Blackview P2 Android Smartphone Review

Blackview may not be a household name when it comes to smartphones and other mobile devices, but they do make quite a few Android-powered smartphones for the Chinese market and one of the latest from them that we’ve gotten our hands on is the Blackview P2, which comes with a rather large display, a thick yet durable-feeling build, and a nifty reversible Micro USB charging port so you can plug the cable in either way. The Blackview P2 isn’t a high-end flagship device and it certainly isn’t going to be able to compare with them on a spec level, nor is it going to be able to compare with many of the brand-name mid-range devices, but that doesn’t necessarily make the P2 a device that isn’t decent enough to consider if all you want is a smartphone that can offer you some of the latest specs but without the high price. The P2 can fit rather nicely into that category as it won’t be the most powerful smartphone out there so it’s better suited for someone who uses their smartphone more casually. Let’s take a look at what it has to offer and see how it stacks up.

Specs

As stated above when it comes to specifications the Blackview P2 isn’t going to be the cream of the crop in terms of having the newest and most powerful hardware, and that’s fine as that isn’t what Blackview meant this phone to be. The Blackview P2 is sporting a 5.5-inch IPS FHD display, and it comes with a MediaTek MT6750 processor inside complete with four 1.5GHz ARM Cortex-A53 cores and four 1.0GHz ARM Cortex-A53 cores, as well as an ARM Mali-T860 MP2 GPU for the graphics processing and 4GB of RAM. For storage the P2 has 64GB internally which is plenty of space for storing all of your files, but it also has expandable storage support via a microSD card if you need more space.

For cameras, the P2 is working with a 13-megapixel camera on the back of the device with autofocus, dual LED flash, and f/1.8 aperture, while the front camera is an 8-megapixel sensor with an f/2.4 aperture. The device runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and it has a fingerprint sensor located on the back for unlocking the device. Connectivity wise it supports Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, and it also supports GPS and A-GPS, but not NFC, which means no Android Pay payments. The battery inside the device is 6,000mAh so it has plenty of capacity, and the phone uses Micro USB for the charging standard.

In The Box

Inside the box here you get more than you would normally get with most smartphones these days, although a handful of Chinese OEMs will package more than the average manufacturer into their smartphone boxes. With the Blackview P2 you’ll have the phone on the very top once you open up the box, and under it you’ll find the wall adapter and the USB charging cable. Now the Blackview P2 uses microUSB but it looks like a USB Type-C port, so the charging on it should be the same as a standard Micro USB cable, but the difference here is that this cable can be plugged in even if you flip it upside down just like with USB Type-C. So while it won’t really charge any faster or support the same specs as USB C, it does have the benefit of being able to plug in right-side up or upside down. In addition to these items you also get the SIM ejector tool and the user guide, and for some extra bonus items you get a clear silicone case and a screen protector to help protect the device from dings, drops and scratches to the display. Other than that this is pretty much it, but again this is more than you will get most of the time these days even from big brands with high-end flagships.

Hardware And Design

When it comes to the hardware and design the Blackview P2 is a hefty phone. Not necessarily in the terms of size and bulk like a rugged device, as it’s not really coated with any rubberized material like you would find on such a phone, and it’s not bulky, it’s actually pretty thin considering the size of the screen and the battery, but still a bit thicker than we'd like it to be. That said, the screen size is only 5.5-inches but the phone body itself feels larger, and in contrast to something like the LG G6 which has a small footprint for phone size but a pretty large display, this was something a little more shocking to see as we had just experienced handling the LG G6. All that aside, the Blackview P2 has a decent design with a body that is made completely of metal, covered in a sort of matte black finish. It’s fairly thin for its size but it does have some weight to it.

For the hardware you’ll find the camera on the back of the device towards the top but in the middle of the phone’s back, with the fingerprint sensor sitting just below it. On the bottom you have the micro USB charging and data transfer port, while the volume rocker and power button are both located on the right with the SIM card tray located on the left. Up top you have the 3.5 mm audio port so you can plug in a regular pair of headphones if you prefer them to a wireless pair. On the front face you have the sensors and front camera in the top bezel, and in the bottom there is no physical home button but there are capacitive navigation buttons, which is a shame to see as Blackview could have used the on-screen nav buttons like most other devices, and this would allow for more minimal bezels and ultimately more screen real estate. Looking at the Blackview P2 it’s obvious that it isn’t a premium device, but it does have a nice style to it and those that are less concerned with having a premium design on a phone shouldn’t be disappointed here.

Display

By all accounts, this is a decent display as it comes in a 5.5-inch size and it’s Full HD so the clarity isn’t bad at all. That being said, it did appear a little bit on the warmer side and unfortunately it doesn’t have the option to adjust the display temperature like on the Gionee A1 we reviewed last week, which means you’re stuck with the display temperature the way that it is. This isn’t too bad of a trait but it would be nice if the option was there to tweak it just a little. Other than this the display was plenty bright and it didn’t have too much trouble viewing it in direct sunlight, viewing angles were generally decent and responsiveness was more than ok during our time of use over the last week or so.

