The Blackview P2 Lite has all the goods of the P2 at a slightly cheaper price point.
Back in April we reviewed the Blackview P2, a budget-friendly device from one of China’s numerous OEMs. While the P2 was already an affordable Android smartphone option with entry-level to mid-level specifications, Blackview has seen fit to give users an even more budget-friendly option with the Blackview P2 Lite, and we’ve spent a little time with it over the last week or so to check out how it stacks up to the original. On the outside it looks identical to the original P2, so you’d really never know the difference, but on the inside things are slightly varied and this is where it begins to pose the question of whether or not it’s worth it to go for something like the P2 Lite to save a little money when the standard model is already an inexpensive device. Let’s take a closer look at the P2 Lite and see what it offers.
As stated above the design of the P2 Lite is identical to the P2, and the specs really aren’t that different either, save for just a few different pieces of the hardware. For starters, the P2 Lite comes with the MediaTek MTK6753 octa-core CPU clocked at 1.3GHz compared to the MTK6750 octa-core CPU clocked at 1.5GHz found inside of the P2. The RAM and storage are also different, moving down from 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage on the P2 to just 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. Other than that, everything else is the same.
The Blackview P2 Lite comes equipped with a 5.5-inch Full HD screen, it’s running on Android 7.0 Nougat, it has a full metal body which gives it more of a premium look and feel, and it supports Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, and Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, and USB Type-C. For the cameras the sensors are the same 13-megapixel rear camera and 8-megapixel front camera that you’ll find on the P2, and you’ll also get expandable storage support for up to 32GB microSD cards, as well as a 6,000 mAh battery which is the same capacity you get from the standard P2 model. Across the board, the P2 Lite is really just a slightly slimmed down model of the P2 for a slightly less expensive price.
In The Box
Perhaps not surprisingly, you get the same things in the box with the Lite model of Blackview’s P2 device. You have the phone on top, and under that you can find the wall adapter which is designed for Asian and European wall outlets as this is a Chinese device, as well as the charging cable, a quick start guide and SIM ejector tool, an additional screen protector as there is already one on the screen, a clear silicone case, an OTG cable, and a set of earbuds. For the most part, you’re getting a pretty good value for the cost.
Hardware & Design
Just like with the P2 the P2 Lite has a full metal body, and the design is exactly the same. This means clean lines and rounded corners of the frame, a matte black paint job for the color of the metal, and easily accessible buttons that have good tactile response when pressed which means you should never have to wonder about whether or not the buttons are actually working. The Blackview P2 Lite has both the power button and the volume up and down buttons on one side, the right side, and this is pretty common with a lot of smartphones these days and not just from international brands like Blackview that tend to stick to the Chinese market. On the left side of the device is the SIM card tray, and on the bottom you have a single speaker along with the charging port. The charging port is USB Type-C so that means a quicker charge than you might expect with a phone that still has the microUSB standard, and this is great as it will charge the phone battery faster as well as give the user the capability to plug the cable in even if they flip it over. This definitely adds a level of convenience to plugging in the device when it needs some power.
If you flip the device upward the 3.5mm audio port is up top for plugging in headphones if you prefer a wired headphone setup as opposed to something using Bluetooth wireless technology, and flipping the phone over to the back you have the camera and LED flash just to the left of the camera sensor, with the round fingerprint sensor right below that. You do also have Blackview’s logo below the fingerprint sensor as well. For the most part the design of the phone is minimalist. It doesn’t have a lot of elements going on and it feels comfortable to hold in the hand, though the metal can make it feel a tiny bit slick and if you’re not careful with your devices you may want to use the case that’s included with this phone as it could be easy to drop. I almost dropped it a few times but luckily the phone never hit the ground as I was able to catch it. The device also feels pretty well-built, though that might also be due in part to the weight of the device as it is a bit heavy due to the larger battery.
This is a Full HD display here on the P2 Lite and everything is just as crisp and sharp as you would expect from a display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution. Color accuracy is decent, sharpness of the picture quality for images, icons, and other UI graphics is respectable, and the response from the screen is nothing to shake a stick at as I had no issues whatsoever when using it the last week or so. This is thanks to the digitizer inside of the phone which handles the touch response, and it’s not uncommon to find cheap digitizers in cheaper phones which is why we’re always a little surprised when there are no problems when reviewing phones in this price range. That said, there’s nothing for Blackview to be ashamed of in this department.
