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New quartet of unlocked Blu smartphones all cost under $150

New quartet of unlocked Blu smartphones all cost under $150

Two are shipping now, and another two will arrive before the end of the month

The BLU Studio 5.0 C HD has 5-inch HD screen and costs US$149.

The BLU Studio 5.0 C HD has 5-inch HD screen and costs US$149.

Blu Products has launched four new low-cost, no-contract smartphones that all run Android 4.4.

It isn't just Chinese and Indian vendors that can make cheap phones with good specs for customers who don't want to sign a service contract or buy a phone for $600. Miami-based Blu also wants to give consumers a choice of unlocked smartphones, the company said on Wednesday.

The latest addition to its portfolio is the Studio C Series, which includes the Studio 5.0 C HD, C Mini, 5.0 C and 5.0 CE in a number of different colors.

The most advanced of the newcomers is the Studio 5.0 C HD. For US$149, it provides a 5.0-inch screen with a 1280 by 720 pixel resolution, an 8-megapixel camera on the back and a 2-megapixel front camera. Under the hood, there is a quad-core processor from Mediatek running at 1.3GHz. The device has 1GB of RAM and 4GB of storage that can be expanded to 64GB via a microSD card slot.

For users who want a slightly smaller phone, Blu offers the Studio C Mini for $119. It's powered by the same Mediatek processor and it too has 4GB of storage and a microSD card slot. But the amount of RAM has been halved to 512MB and it has a 4.7-inch screen with 800 by 480 pixels. There is a 5-megapixel camera on the back and a 2-megapixel camera on the front.

Those two phones are available now on Amazon.com.

For users who want a 5-inch screen, but a phone that's even cheaper than the Studio 5.0 C HD, Blu also offers the Studio 5.0 C and the 5.0 CE.

Both offer 854 by 480 pixel resolution, are powered by dual-core processors running at 1.3GHz from Mediatek and have 4GB of storage that can be expanded by up 32GB with a microSD card. Active apps will have to share 512MB of RAM.

The biggest difference between the two is that the C has a 5-megapixel camera on the back, while the CE has a 3.2-megapixel camera. They share the same VGA camera in the front. The CE also can't handle HSPA+ at 21Mbps, which the C and the other two models can. Instead CE users will have to rely on EDGE networks or Wi-Fi.

The Studio 5.0 C ($109) and Studio 5.0 CE ($89) will start shipping before the end of the month, Blu said.

All four phones are compatible with GSM networks in the U.S., including T-Mobile, AT&T, Metro PCS and Cricket Wireless.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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