While we can’t deny our love for our classic go-to sneakers like Adidas Superstars and Stan Smiths, we’re totally open to try new trainers to enhance our athleisure looks. The new brand catching our eye? Daniel Patrick’s just-launched shoe line. Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid are already fans of this L.A.-based label for its cool ready-to-wear assortment of bombers, sweatshirts, and casual dresses.
In fact, Kendall is wearing a T-shirt from the brand in the opening image for this story. We think they’ll love the sneakers just the same. Featuring both men’s and women’s sizing, the suede and leather high-tops (which coming in four colors) will add the perfect laid-back, downtown feel to any outfit you’re wearing. We could so see the desert rose-hued pair with a pair of skinny jeans and a white tee for running around on the weekends. The white set could even be dressed up with a skirt and top for casual Friday. They’re so versatile.
Check out the full range below—and shop your favorite pair before they sell out.
LONDON, United Kingdom — Fashion education has never been so fashionable. As the industry’s cultural profile rises, more and more students are applying for places on fashion related courses and the competition has never been tougher. “The difference now is that there are so many more people trying for places that, frankly, three quarters of the people that I would have given a place to 20 years ago, I am not able to give places to today,” says Willie Walters, BA course director at London’s prestigious Central Saint Martins.
Although the fashion education sector has already expanded significantly to meet demand, by creating courses and enlarging the number of places on them, non-private schools — which include many of the industry’s most renowned institutions — remain constrained by funding limitations and government-dictated quotas. As a result, securing a place at a selective school has become increasingly difficult. For the most competitive places, applicants must distinguish themselves in an internationally diverse field that numbers in the tens of thousands. Yet, given the high rates of competition, all of the educators interviewed expressed a degree of disappointment in the level of interview preparation many applicants believe to be sufficient.
To be successful, applicants — most of whom are from the Instagram-generation — must impress selection panels that were educated before the digital revolution. However, across the board, educators stressed that new media, digital artistry and idiosyncratic, global cultural reference points were to be celebrated, not ignored.
BoF asked the directors of the top ranking courses that will help select the class of 2017 to share their advice with applicants.
Central Saint Martins | Source: Central Saint Martins
“WORK HARD, BE ORIGINAL”
Willie Walters, BA course director, Central Saint Martins (UK)
I want to see that students have worked really, really hard. That they have put everything they possibly can into their application. The first stage of our application process is a 10 page online portfolio. In those pages, we want to see original things that [the applicant] has created. I am looking for something that is very good of its type, or different. I might see delicacy, sensitivity, strong drawing skills; it might be messy, dynamic and colourful, hard-edged and precise. Please do not show tear sheets from magazines; we are not particularly motivated by social media icons. That is happening already and is to do with the business of fashion, not with incubating creativity.
If you are invited to interview, we want to see more of you. I expect the 10 pages already seen to come from a possible 50 pages. Students should have quite a diverse range to show us — it is very dull when there is nothing more and you just see things regurgitated. At the interview, when we ask questions, we just want natural responses. Students don’t need to be wildly articulate — that doesn’t matter. We want a range of characters. The worse thing is when they keep returning to their original 10 pages, and are incapable or unwilling of expanding the discussion.
“CONNECT YOUR WORK TO YOUR SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PRACTISES.”
Fiona Dieffenbacher, director of BFA Fashion Design, Parsons The New School of Fashion (USA)
The applicants who stand out have something unique to say, both in their body of work and in the written and academic portions of their applications. Students can distinguish themselves by showing a demonstrated passion for art and design throughout high school, both through rigorous academic engagement and through participation in extracurricular activities, summer courses, weekend programs and relevant internships. Students should also demonstrate a sense of themselves beyond the individual to include the context of their place in community. For incoming first-year students, we prefer to see a well-rounded portfolio that demonstrates their creative process and ability to think conceptually.
The written components of our application are an important way for students to tell us more about themselves and why they would be a good fit for Parsons. We urge them to make the most of that opportunity. Students should not only be able to talk about their work, but also contextualise their practice. We are often most impressed by applicants who have the ability to maturely and articulately discuss their work on a deeper level by connecting it to broader social, cultural, historical, political and economic forces. This is rare among artists and designers, even at the college level, so when we see this in an application, it really sets them apart.