With the screen being a 5.5-inch display it was already easy enough to see in direct light both inside and outside, but you’ll still need to turn up the brightness a little bit here if you want the best possible visibility. While there aren’t a lot of display configuration options, you do have a few things to play with under the display settings and then under the LiveDisplay option. Here you can change the color temperature with a slider bar for both day and night mode, and then once you have those details out of the way you can choose to either set the display mode to auto, day, night, or turn it off completely. You can also turn on the automatic change for the display mode which essentially enables each one at a specific time, which you can adjust as you see fit. In the end this is a decent enough display to work with on a daily basis and should be just fine for those who usually expect more from their smartphone screens, and it should be perfect for anyone who is used to picking up phones in this price range as they don’t always have the best displays out there.
The performance was an interesting section of this review that I was looking forward to checking out how it compared to the P2. Since the processor is a bit different and the P2 Lite comes with only 3GB of RAM instead of 4GB, I wasn’t sure what to expect. With the P2, performance was mostly OK with only a few hiccups here and there which caused the phone to lag or freeze up, though not for long. With the P2 Lite, the experience seemed to be mostly the same and I didn’t notice any major differences between the two phones but it did lag a little more when taking screenshots or installing apps. The P2 Lite was more than capable of handling just about any task I threw at it whether that was gaming, multi-tasking, or just browsing the web and Facebook. This is great news for anyone weary that less expensive phones like this one won’t be able to handle their more heavy use. It is worth pointing out that I seemed to have issues with using at least one app. Typically in our reviews I run the phone through PCMark for a battery test to see how it matches up with using the device on a day to day basis, but every time I tried to run the battery test the P2 Lite would close the app down and alert me to an error. It didn’t matter that I uninstalled the app twice and reinstalled it with reboots to the phone each time, the app continued to act the same way. I’m not sure if this is a byproduct of a difference in the CPU and RAM, but it’s something to keep an eye out for as it may happen with other apps too. It’s also important to keep in mind that it may have nothing to do with the hardware at all and it could be a software thing completely.
I wasn’t expecting much from the fingerprint sensor with the P2 Lite as it’s likely the same exact sensor that was used on the P2, and sure enough I had just about the same experience. This particular sensor seemed to unlock the device just a bit faster but the accuracy remains the same. This isn’t a bad thing mind you, as the accuracy with the P2 Lite’s fingerprint sensor is great. I never once had it miss one of my presses so you’re definitely getting something extremely reliable in this case. This means anyone looking to jump into this phone can set the fingerprint sensor up for unlocking the phone and expect it to work each and every time. How it lasts over the course of a couple of years would remain to be seen, but judging from the way it worked over the past week it doesn’t seem like it would be an issue at all.
If you’re looking for excellent quality sound, look elsewhere. The Blackview P2 Lite is ok when it comes to the audio, but it won’t be blowing you away as this isn’t a hidden gem in the budget device market when it comes to the sound quality. This isn’t helped at all by the use of just one speaker, but even with stereo sound it might not get that much better. For me, the major issue is that the audio tended to sound a bit blown out when turning the sound up to higher volumes. I like to turn the audio up quite a bit, so this was a bit more noticeable for me than it might be for others, but it’s definitely a problem which we haven’t seen on some other budget handsets. That said, the sound quality is decent enough to work for anyone who isn’t too concerned with the best possible sound from a smartphone speaker. The audio does work, which is the most important factor, and if it’s not living up to your standards it’s just as easy to connect a Bluetooth speaker or pair of Bluetooth headphones, or simply plug in a wireless pair.
Phone Calls & network
The Blackview P2 Lite is an unlocked GSM device so it should be just fine for U.S. networks, but only on 2G and 3G 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.
Just like with every single device we review the Blackview P2 Lite was put through three different benchmark tests to see how well it would perform on paper. This is of course different to some degree than how it will actually perform in day to day use in the real world, but it still acts a nice way to see what the performance might be like. We ran the P2 Lite through the same tests we always use, which were AnTuTu, Geekbench 4, and 3DMark which was used to test the graphics. If you’re interested in seeing the results for those tests you can view them in the gallery just below.
