Friday, May 28, 2021

Blackview BL6000 Pro 5G rugged smartphone

Update: Blackview has announced that it has released an updated version of the phone that comes with Android 11 but also improves on the sensitivity of the screen, with more accurate gesture recognition, better signal intensity and charging speeds as well as faster fingerprint unlock. The new price at launch has also been slashed to $379.08.

Blackview is one of the more active rugged smartphone vendors and its latest model, the BL6000 Pro, is the third 5G rugged smartphone that we have tested to date after the Ulefone Armor 10 and the Oukitel WP10. Did we keep the best for last? Maybe. One thing that is certain is that Blackview delivered something which aspires to be different from its rivals on a number of points.

Price and availability

The Blackview BL6000 Pro costs $399.99 at AliExpress at the time of writing, a 32% discount off its official suggested retail price of $599.99. There may be additional discounts courtesy of AliExpress’s slightly puzzling allocation algorithm.

Rear of Device

(Image credit: Future)

Design

Blackview has recycled the design of the BV9900 Pro with some slight modifications. The manufacturer abandoned the industrial look of its competitors, opting instead for more subdued, eye pleasing lines compared to its immediate competitors. So no big screws, yellow borders and huge logos; instead in our hands, something that doesn’t even look like a rugged smartphone and that’s obviously a good thing.

Buttons Left Side

(Image credit: Future)

Underneath though, it’s the same formula; a metal frame which guarantees resistance to shock and protects the internal components like the cooling gel, triple graphite layering and copper pipes. As expected, it also comes with MIL-STD-810G, IP68 and IP69K certifications.

It is by no means a rival to its super thin non-rugged peers but at only 166.7 x 81.3 x 12.8mm with a weight of just over 270g, it is far more compact and lighter than offerings from Oukitel or Ulefone. That is a solid positive advantage in our books.

Buttons Right Side

(Image credit: Future)

On the right, there’s a volume rocker, a fingerprint scanner and the power button. On the left is a dedicated customizable button, while the bottom holds an uncovered USB-C port, a single speaker and a tiny SIM card tray. 

Rear Cameras

(Image credit: Future)

Three camera sensors and a LED flash are located at the back while the selfie camera sensor is lodged in a punch hole on the front facia, a 6.36-inch FHD+ (that’s 1080 x 2300 pixels) IPS screen with a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 overlay and some pretty good oleophobic coating that makes fingerprint marks far less likely.

Hardware

Spec Sheet

The Blackview BL6000 Pro that was shipped to us came with the following hardware:

CPU: Dimensity 800

GPU: Arm Mali-G57

RAM: 8GB 

Storage: 256GB

Screen size: 6.36-inch 

Resolution: 2300x1080

Weight: 271g

Dimensions: 166.7 x 81.3 x 12.8mm

Rear camera: 48MP, 10MP, 0.3MP

Front camera: 16MP

OS: Android 10

Battery: 5.28Ah

Blackview toed the line by using the same processor that equips its two other rivals; the Mediatek Dimensity 800 is a midrange system-on-chip which delivers more than enough firepower in this price range. It is complemented by 8GB of RAM (LPDDR4x) and 256GB onboard storage (the faster UFS 2.1 type rather than eMMC). That’s twice the storage capacity of its competitors, a crucial aspect given that it doesn’t have a microSD card slot.

Elsewhere, it has four cameras including a 48-megapixel Sony shooter being the headline sensor and a 16-megapixel Samsung front facing selfie. Its battery has a 5.28Ah capacity, far smaller than, say, the 8Ah model inside the WP10 but a drop in capacity is an acceptable compromise for a more portable device.

As expected, it supports Wi-Fi 5 as well as Bluetooth 5, which are both fairly standard for smartphones in this price range. While there’s NFC, there’s no wireless charging, which is a bit of a disappointment.

Shortly after the publication of this review, Blackview approached us to confirm that the phone supports wireless charging, up to 18W.

In Use

(Image credit: Future)

In use

As expected, it runs a stock version of Android 10 and since it is a Mediatek-based model, has the same bundled applications you’d expect if you’ve ever owned one Helio device for example. Of particular interest is a group of apps that can perform tasks that are often sensor based.

Apps

(Image credit: Future)

There’s also a gamer mode, an elderly mode and a kids mode. All three target different age groups/audiences but fulfill the same core requirements. Creating an environment that caters for the peculiarities of that group; e.g. ability to choose a particular set of apps.

Benchmarks

This is how the Blackview BL6000 Pro performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

PCMark (Work 2.0): 8224

Passmark: 8615

Passmark CPU: 23704

Androbench (sequential): 867 (sequential read); 202 (sequential write)

Androbench (random): 190 (random read); 178 (random write)

3DMark  Wild Life Vulkan: 1671

LinPack MFLOPS: 2105

Blackview claims that its IceMode technology allows the BL6000 Pro to offer basic phone, messaging and camera features, at temperatures as low as -30℃ far lower than other rivals. We were not able to test that claim as the temperatures in the UK are slightly balmy at the moment.

As for the performance levels, they’re about average for a device based on the Dimensity 800. We couldn’t get Geekbench to run and our LinPack test returned a decent 2.1GFLOPS. Storage subsystem numbers were very solid thanks to the UFS 2.1 technology used which allows scores higher than what we’d get from a desktop-based SATA storage device.

So there’s absolutely no concerns when it comes to real life performance on the sort of use cases you’d expect from a standard device. No, it is not a gaming powerhouse but yes, it should handle the vast majority of applications out there with ease.

Final verdict

The BL6000 Pro is an excellent all-rounder rugged smartphone especially for field workers and out-and-about staff that may want to wash their phones for extra protection. The ability to run 5G is, in our opinion, a bonus given that 5G is still being rolled out globally and doesn’t benefit from the sort of quasi-universal coverage that 4G or 3G benefits.

Blackview opted for a design that deliberately sets it apart from the competition. The lack of USB-C flap for example bothers us but a spokesperson for the company says that a new technology, Nano Molding, will remove the need for a flap.

With that came some design choices like the lower battery capacity and the smaller screen size. You end up with a lighter and better looking rugged smartphone which will matter for some.

Shame about the lack of a microSD card but with 256GB of onboard storage, it should be more than enough. You can always look at our list of best cloud storage services for some inspiration should you need some. 

More concerning though is the fact that there’s no wireless charging, which should be standard these days. Its immediate predecessor, the BV9900 Pro, came with a 10W wireless charger. It would be handy as a backup for the charging port which lacks a protective flap.

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