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Blackview's BV5800 Pro builds on their past successes, creating a rugged phone that is both durable and desirable at an incredibly affordable price.
Modern electronics are quite fragile; none more so than your smartphone. The irony is that we tend to have our smartphone with us in all conditions—while working, outdoors exercising, or just out in the rain. These often expensive gadgets have a habit of breaking or getting damaged in any number of situations.
We buy screen protectors and pricey cases to protect them, but even they don’t always prevent the almost inevitable cracked screen. Could a rugged device like the Blackview BV5800 Pro be the answer, achieving a balance between performance and durability?
- Operating System: Android 8.1
- CPU: MT6739 Quad Core
- RAM: 2GB
- Storage: 16GB internal, expandable
- Battery: 5580mAh
- Display: 5.5 inches, 1440×720, Gorilla Glass 3
- Dimensions: 6.18 x 3.09 x 0.61 inches
- Front Camera: 8 MP
- Rear Camera: 13.3 MP
- 2G: GSM – 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
- 3G: WCDMA – 850/900/2100 MHz
- 4G: FDD – B1/3/7/8/20/40
- Features: NFC, Wireless Charging, IP68 Rating, Fingerprint Reader, Dual SIM support
- Price: $149.99 from AliExpress
As the BV5800 Pro is a rugged device, it won’t come as a surprise that it is quite bulky. It weighs a fairly hefty 250g, compared to the iPhone X’s 174g. The BV5800 Pro is also twice as thick as the iPhone X—0.61 inches versus 0.3 inches.
At first, it seemed awkwardly large, but then I’m used to the relatively svelt Google Pixel. The phone felt uncomfortable in my pocket, but the main takeaway is that it did fit. Like the Pixel, you can find the BV5800 Pro’s fingerprint reader on the rear of the device, just below the camera.
The device is mostly covered in a rubberized plastic, with two metal plates along the side, and one on the rear around the camera and fingerprint reader. The two plates on the side are home to the BV5800 Pro’s hardware buttons; power on the right, volume and customizable SOS buttons on the left.
Although the phone looks like a rugged brick, opening the charging and headphone flaps proves otherwise. Underneath the external casing, is a smartphone like any other but without the outer finish. These flaps are vital as they help the phone to achieve it’s IP68 waterproof and dust-proof rating.
The 5.5-inch screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 3, which sounds exciting, but is actually rather pedestrian. Gorilla Glass 3 was first introduced at CES 2013, and Gorilla Glass products can be found on over five billion devices worldwide.
The design of the BV5800 Pro is unlikely to inspire the kind of enthusiasm often felt for Apple’s devices. However, it isn’t wholly unattractive either. The colored accents add a little flair.
One of the BV5800 Pro’s most notable features is that it runs Android 8.1 Oreo. Budget smartphones often run versions of Android that are at least a year or two out of date. To find the most current iteration of Google’s operating system here is a welcome surprise.
And it isn’t the only one. The phone comes with support for wireless charging and quick charge. It has in-built NFC which means you can use it for contactless payments. The fingerprint reader is a fairly standard feature in 2018, but its inclusion on such an affordable phone is an oddity.
The BV5800 Pro supports 2G, 3G, and even 4G networks. There is even Dual SIM support, with the SIM tray accessible on the right-hand metal plate. The second SIM slot also doubles as the tray for expandable storage. However, this does mean that you have to choose between expandable storage and a second SIM card.
Performance & Battery Life
If you are considering purchasing a rugged phone like the BV5800 Pro, then performance is probably not high on your priority list. The $150 price-tag may also make you doubt how good the device could realistically be.
The BV5800 Pro uses an entry-level CPU and has just 2GB of RAM. Intensive tasks like photo and video editing and many games stutter and occasionally crash. It’s clear that this is not a flagship device. Given those specifications, you’d expect the phone to handle multitasking poorly, but that isn’t the case.
Android 8.1 is the best iteration of Android for multitasking performance and battery life. If the BV5800 Pro ran an older version of Android, it might have been unusable. However, it breezed through almost all day-to-day tasks like checking emails, social media, and taking photos.
The sizable 5580mAh battery is a significant strength. For comparison, Samsung’s Galaxy S9 comes equipped with a 3000mAh battery. The large capacity battery means that, depending on usage, you can expect the device to last up to a week on a single charge. Playing a YouTube video at full brightness and full volume saw the BV5800 Pro last almost nine hours.
The main selling point of the BV5800 Pro is its rugged design. While its reasonable performance as a smartphone is a bonus, the durability of the phone is what’s important. The two key features here are the phone’s IP68 rating and durable outer shell.
Water & Dust Proofing
The BV5800 Pro achieved IP68 rating, which means that it is completely protected against dust and is waterproof for depths of over one meter. Blackview’s specifications claim that it is waterproof at 1.5 meters for up to two hours.
After testing the device, there was no indication that this wasn’t the case. The phone survived multiple submersions and contact with running water. There seemed to be no lasting damage or performance issues. The only observation was that under running water with the screen unlocked, the water would interact with the screen as if you were touching it.
Dust resistance is more of a long-term concern; however, we did subject the phone to incredibly dry soil and dirt. As promised, the device was entirely dust free after a quick wipe down.
Waterproofing is an increasingly common smartphone feature. So while its a huge benefit for the BV5800 Pro, the phone’s most distinguishing feature is its ability to withstand damage. The tough outer shell is designed to protect the delicate electronics underneath.
While reviewing the phone, I inadvertently gave it a quick test after accidentally dropping it as I carried it around the back garden. Aside from a few minor scuff marks around the corners of the case, there was no noticeable damage. Contrast this with the Google Pixel, who’s screen shattered after it fell about 20cm onto the same surface.
Knowing it could survive day-to-day accidents, it was time to move on to more challenging tests. Stationed about five meters above ground in the top floor, I dropped the phone onto the concrete in the back garden. Unfortunately, this led to the premature end of the damage testing. The phone landed on the upper right corner, and the impact sent spider cracks all across the screen.
This shouldn’t necessarily count against the BV5800 Pro. The corner of a device is naturally one of its weakest points. As the impact surface area was minimal, the force was concentrated in that area. If it had landed on its front or back, the outcome might have been different.
The important thing to note from this test was that the phone did still work. A simple screen repair would get the phone back in action. However, as many screen repairs often cost upwards of $100, this may not be economical.
Should You Buy The Blackview BV5800 Pro?
Rugged devices aren’t for everyone. They trade modern design for practicality and function. For the most part, they are niche devices for those of us with a higher risk of damaging our gadgets.
The Blackview BV5800 Pro, however, makes a compelling case that rugged phones could be mainstream devices. Mediocre internal specifications aside, the phone checks almost every desirable box.
The phone has 4G and Dual SIM support alongside wireless and quick charging. There is a 13.3 MP camera and fingerprint reader on the rear of the device. It runs the latest version of Android and isn’t crammed full of bloatware. The gigantic 5580 mAh battery means the phone will last for days. It’s even water and dust proof.
To get all of that for just $150 is, frankly, incredible.