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What if you could get a brand new phone for a little over $100? That’s a fraction of the price of today’s flagship devices Galaxy S7 Edge Review and Giveaway Galaxy S7 Edge Review and Giveaway Samsung's back again with some new smartphones: the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. It's still a premium device with uniquely curved edges, but should you consider upgrading? Read More , and these phones have gotten significantly better over the last couple years.

The Blackview R6, which is currently on sale for $113 at AliExpress, is probably the highest-end phone you’ll find in this price range. Its specs are nothing to sneeze at, but obviously it does have to make some compromises to be so cheap.

So let’s take a closer look in this review of the Blackview R6.

Specifications

  • Price: $110–$150
  • Chipset: 1.5 GHz Quad-Core MediaTek MT6737T
  • RAM: 3 GB
  • Storage: 32 GB
  • Cameras: 16 MP rear-facing with Optical Image Stabilization, 5 MP front-facing
  • Size: 152.3mm x 77.1mm x 10mm (6.00in x 3.04in x 0.39in)
  • Weight: 160g (5.64oz)
  • Screen: 5.5″ 1080p LCD
  • Expansion: microSD card slot up to 128 GB
  • Battery: 3,000 mAh
  • Operating System: Skinned version of Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • Extra Features: Fingerprint scanner, dual SIM support, microSD card support, FM Radio

Hardware

blackview

For most cheap phones, the first thing to go is build quality. I don’t feel like that’s the case with the R6. The back is plastic, but it’s sturdy, doesn’t creak if you put pressure on it, and even looks like aluminum. It also has a metal frame with chamfered edges that make it feel a lot more high-end than it is.

blackview

There’s a fingerprint scanner on the back in the same position as on the Google Pixel Google Pixel XL Review and Giveaway Google Pixel XL Review and Giveaway Google's first branded device delivers one of the best devices in the Android ecosystem: the $770 Pixel XL. The XL launched with similar specs as the $500 Nexus 6P, but is it worth $770? Read More . The speaker is located on the lower corner of the back, the micro-USB port is on the bottom (no USB Type-C here), the headphone jack is up top, and the volume rocker and power button are on the right side.

Though you can’t access the fingerprint scanner while the phone is resting on a table, it does make it easy when you’re holding it. There’s no swipe action available to pull down the notification shade like on the Pixel, but it is reasonably fast. No as fast as the Moto G4 Plus Moto G4 Plus Review Moto G4 Plus Review Motorola has been the leader of the budget phone realm ever since they came out with their Moto G line, but the new Moto G4 Plus has taken things to the next level. Read More , for instance, but much better than how these scanners used to be.

blackview

That plastic back pops off, revealing the two SIM card trays and the microSD card tray. All together, it’s a bit of a thick phone, measuring in at 10mm. Otherwise it’s a pretty average size for a 5.5″ device.

The 1080p screen isn’t the greatest. It does get relatively bright for outdoor use, which I appreciated, but the color calibration just seemed off, and the colors in general felt washed out. The worst part was probably just the viewing angles — colors get significantly warmer or cooler depending on what angle you hold the screen at.

blackview

But, the 1080p resolution at least means that it’s all crisp. We’re past the days of budget phones being terribly pixelated beasts. The 2.5D glass actually feels really nice around the edges where it slides off smoothly, allowing for slick swiping gestures.

Oddly, Blackview has stuck with the Options button rather than the Recents button in the row of three capacitive keys along the bottom. Since Android is made for using Recents now, it’s a bizarre layout for a new phone. Most of the time, the Options button is useless unless you’re in a very old app or the Blackview’s default homescreen. To access your recent apps, you need to press and hold the home button, which is a good deal more time consuming.

blackview

The Blackview R6 does also come with a few goodies, including a screen protector, a clear case, and a pair of headphones. Obviously, these are all pretty budget items, but it’s nice to get them in the box so you can protect your device right away and at least have a backup pair of headphones.

Camera

blackview

The R6’s cameras pack the same megapixels as many other phones: 13 MP on the back and 5 MP on the front. That rear-facing camera even has Optical Image Stabilization, which isn’t even present on some higher-end phones. That’s meant to help with low-light performance and allow videos to be less stuttery.

In my testing, I couldn’t tell that it was doing much. The resolution may be high on these cameras, but the photos won’t blow you away. Though at this price point, I don’t think they’re meant to.

blackview camera

However, the interface is especially off-putting. Instead of keeping the stock Android camera, Blackview gave the buttons some shading, giving it an outdated appearance. At least it has standard features like the panorama and beauty modes.

Speaker

blackview

Being placed on the back of the device isn’t exactly ideal placement for the R6’s speaker, but it still manages to get reasonably loud. Compared to other modern smartphones I’d say that it sounds a good deal more tinny.

It won’t be crystal clear audio, but it should be fine for blasting a YouTube video every once and awhile.