There didn’t appear to be any issues with the digitizer so that’s also a good thing as often times some of the less expensive devices in this price range can have problems with this particular piece of hardware. Luckily this wasn’t the case with the P2 so users should have no trouble using this device and interacting with it on a daily basis.

Performance

It’s getting harder and harder to tell which devices are lower on the scale when it comes to performance, because chipsets these days are closing the gap on that area thanks to companies like MediaTek who are consistently putting out better and better CPUs that are more affordable than their top-tier competitors. That being said, it was still definitely noticeable to some degree that the P2 is carrying an entry-level CPU. An 8-Core CPU, sure, but an entry-level 8-Core CPU. Now, this isn’t really a bad thing, as the device performed well in most respects during day to day average use and it even performed pretty decently for games. There was little to no lag and although the system nor the games were buttery smooth, they were fairly consistent in their performance and the CPU was delivering enough power to accommodate how the device was being handled.

This doesn’t mean that there were absolutely no issues whatsoever though. There were some times where the system would tend to lock up for a few seconds or more and certain applications wouldn’t open right away, instead just sitting there waiting to decide whether or not they wanted to load. While it couldn’t necessarily recreate this issue on command it did happen more than once and it seems like the issue might have been too many apps open in the background, which should definitely not be an issue because the device has 4GB of RAM, which is more than enough in most cases to handle multiple running apps especially when paired with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Unfortunately, this wasn’t just a one-off problem with the P2 so it’s likely that it may have something to do with the software implementation or perhaps the CPU itself. Whatever the case, the P2 still performed ok in most situations with only a small percentage of the time getting backed up and slowing down.

Fingerprint Sensor

If you’re fond of the fingerprint sensors as an unlock method then you’ll be happy that the Blackview P2 is equipped with one, although this is also becoming more and more common with even entry-level devices, so consumers will definitely see more phones at a lower price coming with them installed. With a fingerprint sensor on a device of this price range I wasn’t expecting it to be as accurate as it is, but the P2 definitely surprised me in that it never once didn’t recognize my finger. The accuracy of the sensor is spot on which is great because it means that users will be able to rely on this as an unlock method over and over and over again. There is a trade-off though as the sensor does take a little bit of time to unlock compared to most other devices out there. So while it is accurate and better than some devices which cost more when it comes to accuracy, it gives up a little bit in the way of speed to act more reliable. This might not be an issue for most users, but there are definitely those that might prefer to have something which unlocks just a little bit faster. Overall though the fingerprint sensor works well and there were no major issues with it at all.

Sound

I’ll start this section off by saying that audio quality on the Blackview P2 was not that great. If good audio on your device isn’t going to be a big issue because you’re either using headphones to listen to music or your other media content, then this won’t matter much, but if you listen to your media through the speakers on your phone more often then you will be disappointed here. To start the P2 only has one speaker, and this isn’t terrible as the Google Pixel only has one speaker, but the audio is still decent. With the P2, sound even at lower levels sounded tinny and blown out, which is a little more understandable when you crank the volume up to near max, but it shouldn’t be this way when the audio is at a much lower level. The P2 doesn’t have the absolute worst audio on a smartphone that we’ve heard before, but it’s truly unfortunate that it was often sounding distorted. The thing that you have to remember is that this is a fairly inexpensive device and the manufacturers do have to make compromises somewhere to keep the cost down. In the case of the P2 the audio quality seems to be one of those areas.

Phone Calls & Network

The Blackview P2 is an unlocked GSM device so it will work in the U.S., but only on 2G and 3G networks which means there is no LTE coverage for U.S. networks when it comes to compatibility here. I wasn’t able to test the network call quality as the device won’t accept a Project Fi SIM card but it does support the following network frequencies.

2G: 850/900/1800/1900
3G: 900/2100
LTE: 800/900/1800/2100/2600

Benchmarks

As stated above in the performance section the Blackview P2 was decent for performance all around with no major issues, but you certainly wouldn’t know it by looking at the benchmark scores. On paper the P2 would seem to perform poorly, but luckily benchmarks aren’t always representative of how a device will actually perform in everyday use. We ran the P2 through three different benchmarks which include AnTuTu, Geekbench 4, and 3DMark for the graphics. If you’re interested in seeing the score you can check the screenshots below.

Battery Life

With a 6,000mAh battery inside you would expect the device to last a long time and it certainly will. If the majority of what you’re after in a smartphone is battery longevity throughout the day, the Blackview P2 is more than capable of delivering. Throughout our time of use it was easy to get more than 8 or so hours of screen on time and it was easy to keep this thing going for a couple of days without having to charge it. We also put the device through a battery test to simulate screen on time and it lasted for about 11 hours and 18 minutes before it was drained all the way to 20%. I am a pretty heavy user of my smartphone so it didn’t quite last 11 hours for me for screen-on time, but the more average user should have no trouble using it throughout the day. With a battery this large you won’t be charging the device every night as there is just no need, though it’s not a bad practice if you simply want to be prepared.

