Blackview mix power with rugged build with the Blackview BV5000 a phone that features a 5000mAh battery back, and water/shock resistant body.
As the phone market saturates Chinese phone makers are desperately looking for a niche that they can latch on to. This year we have seen a number of Chinese phone makers go down the large battery route, and it is now common to see phones with 4000+ internal battery packs.
Another niche that Chinese phone makers keep taking a crack at is the rugged phone market. Blackview have combined the two to create a rugged phone with large battery, and a little added style, so how does it work in the real world?
Blackview BV5000 Review – Design
If I only had three words to describe the Blackview BV5000 they would be thick, heavy and chunky. This is a phone that weighs in at 229g and measures 150.7 x 78.1 x 13.3mm. That would be a lot for a regular 5-inch smartphone, but the BV5000 is made for extreme situations where a knock and tumble in to water are the norm.
In the past, rugged phones were made of bright yellow rubber, featured a screen of only a couple of inches and ran an ancient version of Android (some rugged phones last year still had Gingerbread on them!). The Blackview BV5000 takes rugged phones in to 2015 with a 5-inch 2.5D curved glass display and Android 5.1 Lollipop.
The larger 5-inch panel is protected on all sides with a metal, and plastic bumper design, while the glass itself is Asahi tempered glass.
The chunky design means that the Blackview BV5000 has a lot to hold on too, which is perfect if you are out in the wilderness and you have muddy, wet hands. It also means you can easily grip the phone with gloves, although the physical buttons for volume (left) and power (right) are a little too small for gloved use.
From the curved glass display the Blackview BV5000 tapers off to a black, shock absorbing border. The very corners of the phone get added protection in the form of corner bumpers that protrude from the sides and them curve inwards to metal side rails on the left and right sides.
The base of the phone is completely blank and instead the USB and 3.5mm headphone jacks are located under water and dust resistant tabs at the top of the phone. The rubber protection sits a little too close to the USB plug and I found that only the supplied Blackview cable is long enough to guarantee a proper connection for charging and transferring files.
On the rear the BV5000 looks more rugged than ever with a textured rear panel that reminds me of a Panasonic tough book. The rear panel is removable, but you will need to unscrew 4 screws to get in to the back. Out of the box the screws and a screwdriver come in a separate bag, so don’t forget to put them in before heading out for adventure.
Pulling the rear off you will first come against a substantial rubber seal to prevent the ingress of water. Under this there is the removable 5000mAh battery, dual SIM card slots and space for a micro SD card.
The hefty phone seems to have been designed with most of its weight on the rear of the phone. This is actually a clever idea, and should mean that if the BV5000 falls there is a high chance it will turn in the air and land on the rear of the device rather than the screen.
Blackview BV5000 Review – Hardware
Blackview say they wanted to make the BV5000 as durable as possible while providing enough power for daily use. They also say they didn’t want the specification of the phone to effect the cost too much that it would price it out of the reach of the majority of users.
At $160 the price is about right for a smartphone running a 5000mAh battery, and this time around I am confident that the rating is about right. The physical size of the battery is just huge, easily double the thickness of most other batteries. If it’s not 5000mAh then it is pretty close, and battery life and stand-by time is amazing!
3 days of normal use is what I managed to get from the Blackview BV5000, and I think I could squeeze a little longer out of it. Long battery life is just what you need from a rugged phone and Blackivew have it right.
Blackview say there is also USB OTG for reverse charging too, so with the included OTG cable and USB you should be able to juice up other USB devices from the BV5000 while on the go.
However, I tested this with the OnePlus X, Meizu MX5, Vivo X5 Pro and an SJCAM and not one device would charge. Update: after trying a number of times, the OTG does now indeed work. I’m not sure what the issues was (perhaps a poor connection) but I am not charging my OPX from the BV5000.
A Quad-core Mediatek MT6735P chipset and 2GB RAM run Android 5.1 Lollipop which has already received one OTA update since I have been testing the phone (a good sign and I hope it continues). The P letter at the end of the processor spec means this is just a 1.0Ghz model which helps with the battery life, but will mean gaming won’t be up to much. Benchmarks are below.
I’ve already mentioned the 2.5D glass display, well it has a HD resolution of 1280 x 720 and is quite nice, but lacks in vibrancy. Colours are duller than I am used to and blacks are not very dark. Touch response is good, but I do find it to be a little too sensitive. Even a light brush or touch is enough for the BV5000 to register, this helps improve the feeling of speed on the system (it is very nippy) and help when using gloves (I tested with thin gloves on), but can also lead to accidental touches at times.