Software

Though it is running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Blackview has tweaked the software quite a bit. The interface is much more iPhone-like, with no app drawer and rounded, colorful buttons. Apps that don’t have a custom button designed for them just have a rounded orange background behind their default logo. You could change this with an alternative launcher What Is the Best Free Android Launcher? What Is the Best Free Android Launcher? Nova launcher, Apex launcher, and dodol launcher are all solid free launchers, but which is the best? We put them to the test. Read More , of course.

blackview

Other tweaks are less heavy-handed, like the light blue accents and modified icons in the notification shade, and the colorful icons in the Settings menu. There are also a couple of pre-loaded apps How to Remove Bloatware on Android Without Rooting How to Remove Bloatware on Android Without Rooting Did your phone come with a bunch of crappy apps pre-installed? Let us show you how to get rid of them the easy way. Read More like Xender, Email, and Music, that you won’t find in stock Android.

One of the strangest changes is a persistent notification if you have App Permissions enabled What Are Android Permissions and Why Should You Care? What Are Android Permissions and Why Should You Care? Do you ever install Android apps without a second thought? Here's all you need to know on Android app permissions, how they've changed, and how it affects you. Read More . In Android 6.0, permissions switched to being approved on a case by case basis, which is smart — you get to control what permissions your apps have access to. But on the R6, if that is enabled, you’re stuck with a persistent notification. If you disable it, allowing all apps to have any permission they want without asking (which obviously is less secure), only then will the notification go away.

blackview

That change is puzzling since in stock Android you can’t even disable the App Permissions feature, so why would Blackview incentivize disabling it with an annoying notification?

Blackview did add some handy features, though, including the ability to double-tap the screen to wake it, as well as a few other on-screen gestures and even some motion-activated non-touch gestures — like waving your hand over the phone on the lockscreen to unlock it.

Performance

MediaTek isn’t exactly known for powerful processors, and the R6 is no performance beast, but it’s certainly good enough. There’s very little lag when navigating around menus and switching between apps.

Sure it will start to struggle if you’re using lots of intensive, demanding apps at once, but in average usage, I don’t think you’ll notice a slow down. That’s a big departure from how budget devices like this used to be.

However, there is one big caveat for American buyers: the Blackview R6 does not have the proper bands for 4G LTE data in the US. AT&T and T-Mobile, the two largest GSM wireless carriers, use 700, 1700, and 1900MHz — but the R6 has bands for 800, 900, 1800, 2100, and 2600MHz. If you’re in the UK or elsewhere, this shouldn’t be a problem (double-check your carrier’s bands, though), but it’s a major letdown for Americans who will only be able to get 3G data speeds.

Battery Life

With a 3,000 mAh battery, you might expect some solid battery life out of the R6, but sadly, that’s not the case. While most smartphones struggle with battery life, you can get a solid 5–6 hours of Screen on Time (SoT) on a good device, and closer to 8–9 on a great one. For me, the Blackview R6 generally gave out at around three hours.

blackview battery

It did well on standby, not draining too much with the screen off, but its weak system on time is disappointing. Since the basic micro-USB doesn’t offer any kind of fast-charging capabilities, you’ll need to be prepared to wait a couple hours or more for it to charge up fully.

Should You Buy It?

The Blackview R6 has a very specific market: folks outside the US who need the cheapest quality phone available. If you’re in the US, the lack of 4G LTE is a real dealbreaker. But if you’re outside the U.S., the R6 offers some really great specs at a low price. It feels and looks higher end than it is — for the most part.

Buy the Blackview R6 at: AliExpress

Our verdict of the Blackview R6:
American buyers should pass due to the lack of LTE support, but it’s not a bad choice for budget-hunters outside the U.S.
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  1. Oscar García
    April 16, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Realistic options for people who want something very punctual: if the battery is urgent and nothing more: its probably your best choice ... btw: i have readed that the weight is considerable and it tooks hours to charge but ey... its part of it.
    Generally though: I think the X1 is way more balanced and got an excellent performance / price ratio : Octa-Core 1.5 GHz, 4GB ram, 64GB mem , two 13 Megapixels cameras and ip68 ( it comes with Lollipop but can be upgraded to 7.0) . Curious Bv, tho!

  2. Roge!
    March 11, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    Poor US : really the lack of 4G LTE is a killer xP love this very "punctual" phones. Lets be clear: IS NOT a mini Iphone at $ 150 and comparisons are out of line ... personally, in the end do went with Agm in the middle range - basically pq I have had better previous experiences with them... but the message is the Same: people There's a whole world beyond Apple and/or Samsung, guys :S !!

  3. Jerry Kobriger
    January 4, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    Inexpensive and decent...I have four kids, this might be a good option.

