Right from the word Go, PlirisBlaze is a Nigerian mobile brand that makes out like it means business.
A Nigerian smartphone brand? Does that surprise you? This is not the first time a Nigerian company is venturing into the making of smartphones. Anyone remember the Anabel smartphones? They were a range of Windows Mobile smartphones made by a Nigerian company. There was also Zico, though that was a feature phone brand.
My suspicion is that there are still other Nigerian brands that will make their way into this smartphone manufacturing space. However, the Pliris Blaze is already here, and we’ve taken it through it’s paces to see what it brings to the table.
Yes it does. At least, amidst other Nigerian mobile phone efforts. And I dare say that this is a Nigerian phone that shouldn’t be ignored. I also suspect that PlirisMobile Nigeria Limited, the company behind the Blaze mean business. Well, keep your fingers crossed and come with me as we explore this device.
Packaging & Accessories
The packaging is a winner – a white box with contents neatly arranged. But the accessories are just as good. They are all in white too, reminding one of Apple’s signature. Included accessories include: earphones, 4GB microSD card, microUSB cable, charging point, standard battery, and extended battery.
It is a complete package.
I See You…
Yes I know that it is said, Never judge a book by its cover. the Pliris Blaze, and it did not disappoint in the looks department. First and foremost, this is a gorgeous looking phone, even though at times I feel like I’ve seen this design before from another manufacturer. Never mind. What’s important is that it’s a well designed phone and feels solid in the hand.
Of course, it is the usual PDA-style slab design, with the 4.0 inch multi-touch capacitive screen occupying most of the front space. Above the screen, you find the Android label to show that this is an Android powered phone. There’s also a front facing camera (1 megapixel) for video calls, and an LED indicator. Below the screen, you get four capactive touch buttons that are not very sensitive to the touch, but on the average gets the job done.
The back of the phone is where its beauty really shines. The combination of off-white and silver colour for the back cover is really tasteful. You will also find a 3.0 megapixel camera with dual LED flash.
But Do You Have Character?
We have established that the Pliris Blaze is a beautiful phone. But then, does it have character? Will it be able to deliver on its promises? Our testing shows that this is a phone that passes, though not with flying colours as there are a few character flaws.
1. There’s Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread) running in the veins of this baby. All the goodies of Gingerbread are here, multi-tasking, wifi-hotspot, plus all the apps available in the Google Play Store.
Well, that’s only half the story. The manufacturer has done a little tweaking of the OS to spice up your experience. For instance, Instead of the stock Android homescreen, you get an option of two homescreen launchers built into the OS. Zeam home screen launcher is enabled by default. But you can always change it by pressing the home button.
Also, there are a number of apps that do not come pre-installed on the stock Android OS that are here out-of-the-box. Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Angrybirds, Texty, etc. This is some serious savings on your precious bandwidth.
2. The Processor is a Qualcom chip clocked at 700Mhz with 512MB RAM to go along with it. While I would have loved to see a higher processor, this is good enough for most tasks.
3. Memory card slot with a 4GB card installed. If that’s not enough for you, you can get a card with higher memory up to 32GB and the phone will handle it without issues.
4. There’s HSDPA for fast Internet usage.
5. There’s multi-media catering to your photos, videos, and music needs. I must say though that pictures taken with the camera of this phone won’t impress your friends. It is only a 3 megapixel camera afterall. But the music and video players deliver well.
6. There’s a front facing camera for video calls and chatting.
7. The manufacturer has included an extra battery and a 10hrs extended battery pack in the box. This should supply all the needed juice for the phone to make it through the day.
8. There’s FM radio and terrestrial TV as the manufacturer puts it to keep you entertained and informed. I was able to watch local stations on the phone. Really nice.
9. There’s a dual SIM card slot, which means you’ll be able to use two numbers at the same time.
10. The music and video players deliver very well. The speaker on the back of the phone also produces good sound.
You Are Not Perfect
The only phone that is perfect is called “No phone”. Unfortunately, the Pliris Blaze is a phone and it is hereby imperfect. Yes, it’s got character, but it has also got some character flaws.
Dual SIM functionality: maybe it’s the unit that was sent to us, but the dual SIM functionality just didn’t work. The phone only registered SIMs in the first SIM card slot. I swapped the SIMs back and forth and it was the same result all the time. After several attempts, I just gave up.
Update We did get the dual SIM functionality working eventually. Apparently, we did not insert the SIM card properly the first time. – Editor
Display/Screen: the 4.0 inch screen is very bright and remains readable under direct Sunlight. It is capable of displaying up to 16 million colours. However, touching the screen in use is a different ball game. It turns out that the screen is not very responsive to touch. And one cannot help but wonder if this is a capacitive touch screen.
Call Quality: Call quality is average on the whole. Occasional dropped calls, low audio during calls are some of the weak points of this device.
Camera: The 3.0 megapixel camera sports a dual LED flash. Just to put it bluntly, the camera on this device is not impressive at all.
This is a Nigerian phone that means business, despite its many flaws. The Blaze is currently sold in the market for N50,000. With right pricing, it should do well in the market.