Fashion students at Kingston University, London | Source: Kingston University
“SHOW HOW YOUR IDEAS DEVELOP”
Elinor Renfrew, head of fashion, Kingston University (UK)
We’ll get 1,000 applicants for 100 places. Applicants must have a foundation course. That’s our first benchmark. Then we have to filter online first. That’s when we’ll look at the portfolio that they send in and it’s very easy to see who I want to interview. It’s when you look at someone’s sketch book and you see the thought process that shows the development of an idea; it’s not about the end product and it’s not template drawing. Alterations are good — anything that shows that they’re actually making mistakes. We’re looking for something that has maybe been drawn over and crossed out. That’s much more interesting than someone who has a very straight portfolio.
Overseas it’s more difficult because you have to do it without interviews. Normally, we bring in about 350 students. We have to do group interviews, because we don’t have enough time to interview all of the applicants individually and we’ve found that this method works very well. We’re not really interested in how they look. I’m interested in whether they are professional, polite and whether they want to learn. It’s not about what they are wearing. They’ve got to be the next creative director. They shouldn’t be just looking and aping, they should be creating.
“PUSH THE BOUNDARIES”
Frances Corner, head of college, London College of Fashion (UK)
Firstly, it is very important that the student has really researched the course that they’re applying for. Next, we look for creative thinking, good research and good analysis. It’s really important that applicants consider what drives them, and why a particular course is the best place to help develop that drive and that interpretation. For portfolios, each page, each aspect must reveal something about the student. Sketchbooks and journals are really important to show how students are really exploring an idea and trying all sorts of different avenues while developing it. We look for any sign that they understand the importance of experimentation — you have to push the boundaries and challenge yourself. That’s really critical, as is drawing.
We’re looking for self-aware, confident individuals. Being true to yourself is also really important. In a way, that has always been the case, but it is even more important today given the level of competition. It’s as much about what they’re telling us as what we’re telling them, because they bring things from different reference points and that’s really important if we’re going to remain a premier institution in terms of fashion education.
Pratt Institute campus | Photo: William Abranowicz
“SHOW YOUR PASSION”
Linda Loppa, strategic director, Polimoda (IT)
What we are looking for are young people who are curious, who have an idea and a dream. Ten or fifteen years ago, when you asked, “Who is your favourite designer,” they would say Jean Paul Gaultier or whomever. But now, they don’t know the names; they don’t know a lot of fashion history. That is a product of globalisation and is not really a problem. Many [applicants] are not prepared enough. They come in with a few sketches, which are not good enough despite what they and their small village’s art teacher may think. We need to see that they can see volume and light when they draw. In addition, today, there are so many [devices] they can use. If they make videos, they can show it to you. Whatever your aspiration or dreams are, show them to us and show your passion. There is global competition, which can mean 15 nationalities in a group of 50, which is an amazing, beautiful thing. That is unique to fashion education in some ways. Applicants shouldn’t worry about looking too much like the [existing] system either — because you will be wrong within a few years.
“RETHINK FASHION FOR THE NEXT GENERATION”
Jennifer Minniti, chair of fashion, Pratt Institute (USA)
We are looking for students with the ability to think critically and approach design through ideation, a strong set of skills and evidence of an imaginative mind. When their references and inspirations are too obvious or superficial, it is a red flag. It is remarkably obvious when young people have been influenced by entertainment television and the cult of celebrity. At Pratt we emphasise craft (technique), concept (not just ideas) and context (social, cultural and historical). We want to see a glimmer of these in the applicant’s portfolios so that we know there is something to work with. Technical skill is undervalued as a way to not only explore and express a concept, but to generate ideas. We think that this is incredibly important and that is reflected in the demands of our curriculum. Ultimately, we are looking for students that can demonstrate a strong and unique creative process, that are not afraid to rethink the fashion system for their generation. Fashion is global — bring your culture, values and taste to the table.
“BE CURIOUS, BOLD AND CULTURED”
Leah Perez, head of fashion, Shenkar College of Engineering and Design (ISR)
First of all, [applicants] must be creative. They have to be enormously curious, bold minded and cultured. I look at somebody who is really ambitious and determined, but flexible. Because the industry is so global, people have to be easily adaptable to any situation and be able to work within a group. You don’t work alone these days. I want to see passion as well. If you are passionate about photography, take a lot of photos and show me that you are passionate about it. If you like to draw, show me sketchbooks and show me that you are taking every chance that you have to do what you love. I think the main mistake that candidates are making is they don’t understand or are not committed to the process of design.