With so much already packed in to the BV5000 cameras have been spec’d a little lower than usual. The rear camera is an 8 mega-pixel sensor and the front is a 2 mega-pixel unit. Actually the 8 mega-pixel camera on the rear isn’t bad at all, it doesn’t leave you in shock or awe, but the images that it produces are more than useable for social media etc. I’m also happy to see Blackview list the actual camera sensor in the specs, even though the camera app itself does have a setting to interpolate the sensor to 12 or even 13 mega-pixels.
Audio through the rear speaker is loud but lacks detail. If you want to entertain while camping with the Blackview BV5000 I would suggest taking a Bluetooth speaker.
Blackview BV5000 Review – Performance
Don’t be shocked to see sub 20,000 Antutu scores from the BV5000, this is a phone designed to live through extreme weather, take a knock or two and give the best battery life it can. Don’t buy this phone for overall grunt as you won’t be impressed, do buy it if you don’t game and a rugged build and great battery life are important.
Blackview BV5000 Review – Camera
It’s difficult not to keep repeating myself when it comes to these low-cost phone cameras. The 8 mega-pixel shooter on the Blackview BV5000 performs well when there is light, but the less light there is the slower the focus and the more noise creeps in.
I took the BV5000 out on a sunny day of mountain biking and for still photos its a great camera. If you are in the forest and want to take a photo of a waterfall, cave or flowers then the camera is great (as long as it is light enough). The camera isn’t fast enough for action shots though.
One thing I would like to comment on is how nice it is to be able to use the BV5000 with gloves on. Other phones offer the same feature, but none are as good at this price point.
Blackview BV5000 Review – ROM
The ROM on the Blackview BV5000 is mostly a stock Android 5.1 installation. The theme and launcher thought has been changed to one of with the most terrible icons and UI I have ever seen. Fortunately the phone does support Google services out of the box and in a few moments you can have an alternate launcher running.
Although the BV5000 has just a 1.0Ghz chipset you never feel the ROM lags. It runs well, and runs apps faultlessly. The fact that OTA updates are already rolling out is a bonus too.
Blackview BV5000 Review – Gallery
Blackview BV5000 Review – Specifications
|Color:||Black / Camo Orange / Camo Green|
|Chipset||CPU:MTK6735P Quad CoreRAM: 2GB|
|Android Version||Android 5.1|
|Screen||Display Size: 5-inch HD IPSResolution: 1280 x 720|
8 megapixelFront Camera
|Network and Wireless Connectivity||FDD-LTE:800/900/1800/2100/2800MHzWCDMA: 900/1900/2100MHz
|Battery capacity||Removable 5000mAh|
|Size||Dimensions: 150.7 x 78.1 x 13.3mm
Blackview BV5000 Review – Conclusion
Those of you who know me will also know I like classic cars and in the classic car world we like honest cars. This is to say a car that shows its real self, it doesn’t pretend to be something it isn’t for bad or worse. The Blackview BV5000 feels like an honest phone to me.
Its a big chunky rugged phone with a big battery. That’s what Blackview says it is and that’s what it is once you get your hands on it. The BV5000 might not be a graphics monster but then again it never intended to be, it is however water and shock resistant and will happily survive in a bucket of water for a few minutes without flinching.
In an industry where it is routine to make false claims about battery and camera specifications, it is reassuring to see a physically huge battery in the BV5000 and camera specs listed accurately. Receiving an OTA update during my time with the BV5000 also went along way to me trusting the longevity of the BV5000.
The only deviation to this though is OTG reverse charging, but I wonder if this is something that only affects my phone? Regardless as Blackview do advertise it I’m going to knock a point off the overall hardware score, even though it is something I never use myself. UPDATE: OTG reverse charging is in fact working. I tried a number of times and for whatever reason it is now charing other phones.
Overall I’m very impressed with the Blackview BV5000, its a very well made phone, it looks good despite its chunky nature and offers great battery life and decent everyday performance.
I’m certainly going to keep this one around for when I go mountain biking. The waterproof body, and chunky design make it ideal and the huge battery means I don’t need to worry about listening to music, keeping connected to LTE and running Strava.
If you think that the Blackview BV5000 is the phone for you then don’t go ordering it just yet, Blackview have informed us that they will have a 1 day special sale on this rugged device next week, more details will be available on Monday.