Blackview BV9500 review: a 10,000mAh battery tank-phone

Blackview had us blown away by the BV9000 Pro last year. I was astonished by how good this smartphone was. It had a super strong build, smooth software customized for convenience and a set of cameras that put to shame a lot of best-sellers. Blackview decided to enhance last year’s model by making it almost indestructible.

BV9500 is a beast, it has a 10,000mAh battery and a shock resistant body, ready to follow you on your next adventure, guaranteeing that it will never disappoint you whatever you might ask of it. You can work with it in construction, shipbuilding, farming, military or police and never have to worry about it. You can trek or sail in the middle of nowhere, with BV9500 being your sole computer, communicator, guide and assistant. It’s designed to be the most uncrackable, indestructible smartphone on the market today.

Blackview BV9500 review

While being there for you in the hardest conditions, this 4G enabled BV9500, provides luxuries you never expected from a shockproof phone. It has a Sony dual rear camera, wireless and superfast charging, a side fingerprint sensor, an eight-core SoC with 4GB of RAM, global bands, advanced GPS, NFC and multiple specialized sensors.

There are people that live or work in the extreme, that felt smartphones were a house or office commodity. BV9500 comes as a shocking and pleasant surprise for them.

BV9500 Tech Specs

  • Display: 5.7 inch (1080 x 2160 pixels) LCD IPS screen, 424 ppi, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • SoC: octa-core MediaTek Helio P23 (MT6763T) (4x 2.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A53 + 4x 1.6 GHz ARM Cortex-A53) with ARM Mali-G71 MP2
  • Memory: 4GB RAM with 64GB internal memory or 6GB RAM with 128GB
  • Operational System: Android 8.1 Oreo
  • Photography: 16MP + 0.3 MP  rear camera, Sony IMX298 Exmor RS, f/2.0 aperture, 1.132 µm pixel size, LED. 13MP Samsung S5K3L8 front-facing camera, f/2.0 aperture
  • Network: 2G: GSM 1800MHz,GSM 1900MHz,GSM 850MHz,GSM 900MHz
  • 3G: WCDMA B1 2100MHz,WCDMA B2 1900MHz,WCDMA B4 1700MHz,WCDMA B5 850MHz,WCDMA B8 900MHz. Network type: CDMA, FDD-LTE, GSM, TD-SCDMA, TDD-LTE, WCDMA
  • Dimensions: 81.8 mm x 165.0 mm x 18.7 mm
  • Weight: 365g
  • Connectivity: 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac (2.4GHz + 5GHz), Bluetooth 4.2, GPS + GLONASS, USB Type-C
  • Battery: 10000mAh Li-ion battery with fast charging
  • Characteristics: IP68-IP69K rating, MIL-STD-810G rating, NFC, Dual Micro SIM, fingerprint ID, Face Unlock, 3.5mm audio jack, FM radio, E-Compass, Geomagnetic Sensor, Gravity Sensor, Gyroscope

BV9500 Packaging

The smartphone arrived in a white hard-paper box, with nice details and stickers to present us the basic characteristics of the device. Inside you will find:

  • 1 × Phone
  • 1 × Built-in Battery
  • 1 × Type-C Cable
  • 1 × USB OTG cable
  • 1 × Screwdriver
  • 1 × User Manual
  • 1 × 5V/2A Power Adapter
  • 1 × earphones

This is a full bundle with the earphones being a nice addition to the package.

BV9500 Design

From the first look on the device you understand that this is not an ordinary rugged phone. As I said this a beast, at 365 grams. It is built and looks like a tank. However it is not ugly, far from it. What we see is an industrial design based on the Blackview design lines. If you are into heavy machinery, classic cars, tools etc. you are going to like it.

Everything here follows maximum protection. BV9500 has IP68 rating – that means dust and water resistance (submersible). It has IP69K rating which means it is also protected from powerful high temperature water jets. Last but not least, it has a MIL-STD-810G rating thus making it compliant to the United States Military Standards that guarantees a military-grade durability. The smartphone is drop proof from 1.8 meters.

The body follows the 18:9 aspect ratio and has a 5.7-inch display panel. The display is positioned “inside” the body, with the side frame protecting it from drops. It has a 75% screen-to-body ratio.

Of course, there is protection on the display panel, non-other than Corning Gorilla Glass 5. The screen has a plastic sticker on, practically useless while being a smudge mess. You may want to remove it ASAP.

The upper and lower bezels have the same height. The upper has a visible selfie-cam on the left, the speaker (a wide horizontal line hear the frame in the center), the notification light and the sensors in the right. The side bezels do not follow trends and they are wide, adding to the display protection.

The frame is a mixture of plastic (polycarbonate industrial rubber) and metal (aviation-grade aluminum alloy). The metal part on the sides is the place where the buttons are placed. The left side has two buttons for volume adjustment and a PTT (Push-to-talk) specialized button. The right side has the power/lock button, a side fingerprint sensor and a button customized from the software for various uses. The quality of the buttons is excellent – they do not rattle, their feel and position are great. The bottom has a 3.5 mm headphone jack and a USB-C port.

Note that the top has an antenna placement. The antenna and the PTT button are a feature of the BV9500 Pro edition, so this specific version we have in our hands cannot be used as a walkie-talkie.

The back part is plastic. Both cameras are located at the center of the top side, positioned vertically with a LED between them. Below them there is the hatch that holds two micro SIMs and a MicroSD card. You will need the screwdriver to open and place them. The lower part has the speaker tray. Below there is a placement for a holding strap. The phone is full of screws for design mostly, so don’t be alarmed as you will only need to open the SIM hatch once.

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The hatch for the SIMs has on top the Blackview brand and logo. Below in the back panel there are markings for the main characteristics of the phone like IP68.

