Blackview E7 review – modern starter phone for the beginners


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Blackview E7 is a member of introductory segment of Chinese inexpensive phones, so how is it doing with price/performance ratio value ? Will we get some reasonable value for the price? Let’s have a look at what we’ve found out.

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Specifications

• 5,5- inch HD resolution display
• 64-bit quad-core processor MediaTek MT6737 clocked at 1,3 GHz
• 1 GB RAM
• 16 GB ROM + microSD slot
• 8 Mpx camera with AF, LED flash and f/2.2 aperture
• 2 Mpx selfie camera
• dual SIM (2x micro SIM)
• Fingerprint sensor
• Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS
• 4G LTE support
• 2700 mAh battery
• Color variants: white, blue, black (our sample piece)
• Dimensions: 76,8 x 153,5 x 8,75 mm
• weight: 172 g

Packaging

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Inside the package there is a typical Chinese standard of accessories, meaning a charger, USB cable, headphones, manual and a protective screen film or case, so more than you can usually get even from the established brands. The screen film is already applied on the display by the manufacturer so you don’t have to struggle with clumsy application and unavoidable air bubbles by ourselves. I didn’t test the headphones because I don’t think they will beat my low-ends Vsonic anyway.

Design and build – creaking plastic

When I picked the phone up for the first time it didn’t feel so big and I had to assure myself in the specifications list that it really has a 5,5-inch display. Blackview E7 with its ordinary design is not so different from other budget devices, it almost feels like dummy and the designers could show a little more creativity with certain aspects.

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But I get it that for this price you can’t do too much. The body of the phone is fully made out of plastic, the front side is an exception because it’s covered with 2.5D glass. The battery is removable and some might consider it an advantage but I don’t, because it makes the whole body way more fragile and it results in creaking, especially at the bottom edge.

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The placement of buttons and other elements didn’t cause any issues. The power button and volume control cradle are on the right side and both have a good response. On the top edge, there is a 3.5mm jack connector, which i think is a better placement than at the bottom. The left side is plain and at the chin there is a microUSB at the center surrounded by grilles.

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They both remind of speaker grilles but only one of them is working, unfortunately the one which shouldn´t. The grille on the left is a speaker and you can easily cover it with your fingers while using the phone in landscape. On the right there is a microphone, which could get along with only one hole, judging by the look from the inside. So don’t be mistaken, Blackview E7 doesn’t have stereo speakers.

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The back has been left quite empty. At the top left corner there is a lens of 8 Mpx camera with a LED flash and underneath it there is fingerprint scanner, which I would personally rather have at the front. But again that’s just my preference. The front houses a 5,5-inch display with standard capacitative buttons below, but they are not backlit.

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I would expect that at some low-ends in 2012, but not today. Above the display there is a speaker for calls and a lens of the 2 Mpx selfie camera. Another crucial mistake is the absence of a LED flash for the front camera, but that’s common for the budget phones. Personally I don’t use it very often but for some people it’s a priority when choosing a phone.

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Under the back cover there is the removable battery, a microSD card slot and two microSIM card slots. Bonus points to Blackview for not using the hybrid slot so you can use two SIMs simultaneously with your SD card.

All things considered Blackview E7 offers a decent build and design for a reasonable price. But the absence of a LED flash, general creakiness and non-backlit buttons are quite big downsides.

Performance – great performance is (not) worth the wait

The performance of Blackview E7 is not good at all. The problem is not so much in the CPU and GPU, because Those two components have enough power to run several apps at once or run 3D games with reasonable fps. Despite that gaming and overall experience has been a huge letdown. Why? Well this smartphone has only 1GB RAM and that’s simply not enough these days.

The apps keep crashing, loading times are insane and multitasking doesn´t effectively exist. At the beginning I couldn’t play a song from Youtube, because every minute the app just crashed. Fortunately after some time these problem resolved itself, .but still when I played a game and switched to another app I had to start all over because the game restarted.

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When I installed OneDrive, set up the account and downloaded one document, this whole procedure took about 20 minutes because of waiting and apps crashing. With my HTC One A9 I could do it in 2 minutes, so the disparity is staggering.

I don’t know if it’s caused by optimization or just insufficient RAM but it is still the manufacturer´s fault and such a device shouldn´t be released on the market even for such an ultra low price. For a few more dollars you can get better optimized phones with more RAM.

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But not to only criticize the device, the games ran without lags (if messenger notifications didn’t pop up). The simpler ones like Alto’s Adventure were OK and more demanding ones like Asphalt 8 had lower fps (15-20) but they were still playable.

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The potential performance level of the device is solid but the poor optimizations and just 1GB RAM are just dragging it down. If you are a patient person and you have an old phone (5-6 years) then this will not be a problem for you, but that’s a big if.

Display – please press harder

After my experience with budget Doogee Y300 model , where the display was beautiful and sensitive I’ve expected something similar or at least only slightly worse with Blackview E7. But to my surprise E7 reminded me more of an old time Nokia and my last phone Symbian -Nokia C6 with its terrible non-sensitive screen.For a moment, I thought they had used the old resistive technology.

If you are coming from very sensitive display then this display will be a nightmare. I don’t mind the poor performance, I’m patient and I had slower phones in the past, but the sensitivity really annoyed me to the max. My experience can be summarized by the following : I wanted to switch from one song to another in the player.

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I started scrolling and accidentally tapped on another song. In another attempt I decided to use the search bar, but I had to tap the bar 4-5 times before the keyboard showed up. While I was typing I had to press the same key 3 times…madness And don’t get me even about the ,,sensitivity” around the edges. You have to basically “break the glass” to get the response.