With a 6,000 mAh battery you should be expecting some really good battery life on the P2 Lite, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. This is the same battery as on the P2 so we were able to get about the same amount of battery life with this device which was around 8 hours of screen-on time and usually about two days or so before needing a recharge. That said it’s important to keep in mind that the two days of battery life did not include using it for a full two days with the display on as there were many times where it just sat idle, but it definitely had more than average use. As mentioned in the beginning of this review we didn’t get the chance to run the P2 Lite through PCMark for the battery test as the test would run for about a minute then the app would crash, so we weren’t able to see if the test matched up with what we got for normal use. It’s also important to remember that mileage will vary, meaning not everyone will get the same amount of battery life out of the P2 Lite as everyone will use their phone differently.
The software hasn’t changed at all since we checked out the Blackview P2 back in April. This is still Android 7.0 Nougat and it’s still using the same exact user interface as the P2, so there’s nothing different in this area of the phone. This means that it has no app drawer and all apps you install will just migrate to the home screen, while creating a new page if needed. The software does have a different style to it when it comes to the color of the theme and icons compared to other Android devices. The UI is mostly a black and gold color scheme throughout the system, again something you'll find on the standard P2 model. There are no gestures to speak of here but there is one cool feature I found in the settings which allows you to change the function of the capacitive keys when pressed and long-pressed. This is located under the “Keys” option in the settings menu and although it isn’t too varied, it’s nice to see something like this option available. Then again you can also add this sort of feature to any Android device really as long as you install a third-party launcher. That said, it was interesting to see it implemented as part of the regular device software.
For the most part the camera delivered the same experience as on the original P2, with one particular difference that the P2 didn’t seem to have, at least during our time using it. This is the picture-in-picture mode that is present within the camera app. What this does is put a picture of you taken with the front-facing camera and places it inside of a polaroid-style thumbnail somewhere in the image of what you take with the rear camera. The thumbnail can be dragged to wherever you want it it seems and it can be resized, so this could make for some interesting pictures if you like to play around with photos on your smartphone. Besides this you’ll also find a normal camera mode as well as a panorama mode, but that is basically it. There are however a few things you can adjust such as the exposure and ISO, as well as the white balance, but not on the same level as what would be possible with a pro mode. You can also apply different filters to your photos before you take them with color effects like sepia, white board, negative and more.
When it comes to actual quality of the images, it was pretty much the same as the P2 as well. These are the same sensors, so you shouldn’t be expecting anything different and that seems to have been our experience with things. Pictures are decent enough to work in the event that you aren’t looking to spend a lot on a phone and you want to have a camera without having to actually carry around a camera. The pictures were not too noisy in well-lit situations and the color reproduction was ok, though you start to lose detail fast if the lighting conditions aren’t the absolute best they possibly could be. The shutter speed also doesn’t work as fast as we’d hoped, but this is pretty common with phones in this price range as well and it was the same with the P2 so we were already expecting this to be the case. Overall the camera wasn’t the best but it’s not absolutely terrible, and it should suffice for anyone who either doesn’t take a lot of pictures with their smartphone or for users who don’t mind compromising due to the money they’re saving.
Excellent battery life
Fast and accurate fingerprint sensor
Good build quality
Feels good in the hand
USB Type-C Port
Option to change what the capacitive keys do with short and long presses
Camera isn’t the best
Sound quality was a bit blown out at louder volumes
Capacitive navigation keys
Blackview has put out a decent budget device with the P2 Lite and since it’s mostly the same in every regard as the P2, it might be worth saving a bit of cash. That said you’ll want to keep in mind that while the performance is mostly the same even though it has 1GB less RAM and a different processor, it also has half the internal storage, so if you’re someone who likes a lot of space on your device it might be a better idea to go for the standard P2 model.
Should you buy the Blackview P2 Lite?
As stated above if you don’t mind giving up 32GB of additional internal storage space, the P2 Lite is a decent choice for a budget phone. It has the same big screen with the same resolution, and all the other same specs. It has all the goods of the P2 at a slightly cheaper price point. If you want a better camera, better sound, and something more powerful, then you may want to skip the P2 Lite and the P2 Lite and look at something else entirely.