“USE BOTH SIDES OF YOUR BRAIN”
Christine Walter Bonini, general manager, ESMOD (FR)
The global level of competition is rising and we have many international applicants coming from all over the world. We are looking for curious, open-minded students, who are motivated and driven to be the best they can be. The studies here, in Paris, are very intensive and require a lot of time, rigour, energy and patience. It’s important that students show that they can use both sides of their brain, stay realistic and rational, but at same time full of imagination.
Our admission procedure works in several steps: After a careful review of application materials (curriculum vitae, cover letter, school transcripts), we ask applicants to submit a creative portfolio following our guidelines. We are eager to discover their personality and creative aesthetics, and to get to know them better before we meet them for a one-on-one interview. We ask them to present their personal universe (such as the designers, shops, books, movies and historical eras they admire or are inspired by) in a creative way. They are absolutely free to decide how to illustrate it, whether in the form of a book, sketchbook, collage, video or photos. My advice to students is tell us more about yourself, your experiences, activities, the accomplishments in which you take pride, your inspirations and dreams. Presentation and commitment are more important than technical skills — like in professional life, everyday work is one of the keys to success. To be on top, our students must find motivation and pleasure in everyday learning and working.
What do you think constitutes a high quality, rewarding fashion education? To view the full Special Report on the State of Fashion Education, including the first Global Fashion School Rankings, click here.
The red light above the camera meant we were on-air, so I argued for more gun control. The guest was a veteran media lunatic who bragged about his vanity arsenal. Mostly, I babbled anxiously—just opened my mouth and let the words parade out. My position was not persuasive to anyone watching.
Once we were off-air, my sparring partner proudly showed me his concealed weapon. It was a very nice, very expensive revolver. I pointed that out. We laughed, because, for a moment, we were just two people. I have seen plenty of guns. I have shot guns. I just happen to think the NRA is a white power lobby.
I was a Fox News pundit because I am a conceited man who likes free makeup. I’d go on the air and smile and support Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders and smile some more. Once I may have mentioned that capitalism despises weakness, but I think that taping’s broadcast was preempted. I don’t know what came over me.
Mostly I just grinned. Showed my teeth. I was on television! In our society, you exist if you’re on television. You are trusted, and I do not know why this is true. It is a good rule of thumb to never trust what anyone says on television, because television was invented to sell you soap. Think about it: you probably watch a lot of television and you have so much soap. (Newspapers are different. They are primarily concerned with delivering you coupons.)
In our society, you exist if you’re on television. You are trusted.
For seven years, on and off, I was a pundit. That word is derived from the Hindu for “learned man,” which is a really funny joke if you think about it. I would show up to the studio wearing a discount blazer I bought at Burlington Coat Factory. I would then practice my talking points in the Fox News bathroom mirror. I have worked hard to rid myself of my cursed lisp and, according to many anonymous Twitter accounts, was unsuccessful. I would shake hands with conservative legends in the green room before casually examining the complimentary snacks. Sometimes I’d wrap a few white chocolate and macadamia nut cookies in a paper napkin for the road. They would send me home from their midtown studio in a sleek black SUV, in the back of which I would take selfies. I felt like the U.S. Secretary of Dork.
No one at Fox ever pushed back on my talking points. They were always friendly. The producers, bookers, and the hair and makeup people were all very accommodating and encouraging. The talent were all professionals. The women I met were formidable, the men jolly with privilege. I was quite fond of an arch-conservative Dumbledore type.
Sure, there were some people who made me wince: aging hipsters desperate for attention, young princes with daddy issues, and bigoted scarecrows. Most of these people were very angry. If you regularly appear on TV to share your opinion, things are probably going pretty well for you, so I never understood the anger.
I can’t say I ever saw any sexual harassment. But I’m a white straight male. I am practically defined by what I don’t see, can’t see, won’t see. Then, at home, I’d actually watch male anchors bulldoze over their female colleagues sitting in a chair specially positioned to show off their legs and whisper to myself, “That is some sexist shit right there.” Fox is a boys club, and you know the old saying: boys will be monsters, indifferent to the suffering of anyone but themselves.
Fox is a boys club, and you know the old saying: boys will be monsters, indifferent to the suffering of anyone but themselves.
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Herzog grins as he takes a seat in a conference room at UCLA, which has been set up for an event later this evening. His eyes droop, but his skin is remarkably smooth, like the surface of a slightly underinflated balloon. And then there’s that voice—silky, portentous—you can imagine it coming out of a GPS system giving driving directions to Valhalla. “I like to look back at the evolution of modern human beings,” he says of his interest in the Internet. “Using fire or electricity was an enormous step for civilization, and this is one of those. And I think the poet must not avert his eyes.”