If you are coming from a resistive display or a very old Android low-end (even my old HTC Evo 3D, top model of 2011, has a way more sensitive display), then it won’t surprise you, otherwise you are in for a joyride.

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The LCD panel itself has a HD resolution which is not so smooth at the 5,5-inch screen, but for the price tag it’s understandable. Also I’m not saying anything about the slightly dim questionable color saturation . The lowest brightness level might also be a little bit lower. Legibility in direct sunlight is also not the greatest but switching a song or typing a quick message with half of the brightness is possible.

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Camera – noise is all around

I didn’t expect much from the camera and i was absolutely right. It’s just another cheap shooter, which just confirms that phones in this price category simply cannot make good pictures and camera is there only as necessary evil.

The first thing, you notice in the pictures are overexposed spots or rather fields. The sensor simply doesn’t know how to work with light and so for example the sky is white. Another big minus are the colors – faded, dim and unconvincing. Interestingly enough you can see a lot of noise even in pictures taken in broad daylight. If you are planning to show the pictures on a bigger screen or on TV you will not be satisfied with the results.

Only few phones have cameras that can take pictures in poor light and Blackview E7 is not one of them. You can just forget about taking pictures in low light altogether, the phone will not capture almost any light and be prepared for a big load of noise. There is also no chance of capturing moving objects.

It might help to set the camera manually but there is no default app that would allow you to do that. The only thing, you can adjust is exposition. But there is one way how to improve the pictures – use HDR.

And thanks to the insensitive display you have to press the shot button really hard so you probably won’t be making good pictures at first until you get fully used to it, the same goes for manual focus.

Sound – tiny tin man

Since we are in the low-end category, we don’t expect quality sound. In short the speaker does its job but nothing more. The sound is like from a tin can with a buzzing noise that can be heard even at high volume.

The speaking position of it is also very unfortunate because you will always cover it with your hand when you are using the phone in landscape mode. And if you are a fan of quality bass sound, forget about it at all.

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The headphone output quality is slightly better, but again it’s a low-end category. But if I weren´t using PlayerPro and its equalizer, the volume wouldn’t be enough for me. The sound is not very clear and the bass line is not there unless you make it louder in the equalizer manually. Using your own better headphones can of course improve the experience too, but don’t expect miracles.

System – same old, same old

As an OS, Blackview has decided to use the Android 6.0.1. Marshmallow so all good, things are more or less modern.
You can find few interesting features in the settings, that will make your life easier. The first one is the well known Gesture Unlock featuring double tapping to wake or launching various apps using specific gestures.

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The manufacturer gets an extra point for the scheduled turning on and off feature. I don’t use it but for someone it’s a gift from the heavens, especially when not every brand offers it automatically.

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The last interesting feature i want to talk about are smart somatosensors. When you activate them in the settings you can using hand gestures for various controls like switching songs, gallery scrolling or unlocking the scren . And all that without touching the display!

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This technology is not perfect though and sometimes happens that you switch to a different picture or a song than you intended.
I was a bit disappointed by the lack of an application dock, but you can change that with another launcher from Google Play easily. Fortunately the manufacturer didn’t pre-install a lot of bloatware at least.

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Another big issue is not working MTP connection for PC connection (tested on Windows 10). So you can’t download your files directly and you have to rely on the SD card, Bluetooth or the cloud. Transferring via PTP (only pictures) did work though. This is really a crucial fail and big problem in my eyes.

Connectivity – pleasant surprise

I didn’t have any problems to make a call, I could hear the other side perfectly and vice versa. The Wi-Fi connection was also flawless, stable and pretty sensitive The Bluetooth was also fast and I used it a lot since I couldn’t get files into the phone using any other way.

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But I would like to commend the finger print sensor. For starters I was surprised to even find it here because not even quite many more expensive devices have it. The sensor is fast and precise and it can even unlock the display directly which not even Apple or Samsung models can. When you have the display turned off the unlocking takes some time (about 2 seconds), but if you wake it up first then it takes about 1 second.
Although the speed can’t compete with HTC One A9 or iPhone SE it offers more than the competition in the same price range. If a finger print scanner is your priority then Blackview E7 is not going to disappoint.

Battery life – unexpectedly long

If there is something I’m really pleased with, then it is battery life of Blackview E7 . The phone has an removable battery with a 2700 mAh capacity. I have to admit I’m not one of the real power users and my typical day consists of just some light browsing, some music and very little gaming.

If your day is similar to mine then you can expect the battery life to be about 2 to 3 days. Of course if you are more demanding, expect everyday recharging.

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I did a small test too on my on, charged the phone to 100%., then I played a video loop for 3 hours on 20% brightness and 75% volume. Then I had a camera turned on for 30 minutes and I was taking pictures and another 30 minutes I left it on standby. Result? In the evening I was at 61%. Not bad

Don’t forget to buy a new charger though, the one included in the package has only 1A so it’s pretty slow. Even if Blackview E7 won’t be among phones with the longest battery life, for the price it offers a decent one.

Conclusion

I must admit I was a bit disappointed with Blackview E7, even considering the roughly $70 price tag. There are some serious flaws in the phone, mainly the underwhelming camera performance reminding me of 2010 or the insensitive display resembling a lot the older resistive technology when you had to push really hard. Sound quality is also not anything special and the same can be said about the creaky plastic build.

On the other hand this smartphone has a few bright points too. The battery life is solid, some extra system features can be handy, fingerprint sensor is excellent considering the price range and some people can surely like the conservative design (especially the black one). Personally i think there are better phones around than the Blackview E7, but maybe it can find some potential fans and if you would be such fan then you can get it for example in here for $79,99.

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