Blackview BV7000 Pro Review: Durable On A Budget

May 3, 2017 - Written By Justin Diaz

The BV7000 Pro is a nice durable phone with few compromises.

Blackview isn’t exactly a well-known brand in the U.S. and other markets outside of China, but we’ve reviewed a number of their smartphones here and one of the latest to hit our desk is the BV7000 Pro, a rugged smartphone that boasts supreme durability without having to empty out your pockets. One of the first things we noticed about the BV7000 Pro is that it’s actually a decent looking device compared to some of the other smartphones out there that are built for Durability, and it isn’t too heavy which was kind of shocking as I was expecting it to feel a little more heavy than it is. This isn’t a bad thing. On the contrary it’s actually quite nice as it felt less cramped in my pocket during use. Let’s take a closer look at the BV7000 Pro and see what it has to offer the consumer.

Specs

The first thing you’ll see on this device is the display, which comes in at 5-inches in size so the screen isn’t massive, which is interesting since the phone looks and feels about as big as a phone with a 5.5-inch display. The resolution of the screen is Full HD so things are mostly clear and easy to see as well as interact with. On the front it has an 8-megapixel camera sensor while on the back it has a 13-megapixel camera sensor, and it’s equipped with a fingerprint sensor just below the rear camera module. On the inside the BV7000 Pro is powered by a MediaTek processor, specifically the MT6750T CPU which we’ve seen in quite a few phones already. This is paired with a Mali-T860 GPU for the graphics processing as well as 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage space for apps, games, files, and media. It also supports expandable storage if 64GB isn’t enough, though for many it will probably be plenty of space. It has a 3,500mAh battery inside which actually lasted quite a while during our testing, and it runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow for the software version, so it’s unfortunately a little bit behind on the software. What’s nice is that it supports USB Type-C for the charging and data transfer port so plugging it in was never an issue. It’s also featuring an IP68 rating against dust and water which adds to the durable build.

In The Box

There’s actually more in this box than you’ll find in the boxes of most smartphones these days which was kind of nice to see. Blackview is packing in some extras for consumers which is a decent little perk. Upon opening the box you’ll find the phone on top, then if you take it out and pull on the little tab that’s under it, you can lift the section of the box that holds the phone and under this you’ll find the quick start guide, the SIM ejector tool, the charger, a USB A to USB C cable, some earbuds, and even an additional screen protector. We say additional because there is already one applied to the phone display, so you essentially get two here.

Hardware & Design

Right off the bat it’s easy to tell that this is a device that is not built to be the most stylish smartphone out there. That isn’t to say it isn’t decent looking. It is a decent looking smartphone but it definitely won’t be to everyone’s liking. It’s built ruggedly so it can withstand a drop or two or three, and it can be submerged in water. The design is intended to hold up to life’s little mishaps. Like many other ruggedized phones before it the BV7000 Pro features a rubberized material as part of the frame for an outer coating on the top and bottom of the phone, and exposed metal frame for the sides. The back also has the same rubberized material you’ll find on the top and bottom and this material even surrounds the edges of the display, so it’s pretty well-protected. You’ll also see that Blackview used a matching style for the buttons, though this is just a textured hard plastic and doesn’t have a rubberized grippy feel to it.

When it comes to the hardware, the BV7000 Pro has capacitive keys on the front face of the device sitting in the bottom bezel of the screen. In the top bezel you will see the earpiece, along with the ambient light sensors to the right of it, while the front camera and LED indicator light are to the left of it. On the right side of the phone you have the power button and volume up and down buttons towards the top, and more towards the bottom you’ll see what looks like a dedicated camera button. While it can be used for opening the camera, this is actually a smart button that can be configured to complete a number of different functions, from opening an app to doing things like taking a screenshot. You can find the configuration settings for this inside the phone’s main settings menu. Flipping things over to the left side of the phone, this is where you’ll find the SIM card tray. On the bottom you have the charging port which also has a seal for keeping it covered up when not in use, and up top you have the same kind of enclosure for the 3.5mm audio port. If you flip the phone over you’ll find the camera and LED flash module up top with the fingerprint sensor just below it, and at the bottom you’ll see a metal plate with the Blackview logo on it. Just below that, you’ll find the phone’s one and only speaker.

Display

The display on the BV7000 Pro is one of the finer points of the device in my opinion. It’s perfectly clear and sharp with good color contrast and a brightness level to it that appears brighter than it is without actually having to adjust the brightness up to the highest possible levels. This was great because I was able to view the screen in just about any setting and because I wasn’t having to move the brightness slider all the way to the right it helped with battery life. If there was one complaint it’s that the screen did seem a little less bright than it actually was with the background and icons that come on the home screen out of the box. Because everything was dark the display just felt overall darker. The good thing is that this is easily changeable because you can simply download a third-party launcher from the Play Store and install an icon pack. From there you can also just use a new wallpaper and almost instantly things felt and looked brighter.