Lo and Behold is a strange film, and the strangest detail may be the fact that it is, at heart, sponsored content. Its origin goes back to late 2014 when Jim McNiel, newly installed as chief marketing officer of an Internet security and assurance firm called NetScout, was seeking a high-profile way to promote his company’s new brand positioning: Guardians of the Connected World. McNiel hired an ad agency, which pointed him to a public safety campaign Herzog had recently shot for ATT called “From One Second to the Next.” It illustrated the dangers of texting and driving in a series of almost unbearable interviews with victims and perpetrators of car crashes. The 35-minute film became a huge success, racking up more than 3 million views on ATT’s YouTube page. So McNiel got in touch, and the two started talking: Perhaps Herzog could shoot a series of online shorts for NetScout, demonstrating how much we depend on the Internet and the catastrophes its destruction—or even its interruption—might unleash?
This, it turns out, was an apt pitch for Herzog, who has described civilization as a thin layer of ice atop a roiling, chaotic ocean. When McNiel told Herzog about a February 2015 service interruption in Arizona that crippled everything from gas pumps to ATM machines, the director saw the cinematic possibilities. “I’ve seen it in New York with Hurricane Sandy,” Herzog says. “My wife was there, and she says within two days people became like zombies that cannot connect with their cell phones because the towers are down. And they cannot even use a toilet. Tens of thousands of people roaming the streets in a daze in search of a toilet.” (Presumably this is that non-“accountant’s truth” Herzog talks about.)
Almost immediately, the project began taking on grander proportions and treading into murky philosophical waters. One of Herzog’s first interviews was with Ted Nelson, a technology pioneer who coined the term hypertext in the 1960s, about his unrealized, vaguely spiritual vision for what the Internet should have become. Speaking with him on his houseboat, Herzog realized that the interview could only be understood as part of a larger, organic story—about the birth of the Internet and the ways it threatens to transform humanity. A few weeks later, he went back to NetScout and told McNiel that, for a modest budget increase, he wanted to make a feature film.
McNiel, a Herzog fan since Fitzcarraldo, says that he was personally delighted by the idea. But NetScout’s overall response was … wary. The company’s executives had thought they were making a series of shareable videos celebrating the Internet and, at least implicitly, the company’s efforts to protect it. Now Herzog wanted to make a 90-minute film that would have to be shopped around to distributors, festivals, and streaming services and would only flash NetScout’s name briefly, twice. Where was the ROI on that? How was it going to help the company sell application and network performance-management products?
“It was a big ask,” says McNiel, who says he can’t think of another corporation that has sponsored a feature documentary that wasn’t a commercial. “But I am confident that the film stands on its own and will make people think, and if they can associate that with our company, that will be positive.” The company gave Herzog a green light.
Earlier this year, MTV unearthed a prescient 1992 interview with Tupac Shakur in which the late rap icon speaks passionately about some of the biggest issues America is still facing today. Among them: wealth inequality, systematic institutionalized racism, and the critical lack of empathy for people most profoundly affected by these injustices. He even, prophetically, name checks Donald Trump nearly 25 years before the orange oligarch’s rise to political power. Though Pac was born to New York-based Black Panther Party members, his legacy is steeped in both the sonic and sociopolitical traditions of West Coast gangsta rap. The genre’s modern torchbearer, YG, has made it his mission to pick up where that interview left off. He’s leading a new generation’s charge against Trump.
Last month, YG released his sophomore album Still Brazy. Its biggest banger is titled simply “Fuck Donald Trump” — a rallying cry for Americans of all walks of life. Its music video shoot was shut down by LAPD, and the song ignited a Secret Service investigation into every lyric on Still Brazy (a few of which were actually censored). None of that stopped YG from releasing the anthem’s follow up — “FDT Part 2″ — during last week’s Republican National Convention. And in an unexpected twist, he recruited G-Eazy and Macklemore to share their political perspectives on the sequel as well.
YG is engaging with these issues outside the studio, too. On Twitter, he’s inspiring conversations about the Black Lives Matter movement and boosting local politicians like Compton Mayor Aja Brown and State Senator Isaac Galvan. He’s also established a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering Compton’s disadvantaged youth. We sat down to tackle all things Trump.
No Republican presidential candidate has won California since 1988; a lot of them don’t even try to anymore. You’re someone who speaks powerfully to the issues impacting your community, so I think it’s great that you’re committed to rallying people against him regardless of California’s like-minded population. Why is important for you to keep having these conversations?
