Blackview is one of the few smartphone manufacturers still offering tough phones, despite the fact that they are currently out of style. Smartphones of today are attractive, useful, and come with a number of functions that were unimaginable five or ten years ago. But because they are so fragile, some professions may call for a tool that is more durable than a typical piece of glass.
Blackview therefore has you covered if, for example, you work in construction or spend a lot of time outside or in nature. The new BV9200 has a lot of upgrades to go through and might be considered the BV8800’s successor. The most of those are improvements, so bravo to Blackview.
Despite the fact that the new BV9200 still has a MediaTek Helio G96 processor inside, it has a faster 120Hz display, a more recent version of Android, better drop protection, faster charging, and a few useful extras like a microSD card slot, wireless charging, a set of stereo speakers tuned by Harman Kardon, and twice as much storage. And Blackview was able to maintain the same starting price as the BV8800 from the previous year.
This BV9200 actually has a slightly more traditional smartphone feel about it. While offering that extra security, it delivers roughly the same hardware as its “normal” competitors. We are a little taken aback by the 8GB/256GB memory capacity that comes standard in the €300 bracket as well as the incredibly quick wired and wireless charging. See what more is under that tough exterior.
Unboxing of Blackview BV9200
The device comes with a 66W fast-charging brick, a USB-C to USB-C connector for charging and data transfer, and all the normal user instructions in a standard retail package.
The phone doesn’t have a protection, but we don’t believe it is required. After all, it is the BV9200’s main purpose. In addition, we like that the charger is included this time around because the BV8800 from the previous year didn’t come with one.
Of course, this is one of those transactions where function takes precedence over design, so appearances aren’t the main selling factor. While the BV9200 is a substantial smartphone that weighs 310 grammes and measures 13.6mm in thickness, it also represents a significant upgrade over the BV8800 from the previous year.
The phone, as to be expected, complies with MIL-STD-810H military standard compliance, which guarantees that it can survive transit shocks, high humidity settings, hot temperatures, and dramatic altitude fluctuations. Even though the current BV9200 and the BV8800 from a year ago both meet the same MIL standard, the new model is claimed to be able to withstand drops of 1.8 metres as opposed to 1.5 metres for the older model. The BV9200 is also certified against water and dust under IP68 and IP69K. This entails immersing for 30 minutes up to 1.5 metres deep.
Around the edges and particularly at the corners, the BV9200 is covered in a thick layer of hard rubber. The sides are lined with metal strips. The volume rocker and power button are located on the right of the device, and the power button, which also serves as a fingerprint reader, is located on the left. You can designate any number of different actions. There is also a microSD/SIM card tray.
The USB-C connector is located in the bottom portion and is covered by a silicone cap and a speaker grille. Since it’s a stereo system, there is also a speaker grille on the top.
Three orange accents and different design features are also present on the back’s black rubber covering. One of these highlights is the lanyard hook, which makes it simple to hang the phone, for instance, from your backpack.
All three cameras, a flash, and an LED status indicator are now housed in a smaller camera island. They are aligned symmetrically, and the hump is not actually a bump. The camera module practically sits flush with the back panel due to the overall thickness of the phone.
The 6.6-inch display on the front has large bezels and is protected by an orange-accented rubber board even when the phone is placed on its face. Unlike its predecessor, the panel is shielded by Gorilla Glass 5, which is fantastic, but despite the phone being generally tough, don’t expect it to endure significant drops. Given how large the top bezel is, however, we fail to see why Blackview chose to use a notch. It ought to have been large enough to accommodate the camera without obscuring the image.
Our final conclusion? The standards it satisfies, then, speak for itself. The phone feels genuinely solid in the hand, despite being somewhat heavy, which is to be expected. The front panel is most likely to break, as is typically the case, and we doubt that it can endure harsh environments and drops, so if you want it to be a truly shockproof smartphone, purchase a good screen protector as well.
