30 seconds rating
Smartphones with a real infrared camera are a rarity and rugged smartphone amateurs are lucky to be able to buy three, the Doogee S96 Prothe Doogee V20 and the third we’re reviewing today, the Blackview BL8800. Compared to the others, it’s cheap and relatively cheerful once you get past the bland and modest design. It is equipped with a large battery, is relatively fast and the large display is ideal for fun and work.
The lack of a microSD card slot can be problematic though, as it only has 128GB of storage, which could be a problem if you want to use it as a pseudo night vision CCTV, for example. However, this should not distract you from the real bargain that is the BL8800. Should Blackview decide to keep the price south of $300 after the promotional period, it should be high on your buy list.
Blackview BL8800: Pricing and Availability
The BL8800 (opens in new tab) is available at the time of writing on the Blackview store on Aliexpress for just $250 (about £200, AU$353) until May 27, with shipping either free or for a fee, depending on where you live. Please note that local taxes and fees levied by courier companies are not included.
Blackview BL8800: Design
Nothing screams “outdoor smartphone” louder than the kind of rugged design the BL8800 has adopted. I have reviewed dozens of such smartphones (opens in new tab) and to say that Blackview was playing it safe would be a serious understatement. From the obligatory rubber flap (to protect the USB Type-C port) to the four corner protectors and the metal screws for the frame, all the boxes are ticked.
Economies of scale and sticking to what works means the BL8800 doesn’t deviate much from the common design language that has inspired and influenced hundreds of other rugged and outdoor smartphones. It is available in orange, green and black.
The latest mid-range smartphone from Blackview lies firmly in the hand, partly due to a heavier cooling technology and a larger than usual 8.38 Ah battery. At 365g and measuring 176 x 17.7 x 83.5mm, it is definitely a big phone. The front of the beast has a pinhole camera on the top, a SIM card reader (but no microSD card slot) and a customizable button on one side and the volume rocker and a power button (which doubles as a fingerprint scanner) on the other. the other side.
The back is slightly curved to help with grip and is dominated by an octagonal glass surface that protects four camera sensors and an LED light. As expected, the phone is rated IP68 and IP69K for water and dust resistance, but it also claims the stricter MIL-STD-810H (instead of 810G).
Blackview BL8800: Hardware
At the heart of the BL8800 is the popular Mediatek Dimensity 700, a midrange octa-core 5G system-on-chip, which is coupled with 8GB LPDDR4X RAM and 128GB onboard storage based on UFS2.1 technology. In addition to Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.2, there is a plethora of camera sensors that the BL8800 is equipped with; no less than five. The BL8800 is the sixth smartphone we tested with this system-on-chip.
Elsewhere, there’s a 16-megapixel S5K3P9-SP camera sensor on the front and four others on the back – a 50-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel 117° ultra-wide camera, a 2-megapixel depth camera and a 20-megapixel IR night vision camera. The latter can apparently be used to disable pinhole cameras thanks to the pair of infrared emitters on the back.
All of this is powered by an 8380mAh battery which is powered by an included 9V3A (27W) power supply. There’s no wireless charging on that one, which is disappointing to say the least. You can use it to charge other devices thanks to its OTG functionality; just remember that in all cases you will need a Type-C to Type-C cable.
Blackview BL8800: Performance and Operation
The BL8800 has its own take on Android called DokeOS 3.0 which is nothing more than a slightly tinted version. The phone comes with a bundle of gaming applications, but none of the DIY apps we’ve come to expect, which is a shame considering the target audience.
Raw benchmark numbers give an expected picture with a few outliers (e.g. highest overall Passmark score to date) that could be due to software updates/tweaks etc. Overall a very capable albeit light (performance oriented) machine ; as long as you’re aware that this isn’t a gaming powerhouse, you won’t be disappointed.
The display, a 6.58-inch display, has a resolution of 240 x 1080 pixels (18:8 aspect ratio) and can go up to 480 nits, making it a great choice for outdoor use. The general rendering of colors, both indoors and out, is subjectively adequate, although it depends on a number of factors. It is covered in what appears to be an oleophobic layer.
Should I buy the Blackview BL8800?
Buy it as
You need a night vision camera† The main USP of the BL8800 is a 20 megapixel infrared camera. If you don’t need it, there’s hardly any reason to buy the BL8800 when there are so many other choices.
Don’t buy it if
You need an unobtrusive smartphone† With a screen diagonal of almost 7 inches and a weight of almost 400 grams, the BL8800 is not what we would call an eminently portable smartphone. Having a big screen and huge battery has its perks, but not if you’re mobile.
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