Looking for a rugged smartphone with a long lasting battery? Blackview's BV6800 Pro is fantastic in many ways, but a poor match of battery and processor combined with an uncharacteristically fragile design means you may want to look elsewhere.
Budget Smartphones are getting ever more impressive, but almost all smartphones share one downfall—they’re fragile. The Blackview BV6800 Pro is a budget smartphone designed to be rugged enough for all lifestyles. Is it tough enough?
Previous reviews of Blackview rugged phones showed them capable of taking serious punishment in their stride. Retailing at $250, does the BV6800 Pro carry on this tradition?
What are the Specs?
The BV6800 Pro is impressive both inside and out.
Its specs are:
- 6580mAh battery
- Android 8.0 Oreo / NFC
- Sony 16MP IMX298
- Octa-Core MediaTek CPU
- 5.7″ FHD+ 18:9 display
- 4GB RAM / 64GB ROM
- Dual Sim or SD card and Sim
- IP68, IP69K, and MIL-STD-810G rated
For a phone at this price, these specs are relatively standard and more than adequate for most users. Is it going to go toe-to-toe with a top brand flagship smartphone? No, but then again that isn’t what you would buy this phone for.
The inclusion of an FHD+ 2,160 x 1,080 resolution screen is a nice touch. It looks bright, has good color depth, and watching videos on the phone is an enjoyable experience.
The 6580 mAH battery is also a nice addition. If you are going camping or working somewhere isolated this is a great feature. Double the battery size of some flagship smartphones, Blackview claim up to 30 days on standby or 15 hours of continuous video.
Like most Chinese phones, the BV6800 Pro offers dual sim card capabilities, along with an expansion slot for an SD card. It is worth noting though that you either have two sims or a sim and an SD card, as the second slot is shared.
Rugged and Ready
The main reason this phone will be attractive to most people is its rugged nature. The IP68 rating means it won’t take ingress of dust and dirt and can be submerged at a depth of 1.5m for up to 30 minutes. The IP69k rating means it also is impervious to high pressure and temperature liquids—which is a very specific use case!
The phone is also “Military Certified” which refers to military guidelines for testing the durability of equipment. The phone’s polycarbonate case has aluminum along the side, and a rubberized edge for shock protection. The screen is gorilla glass, and a screen protector is provided for an extra level of redundancy. It certainly looks as though it would take a beating.
How Does It Feel To Use?
How the phone looks depends on your aesthetics, but to me the chunky black, metal, and green case looks great and feels good in the hand. It is heavier than most phones due to its battery and rugged build, but not unpleasant. The power and volume buttons are on the right as is standard in many phones, with an assignable button on the left side.
The fingerprint sensor is located on the back of the phone next to the camera. This took some getting used to, and while I got it in the end, I feel like it would never be as fluid as a thumbprint. However, this design likely allowed for the larger front screen, and it isn’t a massive deal.
The dual Sony IMX298 16MP cameras provide great looking photographs. Blackview’s custom photograph app has various modes, including one called DSLR, which is essentially a manual mode allowing for more control over images.
The assignable side button is a thoughtful feature to add. It can be used to trigger various apps by pressing once, twice, or long pressing.
Uses for this button could be turning on the torch, recording a voice memo, or switching to an app used a lot. Combined with face or voice unlocking it could make the phone usable to those in gloves.
How Does it Perform?
The Android OS felt smooth to use, with no noticeable slowdown. While you probably wouldn’t get this phone for gaming, I found that PUBG mobile on low settings felt snappy and responsive—but the internal speaker did seem generally lackluster for gaming, video, and music in general.
The battery is large and boasts a 30 day standby time, but it might not be quite as impressive as Blackview claim. This is mostly down to the MediaTek MT6750T processor the phone uses. When confronted with specific tasks, the battery doesn’t perform optimally. In testing, this showed the battery in the BV6800 Pro to be not all that effective compared to its competitors.
This outcome is somewhat surprising when compared with other Blackview handsets we’ve reviewed.
The phone comes with a basic set of accessories including a 5v-12v fast charger, USB-C charging cable, headphone with inline mic, 3.5mm jack to USB-C converter, and a USB-C to MicroUSB converter.
At first glance, this seems quite standard. Blackview is yet another company snubbing the 3.5mm headphone port, but in a rugged phone it’s forgivable. The included headphones are decent for a free accessory—though smooth and prone to fall out of ears, which seems an oversight for a phone designed for harsh conditions.
One issue here is that the USB-C connection on the bottom of the phone is recessed, meaning that only Blackview connectors are going to fit. Even if a friend or colleague uses USB-C, you are out of luck. This may explain the inclusion of the USB-C to MicroUSB converter, as you’re more likely to find one than a long USB-C connector.
Again, this recessed charging port is likely designed with ruggedness in mind, which brings us to the most crucial part of this review.
How Rugged is the Blackview BV6800 Pro?
Is it tough enough? In a word, no.
For testing, I planned a walk in the country with a few mishaps. This would cover everything from light drop trauma, to dust and dirt testing, to finally shallow water testing. I want to make it clear; I wasn’t trying to break this phone—I like using this phone, and I hate the idea of breaking technology for entertainment, even in the context of review testing.
Unfortunately, things did not go to plan. At the very start of testing, I did two drop tests of around 1m, to get some action cam footage. On the second drop, the Gorilla Glass screen shattered.
This is perhaps not surprising, as “Military Certification” isn’t a thing. MIL-STD-810 is a set of guidelines set by the military for testing equipment. Some phone companies use these guidelines in their tests, so perhaps “Blackview certified using some military guidelines” would be more accurate.
Clearly, this marked the end of any fair test. Though the phone still functioned, I couldn’t use the screen with my fingers anymore—and any water and dust ingress tests were now rendered pointless.
I know from earlier indoor testing that the phone can function under shallow water, and it seems safe to assume the IP68 rated case can take all manner of dust and dirt. However, IP68 ratings for smartphones are not at all uncommon.
Should You Get the BV6800 Pro
This is a fantastic cheap smartphone. It has a great screen and a decent battery despite its shortcomings. It’s chunky of course, but still aesthetically pleasing and feels good in the hand.
I was excited to review this, as I felt this phone was aimed at me. I’m clumsy, spend a lot of time outdoors, constantly seem to be running low on battery, and until recently worked in a harsh environment. Everything about this phone seemed perfect.
Unfortunately, if it is unusable after a low height drop it’s hard to see any benefit over a regular smartphone in a rugged case.
For this reason, it is tough to recommend this phone over alternatives, or just an excellent rugged protective case.
Courtesy of Blackview, we have a BV6800 Pro to give away. Enter below for a chance to win!