Brightness and clarity aside, the display was also very accurate when it came to interacting with it. I had no missed presses or issues with it recognizing my touch, and this is due to the quality of the digitizer. While it’s probably not the most expensive or high-end digitizer that’s out there for mobile devices, it worked just fine and didn’t seem to have any problems whatsoever, which just goes to show that you don’t need to have a super high-end digitizer to make sure that the screen works well. The display on the BV7000 Pro may only be Full HD, but that’s really more than enough for a phone display especially one of this size. Unless you absolutely have to have a Quad HD display on your phone, you shouldn’t be disappointed with this screen.

Performance

The BV7000 Pro had both good and bad parts to the performance I found but it was much more good than bad. While there were clear defining points where I could tell the phone was lagging a little bit when doing something as simple as moving through the menus and just browsing through apps, it went the opposite direction when doing things where high performance really felt needed and this was when I was trying to multitask with multiple apps running or when I was trying to play a game. In general the performance mostly felt smooth during use even with the few hiccups that were there. Blackview has used a MediaTek processor here and while CPUs like Qualcomm’s Snapdragon or Samsung’s Exynos lines are more associated with good performance, the MediaTek MT6750T is nothing to shake a stick at. It also helps that the phone has 4GB of RAM to assist in keeping things running smooth most of the time, though it might be just a little more polished if the phone had Nougat software instead of Marshmallow. Overall though it’s decent performance and even for someone like myself who is used to an extremely high-performing phone day in and day out, I found this to be more than useable. While it wouldn’t be my first choice for a daily phone, it wouldn’t be a bad solution for having as a backup, or if you wanted something to take with you camping or in other situations where you might want something more rugged and durable.

Fingerprint Sensor

I had mixed feelings about this fingerprint sensor. I love the placement as it’s located on the back and this is what I am used to using on a daily basis with the Google Pixel, so it felt extremely comfortable as it’s mostly in the same spot, save for being just what feels like a tad bit higher. It’s also pretty accurate and had no issues with recognizing my fingerprint most of the time, though I did notice that once in a while it wasn’t able to tell it was my finger. Where it starts to fall short for me a little is with the size, which made it harder to press because it was slightly smaller than other fingerprint sensors I’ve used in the past, and it was slower to unlock than what I’m used to as well which made it harder to get to things on the fly and quickly. It was almost too slow enough to the point where I almost decided not to use it as an unlock method at all as it nearly felt quicker to unlock with a PIN or pattern. The upside is that the fingerprint sensor is there so for those who prefer it regardless of speed or 100% accuracy, the BV7000 Pro is able to offer this unlock method, where some phones do not.

Sound

Any phone with a single speaker is likely to not have the best quality sound and it’s not quite like that with the BV7000 Pro, but it isn’t amazing. The audio is just not as clear as some of the other devices we’ve reviewed recently. Whether it has something to do with the quality of speaker that was used or whether it has to do with the waterproofing, it was pretty noticeable when trying to listen to music through the phone speaker that the audio just wasn’t there. For some people this could be a real issue if they don’t have a decent pair of headphones to connect. Luckily for me anytime I wanted to listen to music I was able to just plug in a pair of headphones or connect up a Bluetooth pair. While the sound from the phone speaker wasn’t exactly the best, it was passable, and it did have a decent volume range. What’s more is that it tended to sound a little better when the speaker was cupped which does happen when you hold it as it’s placed on the back in the bottom corner. The downside of this location is that it ends up being more covered up when holding the phone in portrait mode, which is how I would often watch YouTube videos or videos through other web players when browsing. The easy workaround is just to flip it to landscape mode but there are often times where I prefer to hold it in portrait, so the give and take is that I had to deal with a more muffled sound when holding it this way. For the most part the sound quality is not a strength of this phone, and it’s certainly not a reason you should decide that this is the phone for you if you’re looking for great audio.

Phone Calls & Network

The BV7000 Pro being a phone that isn’t meant for the U.S. market means that it won’t fully support U.S. networks. It does support 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE networks, however the frequencies don’t match up with most of the ones used here in the U.S. I wasn’t able to test the phone with Project Fi, but it should work on GSM networks since it is an unlocked device. Though compatibility may vary depending on what frequency you are personally able to connect to in the areas where you use the phone. The supported networks are listed below.
2G: 850/900/1800/1900
3G: 900/2100
4G LTE (FDD-LTE): Bands 1, 3, 7, 8, and 20

Benchmarks

The benchmarks is always an area where we don’t expect much out of phones like these as they always tend to score very low in the results, and it wasn’t any different with the BV7000 Pro. For tests we ran the BV7000 Pro through AnTuTu, Geekbench 4, and 3DMark for the graphics. Although it scored low though, this doesn’t matter as much as you might think because the actual performance of the phone in day to day usage is quite different, and the phone felt like it performed better than it scored. If you’re interested in viewing the results of the benchmark test, you can see the results in the screenshots below.