The smartphone has a 6.6-inch IPS LCD screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, an improvement over the 90Hz of the previous year. Due to the notch, the resolution is 1080 x 2408 pixels. In relation to that, it is surprising to see a smartphone with a teardrop-shaped notch today. But the BV8800 from the previous year also had one. Additionally, given that the top bezel is already fairly thick, we believe there was enough room to accommodate the selfie camera.
We would have objected to the IPS LCD panel on a €300 phone if it had been any other phone, but we understand why Blackview chose a non-OLED panel in this case.
Sadly, our measured peak brightness isn’t very convincing. There was no brightness boost in Auto mode either, and the highest brightness in Manual mode was 481 nits. This is therefore the brightest it can be, which is not at all suitable for outside use, which is the phone’s primary function in principle.
Furthermore, outdoor legibility is even worse for LCD panels compared to OLEDs due to their higher reflectivity, so higher brightness is preferred.
Although the target customer may not place a high priority on colour accuracy, it must be acknowledged that this screen does a terrible job of it. Greys and whites are blatantly blue and purple-like. We advise utilising the warm colour preset in Specialty mode on the phone because of this. This mode produced the best results for us.
The HRR control is rather easy to use; it climbs to 120Hz if you interact with the display and dials down to 60Hz otherwise. Simple but powerful. Three other modes allow the display to be static at 120, 90, or 60Hz.
The Blackview BV9200 is significantly lighter and slimmer than its predecessor since it has a smaller battery. The detrimental effect on battery life is, nevertheless, obvious. The overall score of 85 hours, in our opinion, is utterly unsatisfactory, especially for a tough phone with a 5,000 mAh battery. Even the Helio G96 SoC doesn’t use a lot of power.
The phone comes with a Power Delivery-compliant, 66W-rated charger. We got 82% of the charge back in just 30 minutes, which is far faster than most competitors, demonstrating that the charging speed is more than enough for the pricing range. Another good outcome was that it only took 55 minutes to charge fully.
The Harman Kardon-tuned stereo speakers on the BV9200 are a pleasant surprise. You will be receiving the real stuff because the left channel isn’t an earpiece.
Although the speakers are loud enough (-26.3 LUFS), their quality is far from ideal. At higher volumes, the vocals and highs begin to ring because the bass is essentially nonexistent. Everything has a bland tone.
Blackview phones are powered by the exclusive Doke-OS, which is based on Android 12 and is currently at version 3.1. For future-proofing, we would prefer the most recent version of Android, but as this is a phone from last year, we can overlook that.
Surprisingly, Doke-OS seems fairly similar to stock Android and has undergone very little overall customization. The general feel, UI components, and customizations are largely stock-like despite the new icons and updated iconography in the general settings menu. One minor exception is the notification shade, which appears to have been directly lifted from Samsung’s One UI. For easy access, all quick toggles have been shifted to the lower portion of the display. The design of the toggles itself is similar to Samsung’s One UI.
Blackview likely has little resources for software engineering, so making things as basic as possible is a sensible approach, which is why we like it.
The navigation is also well-known, although on Doke-OS you can adjust the sensitivity of the back gesture from the left and right edge.
Since this is an LCD panel, there is no AoD function, but wallpapers, themes, and icons can be changed.
The BV9200 provides a customisable physical side key in addition to the standard set of capabilities. With a single, double, or long press, you can assign different actions or open an app.
The Smart window is another often used feature. To activate apps while on the fly, you can pull out a sidebar.
The ToolBag app has what are perhaps the standout features. The tools there aren’t really innovative, and some of them, like the HeightMeasure tool, aren’t very accurate. However, you can trust the barometer, compass, soundmeter, picture hanging, and plumbob. The Protractor ought to work just well as well.
Overall, we enjoy how effectively the software runs despite the fairly antiquated and underpowered Helio G96 chipset because it is straightforward and tidy. Even at 120 frames per second, we didn’t observe any significant stutters or slowdowns.