  4. Giorgio Tulio Scampini Chin Aleong
    December 23, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Me gustaria ganarlo

  5. Ahmad Faisal Aziz
    December 23, 2016 at 9:18 am

    I think it will be the best gift for my wife:)

  6. Ahmad Faisal Aziz
    December 23, 2016 at 9:17 am

    i think it wil be a best gift for my wife :)

  7. Daniel Chesham
    December 23, 2016 at 3:04 am

    i never once in my life won a thing

  8. christina moore
    December 22, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    I love this phone, thank you for tho wine chance t

  9. Pamela
    December 21, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    A great Christmas gift for someone I know! Thanks for sponsoring this, muo.

  10. Rachael Ashmore
    December 20, 2016 at 7:04 am

    Fantastic giveaway thanks for the chance and merry Christmas ???

  11. Oleg Kaniovskiy
    December 16, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    nice phone and low price

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 16, 2016 at 6:10 pm

      yup definitely!

  12. Oleg Kaniovskiy
    December 16, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    nice phone

  13. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    December 15, 2016 at 8:19 am

    So now I am not a real person if I don't own Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
    Really, MUO?

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 16, 2016 at 6:10 pm

      idk why you posted this. you can certainly be a real person without twitter, facebook, or instagram lol. but this was a phone review not even about social media?

      • Lisa Santika Onggrid
        December 16, 2016 at 6:18 pm

        Try to enter the giveaway. It now won't let you in unless you sign in with any of the three services, citing that it has to prove that you're a real person. I've been with MUO for six years, and this is the first time this happens to me. I do not have Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, and I have my reasons. Just a bit disappointed with that text.

        I'm sorry that it may sound uncouth. On the other hand, the review itself is nice. Pardon me if I've accidentally slighted you, Dennis.

        • Riley J. Dennis
          December 16, 2016 at 6:43 pm

          no problem, Lisa! maybe we're seeing something different. when I look at the giveaway widget, it offers me the option of signing in with Email, Facebook, or Twitter (not Instagram). does it appear differently for you? email should be an option, and if it's not appearing that way for you, i'll have to check with folks behind the scenes to see what's up (i don't control the giveaway widget at all). but we do at the very least need an email because we need a way of contacting you if you win the giveaway.

      • Lisa Santika Onggrid
        December 16, 2016 at 6:49 pm

        It works good now. I'm not sure why but yesterday, after I chose email and was about to attempt the activities to increase my entries, it suddenly prompted me to sign in with either Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Whatever it was seemed to be fixed.

        Thank you, again!

        • Riley J. Dennis
          December 16, 2016 at 6:50 pm

          ah okay cool, glad it's been fixed. good luck in the giveaway!

  14. Christopher
    December 14, 2016 at 8:54 am

    I own a blackview crown octa core phone. It' ok but i am not happy at all. The battery drains within a few hours on standby even with wifi and 3g off. That's around 10-12 hours. I replaced the battery with a new one, i calibrated it many times but it is still the same low quality. GPS takes ages to get position and always shows me off the road and it's slow.
    The screen is ok but sometimes it clicks the wrong buttons while typing.
    Never had problems with freezing etc.
    I tried to contact blackview on facebook but they blocked me. I also tried to ask for help in their forums but they never replied.
    I wouldn't bother to buy another blackview and carry a 20,000mah power bank with me again.

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 16, 2016 at 6:07 pm

      thanks for sharing your experience with the phone!

  15. Saku
    December 14, 2016 at 4:10 am

    Cool stuff from MUO! I mean who wouldn't be surprised by this review. Per US/UK standard, Blackview is literally unknown, so this is much welcome.

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 16, 2016 at 6:08 pm

      thanks! yeah i definitely hadn't heard of them before but it's always nice to try out devices from different manufacturers.

  16. Leisa
    December 14, 2016 at 2:39 am

    The link to AliExpress shows that the phone supports 4G LTE. Why do you say it doesn't? Was it not supporting it initially and later changed?

    • Christopher
      December 14, 2016 at 8:56 am

      I own a blackview crown octa core phone. It' ok but i am not happy at all. The battery drains within a few hours on standby even with wifi and 3g off. That's around 10-12 hours. I replaced the battery with a new one, i calibrated it many times but it is still the same low quality. GPS takes ages to get position and always shows me off the road and it's slow.
      The screen is ok but sometimes it clicks the wrong buttons while typing.
      Never had problems with freezing etc.
      I tried to contact blackview on facebook but they blocked me. I also tried to ask for help in their forums but they never replied.
      I wouldn't bother to buy another blackview and carry a 20,000mah power bank with me again.

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 16, 2016 at 6:07 pm

      did you.... read my review at all.....? i'm just going to copy and paste the relevant paragraph from the article lol:

      "However, there is one big caveat for American buyers: the Blackview R6 does not have the proper bands for 4G LTE data in the US. AT&T and T-Mobile, the two largest GSM wireless carriers, use 700, 1700, and 1900MHz — but the R6 has bands for 800, 900, 1800, 2100, and 2600MHz. If you’re in the UK or elsewhere, this shouldn’t be a problem (double-check your carrier’s bands, though), but it’s a major letdown for Americans who will only be able to get 3G data speeds."