Battery Life

With a 3,500mAh battery in this thing I wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to how long the phone would last. To my surprise though it had a screen on time of about five and a half to six hours. This was a bit different than what was recorded by the battery test we ran it through, where it actually resulted in nearly seven hours of screen on time, but the difference is likely due to the way the phone was actually used. For general battery life, because I don’t usually use my phone with the screen on until it dies on me, I was able to get about a day and half out of it before needing to throw it back on the charger. That being said I would mostly throw it on the charger nightly because I didn’t want to have to throw it on the charger in the middle of the second day. 3500mAh is common enough on many phones these days with a lot of them not being able to last as long as the BV7000 Pro, so the battery life is definitely one of this phone’s strengths, and if good battery life is an important factor to you in a smartphone than the BV7000 Pro is capable of providing you with this feature.

Software

The BV7000 Pro doesn’t have anything that stands out too much in the software department, though it does have some extras like gestures for unlocking the display and opening apps. This is the gesture unlock feature, and it’s something we’ve seen before on other devices both from Blackview and other Chinese phone vendors. There’s a pretty wide range of different options of apps to open or functions to complete just by drawing letters on the sleeping lock screen, which makes getting to a specific app pretty handy if you like quick access shortcuts.

Another feature of the software that was nice to see was the Smart Key feature. This isn’t just software as it does pair with the third button on the right side of the phone, but with the software portion of the Smart Key you can choose to open an app or access a shortcut by setting a single click, a double click, and a long press. You can configure all three of them to do different things which makes the BV7000 Pro quite versatile when it comes to accessing stuff quickly. Blackview doesn’t use an app drawer here so all of your apps end up on the home screen just like they do on iOS devices which makes getting to them somewhat easier as all you have to do is switch between screens, but it does leave things looking a little bit more cluttered. One other additional feature that Blackview has worked in are home screen transition animations. Although there is only a few aside from the standard one, this is something you usually only see in third-party home launchers so it was kind of cool to see this included and it might be a nice perk for users who like home screen animations. Just about everything else felt the same compared to a stock Android device due to the lack of extra features that you’ll see added in from brands like LG, Samsung, and Huawei. This doesn’t mean the software is a bad experience though, just basic.

Camera

The pictures from the BV7000 Pro are honestly much better than I had expected. Images were sharper and better quality than I thought they would be and they ended up with more detail in each image than I’m used to seeing from phones in this price range. Though colors did seem to get a little washed out from time to time, the overall camera quality is good, and one that the average or first time smartphone user would be really happy with here.

The camera experience as a whole is a tad bit of a different story as the software experience within the camera app is basic and bland, and there weren’t a whole lot of features at your fingertips. There was an HDR setting which seems to be more common on smartphones now, but as is typically a complaint now with smartphone cameras there was little control over how images turned out and that’s because the BV7000 Pro doesn’t feature a manual or pro mode which has all of the controls to adjust the image before you take it. There are only two modes with the camera, which are standard and panorama, and that’s it. Perhaps on a plus side you do get a fair amount of color filters to apply to your pictures which is always nice, though I personally don’t use these kinds of filters on my pictures beforehand, and usually fix photos up after the fact, so these were more or less useless to me, though they might be great for someone else. Another drawback is that the camera focus didn’t pick things up very quickly, so I found myself waiting for longer than normal just to get a good shot, and sometimes I missed a picture entirely because the focus wasn’t quick enough. The camera isn’t terrible and the quality of images are decent, but as a whole the camera on this phone is not top notch because of the few areas where it falls behind. If you’re a photography nut or someone who wants the best possible smartphone pictures, a different phone with a better and more well-rounded camera might be a better option. If the camera is an afterthought though then you shouldn’t be disappointed.

The Good

Good screen

Rugged build

Waterproof

Lightweight yet durable

Screen gestures

Great battery life

Image quality was decent

The Bad

Sound quality wasn’t great

Android Marshmallow instead of Nougat

Overall camera experience felt lacking

Wrap Up

All too often it can be easy to forget about lesser known brands when it comes to mobile devices as even the major brands offer low-end and mid-range phones, but brands like Blackview shouldn’t be immediately discounted even though they aren’t a brand which you will find sold in the U.S. Phones like the BV7000 Pro are a good example of a brand like Blackview putting out a pretty decent phone which will certainly cost less than some of the bigger brands, and of it still being able to provide its owner with a good user experience.

Should you buy the Blackview BV7000 Pro?

That depends on what it is you’re looking for in a smartphone. If you want excellent sound quality and a great camera experience, then you may want to look elsewhere. That said, the camera does put out a good picture in many situations and the phone is built with an extremely durable exterior which is a plus if you need something that you won’t have to worry about as much. In the end the Blackview BV7000 Pro is a nice durable phone with few compromises.

Buy The Blackview BV7000 Pro