Because it’s serious. It’s so much bigger than California. I was working on music when we first started talking about all of this shit. We were having convos, I know the next motherfuckers were having convos, hop on Twitter and everyone’s talking about this shit. So I was like, “I’m gonna say something and use my platform for something real.” That was my first time making a meaningful record; I usually do the turn ups. But that shit had a real impact.
It really did. I think we’re really starting to see more people in the game engage with these issues.
Yeah, it’s like, wake up, America. Motherfuckers are talking about drugs and parties and guns and shit. But they gotta know there’s more shit going on. We gotta say something, cause if not, it’s like we’re out here standing for nothing, like we ain’t got no morals. That ain’t what it is. That ain’t me. So I decided to speak up.
Why did you want to get G-Eazy and Macklemore on “FDT Part 2″?
They’re the two biggest white rappers in the game! I’m like, if I get two of the biggest white rap dudes in the game on this “Fuck Donald Trump” record, that shit is gonna mean something. Before Macklemore was on “Part 2″ he said like, “Good shit bro, that shit was needed,” about the first song. So I was like, “Bro, you support Trump?” and he was like “Fuck no!” I’m like, “Well look, I’m doing this remix and I want you to hop on it. It’s actually with G-Eazy.” And he was like, “I got you, send that shit.” That’s just the rap community. Everybody know that’s where this rap shit started from: talking about problems and what’s going on in inner city communities.
There’s five more months until the election. Should we expect “Part 3″?
Man, I labeled it “Part 2″ because a “Part 3″ or “Part 4″ could happen. I just gotta get off this tour and start putting some shit together!
I heard that you had made some Trump t-shirts, so I went on the 4Hunnid Instagram to have a look. I saw that a girl with a hijab is modeling them, and people in the comments section have been stoked. I think that’s so important. A lot of fashion brands aren’t at that place yet; diverse representation is a huge issue in our industry.
Other designers pull from the street all the time; they pull from the culture and put it into their shit. So I know the 4Hunnid brand is going to be successful because we ain’t going by none of these fashion rules. We’re doing what we do and speaking to where we come from.
Let’s talk about your 4Hundred Waze non-profit and the projects you’re working on.
We just do a lot of events to help give back to the kids and keep them off the streets — events around Christmas. We’re doing a lot of small stuff right now because we’re building it up, but we’ve got plans to put kids through colleges and help with cancer diagnoses.
What’s been the most rewarding part of it so far?
Just seeing the smile on these people’s faces. It really ain’t nobody going back to Bompton like that. But my mama quarterbacked it all; she’s from Bompton and that’s the type of person she is. She had a daycare for probably ten years; that’s always been a part of her life, helping parents and kids.
What can young people do to take action against Trump or the injustice in their own communities?
Man, it’s hard. We for sure have to come together, but we have got to find the real people that’s going to make a difference. A lot of certain people that just run this shit — it’s a crazy system behind the scenes. As people, we can come together and we can protest, but honestly, that shit probably ain’t going to change. We’ve gotta figure out who’s behind the scenes, who will lead the people, and how we’re going to get to them. Black people are painted as beefing with each other and killing each other, and that’s why I think [police and politicians] think they can get away with so much shit — cause we do fucked up shit to our own kind. So when we come together in protest, that really means something. It’s powerful. But, is that really going to make a difference with what’s going on? I don’t know, and that’s the truth. But it’s a start.
I started to enjoy the Blu R1 HD a lot more as soon as I let go of the word “better.”
That’s usually the word reviews pivot around, after all. Is this camera better than that one? Is this interface more responsive? Does this battery last long enough (probably not)? The Blu R1 HD asks an entirely different question, though. The only benchmark it needs to clear is: Can you believe this only costs $60? And honestly, I still can’t.
Blu R1 HD
An insanely cheap phone for what it does. Android 6.0 with refreshingly few tweaks. Some pre-loaded Amazon apps are annoying to download otherwise.
Get used to lots of ads all day. The camera’s a mess. Can’t delete pre-loaded Amazon or Google apps.
Let’s back up for a minute, because Blu isn’t a name most people know—this is not the e-cig company, please do not try to vape this phone—and that price tag comes with a few important caveats.
Blu itself is easy enough to explain. It’s a smartphone company, based in Florida, that specializes in surprisingly affordable hardware that runs minimally tweaked Android firmware. As for the caveats, its R1 HD is one of two phones that are Prime Exclusives, a new program that gives Amazon Prime members steep discounts on devices in exchange for allowing ads on their lock screens, in their notifications, as well as on a suite of preinstalled Amazon apps. The other is the Moto G4, the latest in an established lineage of high-quality, inexpensive phones. That one starts at $150 with offers and ads—plenty cheap, but it’s got nothing on the R1 HD.