Utilising MediaTek’s Helio G96 chipset is the Blackview BV9200. It is made using TSMC’s 12nm FinFET manufacturing technology. The Helio G96 contains an octa-core CPU as is customary, with two powerful Cortex-A76 cores operating at 2.05GHz and six power-saving Cortex-A55 cores operating at 2.0GHz.
The dual-core Mali-G57 GPU is part of the Helio G96 processor. We have a dual-core configuration rather than a quad-core, which is fairly disappointing compared to the previous G9x CPUs.
Finally, there is only one configuration of the Blackview BV9200, which includes 256GB of expandable storage via microSD card and 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM.
The results of the standard benchmark tests are in.
As you can see, there are many smartphones that are more powerful than the BV9200 despite the fact that the Helio G96 is a somewhat obsolete SoC. However, given the ruggedness of smartphones in general, we will overlook this flaw. Mostly because, in my opinion, the phone functions just well with the aforementioned chipset in the context of regular day use.
The camera is virtually unchanged from the previous year, but it does not include the IR-assisted Night Vision camera that we found handy. To our surprise, the device enables autofocus. The main shooter is still 50MP, f/1.8, 1/2.76″, 0.64 m joined by an 8MP, f/1.8 ultrawide with 120-degree field of view. Even with far more costly devices, that is a rare find.
Only 0.3MP is available from the third camera on the back, which records depth data.
The BV9200 still has a 16MP, f/2.0, 1/3″, 1.0m front camera.
Here are a few pictures taken in natural light with the main camera. Additionally, the quality is generally quite good.
Additionally, a 2x zoom toggle that crops from the main camera’s centre is available.
The autofocus on the ultrawide is a double-edged sword because the majority of the samples we took were out of focus and fuzzy. One of the few that turned out well is the one below.
Despite having a separate Night mode, the Night mode is activated when shooting in the regular Photo mode. The final effects are good, and stacking the photographs doesn’t take too long.
It is difficult to advocate the 2x zoom at night for the obvious reasons.
The problems with ultrawide focusing are worst at night.
Selfies often have vivid, natural colours and lots of detail.
It’s interesting to note that the phone can record 2K video at a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels.
The Blackview BV9200 competes in a rather specialised market with few other smartphone manufacturers. Even yet, Blackview was able to create a pretty powerful gadget that provided a major improvement over its predecessor while also adding some uncommon capabilities for a device priced at €300. Despite being compared to “normal” smartphones.
We think the phone strikes a good balance between current features and sturdiness. Even while the Helio G96 SoC isn’t particularly impressive, it seems to work just fine with the 120Hz display and the Android 12 OS. The ultrawide camera with autofocus, 256GB of normal storage with a dedicated microSD card slot, quick 66W charging, and amazing 30W wireless charging also caught us off guard.
The BV9200’s poor battery life and display brightness are two of its few drawbacks. We would have preferred better sunlight legibility and a significantly longer battery life as an outdoor-focused smartphone.
The closest equivalent among alternatives, despite being more expensive, is the Ulefone Armour 17 Pro, which has roughly the same hardware. The Ulefone rival, which lacks stereo speakers and delivers slower wireless charging, has a larger battery and a night vision camera on its side.
Finally, the BV9200 is a tough phone that implements many of the crucial 2023 features without breaking the cash. It is well-balanced.
PRO’S & Con’s
- IP69K, shockproof, and drop-tested up to 1.8m height; tough design.
- adequate performance, a 120Hz display, and 8GB/256GB of base memory.
- Reverse wired charging is supported, along with quick wired and wireless charging.
- stereo speakers tuned by Harman Kardon.
- FM radio, LED notification, NFC.
- FM radio requires USB-C headphones, which are not supplied, to function.
- lacks thermal or night vision cameras, among other specialised equipment.
- The display is not bright enough to use outside.
- battery life is disappointing, especially for a tough phone.