Software

The Blackview P2 is running on Android 6.0 Marshmallow software and it is a Chinese OEM device, but unlike the Gionee A1, or devices from bigger Chinese OEMs like Meizu, Xiaomi, ZTE, and Huawei, the software on the P2 is pretty close to stock in the sense that it is mostly bare bones in regards to features and layout. There are some differences though. There is no app drawer which is pretty common to find with Chinese OEM devices as it’s more popular over there to have all the apps laid out on the home screen. The device also has a theme automatically applied so the UI does look a little different from your standard Marshmallow device, as everything has a sort of Black and Gold theme from the settings menu to the icons to the brightness bar. While I wasn’t particularly fond of this color scheme, it’s easy enough to change as you could simply install a third party launcher and apply any one of a thousands of different themes.

While the mostly stock Android feel is going to be just fine for some, the downside is that there are almost no additional features to speak of. There are no gestures to help make things more convenient, there are no major power saving tools like you’ll find on the Huawei P10 or the Galaxy S8, everything is just rather bland. Having said that there are a couple of extras here when it comes to useful features like the Turbo Download option which can be enabled from the settings menu. If you have cell service on the device and you turn this on it can speed up your downloads as it will pull from both the cellular network and a connected Wi-Fi network (if you’re connected to one) to complete the download quicker than if it was just using one or the other. Other than that, there isn’t really anything else out of the ordinary here since there is no real software UI like you’ll find with Samsung, LG, and Huawei’s devices. The software is a pretty basic affair and that is likely to be ok with most users, as they can simply install apps to get the features they want. There are also a couple of other differences, like Blackview’s decision to use capacitive keys instead of software keys that you interact with on the screen, and the nav keys are a bit strange as the back key is where the recent key should be, and there is essentially no recents key as you simply pull this screen up when long pressing on the home button. This in particular was a bit of an annoyance as it’s different from most other Android devices, and the keys don’t light up which makes it difficult to know where to press.

Camera

The camera on the Blackview P2 is a bit of a mixed bag. When it comes to the quality, the pictures actually turned out ok and I was impressed at the level of quality that I got from some of the pictures I took. A couple looked a little washed out after taking them but for the most part the camera reproduced images that were nice and crisp with decent color. The P2 is working with a 13-megapixel camera on the back so the picture quality was bound to be somewhat decent, but I certainly wasn’t expecting them to be as good as they are. That isn’t to say that the P2 has a stellar camera, because it still had some issues with a little too much noise in certain images, and colors did feel a tad flat in many of them.

As for the features, this is where things go a little bit mixed as there aren’t really a lot of extras in the camera software. There are only two different modes - normal and panorama, so you don’t have a lot of range when it comes to different types of pictures you can take, but you do get some extras, like with the different filters that can be applied to your images before you take them which includes effects like Negative, Whiteboard, Posterize, Mono, Sepia, and others. You also have and HDR option which is easy to toggle on as there is a dedicated button at the top of the camera UI. You don’t have much control over other aspects of the photos, more specifically there is no pro mode like on the Huawei P10 so you can’t really adjust and fine tune the picture much. This isn’t too bad as the images do come out OK in good lighting, but it might not be the same for darker areas, and those who like control to tweak elements of the image might find this camera little too lacking for their tastes. Overall the camera was ok but no great. The pictures will definitely suffice for anyone who just wants a decent working phone that has good enough pictures, but for those that want the best possible camera this might not be suitable.

The Good

Decent build quality

Ok design

Decent screen

Image quality was better than expected

Accurate fingerprint sensor

Really long-lasting battery

Mostly decent performance

The Bad

Quite thick due to the battery size

Not a lot of extra features for the camera

Fingerprint sensor is a little slow to unlock

There were times where the phone would be slow to open apps and the phone would take longer to respond

Very basic software with no real extra features

Wrap-Up

Blackview isn’t a name that most people will be familiar with in the U.S. as it’s not a brand of phone that is sold in the U.S., but that doesn’t mean the phone isn’t any good. It has a decent set of specs for the range of device and it doesn’t look too bad, although it is a bit big. When it comes down to it the P2 is an all-around ok phone which performs well and offers mostly up to date software with a few feature perks like the fingerprint sensor, and the reversible Micro USB charging port.

Should you buy the Blackview P2?

If you can get your hands on one, and if you don’t mind not having LTE connections for the cellular network in the U.S., then it isn’t a bad choice if you’re looking to save some money. It isn’t the best device out there but it also isn’t the worst and it has enough going for it to make it a worthy entry-level phone, not the least of which is the battery life which will more than likely last you at least two days. If you live outside the U.S., chances are you might LTE with this device and then there’s one more added reason to at least consider it.

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About the Author
2015/07/13-1.jpg

Justin Diaz

Head Editor
Lover of food, craft beer, movies, travel, and all things tech. Video games have always been a passion of his due to their ability to tell incredible stories, and home automation tech is the next big interest, in large part because of the Philips Hue integration with Razer Chroma. Current Device: Google Pixel.
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