With dimensions of 818 x 165 x 187 mm and weight of 365 grams the phone is more than heavy. In calls or browsing your hand will get tired after a while. Handling is great however and this phone will not slip from your hand.

BV9500 Hardware

The IPS LCD 5.7 inch display with Full HD+ resolution (2160 × 1080 pixels) and 18:9 aspect ratio has 424 pixel per inch density. The outcome is vivid, it has high contrast and is very bright at 500 nits for outdoor usage. Viewing angles and color  temperature are good.

The fingerprint sensor on the side is fast and proved to be extremely accurate. Unfortunately, it won’t work if you have wet fingers.

The SoC of the phone is MediaTek Helio P23 MT6763T, an octa-core processor with 64-bit CPU architecture running up to 2.50GHz, manufactured with the 16 nm process technology, while a Mali G71 MP2 GPU handles graphics. The processor handles daily tasks with ease and you can multitask a bit with the help of the 4GB RAM. This is not a flagship powerhouse neither a gaming platform so don’t expect anything great in this category. The combination of SoC, display resolution, battery and software, are energy conservation oriented. Internal storage is at 64GB but can be upgraded up to 128GB using a memory card.

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It supports 4G and multi bands in order to accompany you without issues to your travels. Navigation works flawlessly with satellites locked fast and with good precision. WiFi is of 802.11ac/b/g/n standard and Bluetooth of 4.2. NFC is there to support your transactions.

Call quality is excellent and video calls are good without any issues. Audio is super loud. It is clear and the clarity is excellent. I was so amazed, that I believe you don’t need a Bluetooth speaker with this phone.

BV9500 Software

As usual Blackview relies on stock Android with a few addons. You will find Android 8.1 Oreo with July’s Google security patch inside. There are a few applications to support BV9500. FM Radio, Compass, Flashlight, Sound Recorder, SOS, Cell Broadcast and Blackview Note are standalone applications where Toolbox offers a choice of specialized tools, such as:

  • Sound Meter,
  • Compass + Flashlight (different apps),
  • Pic Hanging,
  • Heart Rate (by touching the camera lens on the back),
  • Height Measure (failed to produce a good result in my hands),
  • Magnifier,
  • Alarm (flashlight, screen flash, sound),
  • Plumb Bob,
  • Protractor
  • Pressure

Google Apps and Android standard applications are there, along with thankfully NO bloatware.

Setting is the usual Oreo package adding a few Blackview options. Smart assistance is the menu where the user can play with some extra software options. You will find System motion, Screen recording, Power save manager, Shortcut manager, Shortcut button, Buttons, LED notification, Flip to mute and Sweep. Security and Location has a Face Unlock option, it is fast and mostly accurate but this is not iPhone X quality with an IR projector so it’s more of a convenience and not a rock-solid security feature. System provides a Gestures menu where you can add the option to double-click the power button in order to open the Camera application.

It is a good looking, lag free UI, based on a seemingly ROM. This software provides the office/house feeling you don’t find in other rugged phones. I liked Blackview’s custom UI from my last years’ experience with BV9000 and I still like it now.

BV9500 Camera

Forget what you knew from the camera samples coming from previous rugged phones. BV9500 has a 16-megapixel Sony IMX298 sensor with f/2.0 aperture in order to capture your memories in the best way possible. This specific sensor is one of Sony’s best-sellers and delivers good results. During the day we will get excellent photos but you will need some time to focus, if you want to get great results. However, I strongly believe that focus speed needs to be updated in the next software update. HDR photos are more than good on the other hand 😉

Bokeh is software applied as in most of the non-flagship phones. It is decent under bright light but nothing to be ecstatic with. The second Sony 0.3MP camera is mostly placed to announce the dual-camera logo and cannot be relied upon for significant shots.

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Night shots have a lot of noise -especially in the corners – but are way better than any other rugged phone I have seen this year.

Selfie-cam has a 13-megapixel Samsung sensor, also a best seller in low mid-range Chinese phones market. Quality is not as good as in the back camera but the results are more than good for social media and video-calls. Keep in mind there is no front LED flash.

Video recording is limited to Full HD and image stabilization is absent. Note also that the focus function creates issues here, especially during night time.

BV9500 Battery

A monstrous 10,000mAh battery is the key selling point of this rugged phone. It is supported by superfast charging (10W) that can charge the battery in 3.5 hours. You will find the SOT of 24+ hours and the 6+ days of (medium) usage extremely pleasant. This is the phone you charge on Sunday night and keeps you most of the week. I have never held a smartphone with such an incredible battery life. It is simply amazing.

Wireless charging is there too. The problem is (the same as with non-fast chargers) that the charging time from 0% to 100% takes too long and thus the functionality exists only as a publicity gimmick.

Blackview BV9500 review – Conclusion

This record holding week-strong battery phone, that is also almost indestructible, is this year’s rugged phone’s champion – according to me 😉

Performance is good, lag free but multitasking and gaming should be tried in “lite” conditions. Photos and videos are good in the day, they have the usual reduction in quality under low light conditions. Focus however is an issue that spoils a pleasant experience, but thankfully sound volume and clarity are perfect!

Software tools/apps are there to be used and the phone is ready to accompany you literally everywhere without any worries. There is only one other competitor and this is the Pro version. With 6 GB of RAM, 128 GB of ROM and an antenna to be used as a walkie-talkie it makes a great alternative – but comes at a cost, as it is more expensive.

Buy Blackview BV9500

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1 Comment

  1. Duarte Bruno
    January 7, 2019

    It is a monster in all aspects, but I wonder what compromises could have been done to keep the weight respectable.
    It nearly weights the same as my DSLR… :O