or use the keyboard while browsing!

Is the phone usable?

It can be, if you customize it a bit (by rooting it) and perhaps install a memory swapping app (which requires root) and a notification power control that will let you reset your phone now and then to clear up more memory.

How can you root your phone?

The only working reference I found for rooting this phone is this video in Spanish: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgVCjyGPRTA

It contains a link to a site in Chineese, where, using Google translate for Chrome, I found this page: http://www.mgyun.com/vroot where there is a big blue button for downloading a rooting application (for Windows) which is in Chinese.

The Spanish instructions show you that you have to, as in all rooting procedures, enable USB debugging, then connect your phone to your computer and follow the steps in the video which are basically: click on buttons that probably say "Next" until you see it finishes a long process, then click on the other button (probably "Exit") because the default button will probably either repeat the process or unroot your phone.

You'll end up with a chinese admin app on your phone, however, the "yes" and "no" buttons for enabling root access to other apps are in English, so it is usable.


If you aren't a heavy app user and you don't mind rooting your phone and messing with the system defaults, then this phone can be a reasonable option for a great price. I would, however, recommend trying a model with higher specs (e.g. more memory) instead e.g. BLU Life Play.

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