The entry level, ad-laden R1 HD costs $50, which nets you 8GB of storage and one measly gig of RAM. For 10 bucks more, you can double both of those. Unless you’re a Hamilton away from affording a critical blood transfusion, it’s worth stepping up. Buying it with no ads at all will cost you $100 or $110, respectively.
We might as well talk about the specs, too, although if you care much about specs you’re not the target audience for this phone. Still, they’re better than you’d expect for something that costs about what you’d spend on a 3-D movie date. There’s a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor powering the operation, a 5-inch, Gorilla Glass 3 (a generation behind, but still hearty) HD display, and 5MP/8MP front and rear cameras. None of which can compare to last year’s flagships, much less the latest leaders, but still, not bad, considering!
Performance matters more than numbers, though, and for that Blu gives mixed results. The good news is that it’s entirely usable day to day. I don’t say that to damn it with faint praise; there are plenty of more expensive phones that are barely functional nightmare machines. Here, though, swipes are smooth, and less intensive game experiences were fine; I was able to catch a Pidgey or two without any hiccups. Video, too, streamed seamlessly, although watching Amazon’s original series All or Nothing was an unfortunate reminder that the R1 HD’s display is dim and lacks crispness. Its speakers are tinny enough to make even Jon Hamm’s voiceover sound like it was recorded into a tuna can. Audio-visual mediocrity aside, there were very few times the R1 HD got its gears stuck. It’s surprisingly reliable.
If you care much about specs you’re not the target audience for this phone.
Hewing close to stock Android helps. There are a few Blu-imbued flourishes here and there, like the ability to set audio profiles in the swipe-down settings menu, and a camera app that’s as feature-filled as the camera itself is disappointing. For the most part, though, this is very recognizably Android 6.0.
Well, except for all the Amazon apps. There are a dozen of them installed on the R1 HD when it arrives (assuming you get the Prime Exclusive version). That didn’t bother me much. You can’t find some of them, like Amazon Video, in the Google Play store, so it saved me the hoop-jumping that getting some Amazon apps on Android normally requires. What does rankle some is that you can’t delete any of them. That includes apps like Prime Now, a service that’s not even available in my city (it’s only in 27 right now) and Audible, for which I don’t have an account and don’t intend to get one.
The R1 HD comes with the standard suite of Google apps as well, which you also can’t delete. In all, you’re getting a 16GB phone with roughly two dozen apps that you can’t get rid off. You can plop in a microSD card for expandable memory, but as is, you don’t have a ton of space to work with.
There are other, very mild inconveniences to a phone in Amazon’s ecosystem. Photos head straight for Amazon Drive, rather than the backup of your choosing, though it’s easy enough to set up Google Photos or Dropbox as well. Overall, though, if you’re even a semi-regular Amazon user, there’s more to like here than to gripe about.
And then there are the ads. Big, bold ads every time you wake up your smartphone. Ads for mascara, ads for wireless earbuds, ads for Wild Frontier dog food (#1 ingredient real salmon!). Ads in your notification bar that can be easily swiped away and ignored. As far as trade-offs go, it’s not as bad as I was expecting. By now I’ve even gotten used to seeing Zendaya shilling Covergirl instead of the photo of my two toddlers that occupies my Nexus 5. If anything, and I almost can’t believe I’m saying this, I wish the ads were at all targeted, and had a little more variety. I look at my phone dozens of times a day, and what gets me most isn’t the repeated ad blitz, but the repetition. Presumably, as more ad partners sign on, they’ll be able to mix and match a little more acutely.
There’s more to say about the hardware, probably, but going much deeper feels like holding a Big Mac extra value meal to French Laundry standards. This isn’t an iPhone, but it also costs an order of magnitude less than one. The camera? Terrible, don’t use it. The build quality? Sturdy but bulky. Does its vibration mode sound like a deep wheeze sometimes? Sure it does.
But guess what? None of that matters. This is the phone for when you break your real phone and need to fill the gap until you’re ready for a true upgrade. This is the phone you get if you feel like your life would benefit from a second smartphone but don’t want to commit to the idea. Better still, this is the phone you don’t get, but use as a baseline for how inconceivably good and how cheap smartphones have gotten.
The Blu R1 HD isn’t better than anything. But it’s still plenty good.
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